DIY Architectural Photography for Home Sale

How To: diy architectural photography, diy home photography, how to take photos of your home and sell it, how to take pictures of a small space to sell it.

I'm not going to lie and say I'm a professional photographer, by any means. But in my cleaning efforts, preparing the condo for the realtor to come, I decided to see if I could get some decent photos of our condo. I know some realtors and/or sellers hire architectural photographers, but we can't afford to spend the money if we don't need to. From what I've seen while looking through the listings online, not all realtors or sellers use particularly good photos of their homes- I know when I look at bad pictures or bad staging, I am less apt to go see the home. ESPECIALLY when the price of the home doesn't coincide with the pictures. If I see a great deal, then I will usually go check it out. Otherwise, I'll probably move on to another home.

Funny story... when we were looking at homes before, we went to see a home that didn't look great in the photos, but we were thinking it might be easy to fix up and the price was right. Aside from the mold in the basement, I think the dead animals stuffed all over the home, including one hanging from a doorknob, pretty much killed any chance that we'd buy that home. I love meat and I have no real issues with hunting, but it was just a bit too much for me to accidentally grab onto Mr. Fox while trying to get into one of the other rooms. It had a certain "creepy" factor. "Live things died here" is not the message you want to send while selling your home. Just sayin'. It does make us chuckle a little, looking back on it.

I found a few different tutorials on taking pictures of the inside of your home:

Here's some tips that I found useful or guidelines that I followed:

  • There were some items that I won't "declutter" but needed to be out of the picture. I had my husband move them as I took photos so they didn't end up in the pictures. I missed a few, but for the most part I managed to get them out of the photos. Example: The bread that was on our counter. Our bread box was stuffed already so the bread needed to go somewhere. We just shifted it for the photo. 
  • You're staging your home for these photos... if you don't clean, it'll show. I should've done this, but also you may want to iron your linens. My OCD is kicking in, looking at the dining area photos where my table cloth is wrinkled. AHHHH! 
  • Taking pictures of small spaces through the window... that's how I got the good pictures of the nursery. If I take it through the door, I couldn't get as wide of a picture of the room and it looked smaller, even though the room isn't particularly small. Plus, I got to show the hallway in my photo when I took it from the window.
  • One thing I didn't do, but thought about was taking a picture of a small space via a mirror. I saw a really cool picture where they did that, but I didn't have a big enough mirror and I wasn't sure where to do it. 
  • If there are mirrors in your photo, make sure you're not in them. I just stood at an angle with the camera on a tripod, ducked down and managed to miss being in the photo. You have to play with it a bit. 
  • Don't use your flash. It's ugly. Get as much natural light into your home as possible. Open the blinds and curtains. Make sure there's nothing ugly outside your window as it might show up in the picture. If you get a lot of light in your home from outside, then you may want to photograph on a slightly overcast day. Too much light isn't good either. 
  • Figure out your camera... I have a Sony Cybershot 14.1 Mega Pixels. It's not particularly awesome, but it lets you make some manual adjustments. I chose "M" for manually setting the shutter speed and aperture value. I don't really understand it much, but I chose between 4-8 and F3.5. I think one site recommended setting the camera at an "8," but I would often take photos on a couple different settings. It's digital- you can delete them if you don't like them! 
  • Take your photo from chest level. You can try different levels, but that was the recommendation.
  • Use a tripod... I love mine. Otherwise you get blurry photos. 
  • Make sure you're showing off the features of your home that convey, not necessarily the pretty stuff you've decorated with. For example, I took out the bath mat in the bathroom for the photo because it was covering up my beautiful tiles.
  • One of the sites recommended only photographing as a landscape (longer left to right), not a portrait.
  • Take a LOT of photos... this is how I get good photos. If I take enough, and adjust when they aren't coming out well, then I eventually get a couple good ones.


Master Bedroom
My first attempts were taking the photos towards the natural light.
This didn't work well for coming out with a good photo, even as I tried
blocking the light with the curtains.
Here I stood with the natural light behind me (the curtains were wide
open). Much better photo.
My messy sewing area... probably should've decluttered better, but I did manage to take the photo in a way that didn't fully capture the mess on the shelf. What you don't see is all of my patterns stuffed haphazardly into a basket.

Master Bathroom

I liked the portrait version of these photos best because it captures the whole bathroom better. I couldn't get a good enough angle otherwise to get it all, not get myself in the photo, but still do landscape. This landscape photo is good, but it doesn't show the beautiful tile floors as well.
Nursery
This photo was taken before I manually set my camera. Same lighting from outside and I'm in the same position. I took these photos through the window, by the way. I took of the screen and opened the windows.



Hall

Accidentally got my cupcakes in the photo in the background, but it
wasn't enough of an eye sore to retake the photo Who doesn't love cupcakes? 
Another photo that needed to be in portrait to really get a good view.
Even so, I wish I was able to angle differently to get the whole closet.
It's one of my favorite renovations. 
Living Room


Dining Room
I turned the lamp off in these photos because the natural light was sufficient, as well
 as the light overheard. The lamp was causing the photo to get too bright. 
Wrinkles... killing me! Arrrgg...
Gotta give some love to this table... it's an Amish made table that we got off Craigslist. I love this rugged beast. It's got great storage in the seats too. Awesome for small spaces. There's some companies that sell a similar table, but from the reviews I've read they sound like they're much more cheaply made. 
Kitchen



I hope this is helpful to someone... heck, I hope these are good enough that my realtor uses them. Daddy B was looking a bit harassed by the time I finished some of them yesterday. I got the rest of the photos today while he was at work. 

Update: Looks like we have to make some changes, plus our realtor has a photographer on staff who has a much better camera so these photos probably won't get used. I know not all realtors do have photographers though so I'll leave this blog post up in hopes that it helps someone else!

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DIY Danielle: DIY Architectural Photography for Home Sale
DIY Architectural Photography for Home Sale
How To: diy architectural photography, diy home photography, how to take photos of your home and sell it, how to take pictures of a small space to sell it.
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DIY Danielle
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