Bad Real Estate Photos: 10 Things You’re Doing Wrong

5.3 million existing homes were sold in 2019. While most people hire a real estate agent to find them their dream home, they also use a few other methods as well.  

Back in 1981, 22% of home buyers used newspaper ads to find their home, by 2016, 44% were searching online first. That’s why 90% of real estate firms have websites that feature property listings and 100% of smart agents have their own real estate website

Pictures are definitely necessary when listing a home but it’s also important to remember that a picture is worth 1,000 words. A bad photo can turn away potential buyers while great photos can translate into a quick sale. 

Want to see some of the worst terrible listing photos? Here are 57 Hilariously Terrible Real Estate Photos.

If you’re about to list a home, you need to learn how to avoid taking bad real estate photos. Whether your in part of the country where agents take their own photos or want some things to look for from the professional photographers you hire, keep reading to discover the 10 things you could be doing that causes too many agents to post terrible real estate photos. 

Some of these will need to be done by the client and others you can manage yourself. Either way, fix these and sell your listings faster and for more money.

1. Bad Real Estate Photos are Too Dark

The worst real estate photos are so dark that it’s impossible to really see what a room looks like. There are very few home buyers in the market for a bat cave. 


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You want to showcase the great light in your home, even if you don’t really have it. That means allowing for as much light as possible. 

When to Take the Perfect Shot

Use as much natural light as you possibly can. Midday is usually when sunlight exposure is best. 

Keep blinds and shades open. If you need to, turn on lamps but just make sure there’s no extra glare that ends up in the photos. 

2. Taking Photos of Furniture

Do not put the focus in photographs on your client’s own personal belongings. There’s nothing worse to a home buyer than trying to see what a room looks like when the only photos posted are of the current owner’s personal belongings. 

Homebuyers want to be able to use the photos to see how their own furniture would look and fit into the room. If you can, remove as much of the furniture from your home before you take photos. 

3. Capturing Your Clutter 

Always tidy up before you take real estate photos. If someone can see dirt, dust, grime or clutter, it’s a huge turnoff and it shows you don’t care. Many potential buyers will think, rightly or wrongly, that if an owner does not take the time to clean up for listing photos that they likely did not maintain the property well either.

This is your chance to highlight what’s great about the home. Even if the house is normally are messy, no one needs to know that until after you’ve sold the home. 

Clean and Declutter

Do a thorough cleaning and remove clutter. Suggest to clients that anything they don’t like, use or need should be sold, trashed or donated. 


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Anything they do want to keep should be boxed up and put into storage until they’re ready to move into their new home. 

4. Blurry Photos

If you’re going to post blurry photos, you might as well not bother posting any photos at all. It looks amateurish and gives the impression you don’t care about selling the home or marketing it well. 

If you’re struggling to take photos that aren’t blurry, you can use a tripod for stability or even prop your arm against a door frame. You can also select an aperture that provides you with a decent depth of field. 

You should also avoid shutter speeds slower than 1/200 seconds. 

5. Using a Google Street Picture Rather Than Your Own

Google Maps is known for providing us with a great many tools to make life easier. However, great photography isn’t one of them. 

Especially when it comes to taking photos of your home that has curb appeal. It also gives potential buyers the impression that you couldn’t be bothered enough to take your own photos. 

Do some agents seriously do this? Yes, we’ve seen too many examples of it to simply laugh about it. 

Even taking 15 minutes out of your day to take five good photos can make the difference between a home on the market for months and one that sells quickly. 

6. Posting Holiday or Seasonal Photos

If you put a home on the market during a holiday season such as Christmas, your clients may have holiday items displayed. Which is fine until January 1st hits and then it’s outdated.

And while the home may look great with a yard full of snow, no one wants to see that in July. If listing stays on the market long enough for a holiday or season to end, you’ll have to take new photographs to display. 


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Especially since old photos give home buyers the impression that the listing isn’t selling quickly. That can mean they may try to make a lower offer than you’d like. 

7. Crooked Lines

Make sure all your lines are squared off. In other words, your verticals should be vertical and your horizontals should be horizontal. 

Otherwise, you may end up with lens distortion that makes your home look weird. To prevent that, a tripod can help you line up everything so that your lines are straight. 

If you don’t have a tripod or something else you can use to level everything properly, you can always correct any crooked lines and/or perspective issues in post-processing (i.e. when cropping).  

8. Not Enough Stuff

You may want to consider having the home staged by a professional, especially if your client has already moved out. A staged home will look more appealing and the furniture allows a buyer to see how they can use the room as well as envision themselves living there. 

If your client leaves scattered, random furnishings, the home can look awkward, especially in photos. You don’t need to do but, but a simple staging can help highlight the purpose of each room in the home and improve the listing. 

9. Forgetting to Take Outside Photos

The outside of every home is just as important as the inside. But make sure that you don’t allow trees, cars or poles to obscure the view of the home and property. 

Move everything you can out of the shot. And make sure you take a photograph where you can see the entryway into the home. 

10. Photos With Pets or Yourself

Yes, again, we have unfortunately seen too many of these in listings from many MLSs.

Be careful when photographing areas such as your bathroom where there are mirrors that can easily capture your own image. 

It screams that you’re an amateur and it’s hard for a homebuyer to not focus on you in the background. The same is true for any pets. 


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While your pup might be awfully cute, he or she doesn’t come with the house and shouldn’t be featured in your photographs. Especially since to some homebuyers, a home with a pet means scratched floors, weird smells and stains, and fur everywhere. 

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Author Details
Chief Marketing Officer
Entrepreneurial marketing leader that’s built and run organizations from start-up to over $500M annual revenue. He brings a unique combination of storytelling and innovation to the team, having led marketing for many brands. Kurt’s a regular conference speaker and workshop leader around modern marketing tactics that actually drive sales. In addition, he has been asked to coach and advise thousands of leaders, from startup founders to the President of the United States.

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