What Sells Part 2: Making Great Photos

Everyone is an amateur photographer, but when it comes to your business poor photos cost you money. The secret of great conversion is great pictures – we hear it all the time, but what does it really take? Forget the iPhone; you’ll need a decent camera. Let’s see what goes into making a great indoor photos:

Before You Start

  • You’ll need a wide angle lens
  • Turn on ALL lights
  • Turn on the TV to create an “at home” feeling.
  • Remove your own personal items from the room
  • Neatly arrange beds, towels, table decor (add newspapers or a coffee for instance)
  • In the kitchen, highlight appliances  (toaster, coffee machine)
  • If you can use a lens polarizer to eliminate reflected light.
  • Use the widest focal length of your lens
  • Set camera image type to RAW for better processing later
  • Set the camera ISO (light sensitivity) to minimum, (eg 100)
  • If the room is very sunny, use as small an aperture as possible. 5.6f would do
  • In darker rooms use 4f which should be sufficient to keep the pictures sharp
  • For hand held pictures do not exceed 1/30 of a second shutter speed to avoid blur
  • For tripod pictures use a slower shutter speed- set your ISO to the lowest, aperture 5.6f or bigger

Making Pictures

  • Set your lens to widest focal length to get as much into the picture as possible
  • Photograph rooms from all angles. You cannot make too many pictures
  • Bend onto one knee or sit on a chair to get extra shots. Pictures from low down often look better.
  • Make each picture in horizontal and vertical format, bearing in mind many different websites will be using the pictures differently.
  • Lean on walls to steady your arms and reduce blur.
  • Keep arms and elbows very close to the body Only your trigger finger should move.
  • Press the shutter gently when exhaling
  • Never use a flash – use only ambient light (windows) and light coming from lamps.
  • Your eyes see differently to a camera – avoid pointing the camera at big differences between light and dark (especially near windows)
  • Use the exposure lock if possible, taking an exposure reading in an area of average to high light level (between windows for example) . Using a darker exposure level will destroy details in pictures of bright areas which cannot be recovered in processing later. Lock the exposure and make pictures.
  • On a very sunny bright day, close the curtains – diminishing the contrast between light and dark areas.


  • Download RAW files to the computer and open them in the software of your choice
  • Choose the best pics (vertical and horizontal)
  • Change white balance to auto to eliminate of greenish, orange, blue hues, caused by tungsten/fluorescent bulbs
  • Check images for imperfections like objects or cables which detract from the image quality. Remove them by cropping the picture
  • If the photo is not straight, use a tool to straighten it up
  • For kitchens and bathrooms with white walls, white furniture and artificial light, experiment with the following color channels:

1. Lower the yellow color channel slider aggressively to make white become whiter
2. Killing yellow may improve whites, but spoil the color of kitchen wooden furniture and parquet – to warm it up it boost  orange just a little.
3. For kitchens with modern metallic furniture lit by modern low energy bulbs – lower the green color to take the edge off metallic objects.
4. For bedrooms try lowering blue which can be caused by light interacting with a wide angle lens

5. Use a lens vignetting tool to eliminate darker areas in the corners of your photos

6. Use a fill light tool to add a little bit of light in shadowy areas. Don’t overdo it. Overuse of this tool results and digital noise and “flat” , contrastless pictures.

  • Export corrected photos as JPG files and save them web ready (eg RGB color space, 640×640, 80% or better quality, 72 pixels/inch)