Great photos are arguably one of the most important features of a listing. They give prospective buyers and tenants a glimpse into how the property actually looks like and whether it is even suitable enough to go view in person, which can save them and real estate agents a lot of time and effort.

As listings with great, beautiful and authentic photos receive more visits and viewings, we have prepared a few tips to help you take beautiful photos with your smartphones or cameras:

1. Lighting is the key to making the shot

With indoor shots more than anywhere else, lighting is key.

To start, first turn on every light in the room. This helps add depth and color variance to the scene. Make sure there are no reflections from lights on pictures, mirrors and windows and then look to see if you need additional external lights.

Light can be the make or break element in your photo. Too much light and everything looks washed out, too little and you can’t even make out the outline of that cool chair in the corner.

The best light to use is indirect natural light: That means, try to pick a time of day when your room is bathed in light, such as the early morning or early evening — when the sun is not beating directly through the windows, but instead casts a warm glow into your room. If needed, overhead lighting or table lamps can be used to increase the light level in a room.

The one thing you don’t want to use is your flash. Flashes can wash out the color of your couch/walls/rug and make the room look much different than it does in real life. Flashes can also reflect off surfaces, which detracts from your overall image.

2. Styling up the space

Styling of the room is another important step. Just like models need time to apply makeup for studio shoots, you need to allow time to clean the room to prep for the shoot. Like it’s ready for a new tenant!

Think about what you want to show in your photo, and organize the room accordingly. You might wish to add accessories that create a vibe, like magazines stacked on a coffee table or a fancy laptop on the desk. In other cases, you might want to remove furniture or move it around in order to highlight or conceal certain parts of the room.

De-cluttering is important to help remove distractions for the eye. In particular, watch for piles of stuff, coffee tables full of magazines, too many "kitsch" items sitting on a bookcase, etc. These things clutter a picture and can be distracting in the final shot.

3. Think about composition

Not everyone has been to art school, but that is ok! We aren’t painting the Mona Lisa, we are just taking some shots of the room. Still, if you give the composition of your shot a little thought, it can make it infinitely more interesting.

As you look through your viewfinder, think about how the borders of the shot look. Would it be more intriguing if only half of the lamp was shown, or should the whole thing be in the picture?

And sure enough, in the photo above, moving the viewfinder a little bit to the left crops out the other lamp on the right(which is just barely showing) as well as the stuff on the bedside table. This shows the whole bedside table on the left, and part of the corner window, which gives you more of an idea about what the room looks like. The different angle also shows more of the headboard and you can tell the wall art is a screen print of trees.

4. Overview of space above eye level

If you are trying to capture the feel of your space, an overview shot of the room is always best, especially if you can get above eye level to shoot. If you have a shot or two to spare, adding a vignette to your set of photos can be the icing on the cake. Is there an interesting or inviting corner of the room? Perhaps a collection on the wall or on a shelf that is begging for its close up? Now is the time to make it shine. Paying very close attention to composition here is important, even if it means tweaking the angle of the candy dish on your end table, because it can make or break your vignette.

This shot on the right, taken from above eye level, does a great job of showing us the whole room in one picture:

5. Shoot into the corner

This is one of the most important tips to interior photography and it's very simple: shoot into the corner of a room to make the space appear larger.

Just like how mirrors work, shooting into a corner makes a room appear larger and more livable. Take this tip a step further by shooting from a low position and a with a wide lens, but not too wide to avoid distortion.

When you shoot straight at a wall, it can make the room seem flat, and sometimes walls can end up bending oddly on camera. Look through any major interior magazine and you'll see the corner of the room is the best place to shoot towards.