Realtors, how many photos do you take of each room before posting to MLS?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team

I ask this question because today, after staging a very spacious home in Daniel Island, SC, I was clicking away taking my after photos when I realized I was going to have to get creative.  The photos just weren't what I wanted....


This was a vacant home and frankly these photos are seriously lack luster.  They would NEVER go into my portfolio.  What bothers me is that these are exactly the kinds of photos I routinely see in MLS.  If you were taking photos for MLS, would you stop here?  Would this be enough for MLS?  I mean, we show the crown molding, the floors, the fireplace, the sunny windows with transoms... clearly from the first photo it is also a large space.  Are you done?

Here's why I ask....



As I already said, this wouldn't make it into my portfolio.  If it's not good enough for my portfolio then I won't provide these photos to my agents for MLS and their marketing.  It simply doesn't make a connection for buyers. If it's impossible for me to get a good photo, then clearly I haven't done my job to the level I demand of myself. 

For those of you who secretly thought that they would keep the first two photos for MLS... come on, don't pretend it's not you... you know who you are.... you would completely have missed the photos above.  What a disservice it would have been to your clients.


First Impressions Home Staging & Interior ReDesign is a nationally award winning company owned and operated in Summerville, SC a suburb of Charleston, SC.  We provide high quality staging for both occupied and vacant homes in the greater surrounding areas and beyond!  For more information please visit,  If you are interested in learning about making Home Staging your profession, please visit, for more information.

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 Author Bio: Melissa Marro, Home Staging Industry leader, Realtor, and entrepreneur offers a unique perspective on New Home Construction, Resale Residential Real Estate, and Home Staging

For more information on buying or selling in the Fleming Island, Orange Park, or Jacksonville, area, visit or call Melissa Marro (marro.melissa at, Keller Williams First Coast Realty, for more information (904-466-2093).



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Andrea Swiedler
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Hi Melissa, well, honestly, with my brandy new camera, I took about... 300 photos of a house, and had so much fun looking through to decide which to use. I was all over the rooms, from every angle. I had way to much fun. I had a good little point and shoot before, but now that I have this wonderful camera, a Pentax K200d, it makes all the difference in the world for photos of listings.

There is an amazing difference in the photos by the way. I would hope that I never use the first 2!

Mar 21, 2009 01:13 PM #1
Ralph Post
Post Real Estate Group - Suntree, FL

I see so many listing with just one photo of front of the home in our MLS. With digital cameras, it seems strange for some not to take the extra pics.

Mar 21, 2009 01:56 PM #2
Evelyn Black
Comey & Shepherd, Cincinnati, OH - Cincinnati, OH

Right, particularly with the digital cameras we probably all have now, there's absolutely no reason not to take a TON of pictures, from every possible angle.  However, there's a certain artistic or design eye or ability that a lot of folks just don't have.  That's why a professional photographer (or stager) can take so much better pictures, and that's probably why we realtors "settle" with the pictures we're able to take.

Even though I may take 10 or 20 of one room, from each corner and each side; I know sometimes they still look flat and lack anything to write home about - that's the ability that your pictures above have captured that show such a difference -- maybe a professional, more expensive camera and lens would help. . . but not necessarily - probably it's that artistic talent - we all need to develop it more!


Mar 22, 2009 05:22 AM #3
The Rains Team
Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners - Hoschton, GA
A higher standard in real estate

Hey Melissa: Excellent staging photos! Having a stager definitely makes a difference!

Have a great day,

Anne Rains

Mar 22, 2009 01:17 PM #4
Anne Bourne
StagingWorks - Toronto, ON

Hi Melissa,

Your second set of photographs are magazine worthy.  Photograph-taking is not my forte.  I think it's a wonderful extra that you offer mls worthy photographs for your clients.  What camera do you use, did you take courses on photography?  Your photos look as good as any professional photographers I've seen on MLS.

Thanks for the excellent blog, any tips on cameras etc. would be greatly appreciated.


Mar 23, 2009 10:01 AM #5
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

Andrea - never lose that enthusiasm even when you know everything there is to know about your camera!

Post Real Estate Group - it's frustrating, isn't it?  I know it makes me crazy.  It just says to buyers that it's not worth the time to even look inside!

Evelyn - the camera is a cheap one... I'll say which one in a moment.  I've never taken a photography class.  It's all trial and error.  If that's too much though, hire a photographer (or a stager who also takes good after photos) for your MLS listings!

Anne Rains - Thanks!

Anne Bourne - Ok, I'm going to spill the beans on my camera.  It's cheap (relatively speaking).  It's a Coolpix P50 with a wide angle lens.  I think it cost around $150 online.  I take a bizzilion photos and use on the best.  After I get decent shots, I work on them in Picassa.  Picassa is free and easy to use.. my favorite features of Picassa - glow and sharpen.

Mar 23, 2009 12:53 PM #6
Joanne O'Donnell
Chic Home Interiors - Oakland, CA

Melissa, great job on the later photos.  I thake hundreds of every job and still sometimes miss since my old eyes don't see that little (and mine is actually quite large for a viewer) screen well enough to always know if I have succeeded! 

Mar 23, 2009 04:21 PM #7
Andrew Mayon
Triad Real Estate Photography - Greensboro, NC


You know you are one of my faves...and as a professional photographer I make it my business to enlighten REALTORS on the importance and IMPACT great photographs can have for a listing.  That being said, the local MLS only allows for 9 photographs to be shown (that will change to 16 at the end of this month...they are finally seeing the light of day) here, so quantity may be a problem in some areas.  Also, too many photos is overkill.  Someone should be able to see about 15-20 images in order to make a decision that the home is worthy or not for a viewing.

As for photography, it take A LOT more than just a fancy camera.  Great equipment not a great photographer make any more so than great golf clubs make a great golfer.  It takes practice, a keen sense of capturing a scene and conveying it to a client. 

Personally I have had a bit of a learning curve making a recent jump into the digital world.  Here are some common problems most photos have:

1) Steve' Schwatrz's infamous "Nuclear Summer windows"

2) Poor vertical lines

3) Over distortion by using too wide of a lens

4) Bad whites

5) Bad composition (toilet lids...etc)

6) Bad lighting, making for dark rooms

7) Tilted photos

I could go on, but that is the jist of it.

Of course, if you are unhappy with your photos, or find it difficult to photograph certain homes...hire a professional!  =)


Mar 24, 2009 07:54 AM #8
Ashley Whittenberger
Ashley Whittenberger Fine Art - Austin, TX

I love your photos! Though I'm a decent photog, and have a nice camera, I am VERY bad about taking good pics for my portfolio, and unless an agent specifically asks that we take photos for their marketing purposes, I don't spend much time doing that. (I know, shame on me, and I can't believe I just posted my most embarassing "slacker" fact as a business woman on Active Rain for all to see.) I have on my long list of things to do... make an effort to take REALLY awesome portfolio pics.  I'm sure, as Kym Hough would say, we could add this as a revenue stream and provide great photos for our Realtor clients... opportunity, opportunity, opportunity!

Anyway, you've inspired me to take time to do a better job of taking great photos before rushing out the door!

Mar 25, 2009 02:22 PM #9

standing by iron railingThis is a informative post of value to realtors.

I spent Sunday morning going over the MLS photos for my area and was shocked at some of the photos used which clearly did not bring out best of their listing.

I wonder how many homeowners ever go to the realtor's website and check the photos that are posted?  There must be a lot who just leave it in the realtor's hands, 'cuz the photos suck.

I sent emails to a few realtors with comments on the photos for some of their listings.  There was no wow - one was a photo of a sun room with an incredible view of the ocean and the photo was clogged with cardboard boxes.  The rest of the photos followed that line.

I don't get it?????  They are losing a major audience by posting such poor shots on MLS.


Mar 26, 2009 05:22 AM #10
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Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging
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