A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a stellar property photo could be worth a heck of a lot more. Professional photos:

That’s a lot of power attributed to a few strategic images, which is why taking high-quality photos is so crucial — both to your clients and your future commission advance. Protect your bottom line and your sales record by avoiding these top six real estate photo mistakes.

Capturing the Unpretty and Unimportant

Listing a home with 2.5 baths can be a selling point, but if that half bath is dark, outdated and/or cramped, including a picture of it on your MLS listing is going to do far more damage than good. Certain spaces show better in person. Describe the unfinished basement, mud room and attic storage as much as you want, but save the visual for the property tour itself.

Poor Lighting

Nobody wants to live in a cave unless they’re a bear or a bat, and it’s doubtful either of those demographics are in the market for a new home. The best photos are captured using natural light, but barring that possibility, flip on all the lights in a room and add your own lamps if necessary.

Bad Angles

The right angle can make a room seem spacious and inviting. The wrong angle can leave viewers wondering how they’re ever going to fit a couch into that teeny-tiny living room. A professional photographer knows how to frame an image so that it’s accurate and appealing to potential buyers.

Amateurish Use of Photoshop

There are benefits to retouching, but you have to know when to use it and when to back away from the laptop. Making the sky a bit bluer or the lawn a little greener makes sense. So does cultivating a better digital landscape so a home’s online curb appeal packs a wallop. What isn’t okay is misrepresenting a property by erasing power lines or elongating the pool. It’s not only ethically wrong, it’s a surefire way to lose buyers’ trust once they see the real thing and realize your duplicity.

Wasting Your Opportunity to Tell a Story

There’s an art to constructing a property’s online photo album. You’re essentially telling a story; just toss up a bunch of pics in random order and you’ve conveying nothing but chaos, but lay them out thoughtfully and you make it easy for viewers to become captivated. Start with the entryway, and then lead into the living room. Onto the kitchen and dining area before heading upstairs to explore the bedrooms, laundry room and master suite. This methodology is how people discover homes in the real world, so it resonates.

Clean Up Your Act and Score That Closing

Dirty properties don’t sell. Buyers want to envision themselves in their new home, not be inundated with visions of the messy people who still live there. Overflowing trash cans, overgrown yards, streaky mirrors, a full dish-drying rack in the kitchen, toiletries strewn across the bathroom counter — it all screams that the place is grubby, grimy and worth a lot less than you were hoping for. Hide the clutter, and take out the garbage. Your bank account (and your clients) will thank you.

One final tip: Leave yourself out of the photo. Grabbing a bathroom shot that includes you, your camera and your flash is downright bush-league. Step up your game and ratchet up your success in the process.