Real Estate Staging / Home Staging Blog


Picture What You Preach

Because the end result of a staged home can be a great visual impression, home staging is seen as an image industry. Image companies in the fields of advertising, interior design, and landscaping have for long known that to sell and grow their own businesses; they must present a good visual image of themselves. As image businesses they know and rely on their logos, business cards and websites to communicating their knowledge and creative skill to apply basic design principals in their respective fields.

If home stagers are going to sell to home owners the need and importance of investing money to beautify their homes, which is the product they are selling, then the stager needs to invest money in to do the same for what they sell... which is their staging services To be competitive, a home stager needs to invest in their business image. A stager's image, communicated through a business card, brochure, website and portfolio, must demonstrate knowledge of and skill to apply basic design principals. Doing anything less is hypocritical.

Home stagers also need to practice what the preach to Realtors. If stagers are going profess and advise the importance of using good photography to capture and present a home for sale on-line, then again, a stager needs to do the same for photography they show of the their work on-line. A stager's on-line portfolio is a key, yet often overlooked, tool communicate quality, skill and ability.

Stagers can maximize their on-line credibility is by addressing the following 3 points with their portfolio.

  • Show Versatility & Proficiency - Every market is different and a stager's work should represent the types of homes being sold in the markets they serve. However the more depth and diversity a stager can show the better. The most compelling portfolios will show staging work that was done in both big and small homes, vacant and occupied homes, low to high end homes, and the ability in to work with a variety of design styles.
  • Use the Same View Point - Proof of a stager's skill and ability is often shown in Before & After photographs. But quite often the Before photo is taken from a totally different position in a room, from the After photo. The best sales testament and visually dramatic impact Before & After photography will have is when the Before & After photo is taken from the EXACT same angle.
  • Take Quality Photos - While it may not be possible to take perfect and compelling Befores, the After image needs to be well photographed. Over flashed, under flashed, and blurry photos will hurt even the best staged After transformation. Stagers that invest the time and money to take quality photos visually communicate their commitment to their profession.

Like it or not.... just as a home that is for sale is being judged by how it looks, stagers are being judge by the business image they show. The best home stagers will picture what they preach.

Stage It Forward...


Comment balloon 39 commentsCraig Schiller • June 24 2008 07:36PM


Craig:  WOW!  Your photo slide show just says it all.  I certainly understand why you are:

REAL ESTAGING, a nationally recognized leader in Staging.

With all your success and busy schedule, I want to thank you for taking the time to share this information with agents and other stagers on AR.  I feel like I've been to "school" just looking at your Before and After photos.

Posted by Jan Evett, Broker Associate, 20 years+ in real estate (The Premier Property Group LLC) over 12 years ago

So true, and I think how we present ourselves is also very important to our credibility.  We need to portray a professional, polished image to gain the acceptance of potential clients.  You know how important that first impression is when presenting a home for sale.  That first impression goes for us as well.  If we are not presented well, will clients wonder how we will be able to present their home in its best light?  I think so.  Great advice Craig!

Posted by Charlene Storozuk, Home Stager - Burlington Ontario (Dezigner Digz) over 12 years ago
Craig ~ Your pictures are great! Do you take your own or use a professional? I just recently used a professional photographer for the first time and I think his pictures show off my work much better than if I had taken them. He was affordable, so I will probably use him again. After all, it is only going to show off what I've done in a better light.
Posted by Kathy Passarette, L.I. Staging/Decorating (Creative Home Expressions) over 12 years ago

Craig - You are so right about the photos. I recently staged a high-end home and took over 200 photos and was only happy with about twenty. I either see a class in photography in my future or using a professional to take all the photos.

By the way, your before and after photos are just gorgeous. I love looking at your work - I think it makes us all better stagers to learn from you.

Posted by Lynn Crawford, Staging DC & Maryland (A Different View) over 12 years ago

What a Great example of staging and how it can help you market a home.   I am going to send this to some of my clients, so they can see how this really helps.

Posted by Glenda and Steven McDaniel (Long and Foster Smith Mountain Lake Office) over 12 years ago
I couldn't agree with you more about the point of taking the before and after photos from the same angle or point of view (and I'm trying harder and harder to ensure I do this every time). It drives me nuts when the before shot is from 1 side of the room, and the after shot is from the opposite corner and doesn't look anything the same. Attention to detail, even in photography, is key.
Posted by Connie Tebyani, Platinum Home Staging, Los Angeles and Ventura County (Platinum Home Staging, Inc. : RESA-Pro) over 12 years ago

Craig, You hit the nail right on the head. So often you hear so many descriptive words when a stager is talking about them-self and their expertise and it can sound very impressive. But when you go to their portfolio on the web site it is very disappointing. All the words in the world will not sell you, you have to show the proof. Great post!

Posted by Barbara Cluck-Miksits, Home Staging - New Jersey (BCM Home Staging LLC) over 12 years ago
Craig - Your fantastic pics speak for themselves. I also appreciate the fact that, at least in some of the rooms you've shown, the customer's existing furnishings were (at least partially) used. Realtors are challenged every day in convincing customers to see their homes thru the potential buyer's eyes, not their own. It's sometimes difficult to convince a seller that, although you realize that they love ducks, that duck-and-pond wallpaper (for example) would probably not appeal to the average buyer. Its important to communicate (tactfully) to sellers that, when potential buyers walk thru a property and see items that haven't been updated since 1980, it often goes beyond just $$ signs; an out-of-date decor can often give the impression that the current owner doesn't really care about their property, and that there may be other, more serious issues that have also gone unaddressed. If the seller really wants to be competitive in this market, their property MUST place it's best foot forward. From the front door to the back door, it must say "buy me".
Posted by Carl Covington over 12 years ago
Great pictures and information. Staging is the way to go!!!
Posted by Phil DePasquale (Sedona Elite Properties Management, Inc.) over 12 years ago

Those are amazing - the bedroom is really a transformation! Always very important to "measure" success and in you business this seems like the best way! Outstanding to show future clients!

Posted by Jo Olson, Retired - HOMEFRONT Realty @ LAKE Roosevelt (HOMEFRONT Realty) over 12 years ago
Craig, great post with awesome pictures and really good information. The difference in some of the before and after shots is amazing. Staging is very important and your pictures reflect that.
Posted by Patty Carroll over 12 years ago
I completely agree.. this is why we now have an actively staged properties page. It shows our diversity in price point, community and style. We are also in the process of adding a monthly statistics page, showing the properties that have sold after being staged in the last month with list date, photo, contingent date, etc.
Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 12 years ago
Craig - Ditto to all the above! It is truly amazing to someone like me who does not know how to hand a picture straight how you can transform a room like the ones in your pictures. Terrie
Posted by Terrie Leighton, Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno (Ferrari-Lund Real Estate ) over 12 years ago

Those are lovely photos.  I'd be so happy if our MLS members could do half as good as this with photos.

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) over 12 years ago
Aloha Craig, You have a great body of work with a breadth of styles that show you really work with your clients. Your points are right on the mark and are incredibly important for creating a consistent product. Thanks for your words of wisdom. Peace,
Posted by Kimo Stowell, REALTOR Associate® RS-76763 - Honolulu Hawai'i (HI Pro Realty LLC RB-21531 ) over 12 years ago

There are a number of audiences...we just staged two homes that rehabbers bought...and they thought they had done everything they needed to do...oh not...the window treatments and other decorative touches got us over asking the first day !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 12 years ago

Here in WA, curtains go with the house.  How would you propose  stagers should deal with that issue?

Posted by ARDELL DellaLoggia (Better Properties Seattle ) over 12 years ago

What a versital art piece the magnolia.  I love that it can be used both directions and still make a great impact. 

Posted by Terrylynn Fisher, HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc. (Dudum Real Estate Group - over 12 years ago
Hi Craig: Great information as always! :) I'm in the process of re-doing my portfolio and what you've listed here will be very helpful in creating a portfolio that will be most helpful to clients. I think it was Jackson West I got this tip from awhile back about taking the "before" pictures from every corner of each room. That way you most likely will get matching before and after pictures. I completely agree with the professional photographer. It makes a HUGE difference! Now that I've partnered with one...I really try to educate clients on what a powerful marketing tool this is along with staging. Clients seem to really be "getting it". And as stagers...our first impression is everything so having quality photos of our work is a MUST....thank you for reminding all of us. Good to see you in the rain....we've missed you!
Posted by Teresa Meyer, Home Staging Cincinnati-OH. (Cincinnati Home Stager) over 12 years ago

Hi Craig, Great photos! I also like how for a majority of them you use the same or similar angle for the before and after shots.

It's one of my pet peeves when stagers don't use the same angles to show before and after shots of their work so it's nice to see you doing it right.


Posted by Alan Myers (Boston Image Maker) over 12 years ago
Wow. what a difference Your post is great and the pictures really show what a difference staging can make. I have been on "tour of staged homes" not too long ago and it was nothing like this Anne Hensel
Posted by Anne Hensel, Realtor - Broker - St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island (South Beaches Real Estate Professionals) over 12 years ago
Craig, Great post. The differences in the pictures is incredible. A couple of them, I had to go back and see the before, the change was so drastic. Great work.
Posted by Bob Cumiskey, US Army Retired, Your Sun City Center, Florida ~ Realtor (A1 Connection Realty, Inc.) over 12 years ago
Craig, this is some good information and terrific before and after pictures.
Posted by Mike Miller (EXIT REALTY SERVICES) over 12 years ago

I have to agree with your point about the before and after pictures - they lose credibility when they are taken from different angles.

Posted by Hope Goss, Ventura Real Estate (Ventura Property Shoppe) over 12 years ago

Craig - I loved the slideshow - your work is beautiful.  I especially liked seeing some of the smaller occupied homes that you did using the clients existing furnishings. You are the man!

Posted by Maureen Maureen over 12 years ago
Craig - good reminder to some of us who may start to "slack off" a little in the image department after getting established and busy. Did I say some of us? I guess I should only speak for myself!
Posted by Tori Lynn Wallitsch (Prudential Ambassador / Ross Designs, LLC) over 12 years ago

This is a great point if the Stager does the work from consultation through pick up of props.

But some of us have found a great niche in consultations. We don't see the out come of the thrifty homeowners work. We do between 3-6 consultationsa day now and are growing.(that's why the absents from AR lately:) and for those who want to do the work off our DIY blue print we proved them to save money we don't see the end product to take pictures, only a thank you call from the Realtors we work with or the homeowners.

I believe Staging has many levels or at least the Stager has, depending on what is working well for them.


Posted by Brian Bloom, All in One Staging Inc. - Home Staging Consultant, Redesign Expert ( 1-630-292-2710) over 12 years ago


Thanks for the post. Nothing like having someone on board, who delivers every time!

Posted by William Collins, Property and Asset Management (ERA Queen City Realty) over 12 years ago

Hi Craig! Love the slideshow...and excellent blog as always.

There are many, many stagers out there that I want to call up and say, can I help you with your website. You'd make so much more money if you had a website that reflected the beauty of your work. Ugh!

All the best,


Posted by Minnesota Home Staging Firm, Minnesota (Minnesota Home Staging Network~ MN's Top Home Staging Firm) over 12 years ago

I agree, I have spent a lot of money marketing my company "image" from the business cards, website, marketing materials, rack cards and the info on my car.  It all tells a story and looks professional and from the comments I receive from clients and realtors, it has worked.

Posted by Lisa Roy (SPACELiFT HOME STAGING, Greater Vancouver) over 12 years ago
Hi, Craig: Another great post to move staging forward! THANK YOU FOR all the hard work you put it for this industry and for the great content/cannon fodder you provide to those of us in the fight! I must beg you, though, and hope that you are open to hearing this since it is in line with your thesis about the importance of image, PLEASE let me help you proofread and edit your posts for grammar, punctuation and readability! Humbly, Kathy
Posted by Kathy Mohr (Begin It Today Design) over 12 years ago


When ever I post you are MORE then welcome to clean up my act.


Posted by Craig Schiller over 12 years ago

Great post, really enjoyed the layout of your slide show. :)


Posted by Michelle Finnamore, Preparing your property for sale (Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket) about 12 years ago

Your slide show is awesome.. and I love the home color scheme! You really have a great sense of design and I enjoy reading your blog.

Posted by Michele Connors, Your Eastern North Carolina Realtor (The Overton Group, LLC Pitt & Carteret County) almost 12 years ago

Gosh... I'm blown away.  Wow!  How did you do the slide show?  Can you A/R contact e-mail me because I might forget to come back here and check for your response later in the week.  Exceptional writing.  Strong points.  Thank you.

Posted by Maya Thomas, Broker, Please see my client recommendations. over 11 years ago

Great design - but it's the great photography that shows if off so well.

Posted by Michael Burke (San Diego Real Estate Photography by NaturaLight) over 11 years ago

Scanning through your blog, reading a little here and a little there...

Love this post.

What a wonderful way to show your talent.

Great photos.

Posted by 1~Judi Barrett, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) about 11 years ago

Craig ~ You couldn't be more correct. Pictures express a 1000 words. If a home stager and/or Realtor can take a picture - hire a professional. Your pictures are top notch.

Posted by Monique Combs, Royal Shell Real Estate - Monique Combs (Royal Shell Real Estate ) almost 11 years ago

Thanks for continually raising the bar for our work, Craig.

Posted by Beth Lester, Home Staging & Interior Decorating (Beth Lester Designs) over 10 years ago