Some common questions about property photography that you may be wondering about...
What are the benefits of professional property photography?
The world we live in is dominated by online marketing, even estate agents have had to come to terms with the evolving online marketplace over the last few years. More and more people are searching online for their next property, whether it's to buy or rent, and the pictures they see can speak a thousand words, but those words can be negative as well as positive. A bad, poorly lit, wonky photograph will never paint a good impression or build confidence in a potential buyer, let alone encourage them through the door to view. A great photograph, on the other hand, can do just the opposite, it will show your home at its best and make potential buyers excited about coming to see it for themselves.
Doesn't professional photography cost a fortune?
Better to ask whether or not it is worth investing in professional photography in the first instance? Most potential buyers and tenants are attracted by the first impressions, and those are generally through the photographs they see, whether online, in a brochure, or estate agent's window. Prior to putting a house on the market, many people will go to added expense to hire a decorator, a gardener and maybe a cleaner in order to present their home in a more appealing way. So after getting the professionals to make a home stand out, why leave the photographic representation of it to an amateur? The decorating, cleaning and sprucing up may be a total waste of time if you don't have great pictures of it all.
Poor photography loses viewings, that is a proven fact. So really, photography should be seen as an investment to sell the property, and actually, it is not an expensive one at that. With packages starting at just £49, hiring Peter Baldwin Photography makes good financial sense.
Can't the estate agents take the photos?
They could, and some have been trained to do so, but usually only as part of a short course. Often they don't have the right equipment or the required knowledge of photography to deliver the results you need. Someone who is an expert in property photography, has experience of doing it day after day for a number of years is, in reality, the best one you can trust to do the job properly. Estate agents are there to sell your property and they are the experts in that field.
Much the same as you wouldn't ask an electrician to repair a leaky radiator, you don't want an amateur photographer to take the pictures of your home. You need someone who not only has the right equipment, but also a keen eye for the right angle and the understanding of how they can make your home look bright and inviting, whilst being willing to spend the time required to acheive that.
Who will own the photographs that are taken?
That's a very good question. In simple terms, the actual copyright of every photo always belongs to it's creator, the photographer, no matter who is in possession of the finished image. However, the one who commissions the photoshoot and pays for the work receives from the photographer the right to distribute and use the photos for their own purposes. This means that, if the estate agent commissions a photographer to do the work and charges the vendor a fee, then the agent is the only one who recieves copies of the photos and has the right to say how those photos are used in advertising the property.
Quite often, agents are unwilling to release these photos, so should the vendor decide to move to a new agent for whatever reason, then the photos will likely need to be re-taken. But if it is the vendor who commissions the photos and pays for the work directly to the photographer, then the useage rights belong to the vendor and he has the say in who uses them. In this scenario, I would forward a copy of the photos to the vendor as well as the chosen estate agent.
How can I improve the external appearance of the property?
In the industry, the external shot of the front of the property is often classed as "the money shot", because that image is likely going to be the first one anyone is going to see. So, put yourself in the shoes of the potential buyer. Look at your house from their perspective. Does the outside need a bit of TLC, get rid of flaking paint, mend the garage door, trim the hedge, mow the lawn, get rid of the dustbins out of sight, move any old broken planters etc etc.
Children's toys and rabbit hutches can be difficult to move, but make them look tidy and remove anything that doesn't need to be there. When everything looks good, it will make a huge difference as to how other people feel about the house.
What do I need to do for the internal shots?
Clutter is something most homes accumulate over time, getting rid of it so it doesn't show on the photos is a must. A general rule to follow - if it has no reason to be on show, put it out of the way - de-clutter. Let the photos show the room in such a way that people can visualise the property itself, after all, your possessions are not for sale, they will be going with you! Potential buyers want to see how much space a room offers, not how many pairs of shoes you have laid out or how many old envelopes can be stashed into a letter rack, you get the idea.
If space is an issue, as it so often is, then get at least one room ready and the others as good as you can, then we can photograph the first room and you can then use that room to put all the things from other rooms, that generally works well.
What items are best not seen?
Clothes on the floor, clothes on backs of doors, boxes and items under beds or on top of wardrobes, anything that can be a distraction to showing the property at its best. For security reasons (as well as complying with GDPR regulations) photographs of people need to be removed out of sight.
If that isn't possible, faces, as well as any vehicle registration plates, will be blurred out in the post-editing. As blurring doesn't always look good, photographs of people are best removed if possible, especially of children.
What about kitchens and bathrooms?
Clean surfaces reflect light best, conversely, dirt and dust can show up pretty bad under certain conditions. So, make sure all surfaces are wiped clean, being conscious of streaks that can be left behind. Tidy all surfaces, put away gadgets, too many items on the worktop could give the idea of a lack of storage space. If you have a dining table, consider laying it out with a simple place setting and perhaps a decorative centrepiece.
In the bathroom, remove personal items such as toothbrushes, toiletries, toilet rolls, shower bottles etc etc. Try to avoid hanging towels over bathroom items, it may give the impression you are trying to hide a rusty radiator or cracked bath panel.
Do the lights need to be on to make the room bright?
No. A good photographer will be able to create enough light to make the room bright and cheerful without the need for house lights to be on. Some rooms look at their best with lights off, eg. a nearly empty room with just a bare bulb. However, in most cases, good house lighting can create a warm, friendly, inviting ambience, especially where there are dark corners. And what more can be said for under-unit lighting in a kitchen?
So, prior to the shoot, go round and check all your main lights and all lamps are working (bedside lamps and table lamps look great when switched on) and replace broken or missing bulbs.