As we have noted previously, effectively staging your apartment for sale is philosophically akin to giving it a shot of Botox, involving as it does erasing your personality and personal effects to make way for a buyer's fantasy. Similar principles apply when you prepare your apartment for its photo shoot.
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We checked in for advice from three photographers at Gotham Photo Company, which provides media and technology services to real estate agents. Here's what they said:
- Get the windows cleaned. “No matter how great the view is, if the windows are dirty it comes out blurry, and you can’t clean up a window in Photoshop,” says Donna Dotan. She also recommends cleaning off the window sill of picture frames, statues, flowers, plants etc. “They make the view look dark.”
- Clean like you haven’t cleaned since your mother in law’s last visit “Any dirt you have has the potential to be in the photo,” says Martyn Gallina-Jones, another photographer who works with Gotham. “Clean flat surfaces, floor surfaces, take a Swiffer to your walls to take off the little bits of fluff and dander, clean your ceiling fans, especially the edges of the blades which often have dirt.”
- Now straighten up “The way you clean for your own home is not clean for a photoshoot,” says Reven T.C. Wurman. Pay attention to loose towels, soap on the back of the sink, objects, piles of magazines, clothes, shoes, etc.
- Edit the kitchen “If you have 10 appliances on the kitchen counters, take 7 out and leave 3 well placed and spaced out, like a coffee maker, knife block and toaster oven,” advises Gallina-Jones.
- Thin out your furniture Do keep four dining chairs around a small table and another few scattered around the apartment? Get rid of those for the time being.
- Think like a hotel & depersonalize Thin out your collection of freestanding personal photographs, and depersonalize everything from your bathroom to your nightstand: “Don’t even leave a box of tissues on your bedside tables,” says Gallina-Jones. “We know what people do in these rooms and we don’t need clues to tell us what you do.”
- Bring in flowers “Having flower arrangements really adds a lot to pictures especially if there are not many colors in the home,” says Dotan. “The best colors are red, orange and yellow. Especially in an all-white bathroom, a little yellow flower makes such a difference.