photography, Realtors

Preparing your home for real estate photography



There are a lot of pieces that go into selling a home.  One important piece is making sure it is visually pleasing to the prospective buyer.  Here is a video I recently came across from White Orchid, which is a home staging company, that has some great ideas:

In this video the home staging business owner John Matthews shares a lot of great information.  One thing he said that really stood out was:

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This quote really encompasses what every home seller wants to hear.  If you’ve already scheduled a real estate photographer to come photograph your home then that’s awesome!  Having high quality photography will really make a difference when selling your home.

However, making sure the home is staged correctly is another important factor since a professional photographed home that is not presented well will not provide the same results.

To really emphasize this point John says:

“Other than pricing it right, home staging and professional photography are the most important factors in selling real estate today.”.png

Here is an example of this in action:

Let’s pretend there are two houses on the same street, one is owned by the Jones family and the other is owned by the Sullivan family.  These homes are the same square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The Jones family is pretty neat, although they do have two young children and a little bit of clutter around the house.  The realtor they hired does their own photos so the images are slightly dark inside, the colors aren’t quite right, and they appear to have been done quickly.

The Sullivan family also has to children but their realtor encouraged them to hire a home staging company to prepare their home.  The staging company used a combination of the Sullivan’s furniture and some special pieces that they brought in.  The realtor then hired a professional photographer who created beautifully lit photos and even included a twilight photo to really showcase the home.

Now both of these homes are on the market which the same sale price.

Which one do you think is going to attract the most interest from potential buyers?  

Clearly the Sullivan home is going to sell faster and likely for more money.

Home staging tips for selling a home:

Of course the most ideal situation would be to hire a professional staging company but if that is not possible there are a lot of ideas of things you can do yourself.  Here are a few tips from professional home stager Tori Toth:

Tori made several suggestions including:

  1. Declutter
  2. Pack away items you don’t use regularly
  3. Clean up from top to bottom so it shines
  4. Take care of any small repair projects before listing your home
  5. Paint
  6. Rearrange some furniture to maximize your square footage
  7. Spruce up the front yard to give your home some more curb appeal

We have also put together a great property prep list that home owners can use to get their home ready for a photographer.  You can download this checklist here.Prep list

photography, Realtors

Twilight pictures give your listings an advantage over others!

Making sure you have the best marketing resources when listing a home is extremely important.  Getting the right photos can have a significant impact on how quickly a home sells and how much it sells for. Forbes Magazine said it best:


Now you may be thinking, what is the benefit of a twilight photo?  Let’s take a look at a couple photos for you to compare.  Of course, every home is different, but here is an example of a daytime photo:


and there here is the same photo that as a twilight:


These two photos really show that the daytime photo looks great, but the twilight photo has strong colors and beautiful lighting that really helps to stand out even more when you are competing against other homes in the same vicinity.

Most homes can really benefit from having a twilight photo in the mix to help people see how beautiful the home looks in the evening.  Lights glowing from inside, no sun shadows, and a stunning sunset create a visually appealing image to potential buyers.

For more examples check out this great video that shows several examples of day to dusk photos:


Unique Closing Gift Ideas

Most realtors offer a gift to their buyers or sellers when they close on a home with them. Giving away a bottle of wine or gift card to their favorite restaurant can get boring and not feel very personal.  Closing gifts are not only are a nice gesture but depending on the gift it can be a constant reminder of the agent so the home buyer or seller will think of you in the future when they buy or sell again.  Here is a list of some ideas I have gathered from agents that were interesting and creative.

  1. Custom print framed of their home – hire a real estate photographer to shoot their new home and then choose one of the nicest photos of the exterior (like a drone shot) and have this print framed.
  2. Monogrammed door mat – every time the owner walks into or out of their home they will think of you when they see this mat.
  3. DIY Gift Basket – this is a great gift for the first time home buyer.  Include some basic tools (screwdriver, hammer, etc) with a how to fix it book, and a gift card to Home Depot or Lowes (or any nearby home improvement store).
  4. Family photo shoot – what better way to recognize the importance of family in their new home then providing them with a gift certificate to get a family photo shoot done together.
  5. Picture frame with key inside – Find a small picture frame and put the key to their new home inside.  You can also add a piece of paper in the background with the closing date and address.
  6. Pizza Party – Moving day is always exhausting.  Find out when they are planning to be at their new house on moving day and surprise them with a pizza party or some other catering for everyone helping to move!
  7. Outdoor fire pit – When all of the moving has settled down what better way to relax than having an outdoor fire pit.
  8. Braided money tree – These trees represent luck which the new homeowner will likely appreciate.  And who doesn’t want a money tree?
  9. Massage gift certificate – Moving takes a toll on your body.  Provide the new home owners with a massage gift certificate to rejuvenate themselves once the moving process is over!
  10. Custom painting of their new home – What a great way to remember their new home than with a custom painting of it.  This is a long lasting picture they can take with them wherever they go.  This is especially nice for a first time home buyer.

Those are all of my closing gift ideas.  I have one other idea I came across that I really liked but isn’t a closing gift idea.  The day after Christmas when everything is on sale go and pick up some ornaments that look like houses.  Then next year visit all of the buyers that closed with you throughout the year and drop off an ornament with your name and number on the back of it.  That is a reminder forever of the closing with you and gives you a chance to reconnect with them.


Why do you need a real estate photographer?

Why do you need a professional real estate photographer?

It’s a good question, given that a real estate agent or a homeowner could save themselves a few hundred dollars by taking the photos themselves. It wasn’t too long ago that it was widely accepted to take the photos yourself with a phone, but if you have a house to sell now then you can no longer get away with doing the photography yourself.

What’s changed in recent years?

It basically comes down to the exposure that today’s buyers have had to high-quality photos online. They’re used to scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed and seeing great images and video, they look at their favorite Instagrammers and their YouTubers, and all they see are great photos and videos of food, kittens, people and houses.


In other words, buyers today are now much better educated on image quality than they used to be. So when they go to see what homes are currently for sale in their area they want to be impressed. They don’t bother clicking on the poorly presented home, or the bad photo, unless they are looking for a bargain. Instead, the buyers will quickly scroll through the images.

In fact, there’s an app called Doorsteps Swipe that works just like this, where homes are swiped right or left based on that main photo:

So when you put your home on the market today it’s so important that you make a really positive first impression. In fact, according to a study by Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, it takes less than 50 milliseconds to form a first impression, and that’s going to be largely dictated by the visual elements the viewer sees, not the written elements since they don’t have time to read that much in just a fraction of a second.

That first impression used to come from an actual visit to the home, but these days it’s the photos, the 3D tour where the buyer can move around the entire home, and the video tour.

Your photos have to look amazing, and it’s not just about hiring any professional photographer. For example, you wouldn’t want to hire a local wedding photographer, or a news journalist. There’s no guarantee at all that someone who specializes in one type of photography is going to excel at photographing real estate.

Instead, you want to look for a photographer that is a real estate photography specialist. They might cost a little more than an inexperienced photographer, but the benefits for you to have more buyers asking about your home will make it all worthwhile. 



Guest Blogger – Samantha Ward

Introducing a very special guest blogger today. Samantha Ward is a Kansas City real estate photographer based in Blue Springs, Missouri, on the southeast side of Kansas City.  She works with real estate agents, designers and builders throughout the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area. For those in the Kansas City area check out  Picture KC.

Everything you need to know to Market Real Estate on Instagram

Instagram has become one of the best social media platforms for market not only listings, but also for real estate brands.  Followers can be gained quickly and relatively easy if realtors use specific proven strategies.  Here is a basic introduction by best-selling author Jack Delosa to the etiquette behind building a brand that works:



Know your brand and target audience, and focus on that.  So if you’re a real estate agent in Kansas City, it’s important to keep it local with hashtags like #kansascityrealestate #leawood #leessummit #sellkc or your local brokerage group, and steer away from generic tags like #ranchhome #hgtv or #1970s. has put together an excellent list of some of the most effective hashtags for real estate, here are some of my personal favorites:

  1. #”Your Target Neighborhood” – Some of the best in KC include #Roanoke #Brookside #Crossroads #Waldo #ShoalCreek #Midtown #Longview #Briarcliff
  2. #Curb Appeal
  3. #JustListed
  4. #”Local+Style of Home You’re Listing” – #BlueSpringsMidcentury or #LeesSummitRanch
  5. #Dreamhome
  6. #MillionDollarListing
  7. #OldHouseCharm
  8. #Investment
  9. #HomeSweetHome
  10. #OpenHouse
  11. #HouseHunting
  12. #”Local School District” – #BlueValleySchoolDistrict or #BlueSpringsSouth
  13. #”A Great Nearby Amenity” – #LakeLotawana #LoosePark or #CountryClubPlaza
  14. #”Your Brokerage Name”
  15. #JustSold

But hashtags are not all Instagram is about…

As full time Instagrammer Sabina Trojanova states, many people struggle to get going on Instagram, not only due to its growing popularity, but also because the new algorithms mean posts are no longer in chronological order, which means there is more than meets the eye when it comes to getting noticed:

Though Trojanova is a Travelgrammer, she offers several tips that are useful for a real estate account.

  • Post quality visuals!!  Photography and video is the foundation of social media, so make post content that stands out
  • Use the Geotags, studies show geotags perform up to 79% better
  • Keep consistent.  Not only with your content, but post at regular times and days, so followers know when and what to expect from you
  • Partner with others.  Create mutually beneficial relationships with other Instagrammers who work in Kansas City real estate, whether it’s investments, design, or flipping.  When they tag or send people your way, their followers see you, and vice versa.
  • Switch to a business account.  Instagram Business offers analytics on how many views you get, when, from who, location and more
  • Build relationships.  Leave meaningful comments on others posts and reply to the comments you get.  It’s a social platform so it’s important to be social
  • Use Instagram Stories.  Not only will you get more recognition from your current followers, as your profile will show up at the top of their screen, but rumor has it the new algorithm favors account using Stories
  • Use Instagram Live.  One of the best tricks Sabina reveals is to save your Live video and post as a Story so you are almost guaranteed to be first on the feed.  Instagram Live is a particularly useful tool for realtors when it comes to walkthroughs and showing homes, so use it to your advantage and get your account noticed!

Now all these thing to keep track of just to get noticed may seem a little overwhelming, but fortunately… there’s an app for that!  Check out this list from CoSchedule on all the Apps available to make you social media posting easier.

Want more inspiration from some of the best real estate agent accounts on Instagram?

Here’s a list of 20 real estate accounts doing exceptionally well. They include:

Jellis Craig – Melbourne, Australia

The Agency – Beverly Hills, Los Angeles

Smash Properties – Chicago, Illinois

Pope Real Estate – Toronto, Canada

Samantha Ward Photography – Kansas City, MO – Ok, maybe not one of the top performing, but check it out!  🙂