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How to Teach Your Clients to Photograph Their Own Homes

Apr 28, 2020 by Tara Mastroeni

In this age of social distancing, many real estate agents have found themselves getting creative with the way they market their listings. Usually, part of the process involves teaching your clients how to photograph their own home so that you can get photos to market the listing. If you're in the same boat, use the tips below to give your sellers a mini-lesson on real estate photography.

Declutter the home beforehand

Believe it or not, half the battle of great real estate photography will take place before your client even picks up a camera. To that end, it's a good idea to ask them to do their best to clean and declutter the home before getting started.

While it may be a sensitive topic, you should also coach your sellers through making the home more neutral. For example, ask them to pack away family photos and items of religious significance. The goal, in this case, is to help the home appeal to as many potential buyers as possible.

Let in the (natural) light

After your sellers are done decluttering and making the home more neutral, the next step is to pick the right day to take the photos. Having plenty of natural light to work with is the key to great real estate photography, so you'll want to have your client choose a sunny day where there's hardly a cloud in the sky.

Once that day arrives, have your sellers draw any curtains and at least partially open up the blinds. Unfortunately, using artificial lighting like lamps or overhead lights has a tendency to skew the coloring of the photos, so it's best to just let natural light fill the room.

Use a landscape orientation

As your client prepares to take photos, they'll want to take a moment to make sure they're holding the camera in landscape orientation. Landscape photos are wider than they are tall, which means that your sellers should be holding the phone horizontally in their hands when they take the photos.

Put simply, using this type of camera orientation will allow your sellers to set up a wider frame for the shot. A greater portion of the space will appear in each photo, and the shots will feel more natural-looking overall.

Shoot in the order you enter the home

At its core, real estate photography is a form of visual storytelling. Your goal when putting the photos online is to help potential buyers feel as though they are taking a tour of the home. With that in mind, you'll want to be sure to have your sellers take photos in a purposeful order so that you'll know you have the shots you need to put the tour together.

That said, it's a good idea to ask your sellers to take the photos in the order in which they enter the home. Unconsciously or not, doing so will help the sellers take photos as though they, themselves, are on a tour of the home.

Play around with different angles

Lastly, ask your sellers to play around with different angles while shooting each room. There are a few different philosophies when it comes to taking real estate photos. For example, some say that you should take the shot from the spot that will give you the widest view of the room. Others recommend keeping any natural light at a 90-degree angle from the center of the camera lens.

However, while you can explain these schools of thought to your client, it's in your best interest to make sure that you have a few different photos to choose from for each room. To that end, ask the seller to play around with a few different angles for each photo. In this case, the more photos you have to pick from, the better.

The bottom line

Having your sellers photograph their own home before you can market their listing may not be ideal, but it can be done. Use the tips above to help guide your clients through the process of taking listing photos. Armed with these suggestions, and a little bit of luck, you'll end up with photos that show the home in its best light.

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