Learning how to take awesome real estate photos is critical if you will be taking them yourself.

Perhaps the most important marketing item when selling your house is the real estate photography.

After all, the photos are the first impression people will have of your house when researching homes being sold online in the MLS or any of the real estate portals such as Zillow, Realtor.com or Homes.com.

If you think you can still get your home sold with mediocre photographs, then you should seriously reconsider your point of view. After all, why would you risk having people pass over your house to go see your competition and leave you wondering why isn’t my house selling?

When you list your house for sale, it needs to look its best both in person and online. This is the “Magic Formula” I talk about that almost guarantees your house will successfully sell when followed.

So pay attention to the items in this guide, it’s presented in a checklist format for you to easily implement each and every item. If followed correctly, you are going to learn how to take real estate photos that will get your house sold!


picture of a photographer preparing to take photos

Prepare Your Home For Taking The Photographs


Before you take your real estate photographs, a little preparation of your home before you sell, will go a long way. Keep in mind that your home is in a competition with all the other houses that are listed for sale. When you find a buyer and sell your house before the other houses, you win the competition.

But in order to find a buyer, you need them to come and see your house.

So preparing your house for the photos will help ensure your home looks its best when your houses photos are published online for everyone to see.

Next I have outlined what you need to do to prepare your house for your photo shoot.

Exterior of your home

Usually the exterior photos of your house are the first pictures displayed on your listing. If people see something they don’t like with the exterior, they might not even keep clicking through to see the interior shots. Here are the must do items for you to focus on.

picture of exterior of home looking good

  • Freshly mow the grass
  • Trim all bushes and shrubs
  • Remove any children’s toys, sports equipment or other items laying around
  • Remove any lawn furniture that looks worn or distracting
  • Remove all weeds from driveway, walkways and landscaped areas
  • Put down a fresh layer of mulch
  • Put cars into garage and shut garage doors
  • Do not put up or remove for sale sign (MLS rules prohibit for sale signs in photos)
  • Hide your garbage and recycling bins
  • Ensure all windows are shut


Common items for all interior rooms

Some preparation items apply to every room in the house including living rooms, dining rooms, etc. There are certain items that you need to do that probably have not thought about before taking photos of your home.

picture of exterior of home looking good

Go room by room and ensure these items are taken care of.

  • Remove unnecessary furniture (less is more)
  • Open all the shades, blinds and curtains
  • Turn off ceiling fans
  • Remove personal or family photographs
  • Make sure people or pets are not in the rooms
  • Turn all lights on and ensure bulbs are the same type
  • Tidy up the room and remove daily clutter
  • Make sure televisions are turned off
  • Be sure to remove any moving boxes you started packing up


Prepare the kitchen for photos

picture of kitchen looking good

They say that kitchens sell homes. Making sure your kitchen’s photos looks like one that people can see themselves getting ready for family meals and doing holiday baking in is so important.

Here are the items you need to do before photographing your kitchen.

  • Clear off all the countertops (toasters, napkin holders, canisters, etc)
  • Clear the sink (dishes, soap, sponges)
  • Remove everything from front of refrigerator
  • Remove any trash or recycling cans
  • Remove any pet food and water bowls


Prepare the bathrooms for photos

Second to only kitchens, your homes bathroom is something people are going to want to checkout. Highlighting it in photographs can make or break a buyers interest in coming to see your home in person.

picture of bathroom looking good

Take care of these items and it will make a huge difference.

  • Clear off all the countertops (soap, toiletries, etc)
  • Remove everything from inside the bath/shower
  • Pull back the shower/bath curtain
  • Remove any toilet plungers or bowl brushes
  • Put down toilet seat
  • Remove all bath mats


Prepare the bedrooms for photos

The last part of your home to pay particular attention to getting ready for photographs is the bedrooms. A little attention to the details can go a long way.

picture of bedroom looking good

Below are some high impact items for you to quickly knock out.

  • Make your bed
  • Remove unnecessary items hanging on walls
  • Clear off the tops of dressers/nightstands and make sure drawers are shut
  • Put away any loose clothing items and remove dirty cloths hampers
  • Remove any shoes from the floor
  • Remove 50% of items in walk-in closets
  • Close closet doors


picture of photographer deciding which photos to take

Which Photographs To Take Of Your Home

Every house listed on the MLS should have a minimum of one photograph, it’s actually a rule that real estate agents need to follow or risk having the listing removed from the MLS.

But that doesn’t mean you should only submit one photo. Depending on your MLS you can submit 20, 30 and sometimes even 40 photos.

picture of backyard with pool

So make sure you MAXIMIZE this marketing opportunity and be sure to take all of these photographs below.

  • Exterior front of your home (MLS requires this to be 1st photo)
  • Exterior back of your home
  • Exterior view into your homes backyard
  • Close up of exterior front entrance/porch
  • Each room of the house from at least 2 angles
  • Any common community areas or neighborhood features


picture of something

Tips and Techniques For How To Take Awesome Real Estate Photos


So after all that preparation, you are ready to take those awesome pictures of your home.

However, you don’t want to have all that preparation be for nothing. Taking great photos is both an art and a science.

Don’t be surprised if it takes you multiple attempts to capture the perfect shots.

After all, professional photographers are masters of their craft and it takes them a long time to become skilled photographers. You can eliminate a lot of the learning curve by paying attention to the following tips and techniques to photographing a house.

picture of perfect real estate pictures

  • Use a good camera – no cell phone pics
  • Use a wide angled lens
  • Don’t use a fisheye lens
  • Use a tripod to take photos from chest level
  • Use as much natural light as you can
  • Take photos from every corner of the room
  • Do not take photos from straight on (use angles)
  • Try to show more of room and floor and less ceiling
  • Whenever possible use horizontal orientation, don’t use vertical orientation
  • Watch out for mirrors, keep yourself out of them



picture of woman thinking

Final Thoughts About Real Estate Photos


I hope you have found this guide useful and will implement everything described in it.

However, I do want to point out that a savvy home seller should consider hiring a professional photographer to take the photos of your home.

Depending on your budget, it is a really good bang for your buck item that has tremendous value. For only a couple hundred dollars, they will photograph your home perfectly and even run it through photo editing software to correct lighting, coloring and even blemishes. Take a look at PlanOmatic, they provide real estate photos in a lot of states.

Or you can simply try a google search to find a real estate photographer in your city + state.

picture of a google search for a real estate photographer

However, if you are a true DIY type of person and you want to take on the challenge, then go for it and take the real estate photographs yourself and get your house sold!

Additionally, if your home will be vacant when it hits the market, you should consider staging with rental furniture before taking the photos or even virtual staging after you take the photos to properly market it. These can add to your costs but can actually help you sell for more money.

Further Reading: Real estate photography is one of the most important pieces of marketing a home for sale today. Read these articles for more information about taking real estate photographs and videos.

Do you have any tips or tricks to share about taking great real estate photographs? Or what about the value in hiring a professional real estate photographer, is it worth it? Drop a comment below and let us know.


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