Why prep for a shoot?

Real estate photography has a lot of power in making or breaking your listing and if you don’t believe me, just check out your local MLS listings (we’ve seen some pretty awful shots). While most real estate agents recognize the value in hiring a professional photographer to capture their property in the best lighting, at the appropriate angles, and with an overall creative eye, there is more that goes into a great photo shoot than just skill.

I would say that in the hundreds of properties we’ve shot over the past 12 months, the most successful photo shoots owe 75% of the credit to the awesome agents who took the effort ahead of schedule to prepare the property and make it “photo-ready” prior to our visit. How does this help improve your product significantly? Real estate photography is all about first impressions. If the property is cluttered, not well-lit, disorganized, posing objects that are out of place, or just dirty, these things will not only show in the photos but will throw off the overall harmony and balance that we want to achieve and could kill the deal!

Let’s go over some basic tips on how to best prepare the property for photos. We’ve also attached a full checklist to bring to your next home visit!

Lights, camera, list!

When it comes to tone and color the same applies to real estate photos as with all photography: Lighting is essential. Apart from shades and curtains, there isn’t a whole lot we can do about the sunlight- we work with what we have at the time of day scheduled. However, interior lighting is just as crucial and consistency will make a world of difference. Its pretty simple:

  • Replace any broken bulbs and/or fix any circuits that may be out.
  • Replace any mismatched bulbs (blue or yellow tones).
  • Turn off all TV’s and screens.

If they lights aren’t turning on, a whole room can be effected and not match the other photos. There is not much we can do in editing to replace a missing bulb or broken lighting fixture!

Mismatched lighting, or what we call varied color temperatures, can cause the lighting and surrounding walls/colors to be completely inaccurate after we color balance the overall image.

No, TV screens and monitors do not compliment the room in photos. As stated above, chances are the color of light will not match the overall atmosphere and… just no. 😉

Clear the stage! (Except for props)

Just as in a drama performance, we are creating a scene for production that only requires the props needed. Everything else is distracting or even destructive!

  • Hide frames, pictures, mail, small plants, clocks, and any small items (that are not complimentary or placed by a professional stager) from all tabletops, dressers, desks, etc.
  • The same goes for toiletries, appliances, tissue boxes etc. that may be laying on counters, tubs and sinks in the bathrooms.
  • Put away small rugs and mats. While they may seem to compliment, the room will actually look more spacious with out them and the viewer will be less distracted from the space itself.

Curb appeal will get them through the door

Landscaping is probably a no-brainer and its obvious to mow the lawn. However, you’d be surprised at how these other small changes can really make a big difference on the most important scenes in presenting the whole property: the exterior shots.

  • Move the vehicles to the street and out of the driveway – a fancy car may seem like a nice touch, but it’s too risky for blocking the view, distracting the viewer, and may look distorted through a wide-angle lens.
  • CLear the lawn of leaves and debris. Again, these objects are very distracting and can even look bigger through our wide lenses.
  • Remove yard signs. Signage is not even permitted on MLS listings.
  • Clean the backyard pool.
  • Arrange outdoor furniture just as you would in the dining room and open any umbrellas. Unless they’re gross.
  • Put away any hoses, cleaning supplies and please remove/hide recycle bins and garbage cans!

Here’s a full checklist.

We hope this article enlighten you on the importance of prepping every property from small condos to large single family homes. Remember, this list applies to photography, video tours, and 360 tours. Please download our full prep list below!

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