Homeowners preparing to sell their homes have a substantial amount of preparation and work before listing it on the market. Among realtor meetings, walk-throughs, and home inspections, they also have to ensure their homes are ready for a showing, oftentimes at the drop of a hat. Presenting a home is one of the most challenging aspects of selling. Prior to showings, a house has to be in nearly perfect order to look its best for prospective buyers. Why do homeowners do this to themselves? Largely for the purpose of home staging photography.
After taking care of necessary updates and fixes, sellers should stage their homes with painted walls and complimentary furniture. Staging a home prior to showing it prepares the home in two ways: for a photo shoot, and for the actual home showings. Staged homes get twice as many views when it comes to online listings; and that’s important in a “buyer’s market” where supply is greater than demand.
For real, practical, and applicable advice on home staging for pictures, keep reading. We’ll cover everything from home preparation and cleaning to camera lenses and lighting. And if you need any further service information on home staging photography, contact us!
Home Staging for Photos
Before listing, make sure your home is primed for an “up close and personal” presentation. Remember, buyers want homes where they can imagine themselves living. Here are two home staging principles to put into practice before photo staging your home.
Declutter & Depersonalize
This might seem obvious, but it’s actually difficult for homeowners to “see their own mess.” Most people are so accustomed to their own space that they forget what it looks like to others. Clearing out clutter is the first step to home staging. And just when you think it’s been de-cluttered enough, do it again—get rid of as much “stuff” as possible.
Depersonalizing your living space might seem a bit harsh, but it’s in your own best interest. After all, you want to get the highest price for your home, right? Well, buyers find homes that have very little (if any) trace of the current home owners to be the most attractive. That’s why it’s called “staging,” because it’s supposed to look like a stage set. Get it?
Put your extra belongings into storage. And, to the best of your ability, remove any signs of pets. Nothing turns a potential home buyer off more than the unfamiliar, pungent scent of someone else’s pets. No offense, but people without pets have more sensitivity to the smell, and can usually pick up the scent of an animal upon walking into a home. So, make sure to deodorize and clean up after your furry friends!
Put away personal and family photos. The whole point of home staging is to make it feel like anyone could live there, particularly your ideal home buyer. Leaving personal belongings and photos strewn throughout the house somewhat alienates potential buyers. Remember, buyers are imagining themselves living in your home.
Make it Inviting
Think style, comfort and inspiration when staging. Your apartment, condo, house or office should appeal to viewers. With websites like Zillow and other real estate listings, imagery is of the utmost importance. Good photos are essential for making the most of your online listing.
To make your pad inviting is kind of like making a potion. It takes the right balance of ingredients. Conjure a feeling of “welcomeness” when decorating and staging your space, and you’re likely to come up with a good setting and “vibe.” Choose furniture, paint colors and art that are bold, yet neutral and inoffensive to the senses. Be very mindful about space, particularly empty space. In other words, don’t put furniture in places that it does not fit.
6 Tips for Photographing a Staged Interior
When the property is ready for it’s “close up,” consider all the shots that will be included in the online listing:
Entryways and doors
Kitchen & dining
Master bedroom and bathroom
Small bedrooms and dens
Depending on the location and neighborhood, consider aerial photos for garnering online views. Particularly for luxury properties, drone footage is essential to have for a national listing.
Really, we could discuss real estate photography for days. For the sake of sticking to the basics, let’s cover six tips for photographing your staged home.
Know Your Lens
When photographing a staged room, camera lenses are fairly important gear to understand. Real estate photography is an attempt to capture the perception of space, which is difficult because a camera does not have depth perception like the human eye. This is where the proper camera lens comes into picture.
Lenses are like eyes, and each lens has its own view. So, if you want to capture the perception of size in a large room with high ceilings, a wide angle lens will be the way to go. Wide angle lenses make spaces look bigger, in a way, because it takes bigger pictures. A 35 millimeter lens is ideal for capturing features and details. It sees more like the human eye, focusing on smaller spaces and a focal point.
Stunning photos are largely attributed to the type of lens and quality of pixels. While smartphones can take sufficient pictures, DSLR cameras offer the advantage of changing lenses. Professional photographers will have a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera to use both a wide angle lens and a 35 mm. Remember to secure the use of a tripod as well, when taking pictures of your pad.
Use HDR Settings
Have you ever seen incredible real estate photos with high saturation in HDR (High Definition Resolution)? HDR captures one image in three different light settings, then layers those images on top of eachother to make one, really bright and detailed picture. For the absolute best quality of photo, use an HDR setting when taking pictures. Even smartphones have an HDR setting that helps bump up image quality.
Consider the Composition
Photo composition is the angle and arrangement of objects in a photograph. Composition is the way an image is framed. This is an especially important concept in art, as composition highlights shapes, compares colors, and compliments objects.
Interior photography has many tight spaces, and “lines” both vertical and horizontal. For example the floor, the walls, where the walls meet, trim, doors, frames, etc. If the lines in your photo are off-kilter, like rooms with angled walls and ceilings, it will appear unbalanced and disrupt the composition, which actually distracts viewers from noticing the true subject of the photo.
The composition of home staging photos are dependent upon where the photographer is standing within the room. When taking photos of bedrooms and smaller spaces, stand in the very corners of the room, and shoot for the doorways and more open spaces. If you want to capture a unique “nook” or attractive furniture setting, shoot pointing away from the entry. Or try shooting a room from standing in the doorway or looking through it. There are many tips and tidbits when it comes to camera angles in rooms, so do more research to get some good ideas.
Play with Lighting
Lighting is a critical component of photography. It defines the overall quality and sets the mood of an image. It causes shadows, emphasizes shapes, and offers details. Light is the most critical element of getting a good shot, so make sure to take advantage of it!
Turn on all the lights before your photo shoot, and open the blinds. You want as much natural light as possible. Avoid shooting directly into light, like a large window on a sunny day. Too much light can “blow out” the colors in the photo. But not enough light (or the wrong temperature of light) will distort the colors and create a dark image. Which is okay for an artistic photoshoot, but for home staging photos, you want all the white, natural light you can get.
When taking pictures with the lights on, one nuance to consider is the color of each light bulb. Oftentimes lights in a kitchen are fluorescent, while lamps and other lights are LED. An image with differing colors of light is distracting and throws off the colors in the room; so yellow looks orange and white looks yellow, etc. Avoid capturing images with two different temperatures of light bulbs.
Hire a Professional Staging Company
Taking professional grade real estate photos should be just that—left to the professionals. You can attempt to stage and photograph your own home, but prepare to put in substantial time and effort. Selling a house is hard work, between staging a house and capturing pro photos to navigating negotiations and showings.
Let the professionals take care of the details. Here in New York City, Quadra FS is your professional staging company. Quadra FS provides preliminary consultations, furniture rentals, minor home improvements and home staging photography. Call the best staging company NYC has to offer for a free consultation.