Vacant homes present unique challenges. A property devoid of all furnishings may be a lovely place, but getting that across in photos can be very difficult. Why is this? Empty rooms rarely have a focal point, a specific element or elements that draw the viewer in. Effective photos are composed with not only a focal point but with the other elements in the shot encompassing, buoying, and magnifying the axis of the photo. Even when vacant rooms do have a specific focal point (like a fireplace or a picture window), that feature seems to float in a vacuum. It is set in its space, connected to nothing, with nothing grounding it to the room or showing off its appeal. It’s just there.

Here are a few examples from two shoots we did so you can see the difference. The architectural details and photograph angles are similar, and the photos are of similar sections of the two homes:

Vacant and Clean vs. Vacant and Staged


Entryway Staged

Dining Room:
Dining Room Unstaged

Bedroom Unstaged

Bedroom Staged

See it? Suddenly you can feel yourself sitting there, dining there, sleeping there. You can see yourself living there. Potential buyers see it too. Step one to making the sale complete! With effective staging, the reminders that someone else lived there are gone, leaving just the idealized vision of what it could look like as the buyer’s home. Perfect!

Stager Recommendations

We’ve noticed that a few of the realtors we shoot for consistently have beautifully-staged listings, and we asked them for their recommendations. The first company on the list below, OnStage, did the staging in the photos above.

And now… a pretty picture (because I like pretty pictures) from that same shoot above. This just makes me want to invite a friend over and start the morning off with kibitzing and espresso. Do you think this picture would have the same effect without the bistro table in it?

Our Thoughts

Staging is an extremely valuable part of preparing for a home’s photography or showing. It gives an idealized view of what a home could be without making it so personal that a prospective buyer identifies it with the sellers’ tastes instead of as something that they could see becoming their own. It’s aim is to project beauty and comfort rather than to be an extension of the current owner’s personality and specific taste.

About The Author

Rachel Shubin

Head Bosser. (Also, customer care, booking, billing, marketing, everything else that doesn't involve an actual camera). Need something? Just holler... Email: Phone/text: 503-975-3776

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