Hiring a professional photographer is a great first step to securing eye-catching listing photos, but at the end of the day, photographers can only work with what you give them.

The true key to jaw-dropping listing photography? That lies in the staging.

Want to make sure your listing photos stand out from the pack? Then use these tried-and-true tips to stage your listings for success:

  • Let there be light. Turn on all lamps, lights, and recessed lighting. Make sure all bulbs are of the same temperature and color.
  • Show off your views. Open all blinds, drapes, and window treatments to let in natural light. This includes slats and curtains in front of sliding glass doors.
  • Focus on the floors. Remove all small rugs and show as much floor as possible, especially if there is wood or tile flooring.
  • Close and pull together. Make every bed, close every toilet, and hang solid-colored towels on every towel rack.
  • De-personalize. Remove all personal photographs. Consider replacing them with simple landscapes or nature photographs.
  • Tidy up. De-clutter and remove any knick-knacks or small decor items. Stick to basic decor and must-have furniture; anything else can go in a drawer or cabinet until photos are done.
  • Brighten and whiten. Shine any stainless steel appliances, and wipe down walls, mirrors, counters, and light switches where necessary. Consider adding a clean coat of white or off-white paint to brighten up darker rooms.
  • Make it feel like home. Add a simple vase of fresh flowers or a potted plant in barren areas. Try to keep plants seasonal if at all possible.
  • Don’t forget the front. Remove cars and garbage cans from the street, driveway, and garage. Rake leaves and sweep up any debris on the sidewalk or in front of the home.
  • Pick up out back. Tidy up the backyard by putting away children’s toys, grills, wheelbarrows, and anything smaller than a picnic table. If there is outdoor furniture available, make sure it is clean, set up, and properly arranged.

Remember, great listing photography matters. According to the Wall Street Journal, buyers spend about 60 percent of their time looking at listing photos and a mere 20 percent of it reading the description. Throw in that most people are scrolling through listings on their phones — and visual appeal is even more important. Make sure your photos are enough to stop buyers in their tracks and grab their attention. It could make all the difference!