St Augustine, St Johns County Real Estate & Home Staging

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What do your photos show? A new look at a staging portfolio....

One of my goals for 2008 is to remove all stock photography from my websites.  We have great portfolio pictures on the appropriate pages, but the main photos are not mine.  They were put there by my web designer when we started the sites (2 years ago for www.redesigningcharleston.com  and 1 year ago for www.stagingandredesign.com) This year, I want all of them to be mine or one of my associates.  When I started trying to pick out photos to use a few months ago I realized that the focal points of my work were not exactly like what I currently have posted..... Most of my photos looked like this....

      

The photos are pretty standard.  We use them a lot for before and afters.... What was the key difference between this and what I wanted?  I should have known... this after all is what I do.... determining focal points.

My current photos were more focused on the actual design work - color, texture, etc.  Ah ha!  I needed to look at my work differently and photograph accordingly. 

    

Now I know these aren't perfect.  I should have adjusted the seat cushions (didn't notice until I had gone home) and the window glare is a bit much..... it is a start though....

When showing off our portfolio, sometimes we should actually focus on the elements of the design job, not just provide a full view of the room.

Check out this layout from my new portfolio book using my new photographic techniques....

This view of the slipcovered eat in area is much more interesting than the whole room would have been... same as the metal geese..... now if only I could figure out how to straighten out lines, etc the way Craig does..... who has time for that anyway?

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Update:  Because I have received numerous questions about the photo book, I have posted additional information on this in Sharpen Your Sword.  The link to the blog is Juliet, Beth & Maureen are smart cookies.... you'll want what they have - I did!

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 Author Bio: Melissa Marro, Home Staging Industry leader, Realtor, and entrepreneur offers a unique perspective on New Home Construction, Resale Residential Real Estate, and Home Staging

For more information on buying or selling in the Fleming Island, Orange Park, or Jacksonville, area, visit StageListSellNEFL.com or call Melissa Marro (marro.melissa at gmail.com), Keller Williams First Coast Realty, for more information (904-466-2093).

 

Comment balloon 38 commentsMelissa Marro • December 27 2007 09:47PM

Comments

I'm with you Melissa...my photography has to improve.  I keep reading the info. in the Photography group, but, oh my it sounds SO-O complicated and I'm not good with the learning curve for software, like I hear about Photoshop.  Wish I had more patience with that stuff. 

I have the same problems with decorative pillows.  I don't notice the problems with them until I'm home looking through my photos...ahhhh! 

How did you organize you portfolio, by the house, by rooms, or ????

I really like your close-up  detail shots.  I'm going to experiment with some too.  Thanks for the inspiration. 

 

 

Posted by Ginger Foust, Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging (Certified Staging Professional) almost 11 years ago

Yeah, no time to learn elements or photoshop.... when I get to that point I'll pay for a professional photographer! 

I typically group by room, color or theme... because I want a consistent flow, I felt it was important to make sure that both right and left pages worked well together... they were not alway the same house, but if they were different then the colors or themes all worked together...

Here is another example....

These are from the same home, but different rooms and elements from that home.  This shows the client both the full vision of the room as well as the accessories, etc we place in the home.... if this were just full room shots I think it would be less visually interesting.... It also more clearly answers the eternal question of what kind of furniture, etc we put in homes. 

One thing about this layout is I feel it highlights the way we make every home feel rich.... the first set of pages is from a home listed at around $225,000 the second set is from a home listed over $3 million.  While you understand that when you see examine the photos, I don't feel it jumps off the page - particularly in the closeups.  It is more obvious in the full views...

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 11 years ago
WOW...your photos are amazing Melissa.  The different angles lend an etirely new perspective to your  work.  Very professional looking with an "artsy" feel.   I'm a newbie and as always, I learn so much from your posts.  Thank you...
Posted by Lonni McDonough, Realtor - Eagle, ID Real Estate; 208-949-3845 (Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Group ) almost 11 years ago

You do such a wonderful job and I don't think you'll have any trouble replacing the stock photos on your website with your own work!  I find that great photos are so hard to achieve... it seems I never have the right lighting, angles, etc.  Like Ginger, I try and check in on the photography group, but she's right... unless you're an electronic techie, its very confusing!  I love the way you have closeups and full room shots.  Like Lonni said, it really provides a different perspective of the same space.  Thanks for sharing and definitely an updated portfolio is at the top of my priority list for 2008!

Lisa Sherman ~ Interior Aura

Posted by Lisa Sherman, Home Stager, Interior, Redesign & Decorating - Salem Oregon (Interior Aura) almost 11 years ago

THIS is what I need to improve on for 2008!!!! (Forgot to incorporate it into my plan!).

Thanks for the reminder...

I started to do this with the "after" pic's of my last couple of reno's....but I can always use more tips..

Thanks!

julia

Posted by Julia Fedak, IRIS, CSP (Platinum Home Designs ) almost 11 years ago

Thanks Melissa for the additional information and photos.  Is this a photo album or a book that you've created like others from Shutterfly or ????

 

Posted by Ginger Foust, Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging (Certified Staging Professional) almost 11 years ago
This is wonderful, glad I got you thinking...portfolio, next on the agenda.  You are soo right, a little more from our eye, rather than the camera...later,
Posted by Terrylynn Fisher, HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc. (Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com) almost 11 years ago
Ooo! I love your photos showing texture, color and various elements. It does show more visual interest in a portfolio. I've been trying to look through the eye of my camera a little differently the last couple of vacant staging's I've done, but I really didn't know what I was looking for! Now I know! One of my goals for 2008 is to make a great photo book via Shutterfly. Thanks Mellisa! You are a great teacher.
Posted by Roberta Anderson, Hearth & Home Staging, Staging Kitsap County (Hearth & Home Staging) almost 11 years ago

I need to do this.  You've made it look much much more appealing and I think the photos are great.  Thanks for the post!

Posted by Cindy Richter, IRIS Dallas, TX Home Stager (Interior Motiv Home Staging) almost 11 years ago
Wow Melissa!!! You have inspired me! I always feel like my shots should reflect the rooms, but WHY??? I'm not the realtor. I should be showcasing the beautiful furnishings and artistic details! Thanks for the wakeup call!!! I will continue my standard before and afters, but I will be looking for the closeups and interesting angles too!!!
Posted by Elaine Manes Gage, Staging done ONLINE! (Home Staging Online Services) almost 11 years ago
Melissa, I just spent about 20 hours doing my portfolio.  Sorting through pictures, choosing the right background paper, framing, yada yada yada.  It was grueling and time consuming but the results were good.  Hopefully when showing my portfolio, people will enjoy the experience because its such an important marketing tool, we can't afford not to make a premiere presentation.  I like yours BTW.  Is that shutterfly?  I'm thinking of taking mine to a print shop to see if they can reproduce it for me so I can leave copies here and there.
Posted by Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495 (Stage it Right!) almost 11 years ago

Melissa: I applaud you for taking the stock photos off of your website. I feel cheated when I look at someone's website and realize that they have used stock photos instead of photos of their own work. What is says to me is that this person either doesn't have the confidence in their own work to display it, that the person is not up to good caliber work, that they were misguided by their web designer, etc. or a little bit of all of the above. I am sure there are many other reasons people have for doing it not listed here. But you are someone with a huge portfolio of wonderful work completed by you or your company. Get rid of those stock photos, and show the world what great work you can do.

I also have to congratulate you on the beautiful photos of your work. I really like your new style of showing more detail and texture.

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) almost 11 years ago

Lonni - Thank you so much!  This is why I always recommend AR to new stagers.  It is great to see what other stagers are doing.... after all, I got the information on the portfolio book from Maureen....

Lisa - a good portfolio is very helpful.  I have learned that I enjoy the close up more artistic photos more than the full on room shots now.  I, of course, take both and use what is appropriate.  You just never know when those new shots are going to be of use though...

Julia - at least you hve an active plan.... that is a good start!  Editing this into it will be a piece of cake!

Ginger - I created mine on kodakgallery.com but it is basically the same as shutterfly

Terrylynn - it will take you a few hours to put together & you need to have a wide range of photos... Maureen also used an about me section, etc..... tons of ideas.

Roberta - Thanks!  Yeah, it took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to look for.  It may still take me 8-10 photos of the wrong thing to get the one I like.  It's weird because sometimes it is the angle I hold the camera that makes all the difference.  My daughter is taking photography in school, hopefully eventually she'll just come take the photos for me!  She is coming to work for me this summer... lol...

Cindy - happy to help out!  I was so excited when I actually sat down to make the book.... then of course I had to make scrapbooks using that program for my mom, mother in law and dad for Christmas...  lol.. I'm hooked!

Elaine - Yes!  I take full room photos for the agent, before and after photos and now these also.... then I use what is appropriate for whatever project I'm working on....

Terry - It did take several hours with Kodakgallery.  Thankfully all the photos were already in the system.  The book cost about $35 and was well worth it!

Michelle - just to be clear, my portfolio photos have ALWAYS been mine.. it was the main page of my website and then the sidebars.  The site was a pre-built site and I just had to add verbage and my photos.  Now I'm changing it up to have nothing but our work.  It won't be up by the first like I had planned - I've just been too busy but it will be soon!

 

 

 

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 11 years ago
Melissa ~ I love the way the book looks and your new way of showing off your pictures.  I think that sometimes a whole room shot can be like "okay, what am I looking at here?"  By focusing in on accessories and furniture I think you are showing those up close details that make a difference.
Posted by Kathy Passarette, L.I. Staging/Decorating (Creative Home Expressions) almost 11 years ago
Melissa: My apologies. When I went back and read what I had written, I did insinuate that the stock photos were in your portfolio, when I should have said "on the home page of your website".  I have edited my comment to better reflect my thoughts. My point was to congratulate you for taking the step to better represent what you are capable of and show off your great talent.
Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) almost 11 years ago

Update:  Because I have received numerous questions about the photo book, I have posted additional information on this in Sharpen Your Sword.  The link to the blog is Juliet, Beth & Maureen are smart cookies.... you'll want what they have - I did!

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 11 years ago

Hi Melissa- Good ideas!  I personally like to see a combination....rooms AND elements.  Sometimes I feel unsure about a stager's ability when what I view in their portfolio is just a simple vase with flowers.  Just a place setting...etc. This alone does not let me know how well a stager can handle the flow of a room or existing elements.  Does that make sense to you?

Keep up your constant thinking Melissa..it keeps us all on our toes as well!!  Regards-Kathleen G

 

Posted by Kathleen Garvey, Denver's Neighborhood Expert - Listings & Sales (HomeSmart Cherry Creek - Denver) almost 11 years ago

Melissa, you are always setting the bar higher for us!

Now I not only have to refocus my marketing in 2008 as well as get myself the portfolio books...now I have to take magazine type photos...mumble, grumble...nice work btw!

 

Posted by Toronto's 2 Hounds Design: Decorating + Staging (2 Hounds Design + Home Staging) almost 11 years ago

Kathy - I agree completely.  Showing both up close and room shots help to see the whole picture...

Michelle - thanks for the correction.  I understand and agree completely this is why the changes are being made. 

Kathleen- YES!  The overall flow of the book shows varying work, rooms and elements.  If you view the additional photos in my other blog you will see how they all compliment each other....

Dane - lol.... yeah, like you don't already take magazine quality photos!  I saw your blog about broken favorite things... that close up was top notch and exactly what I'm talking about!

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 11 years ago

Melissa,

Great photos!  When I grow up I hope to be as talented as you are.

I just launched my website- www.designbymarla.com .  One of the things I struggled with is whether or not to use stock photos.  I decided against it.  Even though I'm just starting and don't have a lot of photos yet, all of the photos are my own.  I'm happy with my decision and my new website ;) .

Posted by Marla Hofstee, Design by Marla- Home Staging, Burbank & Los Angeles, CA (Design by Marla) almost 11 years ago

I just got a Nikon D80 and used it for the first time today. The pictures came out wonderful! 

I too intend to take more close-ups of the accessories and display my work a little differently (for certain things).  I'll always take big room views of the rooms (before & after) as it more clearly reflects the changes we can have in a room.

Great post, Melissa.

Kathy

Posted by Kathy Nielsen, Atlanta Georgia Home Stager (http://atlantahomestaging.net) almost 11 years ago

Very inspiring post, Melissa.  I just finished a portfolio book, but for the next one I will include the artistic elements and unique closeups like you demonstrated.  Thanks for continuing to educate and motivate us!

Kathy R.

Posted by Kathy Riggle, Houston Home Staging (STAGING SMART N SOLD) almost 11 years ago
Melissa - I love the new look of your pics.  I have been trying to achieve this exact same thing for my website.  HSR calls it "Emotional Connections Points"  My problem is that my site is pink and I can't find any pictures in my work that will match it.  It is so frustrating.  
Posted by Maureen Maureen almost 11 years ago

lol, Melissa, take a look at *all* my other fotos...that one I had the opportunity to wait for just the right light, etc. The rest suck!

 

Posted by Toronto's 2 Hounds Design: Decorating + Staging (2 Hounds Design + Home Staging) almost 11 years ago
I like how you include close ups along with a full shot of the room.  Depending on the situation I can see a use for both types of shots.  Nicely done!
Posted by Michele Hess, Home Stager Rockford - Simply Staged Inc (Simply Staged Inc.) almost 11 years ago

There seem to be a lot of people that are concerned about getting the photography right for their staging work and for the sale of the house.  I partnered up a while back with a good photographer and I don't have to worry about it at all.  We end up budgeting a certain amount for each house and the photographer works on a combination hourly and per shot delivered basis.  Since I know our MLS has a max of 15 photos we'll try and max what we can for each property.  If a home needs it, we'll do more and use those for additional marketing materials and virtual tours.

My photographer has brought my listing photos to a whole new level and I thank him for it regularly.

Reba Haas

Team Reba of RE/MAX Metro Realty (Seattle, WA)

Posted by Reba Haas almost 11 years ago

Melissa,

Thank you for the inspiration! I really need to get my act together when it comes to my portfolio. Adding it to my To Do List now.

Posted by Anthea Click, Nashville Home Stager - Selling Nashville, TN homes quickly! (Fresh Perspectives - www.InsideNashvilleHomes.com) almost 11 years ago

I love what you've shown us here, Melissa.  I've taken close ups before but never did anything with them because as you mentioned, we often post the full rooms for before and afters.  I'll be sure to zoom in here and there.  I've cropped images to just get details before...my pic files are so big that it doesn't usually effect the end result much.

 

Posted by Abby Roselli, Staten Island Home Stager (ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC) almost 11 years ago
Melissa, how did I miss all of this?  I love the book and am bookmarking so I can examine it and how to do it more closely.  Looks absolutely fantastic.  Betty  PS  Thanks for all the links needed to get started.
Posted by Betty Haney (Haney Consulting) almost 11 years ago
Melissa,  great post.  You're right, the photos are much more interesting and intriguing when they are close up.  We will definitely be putting this technique to the test in our work!
Posted by Holly Klaus, Room Revisions (Room Revisions) almost 11 years ago
WOW I love the new look, I will be re-doing my photos also...that a great idea !! That is exactly why I love AR,,,all the great and wonderful ideas from creative people like yourself. Thank you so very much for sharing...
Posted by Mary Lou Teague, Home Style and Staging Knoxville. TN (HOME STYLE AND STAGING LLC ) almost 11 years ago
You can go back and crop areas from whole room photos to make interesting detail shots.  Depending on the resolution you may get some grainy results though.  You are so right about the details often showing up as being more interesting than the whole room.  Some staged rooms just don't photograph a well as they look in real life.  Great post and good points.
Posted by Pam Faulkner, Room Transformations Fairfax & Loudoun Counties VA (Faulkner House Interior Redesign) over 10 years ago
Thanks for the awesome ideas- your pictures look like they are out of a design magazine. Very nice! ~Leslie
Posted by Leslie Hoyt, Hello Home! (Hello Home!) over 10 years ago
I started doing the close ups last year and they are getting better.  Remember the closer you go the more the wrinkles etc show up.  Kind of like with women right!!! I have to get better before because we always jump right in and then remember to take pictures.
Posted by Kathleen Lordbock, Keller Williams Realty Professionals (Keller Williams Realty Professionals) over 10 years ago
I started doing the close ups last year and they are getting better.  Remember the closer you go the more the wrinkles etc show up.  Kind of like with women right!!! I have to get better before because we always jump right in and then remember to take pictures.
Posted by Kathleen Lordbock, Keller Williams Realty Professionals (Keller Williams Realty Professionals) over 10 years ago
Your work is so crisp and clean, Melissa. A friend pointed out to me today that I should take close-ups, I've just been so focused on the "big" picture, but the details along side them in your examples are inspiring, Thnx for sharing this 
Posted by Ronelle Schroeder-Hill over 10 years ago

Aloha Melissa,

Very nice work, especially with the different angles. I use the same layout on my site and I also throw in a few black & whites when I can't get the correct color saturation due to inadequate lighting.

Peace,

Posted by Kimo Stowell, REALTOR Associate® RS-76763 - Honolulu Hawai'i (HI Pro Realty LLC RB-21531 ) over 10 years ago

I  get too caught up in all the before and after shots, and you can't see the detail of the work...but I'm trying.

Posted by Cindy Bryant, "Houston Home Staging Pros" (Redesign Etc. Home Staging) over 10 years ago

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