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How to Take Appealing Listing Photos

When it comes to taking photos of your space for rent, remember: you’re not taking photos for a high-end design magazine or posting a vacation rental listing. Your home does not need to look perfect and unlived-in.


HomeShare Online is about sharing a real home with a real person, and all you need are some good photos that give a sense of the space and how you live in it. If you have a camera or smartphone, you have everything you need. Any pictures are better than no pictures!


In this article:


10 tips for more appealing listing photos

  1. Take way more photos than you will need. This doesn’t mean you have to include dozens of photos in your listing—it’s just nice to have a wide selection so you don’t have to re-shoot if some of them don’t turn out great.
  2. Wherever there’s a counter, remove about half of what’s usually on it. You can put it back when you’re done taking photos.
  3. Shut closet, pantry and cabinet doors unless you’re intentionally taking a photo of what’s inside.
  4. No dirty dishes in the sink, but it’s okay to have clean ones on a drying rack.
  5. An open toilet in a photo just feels creepy to most people. Close the lid!
  6. Turn off the TV. It’s distracting, and the light coming from the screen can throw off the other lighting in the room.
  7. Watch out for reflections of yourself and others in mirrored surfaces. These “ghosts” have a way of sneaking into photos, sometimes hilariously. There are also safety and privacy reasons to avoid mirror photos.
  8. Take out the trash. We don’t always notice trash in small wastebaskets, but it becomes more obvious in a photo.
  9. Gather up your pet toys and toss them in a neat container.
  10. Look out for wall marks and dinged-up corners in high-traffic areas. These can often be whisked away with damp cloth or Magic Eraser, and it makes a huge difference!


What/how much to tidy for listing photos

Start in the future renter’s bedroom. You want potential renters to be able to see themselves and their things in your space, so you may want to remove personal photos, knickknacks and hobby items you normally display around the room. The furniture can stay, even if you’re offering the space unfurnished. (If there’s a lot of it, see if you can temporarily relocate some of the smaller pieces.) Dust the ceiling fan blades, windowsills, light fixtures and baseboards. It’s amazing how much these often-overlooked areas affect the overall feeling of cleanliness and tidiness in a room.


Next, give the renter’s bathroom a light cleaning and tidy the counters. Remove personal grooming items and set aside for photo purposes. Put out your best towels, close the toilet and pull the shower curtain back. Finally, tidy the common areas of the home and any outdoor spaces you plan to include in your photos. Again, it doesn’t need to look unlived-in—just tidy enough to be welcoming.


Let there be light!

Turn on the overhead lights and lamps in each room, then open the window coverings. Softer daylight is better than strong direct sunlight, so you may find that the room looks best with the blinds or shades closed and the curtains open.


Take a few practice photos. Do you see any dark corners or harsh shadows? If so, bring in another lamp or two, or move what you have around to achieve more balanced light. In the same way, try a few shots with and without the camera flash. You may find your space looks better without it. If you are using a smartphone camera, you may be able to tap on different areas of the screen to adjust the image brightness in various ways. Experiment and see what shows your rooms in their best light (pun not intended).


Choosing the right angles

Shooting at an angle always looks better than directly facing a wall or piece of furniture. Angles provide a sense of depth, which helps any room look bigger and more interesting.


As for photo orientation, we recommend using landscape mode for a horizontal photo. If you prefer vertical, that’s fine too, but be consistent in all your photos.


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