Photos sell remodeling companies — or don’t sell them. The photo below illustrates what marketing experts say typifies the “warts and all” impression that home­owners often get from projects photographed from the remodeler’s perspective.

“Homeowners see photos differently than remodelers do,” says David Alpert, of Continuum Marketing Group. From Web traffic analysis, he knows that visitors to remodelers’ Web sites almost always view portfolios first. If the photos are bad, they often move on to the next remodeler on their list.

The photo phenomenon is “kind of like a Rorschach test,” Alpert says. To the remodeler, a project evokes memories of “the hidden images” — how the space changed, the hours of work that created its details. To the home­owner, it’s just another blah project that pales in comparison to the professionally staged homes they see in the media every day.

The challenge: How do you get the home­owner to see the butterfly and not the ink blot?


Use a wider-angle lens to capture more of the new room and less of the old kitchen. Sharpen the focus to direct the eye to key details, or to better showcase the entire space. Crop out the sconce on the far left and the clutter at the fore.


Use artificial lighting to minimize contrasts between interior and exterior light, to eliminate distracting hot-spots and glare, and to capture texture and details. Use dimmer lamp bulbs. Alternative: Take multiple photos with different exposures, then blend them using Photoshop into a more natural, consistent exposure.


De-clutter the kitchen area. Straighten out or remove the tree — not everyone celebrates Christmas. Turn off the ceiling fan or photograph at a proper speed to capture the blades. Turn on the TV so that it's less of "a black hole [that] your eye gravitates toward," Alpert says.