A picture truly is worth a thousand words. Everyone loves before and after photos. That’s why so many magazines and TV shows use them in home decor and personal makeover stories.
If you’re not careful with how you shoot and present your photos, you’ll be sabotaging your business efforts considerably.
It takes time to set up a great photo.
I attended many professional photo shoots during my years in advertising. Typically, there would be a photographer with expensive equipment, the stylist who paid close attention to every detail, the lighting guys armed with more equipment than you or I will ever bring to a staging shoot, and sometimes a creative director on top of that. This team could spend an entire day shooting one or two rooms!
So, is it realistic to think that you can walk into a room, take two seconds and shoot a single great photo, without planning and without moving a thing?
Expect that you’ll take at least 10 shots each of the before and after of any given room and then have to go through them to select the best.
Know that you’ll never achieve what you see in magazine photos because you’re not armed with the same experience, equipment, time or team.
But you can still get great results if you take your time and you really pay attention to the details in the photo.
A common pitfall is shooting into the light of a window, making everything else in the shot too dark, as shown in this bedroom I staged. By re-shooting the room vertically, I captured the important details while avoiding the issues caused by the light coming in from the window.
Another common mistake is including images in a home staging portfolio that demonstrate getting rid of clutter more than decorating to sell.
I shot the before and after pair below as part of one of my staging projects. These photos never made it into my portfolio because they don’t demonstrate a compelling reason for a client to hire me for my skills or creative eye.
Yes I got rid of clutter, and arranged furniture and art for this corner of a home office, but it’s still a pretty boring transformation.
If your phone isn’t ringing often enough with new business, it could be that your home staging portfolio is scaring away potential customers.
What is it costing you NOT to fix that problem?
I share the 20 worst home staging photo mistakes and how to avoid them in the Staging Diva Ultimate Portfolio Guide along with tips for getting great testimonials and media coverage.
I was a photostylist doing sets, props and wardrobe for 23 years before I transitioned into staging, so I know exactly what you are talking about. Take lots of photos, lots of angles, and position things appropriately for the camera angle. Another suggestion if you must shoot into a window: use a tripod, take the same shot at various exposures, and then Photoshop the window from an underexposed shot into a room shot that is overexposed so they match. I realize that not everyone is equipped to do this but it works really well.
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva says
Thanks Jaime for those suggestions. I agree not everyone is equipped with Photoshop, but I strongly urge all stagers to invest in some time of photo editing software. You’ll be amazed at the improvements that can be made from fixing dark lighting, straightening a crooked shot, sharpening something that’s slightly out of focus and even combining parts from various images as Jaime explained.
I discuss this more in the Staging Diva Ultimate Portfolio Guide.
Assuming some are not aware, realtors should take advantage of recruiting an ethical photo editing service not only because they may not have editing skills or want to save time, but to utilize them somewhat as a consultant to prevent confusing “staging” with “deceiving”.