How to maximise your property photography
Phil Stones is Fourwalls’ Regional Photography Manager for the north of England and has been with Fourwalls since 2019. We’ve asked Phil to talk us through how he makes the most of every photography appointment, from setting the scene to changing up the angles. This is the first blog in our new ‘Ask the Expert’ series, where we showcase property photography knowledge, expert advice and insider tips from our team.
“The internet is your shop window.”
That’s very true these days. People don’t visit the nearest car showroom to look around the forecourt at what catches their eye or walk around town to see what’s in their local estate agent’s window anymore. Instead, we go online.
With tools such as RightMove and Zoopla, for example, the entire property market is at your fingertips. It is now easier than ever to showcase and view property online. It really is a competitive market, whether buying or selling. So, how do you stand out? Here at Fourwalls, we are at the cutting edge of property marketing solutions and provide all the tools you’ll need to show your listing in the absolute best light.
Arguably, the most important and impactful tool when marketing a property is photography. When browsing property online, some places just seem to stand out. Even the same property marketed by two different agents can appear ‘run-of-the-mill’ in one listing and something extra special in another. Preparation really is key – great photography starts before the photographer walks through the door. By staging a property well, sellers can give their photographer the best canvas to work with. Here are our top tips for showing off your property to its best advantage.
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“Better input equals better output”
Generally, a ‘less is more’ approach is favourable when presenting rooms. That’s not to say empty rooms are better to photograph. It’s all about context. For example, in kitchens, we prefer to remove tea towels, oven gloves, bins and washing up bowls or drainers. Kettles, toasters, radios and other small appliances, however, are fine. Kitchen-centric items such as recipe books also work well. When it comes to bathrooms, getting rid of shower products, toothbrushes and bathmats is a must. Sometimes, vendors are unsure about whether to remove or leave towels in situ. Taking them away shows off nice heated towel rails that would be otherwise covered up and it gives prospective buyers licence to better imagine the property as their own when they aren’t influenced by the possessions of the current occupier. With this in mind, removing personal items like large family photographs or canvasses from around the house is a good idea.
Staging property photography isn’t an exact science, though. It’s important to remember that we’re not just selling a house, but a lifestyle. When the daffodils are out, gardens are in bloom and skies are blue in spring and summer, stage outdoor spaces by uncovering the barbecue, setting up garden furniture, parasols or even some alfresco dining. In autumn and winter, have wood burners loaded and ready to light prior to photography taking place. Whatever the season, cars should be off driveways, wheelie bins out of sight and removing rotary washing lines is always a great idea.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”
Property photography can be subjective. However, there are a few techniques that, when executed correctly, work virtually every time. Whether it’s wide angle, classic ‘documentary’ angles or a more artistic ‘lifestyle’ approach; alignment, height, light, depth of field and framing are key every time. It’s the combination of high specification equipment, a good eye and great editing that brings an image to life. Classic wide-angle photography shows prospective buyers the proportions and layout of a room whereas more creative, close-up work adds depth and gives ‘feel’ to a space. This type of photography is perfect for selling a lifestyle or highlighting individual features of a room or garden. Every property is unique so will benefit from both forms of photography in varying measures. This is where the photographer’s eye is priceless and can add real value to a photo set.
For properties in certain locations, near landmarks, rural or coastal settings and those with land, drone photography provides a unique, unrivalled viewpoint. All of our drone-equipped photographers have passed enhanced qualifications, enabling them to fly in areas usually restricted or off limits to the average drone user. There are, of course certain areas of airspace completely prohibited for any civilian drone pilot. Where drone use is not permitted, elevated photography might be a better fit.
“Let there be light”
There are many ways to capture the same space. By applying a flexible approach to each area, we’re able to show your home in the best possible light. On the subject of light, or rather lack thereof, for the right property, our dusk photography offering produces incredibly dramatic results, completely transforming the look and feel of a home when compared to daylight shots. Dusk requires its own set of specialist skills. Good planning is paramount, as each individual shot takes many times longer to execute than the equivalent angle during daylight hours, due to the much slower shutter speeds required, the set up and use of tripod and timers or remote triggers, all of which has to come together during a very small window of opportunity, often referred to as the ‘sweet spot’.
“Don’t forget post-production”
Not all images are single, flat shots. Some are compositions of multiple exposures, some have undergone vertical or horizontal correction, some have had enhancements such as the addition of blue skies. To achieve all of this, as well as our talented photographers, we employ a dedicated production team. This approach enables us to turn high quality, finished work around much faster.
To ultimately answer the question of how to improve your property photography, it mostly boils down to good preparation, having an awareness of the products and types of photography available, and knowing what products are most suitable for the subject dwelling. In most cases, estate agents will have a good idea of which products will likely work best for a property. For more simple tips check out this Rightmove blog on how to get the most out of your property photography.
Our account management and operations teams are on hand to provide advice and product information. Lastly, on the day, your photographer will be able to answer questions and work with you closely to get the best out of your property and really make it shine. Check out our blog on how to prepare your home for a property photography appointment.
For more information on how to get the most out of your property photography, contact Fourwalls today.
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