Thursday, August 15, 2013

Getting a Good House Photo

When my daughter was six weeks old, one of my best friends from college came to visit. As I snapped a shot of the two of them together, Bela turned to the camera and smiled. It was as if she had been born knowing how to take a cute photo!

I think taking pictures of your house is somewhat the same thing. Clearing out the things you use on a daily basis for the purpose of getting a good picture doesn't need to feel artificial if you can think of it as your house smiling for the camera. 

To illustrate this point:


How different would this kitchen feel if there were photos, spelling tests, and crayon drawings of rainbows all over the refrigerator? Definitely how we like to live, but not how we want to pose.


Now imagine a big ugly garbage can at the end of this kitchen island. Easy for tossing potato peels as I make dinner, not so pretty for pictures.


On the other hand, this table looks more inviting because of the styling. A plump ginger jar and bowl of apples keep it simple and fresh.


Fresh flowers, yes! Toilet plunger, NO!


How would this stunning bathroom look with a toothbrush, can of shaving cream, or box of Kleenex next to the sink? What if those towels were bleach-stained and mismatched with washcloths of a different color? For our house, we actually bought some new white towels and put them out just for showings.

via Habitually Chic

This sitting area would look a lot less relaxing if the coffee table was full of remote controls and GameFly or Netflix envelopes. Even if you have to stuff these things under the sofa, make it look like your surfaces are clear.

via Houzz
This inviting mudroom would say "buh-bye" to buyers with a pile of dirty shoes by the door, or my personal favorite, a vacuum shoved in the corner. Just because it's where you store something doesn't mean that you should keep it there for pictures.

Kerry Hanson Design via House of Turquoise

This child's bedroom appears restful with a pair of color-coordinated Ugly dolls on the bed versus a row of every stuffed animal your child has ever loved.

Tobi Fairley for Designers at Home

Not everyone loves dogs (hard to imagine but so I've heard). For showings, I move our dog's bed and food & water dishes out to our garage. 

How you live is not how you want to necessarily style your room for photos. The photo above is from Tobi Fairley's blog, a designer who can do no wrong in my opinion, and in which she gets at the same idea. Her pup is on the bed for a photo in the new book Designers at Home showing how she really lives, but the room was also shot for Traditional Home magazine two years ago, sans dog.

Things definitely aren't organized the way I like them to be around our house right now, but with these guidelines, it has stayed clean enough that I'm not frantic about getting ready for showings.  
You can even apply this concept to how you prep your house for a party or guests. What do you think? Anything you would add to my list? Nicely, of course! After all how fun would an airbrushed life really be??


  1. Staging a house for photos takes a lot of work. You can't have your clutter spots sitting around. I can relate to the e-card ~ before someone visits, sometimes I think we clean our house to the point that it looks like no one has ever lived here.

  2. Staging isn't as easy as it might seem .. that's why we hire people to do it:) I agree, clutter and crayons around will distract the focus!

  3. Getting an excellent house is always feel great. I love your ideas and the source BHG. I can share some information about home renovation and bathroom remodeling ideas. Check Casehalifax.


Thanks so much for commenting! I love to read what you have to say. ~Carrie


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