Real Estate Photography is done in stages. Each stage is as important as the previous and the following. I do a lot of Real Estate photography and am comfortable with it… now. At the beginning I had more of my share of “oh shit!” moments when I messed up an important shot OR forgot something altogether. I live in Northern Michigan so my shoots are not typically local. Driving 50+ miles one way to a shoot is not uncommon, however, it’s always critical to do everything right the first time. In order to help me remember the basics I came up with a “cheat sheet” in my brain to help.
LIGHTS – Uggg…. The frustration of reviewing images after the shoot and realizing one of the lights in a room was off. Talk about throwing off the feel of an image. Looking at an image and seeing a light off the person viewing it inevitably would think….. “Oh that light is burnt out” when in fact, I had forgotten to turn it on. Frustrating. Understandably there are times when the owner is present and for some reason doesn’t want it on OR has an unusual reason for leaving it off. I do what I can to explain the importance, however, occasionally people decide against my advice.
STAGING – This is an interesting one as some photographers are cognizant of it’s importance and some are not concerned. I am in the realm of believing it is important. Vitally important. Viewing an image with a garbage can in the background or a used bath towel on the rack is distracting. Obviously there ARE Real Estate photography shoots that it’s almost impossible to eliminate distractions, however, when you can you should. Your name, or the name of your company, will forever be attached to the images and 20 years from now when someone looks at them do you want them to think “Wow great images!” or “WHY is there a shoe in the background?” I HAVE turned down shoots after arriving and realizing that even with my best effort the background clutter would be too much to overcome. You should too.
ELEVATION – LOTS of photographers, including many high quality well respected professionals, take all of their Real Estate images at eye level. I do that as well, however, I also take several of each shot at knee level. I’ve ruined many a pair of pants kneeling while shooting interiors. The difference in elevation makes a difference in how the image “feels” when being viewed. Sometime it’s subtle and not necessary, other times it makes a BIG difference. Take multiple shots of each angle, some high and some low. You’ll be surprised at the difference.
COMPOSITION – This is one of the basics of any type of photography. Understanding the “Rule Of Thirds”, being aware of symmetry, etc. are all important in any photograph whether its a wedding or landscape. Shooting Real Estate Photography is not the time to forget the rule of composition. I tend to shoot high when shooting real estate photos. I always am making an conscious effort to not frame the image with too much ceiling visible. Unfortunately, I still shoot some images where the camera has drifted too far up which leads us into the next stage below.
QUANTITY – If you are lucky enough to take all of your images in your local area AND can return to the property if you gain access again then consider yourself just that… Lucky. As noted earlier, I travel substantial distances to take images so for me it is key to take enough in the event one has drifted to high, the subject is off center, out of focus, etc. When shooting I will always take multiple pictures of the same general angle, tweaking each one so that when I review them one is typically exactly what I wanted. I’d rather have many nearly identical images of one angle in a room than not having one image that is usable. As we have all heard, “do it right the first time” since you may not get another change.
FUN – This one, I hope is self explanatory. Photography is supposed to be enjoyable and if you aren’t enjoying yourself it will show in your work.
Rebel Miles Photography
“Just Being Yourself Is A Successful Rebellion…”