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The benefits of virtual furniture for real estate sales and rentals on The Sunshine Coast.

It can often happen; you have a home, apartment or unit for sale or rent on The Sunshine Coast and the owners or previous tenants have moved on, leaving the dwelling completely empty of furniture. As a tempting marketing morsel, a photo of an empty room has far less appeal than one that is tastefully furnished. It used to be that, if the budget allowed, one might rent a house-lot of real furniture to dress up the place and impart a homey vibe so as to entice folk to visit. However, advances in 3D modelling have provided a second, cheaper solution: virtual furniture.

Virtual furniture:

“… has proven excellent results in us being able to achieve maximum interest levels and numbers attending our open-for-inspections, with the subsequent leasing of that property quickly, at the highest rental return possible.”

– Sarah Latham, owner and director of Latham Cusack Property Services’ North Shore office

The quote above was from a blog post at Residential Property Manager called “Turning to the virtual world for real life success“, and if you’re not familiar with it, virtual furniture is a service offered by many real estate photographers where they use Photoshop or 3D software to add furniture to an otherwise empty room.

As Sarah notes in her article, the use of virtual furniture in her rentals has helped to attract more tenants, meaning less time that a property is left vacant.

The presence of virtual furniture helps Sunshine Coast viewers gauge the size of a room, and can open their eyes to a space’s potential. If the VF is tastefully chosen it can add perceived value to the otherwise-empty dwelling, much in the way that garnishes artistically arranged around a meal can make it appear more appetising. This psychological appeal may help garner a higher asking price.

And as noted in the Daily Mail article, “The latest real estate trick to lure buyers“:

“Sellers are saving ‘thousands’ of dollars by paying photography companies to add virtual furniture to their photos instead of hiring the real thing…”

What about the buyers? Are they annoyed by seeing photos of a furnished home and arriving to find that it’s empty when they visit? According to real estate agent Graham Green that hasn’t been a problem for him, and he has used virtual furniture a lot:

‘At the end of the day the better looking it is the more people who will fall in love with it’.

Or as one virtual furniture service provider mentioned in this article, “Virtual reality technology transforms real estate“:

“We say it is for illustration only; if people come through and say, ‘where’s the furniture?’, be honest and tell them it is digitally staged.”

Most buyers are fairly understanding of that, so long as the actual features and presentation of the home they are thinking of buying isn’t changed. In other words, when it comes to digitally altering images for real estate sales, placing a dining table in a room that was actually empty when the photographer took the photo is fine, but repairing a large hole in a wall is not. In real estate marketing it all comes down to what’s permanent, and what’s temporary, and virtual furniture is very temporary.

Here are a few samples of virtual furniture so you can see what’s possible:

Do you think that the use of virtual furniture is in any way deceptive? Leave a comment below.

Found light often the best light.

Property photographers seldom have the luxury of scouting a property in order to choose the best time of day when the sun is showcasing the home. Hopefully the vendor has a good idea of when that might be, and communicates this to their sales agent who books the photographer. So I was rather pleased to turn up at this home yesterday and find the afternoon sun and venetian blinds playing nice together.

Sunlit interior by

However it IS possible to manipulate light if there’s not enough of it in the right place. In this shot, the light pattern on the floor is natural, however the stripes on the dining table were created by placing a flash outside the window on the left.

sunlit interior 2 by


It’s always interesting photographing a home that you’ve shot years earlier. I archive everything, so I was able to look back at the photos of this home that I’d taken 4 years, 2 cameras and a lot of practice ago. Back then the place was vacant and unfurnished and currently looks much more appealing.

If Santa Slid down a Fig Tree…

It’s holidays, so here’s one I shot on a visit to Ballina over the past few days. ‘Strangler’ Figs germinate in the branches of trees after birds poop out fig seeds they have eaten. The fig sends out runners that wrap around the trunk of the host tree on their way to the soil below. They branch rather like capillaries. In some cases the host tree dies (not due to the presence of the fig), and the trunk rots away leaving a hollow tube formed by the fig. I laid the camera on its back at the base of the tube and set it to take 3 exposures which were late combined. The colour has been tweaked toward red also.

Ya Lucky Dog!

When the weather allows I’m shooting video for who own several holiday rentals on The Sunshine Coast, all within walking distance of beautiful ‘dog-friendly’ beaches. Of course the brief requires capturing scenes from the local community as well as showing the house.

This particular dog-friendly rental is at Peregian Beach, Sunshine Coast

Christmas in New Zealand

Landed back in Brisbane this morning…at the same time we left NZ! Had a great time and ticked the main boxes; surfed (what used to be) my local beach, caught a snapper off the rocks and jammed with friends. All in a haze of pavlova, glazed ham and Steinlager!
And NZ’s gnarly coastal tree, the Pohutukawa, was in blossom everywhere.

NZ Pohutukawa in bloom
NZ Pohutukawa in bloom against a Summer sky.

The first sniff of summer?

Technically we’re over the hump, past the shortest day and on the downward slide toward Summer. I’ve already mentioned that I’ve noticed the sun rising that smidgin earlier, and it also just feels a little warmer. Of course, this early in the piece, it could easily turn chilly next week. Of course ‘chilly’ is a relative term. Being just 26 degrees from the equator we’re hardly expecting snow drifts any time soon. But just to keep spirits alive, here’s a summery shot from the vault of me and she just minutes from home.

Beach Picnic Photo by Propertyshoot Photography Sunshine Coast
Cheers Darl!