Photographing your house

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A must-read guide to preparing attention-grabbing photos of your property, packed full of tips and tricks from the Housesimple photographers.

Introduction

With so many people searching for property online, the images on your listing are the new 'kerb appeal'. At Housesimple we know that professional, high-quality pictures are an important addition to your listing. That's why we include a visit from a photographer.

A recent study revealed that buyers viewing online property listings spend around 60% of their time looking at the photos and only 20% reading the property description. So, your images need to be attention-grabbing. Another study found that property adverts with great looking photographs sold 50% faster and 39% closer to the asking price than those without.

In this guide, we're also going to share some tricks of the trade our experts use to make your home look its best so if you chose to take your own photos they’ll look professional. We're also going to talk about how to get the most out of your Housesimple photographer's visit.

Preparing your rooms

Your photos will create the first impression of your home, so treat the photographer's visit like you would a viewing.

Tidy and depersonalise

Vacuum or mop the floors, polish furniture and do a general tidy up. Aim to make each room look as neutral as possible by decluttering. You want potential buyers to be able to imagine themselves living in your house. Put your ornaments, photographs and other personal items away. You can put them back once the photographer leaves, or keep them packed ready for your move.

Set the scene

Stage your rooms to add a bit of life to your snaps. The goal is to create a scene that people want to walk into. For example, a breakfast tray holding coffee cups, a french press and fresh fruit creates a homely feel to your bedroom photographs. Remember that when you're selling a house, you're also selling a lifestyle.

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Room-by-room checklist

We've put together a quick checklist to help you prepare every room for your photographs.

Kitchen

  • Put away small appliances and utensils to make work surfaces look bigger and tidier.
  • Stage the room by setting a loaf of bread or a bowl of fruit out on the counter.
  • Take magnets, drawings and shopping lists off the fridge door.

Living room

  • Hide any clutter like cables, children's toys, pet beds and air fresheners.
  • Turn off the TV and any other devices.
  • Add a vase of fresh flowers to the coffee table.

Bedrooms

  • Make the beds – plain white bedsheets look best in photographs.
  • Tidy away clothes, jewellery, makeup and other knick-knacks.
  • Put some fresh flowers on bedside tables.

Bathroom(s)

  • Make sure all surfaces are gleaming.
  • Hide medicines, toothbrushes and other toiletries.
  • Add a plant, some candles and white towels to make the room look fresh and inviting.

Spare room

  • Put a bed in the spare room, even if you use it as a study or for storage. An extra bedroom can add around 10% onto the value of your property and will attract more viewings.

Garden

  • Mow the lawn and tidy up the flower beds.
  • Put any toys or tools in the shed.
  • Stage your garden table with a bottle of wine and two glasses.

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Getting the lighting right

Good lighting is key to a good photograph, so follow these tips to get it spot on.

Natural vs artificial light

Natural light is less harsh than light from lamps, so keep your curtains open when possible. However, if your photography appointment takes place on a very sunny day you may need to switch on the lights, as bright light from the window can make the room look dark in the photographs.

You'll also need to switch some lights on if it's overcast outside or if your appointment takes place in the evening. Try not to use ceiling lamps, as their light can be harsh and unattractive. It's better to use table lamps for a warmer, cosier feel. The exception to this rule applies to homes with high ceilings. In this case, you should use the ceiling lamp alongside table lamps to show off the ceiling height and prevent the top of the photograph from looking gloomy.

Highlight your best features

You can use lamps like spotlights to highlight your favourite features. If you have a bay window, for example, make sure it's well lit. Fireplaces and alcoves are other attractive aspects you might want to show off. Place lit candles in the fireplace or on the mantlepiece to create a homely feel.

Specialist skills

Taking photos of houses requires a slightly different skill set from other types of photography. That's why Housesimple’s professional photographers have experience in real estate photography.

Our photographers have a few methods up their sleeves to really show off your property. For example, they’ll use wide angle lenses to get more of each room into the picture. The lens is slightly curved, like a fish-eye, so it picks up peripheral details to give people as much of a feel for the room in its entirety as possible.

Another favoured technique is positioning. You'll notice the photographer squeezing him or herself into corners to capture as much of the room's usable space as possible. The image should flow easily, so they won't stand behind any items of furniture that could obscure their view.

Skill is key, but even experts need good tools. Our photographers use high-quality cameras with high-quality lenses: the result is high-quality photographs. Tripods are also sometimes used to stabilise the camera and keep the pictures crisp.

Conclusion

Housesimple makes it easier to sell your house without paying expensive estate agency fees. We make sure your listing attracts attention by sending out a professional photographer to capture your home and make it look fantastic. All you need to do is prepare your home (as if for a viewing) and get the lighting right. Our photographer will take care of the rest. If you want to refresh or update the photographs on your listing later on, you can book a second visit for an additional fee.

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