Real Estate Staging / Home Staging Blog


INVEST THE TIME... to tell your story in pictures.

Whether you are a Realtor or home stager, being able to tell a TRUE SALES STORY or DEMONSTRATE YOUR TALENT via pictures is critical.

Home stagers are in an industry where the impact of our work can best be shown via photography. I keep stressing the importance of GOOD photography because I KNOW one of the KEY REASONS we here at Real Estaging have been so successful is because our photography tells our TRUE STORY.

Unfortunately a camera does NOT always capture the true story. (I blogged about "Lying Photography" before.) However, while in that previous blog I stressed the importance of CLEANING up a photo... but I did not tell you just how to do it.

So here is a step by step walk-through on how you can us tools to correct an image and show the buyer/client just what they will REALLY see when the tour the home you have staged or are selling.

PLEASE NOTE: I AM NOT SUGGESTING you change a photo so that the REALITY the photo is a lie. I am saying that cameras are TOOLS that DO NOT always capture the truth... but with the help of other TOOLS like PhotoShop you can move a picture BACK to what a buyer would truly see.

While not every picture we take need as much editing, the type of corrections I have made on the one pix below would take me about 5 minutes to make. Which is NOT a huge investment of time... but the RETURNS are worth it.

Finally...If you look closely at that FINAL edited picture the image bows out (in my own comment below). I can not fix this using PhotoShop.... as it does not have a tool that can fix this distortions that wide angle lenses create. But this drives home the point that PHOTOS LIE!

Comment balloon 53 commentsCraig Schiller • March 14 2007 08:45PM



Here are the images in larger detail.

AGAIN... DON'T FORGET TO CONSIDER THE CROP, for CROPPING the picture also helps tell the story you want to covey.

Posted by Craig Schiller over 13 years ago
I love how you don't mind sharing how you take such amazing pictures.  I never knew how to get rid of that glare, but you just showed me!  Thanks, I'll be using this.
Posted by Sarah Cooper (Real Estate Shows) over 13 years ago
Craig, how much time do you invest in photographing the property?  Is photography also a hobby of yours?
Posted by Timothy Schwartz (Century 21 Mack Morris Iris Lurie) over 13 years ago


I share as much as I can because I know the FASTER home stagers all get on track... the faster we will ALL be respected and relied on.

YOU... ME... and our fellow stagers.

Stage It Forward...


Posted by Craig Schiller over 13 years ago


We take many many many pictures of our work. We are ALL self taught... meaning we read the manual that came with the camera.



Posted by Craig Schiller over 13 years ago
This is great advice!  I love cropping because you can get a better perspective, but I never thought about how you got rid of the glared photo.  Thanks for sharing!
Posted by Jim & Maria Hart, Charleston, SC Real Estate (Brand Name Real Estate) over 13 years ago

Hi Craig,

Very interesting stuff for me, as I like working with photos. The main problem is with Medford, who keeps insisting that I crop my face out of self-portraits!


Posted by Boomer Jack Boardman & Carl McIntyre, the Codgers (Noted Curmudgeons) over 13 years ago

Craig, thank you, I have been saying forever that I needed to take a class on photographing interiors. Now, I think I just need to follow your lead and get a great program to help edit as you suggest. I am always pretty careful about getting the shot right before the first time, but your insights here on "digital photo lab work" certainly make a big difference that I would like to incorporate in my own work.


Posted by Julianna Hind, REALTOR, 206-679-4768, Tacoma Federal Way, Auburn, Kent, WA (eXp Realty) over 13 years ago

Craig, Thank you for your help with pictures. Taking pictures that turn out clear, focused and level is a tough goal for me.  I think this might help.

Thanks, Leslie

Posted by Leslie Godbold, Motivation Speaker, Radio host "Positively Living" (WZGM AM1350 Independent Asheville Radio) over 13 years ago

I, Rich Jacobson, did hereby unashamedly 'feature' this post because Mr. Schiller continues to unselfishly and freely contribute such incredibly valuable information to our community. I did not receive any kickbacks, renumeration or reciprocal favors for said 'featuring.'

Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) over 13 years ago

Rich... the check is in the mail.

I'm just not certain... did you say "CERTIFIED" or "CASHIERS"?

Pay It Forward... (LMAO at my own punny joke!)



Posted by Craig Schiller over 13 years ago
Craig, this was really helpful. Is photoshop the program you would recommend for those of us beginners? Thanks for all the help
Posted by Melissa Kruse (Gryphon ) over 13 years ago
Interesting! Thanks for sharing information on how to accurately show what it looks like.
Posted by 1~Judi Barrett, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) over 13 years ago

Melissa I use photo shop. I have not used any others... but I know there are others.

PhotoShop is actually "OVERKILL" because doing this really only uses a tiny bit of what it is capable of doing.


Posted by Craig Schiller over 13 years ago
Hey Craig- I have been doing this with Microsoft picture it but it can be challenging because the software is not really designed for advanced photo editing.  I just got Photoshop and can't wait to start playing around with it.  Thanks for the tips. 
Posted by Maureen Maureen over 13 years ago
Posted by Melissa Kruse (Gryphon ) over 13 years ago

Thanks for the tips. Definitely something to keep in mind. I've always tried to do my best with photos and I think I do a little bit better than average.  My previous thinking was more along the lines of making sure there were an adequate amount of photos - not so much the quality.  My photos aren't blurry, but in looking at your examples there's a lot more that can be done to enhance the look.  Again...many thanks!

Posted by Kelly Kilpatrick, Broker-Associate over 13 years ago

Craig.... I just bought a new lap top last month...all the upgrades. It has Microsoft Office picture manager. I am just learning how to crop my pictures here.... very cool and exciting. My new pic on my profile, I cropped that on here the other day. I am still new to these such tools. Thanks for the post.


                                                                                                       jeff belonger

Posted by Jeff Belonger, The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans ( Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc) over 13 years ago
Craig, you are the best with photographer that I've known. I've never thought my photos looked bad in fact I actually patted myself on the back for years while looking at some of the photos I've seen on MLS but you have a definite skill to emulate. Thank you for sharing.
Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) over 13 years ago


Thanks for the post. Apparently, the advice you offer on this subject that can't be overstated.

Posted by William Collins, Property and Asset Management (ERA Queen City Realty) over 13 years ago
That's an excellent tutorial on basic real estate photography.  Members like you make this a special place.
Posted by Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton (Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC) over 13 years ago
As always, you do excellent work.  I was having a hard time finding a blog that capturer my interest tonight.  You did it. Thanks.
Posted by Roger Stensland, Let's Move! (Keller Williams Realty Puget Sound) over 13 years ago
Love your work and willingness to share! A picture can now tell 1001 stories including yours! Nice work! :-)
Posted by Brad Andersohn, ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876 (Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty) over 13 years ago
Wow, this is great stuff.  Truly a picture is worth a thousand words if you do it right.
Posted by Ken Spencer, for Verrado, Buckeye, Sundance over 13 years ago
Craig, add me to the list of thankful folks.  I try to take good pictures so they don't need much editing.  Not because I'm not willing to do it, but because I really don't know how.  Cropping is about as close as I get to "editing."  Thanks for this informative lesson.
Posted by Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 888.883.8509 X101, GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay | (eXp Realty LLC) over 13 years ago
Craig, as usual you offer outstanding information. I just did a $1.25M vacant home staging, but the pictures are only so-so.  I was hoping the professional photographer coming in to take shots for the virtual tour would take better ones (better camera probably) that I could then use.  Now, I am thinking maybe I can crop up some of my shots to capture my staging.  Thanks a bunch.  You're such a "good guy."
Posted by Patricia Ebrahimi over 13 years ago
And .... Craig's technique for copy-and-pasting that painting into the picture frame ... it could work with WINDOWS  (no, not the software, the kind you look through) in your photos, too...
Posted by Cheryl Johnson over 13 years ago
Great tutorial Craig.  Thanks again.
Posted by Norm Fisher (Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate) over 13 years ago


I gotta agree with Rich J. that you are one of the most unselfish and giving contributors to this network.  You continue to share a wealth of such good information.  Thanks!

Lisa Hammerstein

Posted by Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Christie's International Real Estate ) over 13 years ago
Craig - great as always! I use a variety of photo editing programs depending on what I want to do. Since meeting you, the one thing that now bothers me are those crooked walls and the glare from windows. PhotoShop is pretty pricey. I can see the benefit for high pixels for brochures, but for the 640x480 for internet use, do you think it's worth the price? Also, what is the learning curve - if we already are familiar with photo editing programs?
Posted by Elaine Reese, REALTOR® in central Ohio (Real Living HER, Powell Ohio) over 13 years ago
I'm always looking for helpful tips. Thanks for a great post!
Posted by John Cilladi, REALTOR, EcoBroker, e-PRO (Keller Williams Real Estate) over 13 years ago
Great tips Craig!  Thank you for taking the time to post all of those pics in an easy to understand format
Posted by Brett Tousley, Tri Cities Real Estate | (509) 420-0013 (Keller Williams Realty) over 13 years ago

Love your posts Craig.  keep them coming please!


Patricia Aulson/SECOAST NH & ME 

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 13 years ago

Awesome post Craig.  I love how you took the time to show us step by step - I use photoshop for cropping, adjusting colour and straightening - but it never occured to me to use it in this regard!

A+++ to you!!



Posted by Alyse Bromberg (Dressed for Success) over 13 years ago

twin towersCraig, I took some photos for a Localism post. When I got this one home, I chuckled, as all I could think about was you!

It's the Columbus version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Guess it's time to spend the bucks for PhotoShop. ;-)







Posted by Elaine Reese, REALTOR® in central Ohio (Real Living HER, Powell Ohio) over 13 years ago
Craig: I'm a firm believer of great pictures too. I really think a great set of photos put the house on the "must-see" list vs. dark, small dingy ones.
Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) over 13 years ago


Thank you for reminding me that I need to spend more time doing this.  When I newly in the business I made sure that all of my pictures were their very best (ok, I didn't know how to eliminate glare, etc... but they overall looked great).  I find now that I'm much busier I find some of the things I used to find paramount not even on my to-do list.  I need to get better about this....

Thanks for keeping me ever thinking....


Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 13 years ago
I bought photoshop elements - of course, can't figure it out so I am looking for classes in my area.  Pictures speak louder then words so ours should be the best.
Posted by Sandra Hughes, Redesigned Spaces - Fairfax County, Virginia (Redesigned Spaces - Northern Virginia) over 13 years ago
Thanks Craig!  I've bookmarked this post.  I have photoshop and figured out how to straighten up  the verticle I'm going to follow your instructions for inserting the pictures and see if I can get that technique mastered! 
Posted by Judy Heinrich (Judy Heinrich Home Staging) over 13 years ago

Unbelievable! Just went and bought the new paint shop pro XI. Incredible what I can do with my photos using the right applications. And it's fun too! This one of our cat made the kids laugh!! :-)

Cleo The Cat

Posted by Brad Andersohn, ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876 (Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty) over 13 years ago


How the heck you figured all that out to me is genius. WHY?? Because my pics never come out good. I just got my website updated and the pics are awful. I just spoke with the men who did the site and if you could do what they did, why can't they?? I will have to work on this one. I am so upset about this.

My mom got to see a job I did, firsthand. She had seen the before and after photos and thought they were nice, but then went to the house and was totally amazed. She said my pics don't do the house justice. YEAH NO KIDDING!! i definitely need help in this area, big time

Thanks again, Phyllis Pafumi 

Posted by Phyllis Pafumi, ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ (ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey) over 13 years ago
So, Craig - is there anything you don't know????
Posted by Teri B. Clark ( over 13 years ago

Craig, I was thinking about all your great photo posts just yesterday as I looked over my latest photos with a room that looks like it's sliding down a hill.  It's definitely time for me to upgrade my Photoshop version because the free starter edition doesn't have this editing capability.

ooh lychee my fav. 

Posted by Gina Dougherty, Home Staging Redondo Beach, CA- (Fusion Design Consulting) over 13 years ago
Craig - I can't wait to get a listing that craves your expertise.  I look forward to working with you.  This stuff is great!
Posted by 1 2 (3) over 13 years ago

Aloha Craig,

Your photos are priceless and worth more than a thousand words!  Especially with the internet posting photos online via our shared IDX/MLS sites, a well composed photo becomes more valuable in attracting prospective buyers.  Thanks for sharing how photo editing or cropping and a thoughtful eye can make a property more appealing.


Ronda Ching Day (Honolulu Realtor Associate)

Posted by Ronda Ching Day, Call "Help Me Ronda" for your Real Estate Needs! (Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties) over 13 years ago

Ok so you taught me something new today, again.  Inserting the picture back into the picture just brings a host of fun things to do with a camera and software along with putting other people's heads on still other people's bodies.

You da man!

Kathleen Lordbock

Re$ale Design 

Posted by Kathleen Lordbock, Keller Williams Realty Professionals (Keller Williams Realty Professionals) over 13 years ago
THanks for sharing - another great contribution...
Posted by David Abernathy, Palm Beach County Real Estate (Waterfront Properties & Club Communities) over 13 years ago
These are beautiful - and thank you for the tutorial!  Can't wait to play with this!  Love it!
Posted by Margaret Ann Innis, Real Estate Staging - MA & NH (Decorate To Sell - Merrimack Valley Real Estate Staging ) over 13 years ago

if you need to fix distortion from wide angle lenses there are some software plugins to photoshop that will do it automatically.  Here is a link:



Hope that helps

Scott H

Posted by Scott Hayes (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 13 years ago
I just got the adobe elements so will hopefully have time to try some things out next week.  Great tips, I have lots and lots of pics to play with.
Posted by Home Staging over 13 years ago
Great advice.  With the internet pictures make such a difference.  Good pictures make an even bigger difference.
Posted by Vicky Poe, Realtor/ Auctioneer (Good Ole Rocky Top) about 13 years ago
Wonderful advice; our photos really do make a difference!
Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) about 13 years ago

Hi Craig, Thanks the education.  I missed this blog BUT thankfully Cheryl Johnson linked this post in a comment to my blog looking for help with photos.

I could kick myself for waiting sooo long to get my Kodak V705.  I can't wait any longer to get a better editing software.  I have been using Picasa2 which is great when you have a budget but I think it would be worth it to invest in Photoshop or something similiar.  Pictures are very important in the real estate industry and like you stated "we here at Real Estaging have been so successful is because our photography tells our TRUE STORY." 

My portfoliio is growing and I need to create the best visual pictures that show what you truly see.  Thank you.

Posted by Janice Sutton, Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta (1st Stage Property Transformations ) about 13 years ago