How to Stage and Photograph Your Own Home

Learning how to stage your home goes hand in hand with photographing your own home.

When I first walked into this house I swooned over the view of the infinity pool over looking the lake and was very tempted to settle down on the couch with a latte and enjoy it, but that wouldn’t have been very professional!   It was one of those houses that when you walk in, you take a deep breath and sigh because you feel so relaxed!  It’s possible that I lost track of time because the details kept pulling me in!

Not only was this couple incredibly kind and hospitable but they did a perfect job at staging their home for photographs.  So perfect in fact, I want to share some tips with you to stage and photograph your home!  Whether your photographing for a blog or to sell these are a must read!

  1.  Clear off counters and surfaces and take down family photos!  Nobody likes clutter, including potential buyers.  Removing your family photos lets other families more easily envision their family in the space.  It’ll feel more like their home and less like a strangers.
  2. Open up all the doors, windows, shades and blinds.  You want as much natural light coming in as possible.
  3. Photograph at a time of day where the lighting is the brightest in the area you want to photograph.
  4. Photograph from a slightly lower angel to make the room appear larger.
  5. Use a tripod!  I almost had a tripod malfunction but the owners graciously came to my rescue!  You have to use such a low shutter speed that you need to eliminate as much camera shake as possible.  It’s something that you just can’t compromise on! It’s especially important when using a point and shoot!  Which if you are, skip right to number 8!
  6. If using a DSLR, use Manual. Now is the time to learn!  In darker spaces, auto=higher ISO which is what makes pictures so grainy!
  7. Use the right camera and lens.  I used a Canon 17-40 on a Canon 5d Markiii for this house.  You need a camera that can handle a higher ISO and a wide angle lens that gives you the angles you want without warping the lines.  My 60D would not have done as nearly as good of a job just because it can’t handle an ISO over 1000 very well.
  8. Don’t forget the details!  After you take a picture of the whole room, focus on the details, like the stunning windows and fireplace you see below!

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1956 Thunderbird

I have always loved cars.  I think my love for them started when my dad used to bring home “Big Red” from work.  It was a work truck that he often used and boy did we have fun riding around town in it!  Saturdays were dump days and we’d always head to Larry’s House of Cakes for donuts and orange juice on the way.  The simple pleasure of small town life.  Dump and Donuts.

When I sat down with Matt Dallas of Life on the Lakes, he asked me what my favorite thing to photograph was.  I can’t tell you what a hard time I had answering.  It’s possible he thought I was crazy.  I love photography and, yes, over the past few years I’ve come to discover that I enjoy photographing more things than others.  But I still couldn’t give a straight answer!

Then he asked me, do you like cars?  I think I lit up brighter than the sun.  Uh, yes, I love cars!  It didn’t take long to decide what it would be that I would photograph for the publication.

The thing that I love most, about everything, are the details.  It’s the details that you put so much time and money into.  The details come together to make one spectacular presentation whether it’s a car, wedding or house.  The details are what I love focusing on.  No pun intended! (Okay, maybe it was).

This is a 1956 Thunderbird that had one previous owner and the details are spectacular!  Chrome that sparkles, paint that shines and interior that looks and feels just like a 1956 Thunderbird should.  The car is so beautiful and the owners were some of the sweetest people I’ve met!

I can’t wait to show you more cars in the weeks and months to come!