Morning Glory: How best to capture an alluring photograph of your home.
PUBLISHED: 15:30 04 September 2015
Â© 2012 Nick Baylis
In the mammoth task of house hunting, its often a case of judging a book by its cover. So make sure your cover looks good!
If you’re selling your home, you’ll need photographs of it. Quite often a professional photographer will be thrown into the deal with your estate agent - and it will be up to them to make sure they represent your home at its best.
But what if you’re asked to provide the shots yourself? Or what if you live by a “if you want something done right, do it yourself” mantra? While professional photographers are professional for a reason, some people simply prefer to take matters into their own hands. Especially when it comes to having editorial control over the portrayal of something they are hoping to sell.
Whether shopping online or browsing a shop window, a potential buyer’s eye will be caught by something - well, eye-catching. Something with colour, something alluring, something attractive. The first thing the consumer scouts for is a picture of what they’ll be getting if they invest. A textual fact sheet containing information on a house isn’t enough. And so, to get that shopper to click on your home’s link, or to go into that estate agency, you’ll need to tempt them with a beautiful exterior photograph of the property.
Quality not quantity:
If you have a high spec camera - use it. If you can invest in, borrow or own a tripod - use it. It really makes that extra difference when setting up the shot. However, this isn’t essential. Nor is the concept of using a high spec camera. Today, our camera phones are often of excellent quality. But if yours isn’t then you must source a decent quality camera. Grainy and blurred is not going to cut it.
How does the light hit your home? Make a point of nipping outside at intervals during the day to see when the sun beams onto which areas of the property. Does it look best with the sunlight shining onto the front, or is back-lighting more effective? Does, for some reason, a dull day provide a better image through the lens. Whatever you do - don’t take the photo in the rain or after a downpour. A soggy driveway doesn’t do anyone’s property justice. If possible, a sunny clear day is best for the image you’re trying to achieve.
The early bird catches the worm:
It has also been proven that the morning is a great time for capturing exterior shots of a building. There’s something about the particular lighting of an early morning photograph. There will also be less interference from passing traffic or people walking in front of your house (depending on the type of street you live in). A sunny morning is ideal - just watch the glare on the camera by ensuring the sun is behind you. It might sound a bit of a chore, but dawn really is the recommended time for this. You can always go back to bed and doze for a while longer, knowing you’ve got a great marketing shot of your house.
Lights, Camera, Action:
Treat the exterior of the house as if it’s a film set. Dress it to its best. If you have a front garden, make sure its neat and mown. Place a couple of flower pots here and there, or an ornamental tree by the porch to make it colourful. Hedges and bigger trees should be tidied with sheers. The driveway should be clean, and not over-packed with cars. In fact, you might want to clear the driveway of any vehicles altogether, to avoid projecting your licence plate to the world. Does your five-year-old leave her bicycle in the middle of the front path? Does your teenage son leave his muddy rugby boots strewn by the front door? If so, get them to put them away. Check the little details too. Is there any post sticking out of the letter box? Are your windows clean? Would giving the garage door a fresh lick of paint add a little extra allure?
When it comes to the final image, a bit of post-production tweaking won’t hurt. Rather than just emailing the original shot straight to the estate agents or uploading it online without a second thought, see what you can do to make it even better first. Computers and phones come with basic photographic editing features which are very effective, and there are free programs online too; so no need to invest in the latest Photoshop package. Sharpen or soften the image; crop it if you’ve accidentally got a flimsy branch of your neighbours’ tree in shot; brighten it if it needs a little colour boost. But be mindful not to overdo it on the editing front. This must be a true representation of what you’re selling. Dressing it up and providing a well-taken picture is key - but don’t super-impose iron gates into it or change the brickwork colour to gold in editing just to lure in house hunters.
These steps will be worth it in the end. You want to make the shopper stop and stare when they’re looking for the home of their dreams.