Ralph James

Photography secrets: top pro-styling tips to give your home the edge.

“As soon as I saw the photo, I knew it was the one!” 

Such is the power of photography, and as a potential buyer’s first introduction to your home, it can make or break a sale.

Given how influential photos are, it’s surprising how many property listings have wonky, blurred or dark images – worse than many selfies! In fact, poor photography regularly crops up whenever we meet someone who’s having trouble selling.

When it comes to showing your home at its absolute best, professional photos are nothing less than essential to stand out from the crowd and capture the imagination of serious viewers. Nonetheless, even with a specialist photographer behind the camera, there’s plenty you can do to set the stage and help them take the perfect picture.

Start by getting the basics right with these five simple steps:
  • Clean the windows, polish surfaces and vacuum the floors
  • Clear away any paperwork and clutter
  • Look for stray cables from lamps, appliances and gadgets, and hide them away
  • Open blinds and curtains in each room
  • Make sure all ceiling lights and lamps have working bulbs with a soft (and the same) tone

Use our room-by-room guide of the tricks we’ve learnt from our successful marketing experience, and ensure our professional photographers capture your home at it’s very best.

Rousing reception rooms

Living rooms are not only the epicentre of life; they often capture the essence of a home through their character and design. Buyers regularly use the photos of living rooms to narrow down their viewing list, so the image you present plays a pivotal role in the amount of interest you get.

Before you do anything else, stand in the doorway to the room and look towards the window. Is anything blocking the view or hiding any features? Can you move something?

Then run through the following list.

  • Highlight fireplaces by clearing the sightline to them and accessorising with plants, pokers or a pile of logs.
  • Clear coffee tables of remote controls and paperwork. Replace with a well-placed book or magazine on stylish interiors, paired with a statement piece of glassware or ceramic.
  • Add a stylish throw or cushions to an undressed sofa or armchair, and change the angle of any furniture where the back is facing the camera.
  • Stack shelves neatly – books grouped in similar heights look great through the lens
  • Take a similar approach to sideboards: free of clutter but with a couple of well-chosen accessories.
  • Dining tables photograph best when they’re not pushed up against a wall. Keep the top mostly clear but with a centrepiece of one or two items: think candlesticks, fresh-cut flowers, eucalyptus stems, or a bowl of seasonal fruit.

Finally, straighten any mirrors or pictures hung on the walls. And if you’ve got a bare-looking corner, treat it to a plant on an elevated stand for more visible floor space. Tall lamps are a great way to add shape here, too.

Chef-tingling kitchens.

Kitchen photography is all about food preparation and practicality. To get the perfect look, copy the work of show-home stylists with an organised space where buyers can see themselves making morning coffee, or cooking up a storm.

  • Keep plenty of work surface visible for chopping and chores, with a light dusting of your grooviest gadgets.
  • Hide the washing up liquid, or decant it into a stylish dispenser.
  • Remove tea towels, oven gloves, dishcloths, sponges and the bin.
  • Put away branded food products, including tea bags and herbs. Keep out a few stylish containers in glass, ceramic or metal.
  • Stow all crockery, cutlery and cookware where it belongs.

For a final dash of pizazz, lay a gourmet cookbook next to some colourful seasonal veg: tomatoes and peppers in the summer; squashes and pumpkins for winter.

More than making it scrub up well, these simple staging tips will give your bathroom an irresistible radiance with a healthy dose of zen.

Boutique bedrooms.

When photographing bedrooms, the magic lies in presenting an unruffled haven with a softly contrasting mix of textiles.

  • The bed is the main event, so dress it in freshly-ironed style. Plump and stack your pillows (two rows look best in photos), then fold down the duvet in front of them. Now place a throw in a complementing colour across the bottom third of the bed. As well as serving instant hotel chic, this simple layering technique breaks up the expanse of duvet, which can overpower a photo.
  • Bare bedside tables can look a little forgotten, but accessorising is easy. Make a group of three from the following: book, lamp, small picture frame, vase, cute alarm clock, candle.
  • Make sure anything stored under the bed isn’t visible. 
  • Remove the laundry basket and hide anything hanging on doors.
  • Clear the tops of dressing tables and chests of drawers of excess products: leave out only the best-looking bottles.

With just a few minutes spent on these tiny little touches, you’ll show buyers a cosy, calm and collected place to hibernate at home and escape from the world.

Blissful bathrooms.

For shimmering bathroom photography, think sparkling spa-like sanctuary with gleaming taps and a few well-chosen accessories for thoughtful touches of luxury.

  • Hide toothpaste, toothbrushes and everyday products in a cupboard.
  • Swap the Carex bottle for a stylish soap dispenser from somewhere like Zara, John Lewis or Habitat.
  • Remove the bin, bathmat and any freestanding shelf racks or trolleys.
  • Pop a new loo roll on the holder, then move any spares out of sight.
  • Dress a naked bath with a teak or bamboo shelf styled with a natural body brush and an amber medicine bottle.
  • Towels and shower curtains don’t always photograph well. Take a quick snap on your phone to see how yours look: removing them could give your beautiful fittings and tiles a better chance to shine.

Fabulous fronts, backs and outsides.

The outside has never been more in! As well as the eternal importance of kerb appeal, outside space is still a post-pandemic priority among buyers – so let’s get your photos working.

Advise us when the sun usually hits your garden or balcony, and we’ll ensure Photographers are booked for when your outside spaces look their best. (And we can always return to take a picture of the front if it’s in shadow on our first visit.)

  • Clear the path, paint the front door and bring it to life with a blooming pot or hanging basket.
  • Wheel away bins for rubbish and recycling.
  • Trim unruly hedges and liberate windows from light-blocking climbers.
  • Hide any tools or toys in a shed or out of shot.
  • Cut the grass, remove weeds and jet wash patios or decking.
  • Present your garden as a room outdoors with cushions, seat covers and textiles for your furniture.
  • Jazz up an empty table with a jug of fruit-laced iced water and a few glasses.
  • For an instant blast of colour, buy a couple of pre-planted pots from the garden centre or add an eye-catching bunch of flowers in a vase.

Unlike the inside of your home, the outside changes with the season.

If you’ve taken a break from selling (or your home has been on the market for a while), we’ll retake your outdoor photography to reflect the time of year and keep our marketing fresh.

To get the best results from your styling efforts and photography, keep your home looking like your photos for viewings. You’ll help buyers to feel comfortably familiar while wandering around, and they’ll be delighted that everything is just as good, if not better, in person.

Don’t undersell your home with mediocre photography.

At Ralph James, we invest heavily in our Marketing, with a dedicated in-house duo working behind the scenes full time – plus an award-winning property photographer and videographer – ensuring your home is always seen at it’s very best.

Let us help you achieve the best price with perfect photos taken by our professionals. Call us on 01737 333 677 or email us at info@ralphjames.co.uk for a chat about your moving plans and how to make a dazzling first impression.

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