The 4 Most Critical Things to Know About Photographing Your Home

When it comes time to get your home ready to list for sale, you’ll want your home to shine online so it will stand out from the crowd and attract the best home buyers. After all, the goal is to have home buyers fall in love with your home online so they make it a priority to see your home in person. Read on for our photography tips to get your home sold and if you’d like to learn more about the whole selling process, come to our free home selling class in Scottsdale on March 22nd

1. HDR Photography

Finding a quality company to do HDR photos isn’t easy and its not always cheap, but the photos are significantly better and worth every penny. Below you’ll find two photos that show you exactly how much impact HDR can make on any photo. Take note of the colors that pop through the room and the detail behind the glass doors and the color in the kitchen.

If you want to know more about HDR Photography, here is a recent post about stepping up your home photos with HDR Photography.

Photo Example: Non-HDR vs. HDR

2. Go Wide, Wide Angle that is

The standard DLSR camera has a viewing angle of 74 degrees due to the small sensor built into the camera. Full frame (read: expensive) cameras have about an 84 degree viewing angle. Add a wide angle lens to the full frame sensor and you’re looking at 114 degree viewing angle. The extra 30 degrees you get with a wide angle camera lens is enough to make or break the shot. Here are some sample photos.

Photo Example: Point and Shoot Camera (left), Standard Lens DSLR (center), Wide Angle Lens (right)

3. Shoot from the Hip, Literally

The single most eye opening technique I ever learned was to shoot from the hip. When you are looking through the camera’s viewfinder its hard to see the difference in the photo, but once you look at the photos side by side you can see how a few inches can make a big difference. By shooting a little lower the photo looks more natural and balanced. Oddly enough it looks like you took the photo from a normal height.

Photo Example: Shot from Eye Level (left) vs Shot from Hip (right)

4. Photograph Like You’re Giving the Buyer a Home Tour

Lets say a home buyer knocks on your door and they ask to see your home that is for sale. Would you say “sure, just put on this blind fold so i can take you to each room and reveal each room one at a time!” Typical photos do just that, they show the home one room at a time and in a rather random order.

What you want to do is walk the buyer through the home, one room, one hallway at a time. Let the home buyer get a feel for how the home is laid out. For a home buyer, knowing the kitchen flows out to the great room could be a huge selling point.  Some home buyers want to know when they bring groceries in from the car they will walk straight from the garage to the kitchen instead of having to walk to the other side of the house to put their groceries down.

Don’t try to guess at the angles, just take the photos one room at a time and don’t be afraid to include the hallway in the photo or a photo of the hallway that shows how the bedrooms are laid out.

Photo Example: Showing the Home’s Floor plan

If you’d like to learn more, then join us for our Home Selling Class on Thursday!

Author of this Post

If you have questions or comments just leave them below or get in touch.

Marcus Fleming
Serving East Valley, Cave Creek and Scottsdale
Homes Closed: 100+
  • Anita Davis

    As a buyer I actually don't like seeing the wide angle or fish-eyed lens pictures. It does not give a true sense of space or size of rooms and can be quite deceiving. Please encourage listing agents to stick with more realistic framing/coloring/angling in the pictures for their listings. I don't need nor do I want the magazine picture of a house. I want to know what it really looks like. My time, along with my realtor's time, is valuable and shouldn't end up being wasted due to exaggerated photos.

    • Marcus Fleming

      Hi Anita, Thank you for your comment and I completely agree that fish eye lens and photos that have been stitched together give a false feel for a room and the dimensions. I also find those photos to be frustrating. However, if done properly a wide angle (not a fish eye) lens will give you a more accurate feel for the room.

      For example, a fish eye lens can capture up to a 180 degree view of the room, however the wide angle lens only captures 114 degrees at its widest.

    • Jason

      If you're the listing agent, it's your job to get the house sold for the best price possible.  If a wide angle lens and better photography can spur more traffic through the house, great!  Are some buyers and buyer's agents going to occasionally feel misled by these photos, sure, but that's the business we're in – accept it.

  • Skeptical Buyer

    I agree with Anita.  There is too much distortion in many of the real estate photos you see nowadays.  With the wide-angle lenses (even with the pictures above), a buyer can't see much detail on the far end of the photo.  And a room typically looks huge – when you go to look at it in person, it is actually much smaller.  A lot of wasted time in showings could be saved if the pictures were more representative.  Real estate agents probably have a different viewpoint about this, but from a buyer's perspective, I find these photos really annoying.  Isn't there a lens that will capture a room in a more realistic fashion?

  • Skeptical Buyer

    PS – one more thing to add.  The photos that are on listing web sites like Redfin are typically pretty small.  So when you distort those photos with a very wide-angle lens, folks can't see the details of the room elements that are away from the photographer.

  • Artur Ciesielski

    Looks like you can't please everyone, short of taking many photos different ways. I like photos to be as natural as possible, but that is an almost impossible feat: photos are always going to mis represent the home, colors and light will never be the same. Even including three walls in a photo will give you a false sense of the space, but if you only take 2 walls that sense is false as well. 

    Yes to wide angle.
    No to fisheye.
    Yes to HDR
    No to phone photos.
    Yes to spending the money on good photos.

    Also if you take photos in RAW you don't have to have HDR in camera.