Cynthia's Blog

October 14, 2011

Photographs of Staged Homes

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

Lights! Camera! Action! Set the Stage for Better Photos

If your Internet photos are missing, few, or bad, don't count on many showings of your home. Buyers will just click to the next home. Rule of thumb: the first three photos should show the BEST aspects of your home, even if that means the photos are "out of order." Often, the photos begin with the exterior front, followed by a walk-through of the home, ending with the exterior back. However, if you just spent big bucks on an outdoor kitchen and pool (and your competition is lucky to have a newly-stained deck), a wide shot of your back yard should be one of the first three photos that buyers will see!

These days, going "live" without photos is a  killer. Sure, your home will show up on searches, but without the photos there's little chance you'll make the "To-See" list. By the time buyers take your home seriously, you've racked up days-on-market, missed a handful of buyers and are on your way to a lower offer before you've had your first showing! Essentially, no photos says, "There's nothing about this house worth photographing."

PREPARE THE SET: Don't be so anxious to hit the market that you flub your entrance. Stage the home BEFORE photos are taken. Check the details: remove ALL refrigerator magnets, magazines, toys, ant & roach spray from the counter, and pull the bed covers so that the box springs doesn't show. Otherwise, you could receive bad review when you discover too late that a box of tissue is your focal point.

KNOW YOUR LINES: In this case, know your camera. Light meters are usually in the center of the camera frame, so if you center on a window, your camera will assume that the rest of the frame is also that bright and you'll end up with an underexposed room.

CREATE GOOD LIGHTING: Turn on every light available, no matter what kind of day it is, and always use your flash when shooting indoors. A tip for shooting into the sun outdoors: stand in a shadow, or cup your hand above the lens to shield it from sun flares.

FRAMING THE SHOT: Your viewfinder is your friend. What is in your frame? Does the living room photo include the fireplace, bookcase and part of the window, or is the back of your sofa or too much ceiling dominating the frame? In the kitchen photo is the side of the refrigerator or cabinet dominating? Is the "horizon line" such as the top of the kitchen cabinets straight? If you're not sure what will look best, move around, reframe, take multiple shots; digital film is cheap!

THE ESTABLISHING SHOT: Ever notice in movies how the camera shows the house or cityscape to let the audience know where the next scene is taking place? If you are shooting the back yard toward the neighbor's, include part of the deck railing in your frame, or shoot over the table and chairs.

LONG SHOTS VS. CLOSE-UPS: Long shots allow buyers to see the home's layout, such as a hearth room-breakfast area-kitchen combo. However, the photo may end up too full, with key features being lost. Take both long shots AND room-specific shots, but avoid close-ups of, say, the fireplace surround; they're mostly annoying to buyers.

AD-LIBBING: If you are unable to include the fireplace, both flanking bookcases and the entire wall of windows, off-center your focal point (fireplace) so that the part of the second bookcase and part of the window are included. A photo of a skylight will look odd, but you can include a hint of it. Use the mirrors in a master bath to include boths sides of the room (excluding yourself!). Stand on stairs or a chair to get a better angle of a room.

Ask about my Photography Services; I can stage the home then photograph the exterior and interior, select the best shots, rename them for easy identification, then Email them to you for posting. Let the showings begin!

HomeStaging by Cynthia, Inc. © copyright (2004-2011). All rights reserved. For reprinting information please contact Cynthia Black directly.