How to Take Photos for Virtual Staging
Updated June 15, 2021 12:00 AM By Matt Langan
You (and we) want your property’s virtually staged photos to look amazing! An important first step to accomplish this goal is to have high-quality photos taken of your listing. You or your real estate photographer can follow the checklist below to ensure that the photos of your listing will be perfectly suited for virtual staging.
Because our name is Stuccco (with three c’s), we had to categorize this checklist into three easy-to-remember components: Clean, Camera, Compose. Thank you to the extremely talented real estate photographers at Diamond Home Imaging for their expert contributions to this checklist.
Please enjoy the video presentation and the written checklist below.
Clean (the Room)
- Remove all items from the room that you don’t want to be included in your virtually staged photo
- Clean all surfaces (floors, windows, walls)
- Ensure all lightbulbs work and are of the same color temperature
- Turn off all fans
- For bathrooms, put the toilet lid down
- Use a DSLR camera with a professional quality wide angle lens (18-22mm)
- Do not use an extra-wide angle lens like a fisheye lens
- Save photos in a high-quality JPG format (at least 2,000 pixels wide)
- Do not use your camera’s zoom functionality
- Mount your camera on a tripod to stabilize the camera and to make sure photos are taken from a consistent height
- Use your camera’s HDR (high dynamic range) functionality, which will reduce over- and under-exposed photos
- Take photos from waist level - about 1/2 of the ceiling's height
- Shoot in horizontal landscape mode (do not tilt the camera up or down - you can use your camera’s leveler to be sure you’re shooting straight on)
- If the room faces east, take photos in the morning; if the room faces west, take photos in the evening
- If the room has a pleasant view and/or needs light, open and raise the blinds or pull back the curtains as you deem fit (this will vary depending on the room’s view and the amount of light it is receiving)
- Take photos from opposite corners, square with the room’s focal point or from the room’s entry
- Do not stand where furniture goes
- Avoid being seen in windows, mirrors, screens or any other reflective surface
- If there is a fireplace, do not cut the fireplace off
- For kitchens, take photos slightly above the counter
- For bathrooms, take photos slightly above the counter and below the mirror
- For bedrooms, photograph the wall where the bed’s headboard will go
Examples of photos that would not be ideal for virtual staging (and why):
This photo of a kitchen is a poor candidate for virtual staging largely because of the perspective the photo is taken from. By holding the camera up and tilting it down toward the floor, the photographer makes the room look small and distorted. The minimal floor space makes it difficult to virtually stage furniture as well.
This photo of a bedroom would be a poor candidate for virtual staging because it doesn't fully capture the wall where the bed's headboard would go and it shows minimal flooring, making it difficult to furnish.
This photo of a home's entry would be a poor candidate for virtual staging because of its low resolution and poor lighting.
This photo of a home's dining and living rooms is a poor candidate for virtual staging largely because it shows a part of two rooms rather than the focal point of a particular room. Ideally, this home would have one head-on photograph of where the dining room table and chairs would go and another head-on photograph of where the living room's seating area would go.
Examples of photos that are ideal for virtual staging (and their virtually staged designs):
This high-quality photograph has excellent lighting and captures the room's focal point (television) as well as the entire fireplace. This customer was thrilled with their virtually staged photograph, pictured below:
This high-quality photograph also has excellent lighting and captures the full wall where the bed's headboard would be placed. This virtually staged room turned out wonderfully:
This high-quality photograph of a luxury condominium also has excellent lighting (despite the challenges of having a lot of windows and blinds). It captures the open concept dining room and living room floors well, making it easy to visualize this space's furniture and decor. These clients were very happy with how this job turned out:
By following the tips contained in this article, you'll have beautiful photos that are perfectly eligible for virtual staging. Once you have your photos taken and handy, you're ready to place your virtual staging order!