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How to Take Good Home and Pet Photos

House and pet photos are essential to getting your home noticed—an ad with photos is twice as likely to be consulted—but it’s not as simple as quickly snapping then uploading your images. To really capitalize on your home profile images, you need high-quality shots that capture the true essence of your living space. This means sharp, colorful, and appealing photos that show off your home and four-legged friends in the most flattering light.

If capturing high-quality images sounds like an overwhelming or expensive order, fear not. Taking good home and pet photos that attract housesitters is actually pretty simple. You don’t need a high-tech, expensive DSLR camera (although those work great!); these 7 straightforward strategies will help your images go from subpar to splendid.


1. Use Natural Light
One of the easiest ways to improve your home photography is to rely on natural light. Overhead lights add an unflattering yellow tint to images, so it’s best to shoot in the morning or daytime when you can open the windows and let the pretty, soft light naturally flood in.

To capitalize on the sunshine, photograph areas the light is naturally reflecting on; if a sunny window lights up your bedroom, shoot with the window at your back to capture soft light illuminating your desk or bed.

If you have to photograph toward the window, wait for a time of day when the sun is indirectly shining through. This way you’ll still get a nice, natural brightness without the harsh contrast that makes an image less appealing.

2. Photograph Wide and Close-Up
To help housesitters really get a feel for your home, upload a mix of wide shots that showcase an entire room with nice, close-up touches that show off the style and comfort of your home. For example, when showcasing your kitchen, capture a few images that include the table, appliances, and décor as well as photos that highlight a key part of the room (e.g., a fresh fruit basket with local produce, or a top-notch refrigerator). This image variety will virtually transport candidates into your home, helping them understand both the specs of your space and how they’ll feel once there.

3. Clear the Clutter
While as old school as they come, one of the best tips for improving your home photography is simply cleaning up the clutter. Don’t leave old envelopes, crumbs, or water bottles out when photographing your home; this will distract potential housesitters from all the work you put into décor and upkeep.

Instead, clean up each space before you shoot it and look at your images before calling it a day. I often miss a water bottle or two when looking at a room with my naked eye, so I find checking the actual images on my phone or camera preview screen helps me catch any untidiness.

4. Showcase the Neighborhood
While your home is the main attraction, housesitting candidates want to get a feel for your neighborhood, too—and photos are one of the best ways to do this. Wide-angle lenses for DSLR cameras will help you capture great street scenes or sweeping viewpoints (e.g., a terrace), but with the panoramic option, smartphones can capture wide and impressive shots, too. In terms of lighting, the best time of day to photograph any outdoor scenery is right around sunrise or sunset.


1. Photograph your Pets at Eye Level
Images of your pets at eye level help showcase their personality far better than shots from above. This trick is beyond easy; simply sit or kneel on the floor and shoot your pet looking (and, if possible, smiling) into the camera. Bonus points if you can use the iPhone portrait mode or a DSLR camera with a low “f-stop” (aperture) to blur out the background so the photo focus is entirely on your pet.

2. Use Squeaky Toys (or a High-Pitched Voice)
While any pet photo is likely to be cute, pet photos where your furry friend smiles or cocks their head will definitely cue the “awws” from housesitting candidates. To elicit these loveable photo expressions, use squeaky toys or a high-pitched voice right next to your camera while photographing. This will keep them looking at the camera while making adorable expressions that housesitters simply can’t say no to! (If you have a particularly frisky pet, use treats and some “stay” commands to try to keep them still.)

3. Show your Pets in their Natural State
To really entice housesitters, take them beyond your stationary, posed pet portraits and photograph your animal doing what they does best: sleeping, eating, and playing. Just like tip one, you’ll want to get on your pet’s eye level when photographing; in this instance, though, you’ll want to avoid the squeaky toys and treats so you’re not distracting your pet from their favorite activities. It’s doubtful you’ll be able to catch all of these action shots in one day, so keep a camera or your phone handy to capture your pet in its element whenever the moment strikes!

Whether it’s your home, pet, or neighborhood, there’s one key element of photography that can’t be missed: editing. Even the highest level photographers know editing can enhance a photograph, so use software such as Adobe Lightroom and PicMonkey or mobile apps such as Snapseed to slightly increase highlights, brightness, contrast, or saturation to help your home and pet images look their best. (The key here is slightly; it’s easy to go overboard with all the editing options available, but staying close to natural is your best home and pet photography option).

Photo 1 – Before editing with Snapseed

Photo 2 – After editing with Snapseed

With high-quality images on hand, there’s one more step to attracting ideal housesitters: writing an effect advert. In this guide to writing an advert to attract ideal housesitters, we break down the top five things you can do to get noticed by top-notch housesitting candidates.

Stephanie Vermillion

Stephanie Vermillion is a travel and lifestyle journalist, photographer, and filmmaker based in New York City. Her work has been published in outlets such as VICE, Fodor’s, Mental Floss, and The London Evening Standard. She spends her free time photographing her pup, Harry—or just about any animal she sees!

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