How Not to Sell Your Home

Bad real estate photography

Browsing through some local MLS photos recently, I saw the usual mix. Some Realtors have great photos of their listings; either they hire a photographer, or they have strong photography skills themselves. Which is great.

Others, however…. Let’s just say I’d be glad to help them out. And they need the help. Let’s see a few examples. (I’ll omit any identifying info to protect the agent/photographer/home from further ridicule.)

First, we’ve got basic bad composition. Would you like to buy a weed-infested foundation?More common is the garage shot. Sure, the USA is a car-centered culture, but would you pay $630,000 for this garage?

Or $519,900 for this dark garage and dead lawn?Or even $425,900 for this garage and cracked driveway?I try to help agents and homeowners find ways to show a home in its best light. Sometimes that means special methods and creativity, from elevating the camera on a pole, to doing a helicopter shot to show a home’s unique location. I’ll do everything humanly possible to avoid using the garage doors as the featured shot of a home.

My MLS visit also turned up some decent photos with uninviting skies. Like this $695,000 home which clearly deserves better than a blown-out overcast sky. It’s a quick fix to show the home in a more appealing way:Real Estate photography: home with brilliant blue skyCompare those two, and consider which is more likely to draw the viewer’s (and buyer’s!) interest.

Finally, there are some agents/photographers who know just enough Photoshop to be dangerous. Subtle adjustment to a photo can greatly enhance it. Too much Photoshop can distract, or even ruin an image. In this image, are your eyes drawn to the charming home or the radioactive blue sky? Yeah, me too. I love doing dusk shots, but would never abuse a sky like this. It’s best to shoot things right the first time, but even here it’s possible to do a Photoshop fix that puts the emphasis back on the warmth of the home: Charming home in Olympia, WAIf you are an agent who wants to focus on marketing, not photography, or if you are a homeowner looking to get the best sale price, then consider hiring a professional photographer. Studies show that well-photographed homes get more hits online, more showings, and higher sales prices.

You can see some of my real estate images in this short video. To arrange a shoot or simply ask questions, you can reach me via email at or by phone at 360-259-1682.

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