August 15, 2022

Proven Tips to Take the Best DIY Real Estate Photos

3 min read

There are many different ways to DIY when it comes to taking real estate listing pictures. Some people prefer to use their smartphones, while others prefer to use a DSLR camera. Regardless of what type of camera you choose, there are certain things that you should keep in mind when taking real estate listing photos.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

Before Your Photoshoot

It's essential to clean a room before you take its pictures for virtual staging. Remove every item from the space that you don't want to see in the virtually staged picture. Clean the floors, walls, windows, and other surfaces in the room.

With cleaning comes removing clutter. Remove all knick-knacks, pictures, and décor. Virtual staging works best if the rooms are vacant. Preparing a room for virtual staging is a great time to sell or donate unwanted items.

Create a game plan before shooting the photos. Tour the property and decide which views and angles would compliment each room. While you are touring, create a list of the prominent features of the house and determine the best way to capture those in the listing photos. Virtual staging can be done on multiple views of one room, so don't be scared to take pictures at different angles to capture a room's features fully.

A room prepared for virtual staging

During Your Photoshoot

The best advice for DIY listing photos that you want to virtual staging is: do not take pictures from any place where furniture could be placed. It's best to stand in the opposite corner of the room to take photos, maximizing the amount of room in the image. You can also take pictures from the entryway if it gives an overall view of the room. When in doubt, take at least three photos of every room: head-on, corner of the room, and a creative angle. These three photos will give your virtual staging partner a selection to choose from, and they can pick the best one to virtually stage.

Ensure all photos are taken at eye level. If they are taken too high, it makes the room appear smaller and is more challenging to stage. Avoid standing in front of mirrors or windows or any reflective surfaces that might show you in the photo.

Use natural light to your advantage. Turn on the interior lights to compliment the natural light. If the property doesn't have good natural light, discuss enhancing the image with your virtual staging partner.

For west-facing rooms, take pictures in the evening. Meanwhile, for east-facing rooms, take photos in the morning to maximize the amount of natural light. For north-facing rooms, take photos between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Lastly, for south-facing rooms, take pictures first thing in the morning or at dusk.

To avoid any blurriness in the photos, be sure to turn moving objects off - including fans.

Make sure to turn off the fan before taking a photo!

For windows with blinds, make sure that the blinds are angled at 45 degrees - you don't want to block the light, just the neighbors!

Do not cut off the fireplace in the picture. Instead, make the fireplace the focal point, balancing the space on its left and right.

When deciding on the height of the camera, each room type benefits from a different camera height. A general rule of thumb is that the photo should capture more floor than ceiling. Below are recommended heights, but each room might require adjustments to fully capture the key features:

  • When taking pictures of the kitchen, position the camera slightly above the counter (approximately 15-20").
  • When taking pictures of a bathroom, position the camera slightly above the counter (approximately 15-20"). However, make sure to stay below the mirror.
  • When taking pictures of the living room, position the camera between 36-48" above the floor.
  • When taking pictures of the bedroom, position the camera slightly above the bed or where the bed would be (approximately 15-20").

When taking pictures of a bedroom, show the wall against which the bed will be placed. The wall where the bed would go should be the focal point of the room. It's usually best to stand at the entryway of the bedroom to capture the best and overall view of the room.

If there's a great view of the outdoors from the room, include it in the picture. However, don't let harsh light overexpose the shot. Remember - we want to see the view, not the neighbors!

Camera Settings

Set the camera at a high ISO setting. This will allow you to capture more light, which will help avoid blurry images.  
Once you've captured all the images, be sure to save them as JPG files. These files are the best type to send to your virtual staging partner.

The higher the resolution of the photos, the better! Photorealistic furniture can look realistic on any image, but provide pictures with high resolution to your virtual staging partner for the best results.

For a complete overview on all things virtual staging, check out our "Ultimate Guide to Virtual Staging for 2022".

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