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How to Take the Perfect Photos for Virtual Staging

All home buyers want to be able to visualize themselves living in a new home. However, it can be challenging for potential buyers to imagine their future home if they are looking at an empty...

All home buyers want to be able to visualize themselves living in a new home. However, it can be challenging for potential buyers to imagine their future home if they are looking at an empty space. Luckily, there is a solution that is fast, easy, and cost-effective - virtual staging.

Before: Empty Room Before: Empty Room

After: Virtual Staging by PhotoUp After: Virtual Staging by PhotoUp

Virtual staging involves digital designers creating realistic furniture, decor, and accent pieces that are then integrated into images of empty rooms. The best part is that virtual staging is often faster and more affordable than physically staging a home. It can greatly enhance the appeal of a property and help potential buyers visualize themselves living in the space.

1. Take top-quality photos

Virtual staging furniture is meticulously designed to resemble real furniture and decor found in a home. To ensure that the virtual furniture looks realistic, it is crucial to take high-resolution real estate photos. Using a DSLR camera and shooting in RAW file format will give your virtual staging editors the best chance to make your images look as authentic as possible.

2. Use a camera with high dynamic range (HDR)

Real estate photography often involves a wide range of lighting conditions, making it necessary to use a DSLR camera with an auto exposure bracketing feature. This allows you to capture multiple photos of the same subject at different exposures. By blending these bracketed images together using photo-editing software, you can create a single HDR image that showcases every detail beautifully.

3. Turn on all the lights

One of the best practices for real estate photography is to turn on all the lights in each room you are shooting. This helps create a natural and warm ambiance and also assists virtual staging editors in dealing with shadows and shading, resulting in more natural and realistic final images.

Turn on all the lights

4. Keep rooms as empty as possible

When it comes to virtual staging, the primary goal is to bring furniture and decor into a vacant house. Therefore, it is best to keep the rooms as empty as possible. Remove any distractions such as extra furniture, decorations, toys, and unnecessary clutter. The emptier the room looks, the better it serves as a blank canvas for the virtual staging artists to work their magic.

5. Shoot in landscape

When taking photos, make sure to orient your shots in landscape mode rather than portrait. Landscape-oriented photos show more area, allowing the graphic designers to maximize the space for adding virtual furniture. Additionally, landscape photos tend to look better on real estate marketing websites such as the MLS and Zillow.

6. Capture the entire room

Try to capture as much of each room as possible in your photos. Position yourself slightly off the corner of the room, making sure to include the most prominent features of the space. By showcasing the floor, walls, and key architectural elements, you provide ample room for the virtual furniture to be added.

Capturing the entire room

7. Avoid using lenses with too wide a view

Using a lens that is at least 18 mm but no wider than 200 mm is recommended for real estate photography. Avoid fish-eye lenses or ultra-wide angle lenses, as they can cause distortion and make the proportions of walls, floors, and other features appear elongated or exaggerated.

8. Focus on more room, less ceiling

Ensure that there is twice as much floor and wall area visible in your photos compared to the ceiling. Since most of the virtual furniture and decor will be placed on the floor and walls, you want to provide enough room for these elements to be realistically incorporated. Take a few extra moments to double-check your images and make any necessary adjustments.

9. Shoot during the "golden hour"

The "golden hour" is the ideal time for photographers to shoot, occurring during dawn (between 6-9 am) and twilight (around 4-7 pm). During these times, the sun is not as high in the sky, resulting in softer lighting conditions. However, be cautious when shooting in rooms with windows that face directly east or west, as direct sunlight can create harsh shadows or overexpose the image.

Golden hour

10. Choose your best images

Take a variety of photos using different angles and camera settings to ensure you have plenty of options to choose from. It's better to have a surplus of images and narrow them down later than to realize you need to redo the entire shoot. After selecting your best photos, send them off to be virtually staged. The turnaround time can vary, but most virtual staging companies will provide you with the final images within 48 to 72 hours.

At PhotoUp, virtual staging costs 20 credits per final image, and the turnaround time is between 24-48 hours. Creating an account with PhotoUp allows you to select a furniture set and upload your images effortlessly, while the team takes care of the rest!

By following these tips, you can capture the perfect photos for virtual staging and enhance the appeal of your real estate listings. Remember, high-quality and realistic images are key to immersing potential buyers in their future dream home.