How to Take Pictures of Your House to Sell

Amir Miri PREC*

09/21/23


Nestled between mountains and ocean, Vancouver, BC, Canada emerges as a haven of luxury where nature meets sophistication. The city's seamless blend of modernity and traditional charm, architectural detail, and extreme livability is never more apparent than amongst the luxurious houses that line the region's picturesque streets.

Vancouver offers a singularly unique lifestyle that stands apart not just from its sibling Canadian cities but from those across the North American continent. Lavish and embracing, historic and forward-facing—it's challenging to define what it means to own a home in this majestic locale.

For home sellers, there's no better way to convey the awe and wonder of owning a home in Vancouver than through the property photos they post to their home's online listing. To create an enticing visual narrative, you'll need to know how to take pictures of your house to sell in Vancouver's luxury real estate market.

Getting Started

Capturing your home's style and livability through photographs is an exciting venture. It is about telling a story through visuals that encapsulate your property's best qualities and convey to potential buyers the unparalleled lifestyle that awaits them. To get started, focus on a few basic tenets that your home is ready for its close-up.

The significance of appealing photographs

In Vancouver's highly competitive residential real estate market, your number one goal is to stand out, including online. Though your property copy provides the necessary context for your listing, whether you're selling a single-family home or one of the city's high-rise condo units, one picture can do the job of one thousand words.

You never know which image might grab someone's attention, but showing them the charm and allure of what you're selling will speak far louder than anything you try to tell them. Keep that in mind as you prepare your home ahead of any photography.

Prep your Vancouver residence

Your home must evoke a sense of welcome and express comfort and luxury. Ensure that it is pristine, decluttered, and staged perfectly. Highlight the natural textures and hues that resonate with the Vancouver lifestyle, bringing in elements that showcase a warm and inviting atmosphere. Several tips to ensure your home is at its best include:

Clean

Thoroughly clean the property, wall to wall, from floor to ceiling. Include countertops, windows, light fixtures, appliances, and furniture—anything that might feature prominently in a photo shoot, as pictures often reveal imperfections not always apparent to current owners.

Declutter

Declutter and depersonalize your property—eliminate bulky furniture, thin out stuffed shelves, clear unsightly messes, stow away family pictures and personal effects, and reduce the volume of items in closets and storage areas—to give potential buyers an empty canvas and the space to imagine themselves and their belongings within the home instead of yours.

Stage

While you should have your home professionally staged before listing it for sale, photo staging is all about minor details that give your imagery polish and organization. In other words, sweat the small stuff:

  • Reduce unnecessary clutter that hides elements of the home
  • Tidy up common spaces such as an office, game room, or finished basement
  • Make beds and pack away extra pillows or blankets
  • Replace all burnt-out or dimmed light bulbs
  • Leave only the most essential items exposed, such as a coffee maker on a kitchen counter or lamp and alarm clock on a nightstand, tasteful mantel displays, and only the most necessary of wall art or accessories

Emphasize natural light

In a city where nature is pivotal, utilizing natural light can be your greatest ally. Arrange your home to allow copious amounts of light to flow through the space.

The easiest approach is to limit window treatments as much as possible—trade heavy curtains for lighter materials (or none), remove screens or blinds where appropriate or replace them with versions that promote light but maintain privacy. In addition, rearrange furniture if it blocks windows and trade heavy, light-absorbing materials for those that let the sun's rays dance around a room.

Hire an expert photographer.

Hire a professional photographer to get the most from your property's photo session. You can engage any outstanding photographer for a nominal fee—from $250 to $500 for a straightforward photo session, up to $1,000 or more for more elaborate shoots or highly sought-after photographers. Your listing agent will have several recommendations in addition to any referrals you might receive.

Regardless of who you hire, you'll want to ensure they possess a few must-have skills and offer specific services necessary for your listing, including:

  • A lengthy list of satisfied clients and a portfolio are readily available for you to view.
  • Experience in shooting luxury residences. Not an absolute, but a photographer who understands the requirements and goals of an online listing will make the session considerably smoother.
  • Photographers that offer high-res imagery that you can utilize across different media, including your online listings, social media, or digital marketing purposes.
  • Packages that include touch-up and digital editing services.
If you can find a photographer specializing in virtual tours or video, even better, as those are a necessity. But ensure that the quality and professionalism are consistent across all mediums.

Photographing your Vancouver home

Even as you hire a professional, it's critical to recognize the shots and imagery necessary to attract the ideal buyer to your Vancouver listing.

The basics of buyer expectations

Many buyers, especially those in the market for luxury homes, expect a specific level of luxury and complete honesty in the home's marketing presentation. Your property photos need to accurately reflect the home a potential buyer will see in person and justify the asking price.

The photos of your listing don't need to be dramatic or feature close-ups of bespoke furniture or your collection of art pieces. They do want to see the following:

  • Depth and orientation of individual rooms, including ceiling height.
  • How furniture fits into specific spaces.
  • Notable architectural details (most importantly, houses with historical significance).
  • A property's overall aesthetics, including the size of windows, kitchen and dining room layouts, closet capacity, and any outdoor area or spectacular views.
Generally, online listings require approximately 25 photos to represent a property. For larger homes or those that feature an extravagant level of opulence, anywhere from 30 to 35 shots should be adequate to capture the essence of the property.

Don't over- or undershoot the property. Too few photos—15 or fewer—and buyers will bypass the property for those with more detail. They may also assume a seller is trying to hide imperfections or misrepresent the listing. Too many photos and buyers may not scroll through every image, potentially missing out on property strengths. Also, endless photos may indicate a listing trying to justify a too-high asking price.

The essential snapshots

Even with a general limit of 25 photos, ensure your photographer snaps as many pictures as possible (even if you have to write that into your contract). Options are good when attempting to represent your home at its absolute best.

Must have photos include:

  • Front and back exterior (for a condo, an exterior building shot)
  • Entry foyer
  • Kitchen (at least two good angles) and dining rooms
  • Living and family rooms
  • Primary bedroom and bathroom
  • Secondary bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Designated use or flex rooms such as home office, gym, playroom, home theater, or recreation room
  • Finished attic or basement; if unfinished, include a picture showing finish-out potential or significant storage space.
  • For condo properties, major building amenities should be part of your required list of photos.

Photos worth including

Prioritize these shots to ensure the home's most significant selling points feature in your primary set of photos. While not always necessary, lifestyle and neighborhood amenity pictures will further enhance your listing.

Amenity shots to feature:

  • Outdoor patio with built-in kitchen and sitting area
  • Pool or hot tub
  • Close-ups of unique architectural features
  • Close-ups of luxury features such as professional-grade appliances, soaking tubs, steam rooms, full-body showers
  • Notable upgrades such as solar panels, a finished-out garage with workshop, epoxy flooring, or a charging station for electric vehicle
  • Extraordinary views

Photos to avoid

Finally, it's worth mentioning photos to avoid. Of course, steer clear of anything that casts your property in a negative or awkward light—damage, distorted angles that misrepresent a room's size, messy or disorganized rooms, evidence of pets or pets roaming freely, and reflections in a mirror.

Also, be mindful of unsightly details sneaking into your listing images, poorly taken photos, or those that seem out of place with your photo set. Examples include:

  • Photos taken with a smartphone (cell phone pictures do not measure up to images captured with professional equipment and are primarily useful for targeted social media marketing)
  • Extreme close-ups of items unrelated to your listing
  • Toilet seats left up or open
  • Televisions left on
  • Exposed damage
  • Overstuffed closets, pantries, or storage rooms
  • Unkempt landscaping or exterior shots that show damage
Are you a seller ready to discover even more insights for listing your Vancouver luxury home for sale? Or, as a buyer, do you want to learn more about Vancouver and its outstanding neighborhoods and extraordinary luxury real estate? Contact Amir Miri today, whose experience, expertise, and commitment to his clients will assist you in navigating the high-end Vancouver real estate market.

*Header photo courtesy of Amir Miri Real Estate Corp.



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