If you can’t use a professional to take your listing photographs, avoid these visual mistakes. The photographs below were chosen to emphasize errors.
1. Exterior photo with distracting elements
These include cars, bicycles, trash cans, pets, children, etc. This example also has several other mistakes — it doesn’t capture the entire house exterior; the angle does not flatter the house; and trees obstruct the view. Are you selling the house or the car?
2. Subject too far away
Get as close as to can to your subject. This common mistake can easily be corrected by cropping. The objective is to have the image fill the frame. Use Photoshop or any of the many free photo editing tools like Paint.net or Picnik.com. Many computers come with a basic photo editor. Mine has Micrsoft PictureIt! and it works great.
3. Cluttered rooms
This is where most interior photos fail — there’s too much stuff in the picture. Even though this room has beautiful furnishings, there is too much of it. Remove furniture, chairs, pillows, waste baskets, telephone, figurines and chatchies, items on table tops, even the leaf from the table. Like home staging, less is more in a room photograph. As a noted interior photographer has said, taking a great room photo involves 10% creativity and 90% furniture moving.
4. Photographing uninteresting rooms in their entirety
Agents are told to use a wide angle lens to get the entire room in the photograph. The problem is it only works for well decorated rooms. And let’s be real—most rooms are not expertly decorated. The solution is to select and photograph the best portion of the room, focusing on the nicest feature. Or you can just skip the room, especially a bedroom.
5. Shooting toward bright windows and fluorescent lighting
Two things to avoid. Light from the windows will attract the viewer’s eye and probably overexpose your photograph. Some can be saved by photo editing using the brightness controls, but it generally makes for a bad image. Also avoid fluorescent lighting, if possible. It tends to create an unflattering greenish tint. Instead use natural light from lamps or even candlelight.
Some ways to deal with these lighting issues:
- Turn off the flash and increase the exposure time (you may need to use a tripod or lean the camera against the wall
- Use a faster film (ISO 800)
- Increase the room’s overall brightness with stronger watt bulbs. Just replace the bulbs for the shoot.
6. Avoid verticals and horizontals
Unless you are really good at holding your camera straight (and not tilted up or down), the perception of the room will be thrown off. Just avoid these situations.
7. Missing the extras that make a home special (and more valuable)
- Architectural features
- Crown molding
- Hardscaped patios, decks and porches
- Privacy features
Source: New York Institute for Photography