First impressions matter. And in real estate, they matter a lot.
Regardless of the status of your Studio City home — historical lineage, notable architect, high-end luxury updates, stunning views and location — a positive first impression is vital to maximize its value and ensure a lucrative sale. Nowhere is it more critical than your online listing.
From your listing agent's website to the MLS or digital aggregators to the home's own online property page, the images are the first thing a potential buyer will see and examine. Or, to put it more bluntly, the first thing they will scrutinize.
More than any other element in your online marketing, the pictures you present of your home can make or break your sale. The more captivating your property images, the more interested buyers you'll connect with. That produces a greater volume of offers and, more importantly, competition for your Studio City listing.
Below are five photography secrets to making your Studio City home stand out.
1. Ready your home
Before you snap any photos of your Studio City property or post the listing live, you'll need to prep your home for its close-up.
Already part of the general sales process, presale home prep includes cleaning and decluttering the entire residence. More than a simple spot clean, every space in the house requires a deep, top-to-bottom cleansing.
Scrub floors and vacuum rugs, dust furniture, and wipe down counters, cabinets, hardware, light and plumbing fixtures and appliances
Wash windows and clean oft-overlooked areas such as ceiling fans and baseboards, and crown molding
Pack up extra pillows and blankets, and organize and declutter closets, cabinets, bookshelves, and areas with exposed cords or wires
Don't neglect the home's exterior or utility spaces such as the front and back yards, garage, facade, drive- and walkways, and patios or decking.
Finally, stage your Studio City home. As an appeal to the wide range of buyers that will view your listing — and tour the property — update the home's physical presence to ensure a polished presentation.
2. Utilize as much natural light as possible
The time when you take your listing pictures impacts how others perceive your home. Few elements will help a Studio City home shine more than when it's draped in natural sunlight.
Generally, the best time to photograph a home's interior is between noon and 2 p.m. That's when the sun is bright, and your house takes in the most natural light. In addition, turn on the lights within a room to accentuate specific spaces — counters, vanities, work areas, or architectural elements.
An exception is when certain rooms show best at a particular time of day. Does your home's kitchen or breakfast nook come alive with the mid-morning sun? Or does a fading afternoon light cast a primary ensuite in a romantic silhouette? In either case, take plenty of photos to show the home in its most welcoming light.
When photographing the property exterior, the time of day is slightly less critical. Anytime between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. will work, but you'll want the sun illuminating the home and positioned behind the camera. The primary goal is for the property to be bathed in light with as few shadows as possible.
3. Sweat the details for captivating imagery
Following just a few basic rules of property photography will produce images more than worthy enough for marketing your home.
First, follow the rule of thirds. Imagine your image overlaid with a grid of nine squares — three horizontal sections and three vertical. The four points where the grid comes together are your focal point. From there, you can balance your photo across each section to produce a balanced image representative of the space you're photographing.
Next, capture an accurate representation of the room by being mindful of how you're shooting it. Many real estate photos are close-up shots of a home seller's furniture. Lovely as the furnishings may be, this tells a potential buyer nothing about the home they are considering buying. The same is true for zoomed-out pics taken at a distance. A buyer should interpret a space's general size and layout from well-taken photos.
Find a happy medium by shooting each room wide, around chest height, and in landscape mode. This will convey a sense of being in the room without disorientation.
Finally, while it's possible to use an iPhone or Android device to photograph your home, be mindful of their limitations. Dedicated high-end or mid-range cameras will produce higher-quality images than your phone. Consider investing, leasing, or borrowing the right equipment before your shoot.
4. Give your home a little (or a lot) of dramatic context
Both pictures and video captured by a drone produce images that showcase many of your home's intangibles. Items such as your lot's size and the home's physical footprint are crucial to investment seekers or buyers anticipating a renovation.
Elevated shots can also show off a property dramatically perched on a picturesque hillside. Or highlight where the home sits in relation to popular schools, neighborhood amenities, or proximity to the many shops and restaurants along Ventura Boulevard.
5. Consider hiring a professional
It's admirable to want to take your own property photos. Understanding what makes a great listing photo (and what doesn't) is also advantageous. But, if you don't want to leave your property marketing to chance, hire a professional photographer.
Consider where your photos (and videos) may ultimately end up during the listing process:
- Your listing agent's website
- Realtor, Trulia, or Zillow
- Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tik Tok, Twitter, or YouTube
A professional photographer, particularly one specializing in real estate, understands the importance of capturing the right imagery for your marketing needs. Whether a luxury compound in the Santa Monica Mountains or a studio home on the valley floor, they know the shots you need and how to capture your home's major selling points.