By S.E. Slack

Ever thought of selling your home on your own to pocket more of the money? It’s certainly possible to do; there are lots of ‘For Sale By Owner’ signs out these days. Some of them sit for months while others sell quickly. The difference, say some, is in the way the home is marketed. A big part of marketing lies in the photos of the home. Get those wrong, and buyers won’t even cross the threshold.

Veteran photographer Aidan MacKerracher said home sellers should never forget that photos are the first impression of your home that prospective buyers have. Shots that show your interior rooms off as bright and roomy can bring buyers from the across the nation.

"Put the wrong ones on a flyer or online," said MacKerracher, "and you’ve lost dozens of potential buyers."

Using a camera phone is probably not going to get you the kind of shots MacKerracher is talking about. You need a professional-grade camera to truly make the home shine. Borrow one, he said, and preferably one that can be used on a tripod.

"The tripod will slow you down," he said, "but that will force you into thinking carefully and thoughtfully about the picture you’re about to take."

Think about clutter in the room, for example. If you’re shooting the master bedroom and trying to encapsulate the master bath as well, be sure the bed is made beautifully, the toilet seat lid is down and personal photos and mementoes are cleared from dressers. Buyers want to see a large, spacious room and imagine their own furniture placed in it.

Professional photographers use a wide angle lens to capture the most of a room.

"We have special lighting we can use, too," said MacKerracher. "But sellers can accomplish most of that effect by turning on every light and using a flash. That helps get rid of dark corners, so buyers can see more details and get a better idea of the size of the room."

Once your photo session is complete, ask friends to help you select the best shots.