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How to Take Stellar Pictures to Attract Estate Sale Buyers

Old-fashioned chair on black background

There are roughly 5,000 estate liquidators (although some sources, like a 2013 Market Watch article, state that there are as many as 14,000) throughout the country. The sheer volume of estate sales indicates that there’s an in-demand market for snatching valuable goods at a fraction of the cost. But it also means it can be difficult for your listings to stand out from the others.

Give yourself an edge over your competition by taking high-quality and professional-looking photos. A quality photo can tip the scales in your favor and draw the right buyer to your next sale. Fortunately you don’t need fancy or expensive equipment to take great estate photos, either. Here are six tips to help you get started with the right tools and resources:

Use a High-Quality Camera

The first step in attractive and enticing estate photos is using a high-quality camera that’s sharp and color-accurate. Fortunately you don’t need an expensive camera to capture professional-looking photographs. For example, the iPhone 7 Plus features a dual 12-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization and True Tone Flash. The iPhone 7 also is splash-resistant, which makes it easier to capture photos in any situation or environment without worrying about damage.

Take Advantage of Natural Light

Skip artificial lights and lamps and focus on any natural light that’s streaming into the home. Check the weather forecast and schedule photos on the sunniest day possible. Open up the shades and window dressings to maximize the light in the room. However, if you’re trying to shoot a photo of something outside, like a car or piece of furniture, try to avoid the middle of the afternoon. Your photos could appear backlit and washed out because the sun is straight above you. Mornings and evenings work best for capturing the magic of natural light.


Make the items in your photos stand out by removing excess items around it. Wires, cords, remotes, gadgets and stacks of books can distract from the focus of your photograph. However, it’s not necessary to eliminate every item around it. Concentrate on tidying up the area, keeping the clutter to a minimum and making sure the focal point of your photograph is on the item you actually want to sell.

Set up a Tripod

Snapping a photo of an object with a handheld camera or smartphone can make your image look blurry. But that doesn’t mean they are out of the running. Check to see if your device has a motion stabilizing feature to help steady the image. In addition, a tripod ensures that you can capture a consistent, stable quality and keep motion blur to a minimum. There are also smartphone and tabletop tripods available for easy, on-the-go access, like the pint-sized Joby Grip Tight Mount.

Capture Multiple Angles

A single angle of your item may be sufficient in an advertisement, but it doesn’t give prospective buyers much context. Capture multiple angles to showcase the item’s best features. Another option is to use your iPhone to take a detailed video of larger items and explain their features, history and condition.

Use Photo Editing Tools

There’s still more you can do to transform your estate photos into professional-quality images. Your camera or iPhone’s photo editing tools can go a long way in correcting blemishes, issues with color and light, and effectively cropping for the best visual layout. iPhone Photography School recommends 10 apps that offer a variety of filter options, tools for adjusting the exposure, color enhancements and other features. We suggest trying Filterstorm Neue to bring more clarity to your photos and reduce noise.

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