Taking Better MLS Photos from a Morris County Stager/Photographer

Home Stager with Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC

Taking Better MLS Photos from a Morris County Stager/Photographer


The following are tips and editing tricks on getting great MLS photos. What your eyes see and what shows up in a photo aren’t always the same – trust me!

 Indoor photos:


1. Yellow lampshades create an orange glow that isn’t attractive. Always take photos with and without the lights on. White lampshades usually work, but dark lampshades usually cast an unattractive and distracting color. This is the BEFORE PHOTO of a home I staged…




2. Always direct your photos at a focal point in the room: fireplace, bed, dining room, kitchen table, couch by windows - you want to combine showing off the size of the space and home's architectural features with something appealing by drawing your eye to an object of interest.

This is the “After” photo of the room above – 2 things to learn from this – the lamps are off (no orange glow) and the photo shows an object of interest while highlighting the windows and space of the room...



(I know many of you are thinking – of course this looks better, it was staged, taken during the day and the curtains are open). The “before” is used as a reference for what I wanted to do with the room, hence the curtains are shut and the consult was at night)


3. Hide wires with tape – you may not notice them with the naked eye, but you will in a photo.

4. You may think the best time to take MLS photos is on a bright, sunny day. Not always – if bright sunlight is coming through the windows it overwhelms the photo with white. Overcast days are better – you won’t get direct sunlight and you’ll see the windows, not just a big blob of white.  

5. Take photos of different angles of the room because you never know which will look best in a photo until you download it to your computer. 

6. Whenever possible get inside a closet (yes, your read that right) to get the widest angle of the room. Closets lend themselves to getting a few more feet for a larger view – trust me, it works!


Outdoor Photos:


1. If there are a lot of trees on the property, you might consider taking the photos on a partly cloudy day because you’ll get too much shadow. Also – it’s hard to edit, because if you bring up the contrast to brighten up colors or exposure, you highlight the shadows even more…



Without shadows….



2. You always want the sun behind you when taking outdoor MLS photos. If you shot into the sun, you’ll end up with a poor quality, bleached out photo.  


3. Whenever there are pavers, wet them down and it will bring out the color – I discovered this when I had to get a backyard photo and it had just rained. I went back the next day when the sun was out and the pavers didn’t look as good .



Both photos were cropped to illustrate the color...

4. If you do get a good photo and but want to make it a great photo use PicniK (a free photo editing program to edit. For detailed instructions visit my post: Taking a So-So Photo and Making it a Great Photo.


The next 2 photos are a “before” and “after” and you will see I straightened, cropped added contrast, and brightened the color all in Picnik….







Which photo do you think will look better on MLS?


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Elite Staging and Redesign - Kristine Ginsberg - 201 602 2562


Home Staging Morris County - Staged to Sell, Designed to Live!

You have 90 seconds to make a great first impression once your home goes on the market. Consult a Morris County professional home stager serving Union, Essex, Sussex Counties for that competitive edge so your home stands out from the competition, selling faster and for top dollar!  

Elite Staging and Redesign offers home staging services to North Jersey homeowners, real estate agents, banks, builders, and investors in preparing homes to stand out in today’s real estate market. For a consultation on vacant staging, lived in homes or interior redesign projects call Elite Staging and Redesign at 201-602-2562.

Morris County Home Staging Website: Elite Staging and Redesign

Morris County Staging: Portfolio

Email: Kris@elitestagingandredesign.com




Re-Blogged 7 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Mary Yonkers 09/18/2011 01:20 AM
  2. Colleen Sample, REALTOR, GRI, CDPE - Your Treasure Coast Real Estate Expert 09/18/2011 11:53 AM
  3. Cheryl Ritchie 09/18/2011 09:30 PM
  4. Dee Gilbert 09/19/2011 06:46 AM
  5. Mark Woodward 09/21/2011 02:05 PM
  6. Debbie Gartner 09/23/2011 01:04 AM
  7. EC, JF, Double R and Zoey the Cool Cat 11/06/2011 12:53 PM
  8. Mary Macy 11/06/2011 02:20 PM
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Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Great tips and illustrations. Thank you.

Sep 19, 2011 06:13 AM #94
Donna Breen

Excellent tips, thanks for sharing! Now my agents are heading out to re-take some pics.

Sep 19, 2011 06:20 AM #95
Amy Robinson
London Pierce Real Estate - Scottsdale, AZ
Realtor, Scottsdale Arizona Homes For Sale

OMG it is so important to take good pictures.  Makes such a HUGE difference.  You are AMAZING at what you do : )

Sep 19, 2011 06:31 AM #96
Jacqueline Drake CRS
Jacqueline Drake Realty - Saint David, AZ
Southeast Arizona land, farms & horse properties

Great tips for getting better pictures. I primarily sell land and it's easy to get good pictures since I primarily need to be concerned with the lighting and views. I also use a photo editing program when needed. Houses are more challenging than vacant land with great views. I have found there is a period of time in the late afternoon when you can take photos of a room without getting glare from the windows. The other plus is it also shows a portion of the views seen outside the room.

I see photos that are very poor quality frequently on the MLS and they don't attract buyers. As I have heard before you don't get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Jacqueline Drake CRS

Cochise County AZ

Sep 19, 2011 06:36 AM #97
Jim McCormack
Nashville Short Sale Specialist - Jim McCormack - Edge Advantage Realty, LLC - 615-784-EDGE (3343) - Murfreesboro, TN
Nashville Short Sale REALTOR - Stop Foreclosure

Good advice.

Sep 19, 2011 07:00 AM #98
Greg McCown
Century 21 1st American - Tucson, AZ

Fantastic tips Kristine.  A good course in photography should be mandatory for anyone even thinking about getting into real estate.

Sep 19, 2011 07:22 AM #99
Janice Ankrett
Janice Ankrett Home Staging - Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

Kristine, You give such good tips on photography. I couldn't agree more that MLS photos need to look appealing. You can certainly tell the ones that were taken by a regular camera in an agent's hands vs. a professional set.

Sep 19, 2011 07:39 AM #100

Good post, nicely illustrated to make your points.  Piknik is one of my favourite tools, as well as Snap and Picassa.  Nice job, Kristine.

Sep 19, 2011 09:00 AM #101
Ken Anderson
Apex Results Realty Inc., Brokerage - Burlington, ON
Broker in Burlington, Ontario

Good post, nicely illustrated to make your points.  Piknik is one of my favourite tools, as well as Snap and Picassa.  Nice job, Kristine.

Sep 19, 2011 09:04 AM #102
Keith Gilkey
Re/Max Chesapeake - Elkton, MD
410-920-7214, Re/Max Chesapeake

Kistine, Great tips! We have to work to get nice results and it can be fun.

Sep 19, 2011 09:40 AM #103
Kathleen Sheridan
WEICHERT, REALTORS ® - McCarthy Associates - Philadelphia, PA

Thanks for the valuable photo editing info. Our mls now allows 24 photos. Buyer's won't even look at properties that do not have nice photos as part of the on line listing. 

Sep 19, 2011 09:41 AM #104
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Valuable lessons.  We could all improve our photos.  I have book marked this one.  

Sep 19, 2011 01:20 PM #105
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker
iXL Real Estate-Wiregrasss\ - Enterprise, AL
email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846

GREAT post! I'll go read you other articles now.


Sep 19, 2011 03:54 PM #106
Bill Blankenship
Lisa Von Domek & Associates, LLC / Real Living Real Estate Group - Midlothian, TX

Great photos (and staging!) can make or break a home sale.  Excellent examples!

Sep 20, 2011 01:48 AM #107
Carrie Sampron
Home Smart Realty Group - Highlands Ranch, CO
ABR SFR & Kathy Sampron (303) 931-3629 Highlands R

Hey Kristine: Great tips! My sister and I just took a new listing this weekend and we're out to take photos yesterday. Kathy takes the pictures and I do the "prep" work, going around like a photographer's assistant moving things around (ie the kitchen table in this home), picking items up, clearing counters, swapping item locations, and on and on. We look over 80 photos to get a really good 20 or so for the MLS. It's so very important. Carrie

Sep 20, 2011 11:41 AM #108
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Excellent idea about the pavers. Some agents just don't get the idea that quality photos are now a requirment. Of course, these are the same agents that have 100's of blurry photos of their children growing up also! Great post.

Sep 21, 2011 07:54 AM #109
Barbara Altieri
Kinard Realty Group - RealtyQuest Team, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Kristine -- I just saw this post via Debbie G's reblog.  Bad MLS pics are SUCH a disservice to the seller. Your point about times of the day is valuable. A house could look so much different. I have gone back again and again to get my photos right.  After all, if the house doesn't look good, that buyer is not likely to click through and see the rest.  I take hundreds of photos for each listing and most times have to go back and perfect a few.  Your tips are great. Thanks.

Sep 23, 2011 01:16 AM #110
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

A re-blog from Eric brought me over here - thanks Eric.

And sure enough nice photography tips in the original post.

Nov 06, 2011 12:57 PM #111
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Great examples! I think that good stagers are worth their weight in gold.

Oct 05, 2012 03:35 PM #112
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Thank you so much for all the comments - I read them all and appreciate each and every one! Hope to see you on your blogs later today and this week! Kristine

Oct 06, 2012 02:25 AM #113
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