Home Staging Photography

By
Home Stager with Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA

The right lens, even more that the camera, can make a big difference in how your photos look.

This post was inspired by a post made by Kathy Nielsen, Georgia Interior Solutions a few days ago Home Staging Up Close and Personal. Her photos are always exceptional, in part due to her fabulous camera equipment (but mostly because she is such a talented stager).

I use a Nikon D40 with a 18-55 mm lens that came as part of a package. I have been really happy with the quality of home staging portfolio photos I am able to take with this set up. That is, until I saw the photos Kathy was able to take with her equipment. I have major photographic equipment envy. There is a cure, but it is very, very expensive:0))

So, I decided to do an experiment: I photographed a home I staged in Encino, CA with my usual camera and lens. Home Staging in Encino CA - What $4.5 Million Will Get You is the post if you would like to see more photos. The next day, I rented a Nikon 14-24 mm F2.8 lens (the cheapest I have seen this lens on-line is about $1,500!) from a local professional camera shop here in Pasadena. It cost me $35/day for the rental, and I used my D40 camera body.

The first photo is with my old lens (and yes, I have dropped this lens- and camera - a number of times, so this test might not be 100% accurate)

Encino home staging living room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the photo with the 14-24 mm lens (below)

Encino home staging living room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first photo looks pretty good until you see the second photo. In my mind, it is no contest. Neither photo was Photoshopped except to add the watermark. In the second photo, every part of the room is in sharp focus and the lighting is perfet without any Photoshop enhancements. The first photo was taken with a tripod, the second photo was taken without a tripod. Every photo I took with the rented lens (no tripod) was in focus and well lit with good color balance. Same camera body, different lenses.

I am by no means a real estate photography expert, just a home stager trying to get the best home staging photos I can to make my portfolio look as good as possible.

You can bet that my Christmas Wish List this year will include this wonderful lens. That means I am going to have to be a very good girl for the rest of the year!

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Moving Mountains Design Home Staging offers a superior level of home staging for homes throughout the Los Angeles area, including Sherman Oaks, Encino, Toluca Lake, Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, San Marino, Arcadia, South Pasadena and Altadena. Contact us today at (626)441-8975 to learn how Moving Mountains Design can help you sell your home faster and for a better price. Or visit our Pasadena Home Staging web site to see examples of the homes we have helped go from 'for sale' to 'sold'  www.MovingMountainsDesign.com Copyright 2008 . All rights reserved.

 

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Los Angeles Real Estate Staging

2015 RESA Professional Stager of the Year

2014 RESA Top 10 Professional Home Stager2010 RESA Professional Stager of the Year

Michelle has staged hundreds of Los Angeles homes, many of which have sold with multiple offers, above listing price.

She works with home sellers, listing agent, builders, flippers and asset managers to prepare homes for sale throughout Los Angeles and North Orange County.

Moving Mountains Design provides vacant home staging, color consultations, corporate and executive relocations,  and interior design. We also stage model homes, REOs, foreclosures and auction properties for real estate investors and asset managers. Builders hire us to stage their models or to help move inventory when sales slow down.

For more information about our Los Angeles home staging services, contact Michelle at (626)385-8852 or by email.

Click here to see our Los Angeles home staging portfolio

Click here to go to our Los Angeles home staging blog

Click here for more information about home staging in Los Angeles and how we can help sell your home faster and for the best price

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Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Kathy: You are absolutely right. The better our pictures, the better our chances of getting a job. Someone may be a great stager, but if they don't have the pictures to back up their claims, then they are going to have a tough time convincing anyone that they can deliver on their promise.

Before I lay out that kind of money, I thought it would be wise to try the lens out and see if it was worth it.

Mike: Thanks for stopping by and commenting. When you see both photos full size, or printed out (for portfolio purposes), the second one (the one with the wider lens) is a clear winner. It is sharper throughout the photo. The first photo is sharp in the foreground and then the focus falls off in the b.g. The photos were taken at the same time of day, 6 days apart. I live and work in Los Angeles, the Film Capitol, so having good quality photos are important if I want to be taken seriously.

I'll let you know if I get my Christmas wish:o))

Aug 08, 2008 01:43 AM #11
Rainer
123,477
Michael Cole
CPG Tours - Orange, CA

Hi Michelle,

Some info I found indicated that the 14-24mm is intended more for the full-body cameras, and that the 12-24mm might be a better choice...and a lot less costly. Have you considered that lens? If not, it might at least be worth checking out.

Here's one article I found. http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/14-24mm.htm

Aug 08, 2008 02:24 AM #12
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Michael: Thank you for pointing this information out. I refer to the Ken Rockwell site often for camera and photography info. I understand that the lens is intended for full-body cameras, but I was hoping to find a D80 under the Christmas tree as well:o)) I can dream, can't I?

On my next staging project that justifies it (big beautiful house) I will rent a D80 and the wide angle lens and compare it to my D40 with the 18-55mm lens.

By the way, I really like your virtual tours. Very impressive.

Aug 08, 2008 03:38 AM #13
Rainer
35,105
Lisa Roy
SPACELiFT HOME STAGING, Greater Vancouver - Vancouver, BC

Thanks for the tip on renting camera's.  If I have a particular job I really think would benefit that, it would be well worth the time and energy to get the photos done with a better camera.  Nnice staging photo by the way  :-)

Aug 08, 2008 04:11 AM #14
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Thanks, Lisa. Renting good camera equipment is a good way to test it out before purchasing. Most larger cities, or cities with a university with a photography department will usually have a well stocked professional photography store that also rents equipment.

Aug 08, 2008 04:45 AM #15
Rainer
123,477
Michael Cole
CPG Tours - Orange, CA

Hi Michelle,

You're welcome. But boy, I'm sure glad you're not on my shopping list for Christmas!  (lol-lol)

 

Thank you for the compliment on the tours. I appreciate that.

: )

Aug 08, 2008 04:47 AM #16
Rainmaker
192,153
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta

I love both photos but the 2nd one is sharper....hard to believe you didn't have to edit it. Hey the staging is amazing too!!!  I love the idea about renting....I would have never thought of that.  Thanks for sharing your pic's with us.  :)

Aug 08, 2008 05:12 AM #17
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Michael: My husband will tell you I'm worth it. He is a smart man and happily married:o))

Thanks for stopping by Janice. Glad you like the pics. Renting photographic equipment isn't cheap, but it is relatively inexpensive, and if it helps you get the perfect shot for your portfolio, then it is a good investment.

Aug 08, 2008 05:24 AM #18
Rainer
123,477
Michael Cole
CPG Tours - Orange, CA

(ha-ha) Then tell your husband that all your friends at AR agree, and think you should get both the new lens and a new D80.

: )

 

Aug 08, 2008 12:35 PM #19
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Oh trust me Michael, its already on his list. But I'll pass along your encouragement.

Aug 08, 2008 12:41 PM #20
Rainer
14,267
Jessica Cox
Perfectly Polished Home - Dallas, TX
Dallas Home Staging

Yeah, I want a wide angle lens too!

Aug 09, 2008 04:35 PM #21
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Jessica: Get in line, Girlfriend!

Aug 09, 2008 04:45 PM #22
Rainmaker
212,384
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

So, look how much time Kathy saved you by sharing.  The AR way, sharing as you have now saves me time too.  THANKS for the info, looking for that camera right now.

Aug 10, 2008 09:35 AM #23
Rainer
251,734
Kathy Riggle
STAGING SMART N SOLD - Houston, TX
Houston Home Staging

Thanks so much, Michelle.  Never knew that renting the equipment was an option.  I need to get much better at my photos, but I am so impatient that I cannot imagine taking as many shots as you! Your phots are wonderful!  :)

Aug 10, 2008 09:48 AM #24
Rainmaker
261,986
Lynn Afton
Greenridge Realty Oakmont - Big Rapids, MI
REALTOR® Near Big Rapids, MI, Mecosta County

Michelle, great job on the photos, and thank you for showing us a clear example of the differences with a wider angle lens.  It's huge!

Aug 10, 2008 09:56 AM #25
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Terrylynn: I am happy to share with you. I highly recommend Nikon cameras. It is what a lot of pros use. I suggest you get the best camera & lens you can afford so that you don't risk outgrowing it.

Kathy: My photos sell my ability to do my job. The better my photos, the easier it is to get the job. Taking digital photos is free - no film or processing - until you chose the best few to print out. There is no reason not to take 10 or 20 shots of each room with slight adjustments so that you get the best shot.

Lynn: Its not just that the lens is wider angle. It is also better quality, which is why it is more expensive. But, wider is better in many case for RE shots.

Aug 10, 2008 02:59 PM #26
Rainer
17,576
Debbie Wheeler
Real Estate Staging/Rooms Rearranged, LLC - Chandler, AZ
Chandler, AZ Rooms Rearranged RESA, IRIS

Michelle - I am always in photo envy.  This is the biggest struggle of my staging career.  I just posted a blog about taking good photos.  I did try picasa.com and will soon post my most recent shots using this software.  I still feel everything looks washed out and not crisp.  I love to hear and see what everyone is doing on AR - it is a big help.  Your photos are great and I like #2.

Aug 10, 2008 04:54 PM #27
Rainmaker
123,035
Marie Westerman
Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate/ Wilson Parker Homes - Evans, GA
New Homes Sales Specialist Evans GA REALTOR

Very impressive difference!!

Aug 14, 2008 04:23 AM #28
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Debbie: I always helps to have good equipment. Most camera stores offer digital photography classes, sometimes for free. Taking a class might give you more confidence.

Marie: Thank you for commenting.

Aug 14, 2008 04:32 AM #29
Anonymous
Kim

When it comes to using wide angle lenses on home photography I am of the opinion that the lens should be no wider than 28mm . Using the extreme wide angle lens distorts the room too much. And while the photo might look great, the reality is that the the room looks nothing like the picture. So as a photographer while I love the wide angle lens, as a potential buyer I am greatly disappointed when I visit homes where the pictures were taken with wide angle lenses with lenses smaller than 28mm.   

Mar 24, 2009 01:01 PM #30
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Rainmaker
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Michelle Minch

Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA
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