Advice from a real estate photographer

Posted by on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 at 3:49pm

Hi there! My name is Dana Branham, and I’m guest-blogging for Tara today. (You might notice that we have the same last name -- full disclosure: I’m her daughter and her summer intern.)

I started doing real estate photography in 2012, so I’ve been at this for a while, picking up new equipment and new techniques along the way. And though I still have a lot to learn, I wanted to share some advice on making sure that your home photographs well.

If your home is vacant, it’ll be pretty easy to shoot. I’ll go inside, turn on all the lights, open the blinds, and spend between half an hour and an hour shooting all the rooms from all the angles, and I’ll head out.

If your home isn’t vacant while it’s on the market, photos can be a little tougher but much more interesting. Before you have a real estate photographer come in, here are a few tips to make sure your home photographs as beautifully as possible:

1. Light.

Get rid of heavy window coverings (curtains, as a rule, don’t photograph well) and open the blinds. Before your photographer comes over, check all the overhead lights and make sure the bulbs work. If they’re out, or if the bulbs are mismatched, replace them. Nothing makes a room look weirder than two cool blue-tinted lights and two warm yellow-tinted lights. In my experience, homes photograph best when there’s a blend of natural light and artificial light. The best time to photograph homes is generally midday, when the sun is above the house (i.e., not shining in the windows and making odd shadows).

2. Clean.

Shiny surfaces should be spotless. Before your photographer arrives, wipe down kitchen counters, and make sure any stainless steel appliances aren’t spotty or streaky -- dirty counters and appliances can be very distracting. Floors should swept or vacuumed. Bathroom counters and surfaces have to be cleaned as well. The tidier you can get your house, the better it’ll photograph.

3. Stage.

Even the most spacious homes can make you feel claustrophobic when they’re filled with too much stuff. It can be tough, but make sure you keep home decorations to a minimum. Take down family photos and put away kids’ toys. Strive for a look that’s inviting but neutral.

Dana Branham is a lifestyle and real estate photographer who works in the Bryan-College Station area and studies journalism at the University of Oklahoma. When she heads to a real estate shoot, she makes sure her camera bag is stocked with her Canon 70D, 10-24 mm wide angle lens, her speedlite, her trusty tripod and plenty of extra batteries and memory cards.

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