Just like the photo on your business card gives a first impression of yourself, the photos of your listings give the first impression of your property for sale. Quality photos of houses for sale can make a world of difference in the amount of interest in a property and the amount of showings. Studies have shown that the more photos a property has on an on-line listing, the more clicks it receives. Of course, quality here counts a lot! You want viewers to keep clicking through your photos and to not get sidetracked by another, better-looking listing. Below are some basic photography tips for the do-it-yourselfer.

Focus, focus, focus! Most digital cameras will self focus. Just lightly press down the shutter button and you’ll most likely notice your camera doing half the work for you. Once your camera is focused, keep a steady hand and quickly capture the shot.

Try every angle. Sometimes the slightest difference in angle can make a big improvement in the overall shot. Move around the room and take a variety of shots from different angles to capture different features in the frame such as a grand foyer staircase, fireplace, swimming pool or landscape.

Lighting is your best friend. Try taking pictures with and without the flash. Try turning on more lights in the house. You’ll quickly see which way is going to look best so you can proceed with your photo shoot. Try opening draperies and be sure to come prepared with a few basic light bulbs to replace any burnt out bulbs in table or floor lamps. A picture always looks better if the lamps are actually lit.

The first photo of your real estate listing needs to be as fantastic as possible. This photo is typically an exterior shot of the home taken on the best possible day filled with sunshine. Remember to only show your home and crop out the neighbors’ houses on either side if needed. Spruce up the real estate photography yard, mow the lawn, put away the garden hose, toys and lawn ornaments, close the garage door, remove all cars and trash cans from the driveway and open all the blinds inside the house. Finally, try to take the photo from the opposite side of your driveway. This trick lessens the amount of unsightly driveway pavement in the photo. The photo above is a great sample of an exterior photo that draws people in to want to see more.

Next up are the interior photos. Not every room needs to be represented by a photo. For example, a small bathroom is probably not something you need to take a photo of unless it has amazing tile work or a designer look. The most important rooms to photograph include the kitchen, living and/or family rooms, dining areas and the master bedroom. Other possibly rooms to feature would include a home office, secondary bedrooms and possibly a luxurious master bath or a spacious master closet.

Other highlights to include would be a basement, especially if it’s partially or fully finished and of course any significant outdoor spaces such as courtyards, swimming pools, golf course views and professional landscaping. Extra photograph opportunities would include impressive community features such as gated entryways, ponds, fountains, walking trails and children’s play areas.

By following these tips it’s easy for anyone to capture a home’s best features including experienced Realtors or homeowners trying to sell for sale by owner. Remember, as with anything practice makes perfect. If your photos don’t turn out as expected, pick another day and try again. You’ll be amazed at the difference in quality of photography done on an overcast day as compared to a sunny day. For even more impact try a night-time exterior photograph of a home with beautiful exterior up-lighting or even a photo of a crackling fireplace on a snowy day. Putting a little extra effort into taking the best photographs possibly will ensure your listings stand out from the crowd.