Exterior Home Photography: What NOT To Do


It’s a fact: our loyal readers – that’s you! – love photography posts. Real estate headshots, bad listing photos, pole aerial photography, photographic tools… these are the subjects of some of our most popular posts.

Today we’re going to take a look at exterior home photography. While we’re not exactly trained photographers, we can certainly spot listing photos that just don’t work. And with so many home buyers judging listings by their photos, you know that a bad exterior shot just might prevent prospects from clicking through, no matter how nice the property really is.

Now without further ado – whether you choose to hire a professional or do it yourself – the six things to avoid in exterior home photography.

1. Trash

trash exterior home photography

In the case of exterior home photography, curb appeal translates directly to web appeal so do your sellers a favor and suggest they at least take 5 minutes to roll the trash cans in off the street. No buyer wants to spend money on a trashy house.

2. Trees

trees2 exterior home photography

Forget the forest, when you can’t see the listing for the trees, you’re in trouble! In this case, we can’t even see the bottom of the house, and the “landscaping” doesn’t make up for it. If a thorough trimming doesn’t help reveal the house, you might have to try aerial photography or creative angles. And please, wait until pedestrians are done crossing before snapping your shot!

3. Cars

cars exterior home photography

If a viewer can’t tell whether you’re selling a house or selling a car, there’s a problem. Too many listings have photos like this one (see also photo #1). Give your sellers advanced notice when you’re coming by to take photos of their place and ask them to move their cars. This particular photo could’ve done with a little less asphalt, too.

4. Dark


night home exterior photography

Dusk home exterior photography has its benefits. Midnight photography, not so much. If you want buyers to see themselves living in this house, they’ll have to be able to see the house first. And again, why so many cars?

5. Sink Holes

sinking house exterior home photography

Make sure your listings look level; it’s hard to sell a property that appears to be situated on a sink hole. While this is probably one of the easiest faux-pas for buyers to overlook, it’s also one of the easiest to avoid. Even most smartphone cameras let you enable grid lines to make sure your critical horizontal features are level.

6. Photoshop

photoshop exterior home photography

Don’t go crazy with photo editing software. We suspect most people won’t be fooled and, if they are, they will only be disappointed the first time they visit the house in person. A disappointed buyer is never your goal. (Our apologies to the good people at Adobe; we’re pretty sure Photoshop isn’t even to blame for this monstrosity.)

Remember: a good exterior shot will appeal to the right buyers and help move a listing quickly. Your ideal exterior listing photo will present a clean, unobstructed, well-lit and level view that accurately portrays the property in its best light. The above photos just don’t do the homes justice.

Do you take your own listing photos or hire a professional? What are some tips you’ve picked up along the way?


  • Always good fun looking at these crappy pictures. I always wonder why some REALTORS® cheap out on thier listing photos. It makes a bad impression upon the entire industry

  • More points I tell my sellers to move their cars from the driveway as I’m selling their house, not their car. That usually motivates them very quickly. Last thing is when it snows, I retake outside photos & when the snow melts, again I retake photos. Diminishes the perception of the property being on the market far too long.

  • Kristy Wagner says:

    good article. I have photo shopped the trash cans out of a picture before, but have not used the color enhancing technique! LOL

  • Anne Vandervort says:

    an angle shot where you get the front and a side usually makes a better shot than straight on and shows the size better. Focus on the front door, not the garage …

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