The National Association of Realtors conducted some research that solidifies what we already know: most people shop for homes online first. If the listing doesn’t appeal to their sense of style and budget in that initial online tour, they won’t bother seeing it in person – which is when you’re hoping they will fall in love with the place, right? Too little, too late. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Make sure you’re telling buyers the right things, with listing photos that bring buyers in and set you up for a successful sale.

Stage Your Home

Stage your space before you start snapping listing photos. It’s best to do this early on, as it can take time and will be important for showings. Declutter and ensure furniture is in good condition, properly scaled, and arranged in a visually pleasing way. This will result in a space looks large and well organized – both great selling features to home hunters.

Great Photos Start With a Good Camera

Set your cell phone aside for this job, and get your hands on a five-megapixel digital point-and-shoot camera which is a great choice for the convenience and ease of use it offers. If you’d like to invest a little more money for higher-quality photos and more settings, consider a DSLR camera.

Light It Up!

Proper lighting is key to achieving a space that looks open and airy. Schedule photo shoots during daylight hours. Throw open those curtains and blinds, and let the sun shine in. Turn on all the lights in the room when photographing it. Avoid using the camera’s built-in flash, which can create unsightly shadows and dark corners.

Pay Attention to Angles and Composition

Maximize the space by shooting your photos from the doorway or a corner of the room, and consider what will be framed in the shot. Pay special attention to the view through windows and what’s being reflected in mirrors. Avoid capturing the large backs of sofas and chairs in your photos.

Be Honest About Your Home

Using a wide-angle lens can mislead buyers into thinking that the home is bigger than it appears. This strategy may lure home hunters in, but it won’t make a sale. You’ll only be wasting their time, and your own. Ensure the photos are a realistic representation of your home.

Great listing photos are the first step to bringing buyers in for a closer look. Your real estate agent may recommend a real estate photographer as part of the services they offer. Ask about this, and regardless if you’re doing it yourself or going with a pro, keep these five photo tips in mind!