How to Photograph a House


Dark, hazy cell phone pictures makes a house feel dreary or downright creepy.

When potential buyers or renters are looking for a place to call home, they are judging the house by the photos presented online. If the photos are dark, hazy, or just unwelcoming, they quickly move along to the next house. In this week’s blog post, we’re going to cover how to photograph a house so people will want to live there.

Maximize the floor space

Start by using a wide angle lens and a tripod. I use a 24-105mm lens at the 24mm focal length. You’ll want a chest-height photo of each room to minimize the distortion. By using a tripod, you’ll get consistent results throughout the whole house.

Stand in the corner and photograph towards the opposite corner. You want to skim the molding on the ceiling so the floor takes up as much of the photo as possible. This is going to help the room look larger.

Pay attention to the little things

Because I photograph empty homes, they have usually just been cleaned but may have some cleaning supplies left on the counter. Put these items out of sight. Other little things to watch out for include:

  • Putting the toilet lid down
  • Fixing crooked blinds
  • Closing the shower curtain
  • Staying out of mirror reflections

Know when to use natural light and when to use flash

For homes with lots of character and windows, it’s best to use a tripod and slow shutter speed to allow natural light and shadows to show off the character of the home. However, natural light will highlight imperfections. In cases of dark homes with imperfections such as less than professional paint jobs, it’ll be better to use a flash to fill in shadows. If you have a DSLR with an external flash, point your flash straight up at the ceiling and allow the light to bounce around the room.

Natural light of old house

Flash pointed forward- notice the shadow from the ceiling fan pulls and the bright spot of light on the left
Photographing a home for rent
Flash pointed at ceiling


Use Adobe Lightroom to make your images pop

Back in the office, I use Adobe Lightroom to do finishing touches on the photos. If I didn’t use my gray card for a custom white balance, my “white balance hack” is to use the dropper to select the white molding. This takes a little trial and error because white molding in the shade has a different color temperature than white molding in direct sunlight. It is a matter of eyeballing it until it looks right so I definitely suggest setting a custom white balance in camera when possible.

You’ll also be able to use the straighten tool (labeled: Angle) to fix any photos that might seem tilted.

Because of the wide angle lens, there may be noticeable distortion to your photos.  A great tool for correcting this is “Enable Profile Corrections” under Lens Corrections.

I also adjust my exposure, saturation, contrast, and clarity to create vibrant and clear photos.

Know when to outsource

Don’t have a DSLR or don’t have time to photograph a house AND edit the images? Outsource to a competent real estate photographer! Katie Smith Photography offers competitive rates for photographing houses in the Alamance and Orange County area. We offer a 48 hour turn around time for you to get your photos online and sold/rented quickly.

Need a great headshot for your realtor or property management website or business cards? Katie Smith Photography offers professional headshots on location or in studio. Check out our headshot page to learn more.

3 Month Baby Portraits in Mebane, NC

3 Month Baby Portraits in Mebane, NC

I met this family last year for a maternity portrait session in Durham, NC.  I loved getting to know them and I was really excited to see them again for their son’s three month portraits.

When they walked into the studio, my first thought was “Wow, he looks just like his daddy!” My second thought was how much I loved his hair.

When Mom pulled these sunglasses from the diaper bag, I knew something adorable was about to happen. The sunglasses with that serious face makes me smile every time I see it.

3 month old baby wearing sunglasses

Katie Smith Photography has a cozy home studio located a half mile from Downtown Mebane.

When not photographing adorable babies and their parents, Katie Smith enjoys visiting Alamance County’s parks and trying out local ice cream parlors.

Want your baby’s milestones captured?  We recommend sessions at 2 weeks old, 3 months old, 6 months old, and 12 months old. Our Grow With Me plan is perfect for capturing all these beautiful milestones. Email for more information.


Your Guide to Professional Headshots

Your Guide to Professional Headshots

You want to make a great first impression on your customers. You dress right, you practice your speech, and you have a great handshake.  However, thanks to websites like LinkedIn and Facebook, your profile photo can be your first impression. What impression are you giving?

When a customer sees your photo, they’ll subconsciously ask themselves these questions:

  • Will they like you?
  • Do you look friendly and approachable?
  • Are you professional? Do you look competent at your job?
  • Do you appear trustworthy?

If your photo isn’t friendly or professional, you might miss the opportunity because it even gets a chance to knock!

How to Prepare for a Professional Headshot Session

What makes a great headshot?

Like most things, you’ll know it when you see it but how can you make sure it’ll be great before you see it? It starts with making sure you look your best- taking care of your skin, dressing in a way that represents your brand- and ends with a photographer that can capture your spirit.

A great headshot is not a selfie, a vacation photo, or your family portrait.


Most importantly, wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident. Don’t be concerned about your shoes since they won’t appear in the photos.

Most men and women wear blazers over button up shirts or blouses. If this doesn’t fit your brand, you’ll still want to wear long sleeves.

Long sleeves helps the viewer’s eye be drawn to your face.

Solid colors and textures photograph best. Avoid busy patterns to keep the customer’s focus on your face.

Consider the impact of your clothing’s colors.  Red ties and blazers project self-confidence and power. Yellow ties show optimism and outgoing friendliness but not considered professional. Black ties and dresses are very formal or can be too solemn. Burgundy and navy are classic tie colors that you can’t go wrong with.

If you will be wearing glasses when meeting customers, you should be wearing them in your professional headshot. Avoid reflective and transitional lenses.  If possible, bring a set of frames without lenses to prevent glare and refraction.

Skin & Hair

Make your salon or barbershop appointment about a week before picture day. Now is not the right time to try a new style so stick with your current look.

Ladies, don’t overdo it on the makeup. Keep your natural every day look. Save the heavy makeup for glamour portraits.

Men, avoid stubble by shaving an hour before your photo session.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and get your beauty sleep so you feel refreshed and ready to show off your dazzling smile.

What to Bring

*lint roller

*hair brush/spray

*make up for touch ups

*oil absorbing sheets

*Props- this is really only important if you have a certain object the pertains to your work, such as I do with my camera.


With Katie Smith Photography, all our images are retouched. Our typical retouching include whitening teeth, brightening eyes, and removing blemishes and stray hairs.

before and after retouching

Excessive retouching such as removing birthmarks, tattoos, braces, and wrinkles from clothing will incur an additional $50 retouching fee.


Before your headshot session, we’ll have a quick 10 minute phone consultation to go over your professional headshot needs. What business will you be representing? What emotions do you want to convey? Do you need to look strong and powerful or more laidback and friendly? Do you have any particular concerns about your appearance? By communicating all your questions and concerns, I’ll be able to help your create an attention-grabbing headshot that will help you stand out from your competition.