Last weekend, I spent some time on the cold city streets, trying to take some artsy photos. I must say, despite some friendly comments on my Facebook posts, I don’t think I quite have what it takes to make it in the art world.

Real estate photography, on the other hand, doesn’t require any innate sense of art, just an understanding of a few basic principals.

First of all….

  • CLEAN THE PLACE UP!

Remember, we are trying to convey to future renters that the home is spacious, with room for all the things they will soon be boxing and dreading unboxing. Even a few books or containers or kitchenware laying around may seem natural and “lived in” to you, but in the brain of all potential renters, whether they are aware of it or not, there is a voice shouting “WHY IS THERE NO ROOM ANYWHERE ELSE TO PUT THIS!?”

Let your future tenants leave out as much junk as they want once they move in, but, for now, let them imagine their new life in your property as clean and uncluttered.

Another important thing?

  • Straight lines

The only thing as bad as having no photos with your listing is having terrible photos with your listing. You aren’t selling the Leaning Tower of Pisa, so don’t create the impression that you are. Keep the camera as straight as you can: prop it up on a shelf of table or stack of books if you need to, but most of all, make sure the camera is level.

Before you post your photos look at them on your computer screen. If the lines of the walls do not run straight up and down (use a ruler to check!) either rotate the picture or retake it. A slanted photo not only makes your property seem unappealing, it also makes you seem unprofessional and careless, which also will make a potential renter less likely to arrange to look at your property.

  • Lights! Camera! Action!

The time of day you take the pictures is also important. It shouldn’t look like a spaceship has just landed outside the property’s windows, for example. If you take your pictures about an hour before sunset, the lighting inside will be about the same as the lighting outside, so the windows will not look like glowing orbs of light. This is one of those details that may have very little to do with how good or bad your actual property is, but doing the wrong thing can produce a very bad impression on potential renters when they are looking at your photos.

There are a few more things to keep in mind.

  • Shoot from a flattering angle

Taking pictures at an angle from one of the corners of a room usually creates a more appealing impression than a head-on shot, which too often looks like a police evidence photo.

  • Be normal!

You want viewers to imagine themselves in the new place, so avoid idiosyncrasies. In other words, remove doll collections, stuffed deer from the wall, ironic posters of past era country music stars, or whatever ever else may not be part of the next occupants’ image of themselves in their new place.

Follow these rules and you’ll do great. Use Showmojo to market your properties and schedule your showings and you’ll do even better. Do this right and you’ll get the place rented quickly enough to devote time to your other responsibilities and interests, be they photography related or not.