The Six Secrets of Fabulous Property Photography
There are many elements that go into making great property photography: the weather, the skill and experience of the photographer, and the features of the house itself – they all go into making or breaking the shoot. But did you know there are lots of things you can do to increase the chances of achieving the best images of your house? You need to ensure the images of your house not only do it justice, but also more importantly, indicate the kind of lifestyle that a buyer can aspire to. Here are some of my suggestions to do just that:
1. Clean and clear – we all know that tv can add inches to a person’s waistline, well property photography can take off inches! Rooms can look cluttered and meanly-proportioned, with dark corners and distracting colours. Clear surfaces and floor spaces, take up rugs where necessary, and clean everything until it sparkles. Light and reflected shine are the best ways to show off the size of your rooms. (Note: your photographer may want to use a very wide-angled lens, but I would caution against this; at best it can give the rooms very odd angles and at worst, mislead a viewer.)
2. Go shopping! Any self-respecting property lover adores seeing inside the homes of the rich and famous, but one of the reasons these houses look so fabulous is that they are staged for the shoot. Steal their style! Shop for staging accessories and give your home the star treatment:
- Fruit – stick to one type per bowl. Strawberries, limes and green apples look great.
- Rustic board of artisan breads and cheeses
- Flowers – in keeping with your home style; eg hand-picked posy for a farmhouse, Calla lilies for a contemporary home.
- Church candles in fireplaces
- Flowering plants
- Lifestyle magazines and coffee table books
- Fluffy white towels
- Luxury spa-style toiletries
- Flowering plant for patio table centre
- Pretty tealight holders or church candle lantern
3. The better you brief the photographer,the better the images will be! Go round the house making a note of any particularly attractive angles or features, then call him as close as possible to the day he is due, so your requests are fresh in his mind. Suggest he makes notes, or follow up on your conversation by emailing him a summary. Talk to him about the house, and suggest any particular features of interest in the house and garden, that best portray the character and style of the home. Ask him to ensure that in addition to his standard shots, he also takes some ‘lifestyle’ images, eg bowl of fruit, coffee on an outside table, roses in the hallway. Suggest he also tries some ‘vignette’ shots; these are shots framed by a doorway, or in a mirror.
4. Make sure the photographer knows what time of day the sun will be on the front of the house. Think also about evening shots, and when the sun will be on the garden. This may necessitate two separate visits so make sure the photographer has allowed for this.
5. Follow him round! Plump cushions, move chairs, take away any distracting objects, remove bins and washing. Make sure you can see what he’s photographing so you can anticipate any potential for the room not looking its absolute best. Put lamps on, or turn lights off, to keep the ambient light at the right level. A good photographer will really appreciate your help and will guide you throughout.
6. Keep your images seasonal– it’s very telling to see a house advertised in September with daffodils in the garden, or in January with Wisteria in full bloom. Keep your property photography as close as possible to the current season. This often means asking your agent to revisit to refresh your images with new ‘foliage’ shots. At HomeTruths this is something we routinely arrange every three to four months. After all, you may not want your viewer to know how long your house has been for sale – and why give them an excuse to make a low offer?
Some improvements to the images can be made in editing, like putting in a blue sky or taking out a skip! But remember that if you aren’t absolutely delighted with your photography, you can ask for it to be re-taken. Insist on perfection and the viewers will turn up in droves!
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