You’ve seen it on Zillow, Redfin, and the like—beautifully shot homes that make you feel like you could jump right into the photo. But then the next home you click on might have images where the rooms are untidy or the photo is crooked. While not all of us are professional photographers, there are many ways you can get a better-looking photo to draw in potential buyers if you’re listing your home.
Chris Snitko, a self-taught photographer who has been working in the industry for more than a decade, has three pet peeves when it comes to real estate photography: When a toilet seat is left up, a barbecue cover is left on, and a garbage can is left out. “I think sometimes people get in a bit of a hurry and miss stuff,” Snitko says. “We try to take our time and be meticulous about it and capture the home as well as we can on location.”
While these are quick fixes, there are other mistakes Snitko spots instantly. “A lot of the time, when a seller shoots (on their iPhone) they hold the phone up and shoot, so 99 percent of the shots the average person takes are vertical,” he says. “For the sake of selling a property, (turn your phone horizontally)—you want it to look as wide as possible and as big as possible.” He also notes that images can come out crooked if you don’t have your grid on, which can be turned on in your settings. Sellers also tend to shoot from high up, which puts too much ceiling and too little floor in their shot. To remedy this, shoot from a lower angle, such as near your hip, or use a tripod and take the time to set up your shot.
Be sure to tidy your home and remove any clutter that will distract the viewer’s eye from the focal point. If you’re trying to capture a beautiful sink, put the paper towel holder away. “You want to give people the easiest way to look at the space and what you’re featuring as opposed to anything else your eye might be drawn to,” Snitko says. “Less is always more, and in photographing properties, you want people to be able to visualize their stuff in it.”
He also suggests shooting interiors during the day so they’re light and bright. Be sure to check the colors of your walls at various times to see when they look best before snapping a photo.
If you’re still not completely sure how you want to photograph your home, spend some time looking through real estate photography. “You’ll see right away what you like and what you don’t like, and I think the more you look at photos, the easier it is to emulate,” Snitko says.