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In the second part of our 12 step series to home swap success, today we speak to some experts on how to take pro pictures of your home.

A good photo will not only make your home look as amazing as it is, but carefully created pictures will also show your commitment and investment in home exchange.

But home swapping is such an exciting step to take that the temptation is often to grab your phone or camera, snap a few quick pictures, upload them and get messaging.

While there's nothing wrong with this, a carefully photographed listing will probably generate much more interest and who doesn't want to do a photoshoot of their own home?

In this guide we'll talk you through how to make your listing photos the best they can possibly be. You don't need to be a professional photographer to use them and most of these tips will help whether you're using a professional SLR or your camera phone.

What will I need?

Love Home Swap doesn't limit the number of photos you can upload and you can even have none if you really want (we wouldn't recommend it...)

That being said, 15 - 20 photos seems to be the magic number, as it will allow you to give a thorough and realistic portrayal of your home, while being few enough that swappers will be happy to click through them all.

So what should these 15 - 20 consist of? Which rooms should make the cut? Here are our suggestions:

- The outside of your home

- Any outside space you have

- Your living room/ lounge

- Your kitchen

- At least one bathroom

- At least one bedroom

- Anything you make specific reference to in your bio, if possible (appliances, gadgets or amenities)

 

We'd also recommend including picture of...

- You on holiday that show your personality and interests

- Any house pets you have (especially if you're hoping fellow swappers will care for them)

- Any interesting views you have from your home

- Pictures of the local area and places of interest

Embrace your individuality. People love interesting spaces, do your home justice by showcasing what sets it apart. After all, they're all things you'll never get in a hotel.

It's all in the detail

Remember, people want to imagine themselves on holiday in your home, so an eye for detail will really benefit your listing. It shows that you're a thoughtful swapper and helps to keep the illusion alive.

First, the basics:

- Let in the light by opening curtains and putting the lights on

- Have a proper tidy up (clear away the laundry/ dishes and empty the bins)

- Remove (or organise) any unnecessary clutter

- Make the beds and fold the towels

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... and for a little added extra:

- Embrace angles. Taking pictures from multiple perspectives and angles will help you to get the most flattering shot of the room and uploading a few shots of each room will help swappers get an idea of the space.

- Make it look special. Just as you clear up the clutter, it's nice to add in some extra appropriate details too. A vase of beautiful flowers, a colourful fruit bowl, a fan of magazine or a bottle of wine and a couple of empty glasses on the table are all easy ways to editorialise your pictures and make them really come alive.

- Create an atmosphere. Whether it's putting on a fountain, lighting a few candles or illuminating the garden with outdoor lights. Whatever you do to make your home look and feel cozy and relaxing, why not share it with your potential swappers?

- Think seasonal. If your home looks best in the sunshine or under a blanket of snow, make sure that's how you show it. If the thunderclouds descend when you first photograph your home, make a note to reshoot when the weather picks up. Doing this will show your home in the possible best light, literally.

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The tech spec

Like most websites, there are optimum sizes and dimensions for the pictures you upload to Love Home Swap. If you're looking to make the most of that image box, this is the spec you should consider.

- Keep it landscape (the image box is landscape only, so portrait images are cropped)

- 640 x 365 minimum

- 128:73 aspect ratio

- <5GB

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Our professional's top tips

Photography is both an art and a science, so we spoke to some photography experts to find out what you can do with your camera to really make sure you're getting the best picture of your home. Here's what they had to say:

- Embrace the golden hour - Especially for outdoor pictures, photographing during the first and last hour of sunlight will wash your home in the softest, most diffused light of the day.

- Shoot from a corner - By shooting your photo from a corner the room is likely to look bigger and it'll also give a truer idea of the space..

- Work in thirdsThe rule of thirds is a tried and tested photographic technique which creates balance in pictures by having different elements in thirds (sky, sea, land for instance). This will create a more captivating image.

- Straighten out - With any lines across your picture, pay attention to symmetry and straightness. If your camera is tilted lines will look diagonal, which can be distraction. Aim for straight lines.

- Steady nowFor those straight lines, as well as crisp and clear photos, a tripod will do wonders. Even if you have a steady hand, a tripod will give your pictures a much crisper, professional look.

- Keep it eye levelWith digital technology the need to hold your camera at eye level has been all-but eliminated, but there's a benefit to doing it anyway. Holding at eye-level will give the sense of human perspective that will help swappers to imagine they're in the space themselves.

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Last but not least...

Show your home for what it is.

Home swapping is all about having an authentic, local holiday - so don't get caught up in trying to make your place look like a show home. Focus on making your home the most beautiful version of itself; you'll struggle to go wrong.

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