How to present your home for property photography
Whether you’re moving house or promoting a guest house or B&B for brochures great images are essential when it comes to getting people excited about your house. I’ve been photographing architecture, homes for sale, B&Bs and guesthouses for many years and have put together some advice to bear in mind when presenting your home or residential business for a photoshoot.
Declutter. Declutter. Declutter.
If you heed only once piece of advice when presenting your property let it be this. By “clutter” I mean all those things you throw down and think “I’ll pick that up later”. This extends to newspapers, magazines, mobile phones, phone chargers, glasses cases, jigsaw puzzle boxes, shoes strewn across the hallway, clothes left out… If in doubt, put it away. There is certainly a balance when it comes to giving a house some soul with your personal affects and not looking like a show home… but my advice would be to err on the side of less clutter. Particularly when it comes to homes for sale, people want to see the fabric and character of the house itself so try not to distract from that with personal items.
I suppose this comes under de-clutter to some extent but cables are so noticeable in a picture that it deserves its own mention. Whether it’s power cables from your phone charger, TV, DVD player, games console or kitchen radio simply unplug them and tuck them behind the appliance.
Clean interior glass and reflective surfaces
There’s good news: oddly, a thorough clean isn’t really necessary ahead of a photoshoot as dust doesn’t show-up in the photography. Hurrah! However, if you are selling your house it’s certainly good practice to clean thoroughly ahead of viewings. There are a couple of exceptions to this, however… interior glass on shower screens can catch light and show grime as can metal kitchen sinks and chrome kitchen and bathroom taps when doing close-up work - so it’s well worth giving these a once-over. Mirrors too, just give them a quick wipe.
Enhance your property’s best features
A property photographer will identify your property’s selling points and try to feature them in the photos - be that a high vaulted ceiling, a pretty doorway, wooden floors, an AGA - but do what you can to help bring them to life… for example, if your garden is one of your house’s selling points - then make sure you’ve mown the lawn/ raked the leaves/ de-headed the flowers etc.
Notice the sun
Pay attention to the path of the sun during the course of the day and where it falls on your property (this may change slightly throughout the year). It’s very difficult to take a sharp picture of the front elevation of your house when a bright sun is shining directly behind it. The sun blinds the camera lens and plunges the house into dark shadow - this can be rescued, to some extent, with computer software but far better results are achieved when the picture looks good at the time of capture. Ideally, when the photographer is staring at your front door the sun should be behind them. This is of no consequence on a cloudy or overcast day but it’s well-worth bearing in mind in bright, sunny weather.
Kitchens and bathrooms
Kitchens sell houses. Along with bathrooms these two rooms cost the most to install in your house and so it makes sense to highlight your investment. Declutter these rooms. Banish any washing up and try and put away anything with a colourful label: cereal boxes, jams, washing up liquid, tins and sauces… as well as cleaning items and shower gels in the bathroom. You don’t want to remind people that these rooms require cleaning… they magically stay clean, all on their own, of course!
Pets (and sometimes children!)
I remember, once, grappling with a cat that was trying to scratch my eyes out whilst playing hide and seek with a 3-year-old trying to get him to hide behind the desk in the bedroom I was photographing… whilst his mum was downstairs with a cup of coffee, reading Grazia. I love cats and dogs and kids… I love them most when they’re in a different room to the one I’m photographing; so please be mindful of pets wandering around during a photoshoot - it’s not the end of the world but it just means that everything takes a bit longer if you have to keep ushering them out of shot. It’s also a good idea to clear away evidence of pets, if possible - food bowls, toys, bedding etc.
Don’t forget the outside
Quite often vendors and B&B owners concentrate so hard on presenting the inside of the property that they completely neglect the outside. At the least, just have a walk around the property and tidy away anything that shouldn’t be there… a crisp packet that’s blown on to your drive from the street, overflowing recycling bins, a washing line that could be tidied away, children’s toys in the garden, tools that have been left out etc. And if you have a lawn, a quick mow makes the world of difference.
Dressing and finishing touches
OK, this isn’t a photoshoot for Country Homes & Gardens but a little dressing shows attention to detail and that you love your home… and whether this is a house for sale or a B&B or guesthouse to rent, isn’t this exactly what you want to convey? This is a lovely house that you will love too; a property with warmth and soul. An easy fix here is a simple bunch of flowers - perhaps on a sideboard or the dining table; or maybe fruit in a bowl on the kitchen table. Soft furnishings are a great way to bring a sense of warmth and texture: if you have them arrange a throw over your sofa or at the foot of the bed.
A good property photographer will always try to present your house in the best possible light and so will try and remedy any issues they identify as they go along… but they might have several appointments throughout the day and not have time to spend twenty minutes putting away your dishes and chasing your dog around the garden! … so do what you can to help present your property.
To see more details of my property photography service please visit: Property Photography