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How to take good property photos

Liezl Hesketh in Tips 

These days anyone can take photos, but not everyone knows how to take good property photos!  And as the world has turned into a very visual one with the increase of smartphones and social networking platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, taking a good picture becomes very important.


We are all familiar with the ‘first impressions count’ and ‘you have 6 seconds to make a good impression’ rules, however, we forget that the same rules count on Social Media platforms.  Luckily we can help.


Tips for good property photos

  • Tidy up:  There is nothing more off-putting than untidy rooms.  Put the kids’ toys away, move the toilet cleaner, straighten the towels etc.  Think ‘hotel room’.  Would you be happy with this room if it were a hotel room?  Problem is, sometimes we look past the clutter.  See point 2 for a solution.
  • Review and retake:  Take a picture of the room, then review it.  Is there anything you can see in the picture that doesn’t look perfect?  Does it look busy?  Move things out of the picture, straighten the curtains, smooth out the duvet, switch on the light.  Take the picture again.  Review.  Change.  Continue until it looks perfect!
  • Lighting:  Lighting is very important in photography.  Rule of thumb:  don’t take pictures into direct light.  This means it would be better if you took pictures at a time of day when there is softer light.  Also, switch on all the lights in the room before taking the picture – even during the day!  And where possible, take photos away from big windows towards the rest of the room.  But if you want to include the window in the photo, try not to take the photo when light is flooding in through the window – wait until a little later.
  • Composition:   Try and get as much of the room into the picture.  This generally means that the picture should be taken either from a corner of the room, or even from outside the room, through the door.  Sometimes it helps to take the picture from a little higher – almost looking down on the room.  But, avoid using wide angle lenses that distort the picture – nobody is interested in rooms that look wonky!
  • Edit:  Many smartphones, as well as some online tools, are available to edit your picture.  You can add a filter, soften the light, auto-correct, crop and much more.  Find an option that enhances your photo.
  • Keep it real:  You need your photos to be a true reflection of what is on offer.  Don’t include things in the photos that won’t be available to them.  Don’t add a photo of the swimming pool or braai areas if they aren’t available to your renters.  If the room is offered unfurnished, do include basic furnishings in your photo, as empty rooms don’t sell rooms well, but ensure that in your narrative you mention that it is offered unfurnished.
  • Pets and people:  keep pets and people out the pictures.  It merely distracts the viewer.

Tips for photographing specific rooms




  • Always make the bed.  Plain white bedding or simple patterns work best.
  • Remove clutter
  • Switch on bedside lamps and lights
  • Straighten the duvet.
  • Fluff up and straighten the pillows
  • Straighten carpets and mats
  • Straighten any pictures / photos on the wall
  • Take a picture from various corners and angles and pick the best ones.  Remember, you’re selling the room so take and load more than one photo, showing bed, storage, desk, etc.



  • Put the toilet seat down!
  • Straighten the towels & bath mats and ensure they all match
  • Remove clutter, especially detergents, toilet brushes etc.
  • Switch on the light
  • Take the picture from the corner of the kitchen or from outside the door looking into the kitchen
  • If it is very small kitchen, stand on a chair or ladder and take the picture from above




  • Remove clutter – you can put it back after the photos have been taken.
  • Counter tops should be clear – this gives a sense of space.
  • Switch on all the lights, including under-counter or extractor fan lights.
  • Include major appliances in photos where possible.
  • Take the picture from the corner of the room.
  • If it is very small room, stand on a chair or ladder and take the picture from above.
  • If the photo looks too clinical, add some touches:  pot on the stove, wine glasses and a bottle of wine, a plant etc.



Living/dining areas

  • Remove clutter
  • Switch on all lights and lamps
  • Straighten cushions and pictures on the wall
  • Switch the TV off.
  • Avoid stark, clean tables.  Set the dining room table simply, or at least place a bowl of fruit or flowers or even a couple of glasses and wine/juice on the dining table, if possible.
  • Straighten carpets.

Examples of more bad photos can also be found here:

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