Staging + Open Houses

7 essential photo-staging tips

Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral
By Teri Karush Rogers  |
November 22, 2010 - 6:08AM

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.  

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:

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.” 
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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.”
  7. 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.


Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral

Teri Karush Rogers

Founder & Publisher

Founder and publisher Teri Karush Rogers launched Brick Underground in 2009. As a freelance journalist, she had previously covered New York City real estate for The New York Times. Teri has been featured as an expert on New York City residential real estate by The New York Times, New York Daily News, amNew York, NBC Nightly News, The Real Deal, Business Insider, the Huffington Post, and NY1 News, among others. Teri earned a BA in journalism and a law degree from New York University.

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.