Preparing for Architectural Photography

Getting a home ready for photographing is as important as the photography itself.  The process that I use for capturing and emphasizing all of the beauty in the room also can show off any flaw.  Therefore, it’s critical to prepare and everything to look perfect when I arrive to shoot the property.   I’m going to talk through a few tips on how to get the property ready for the shoot.

Minneapolis Living Room

I’m going to assume that the property is already in sell-ready condition – the painting has been done, wall scuffs have been fixed, and the room has been de-cluttered.  Once those steps have been taken, we’re ready to prepare for the shoot.

  • De-clutter.  Then, de-clutter again.  Less is more.  The collection of shot glasses may mean a world of memories, but they’ll detract from the picture.  At most, one or two things can be used as decoration on shelves or on tables.  Once the de-clutter is done, look into the room and see what attracts attention.  If the attention-grabber does so because it’s bright or busy, it’s probably too busy for the picture.  The focus of the room should be the room, not the ornate candlesticks on the mantle.
  • Get rid of any evidence of pets, including cages, bowls, leashes, and the pets themselves.  Pets are a polarizing thing – people either love them, or they think that the pets make the house stink.  Why take the chance?
  • Next, clean the room like it has never cleaned it before.  It’s amazing how much dust, lint, or footprints show up in the final image.
  • Be sure that all light bulbs work.  I do all of my shots with the lights on – and it’s pretty obvious when one is burned out.  I also have a very strong preference for incandescent bulbs over compact fluorescent bulbs – the quality of light is a lot better.
  • Make sure all linens are arranged – and the bed linens are smoothed out flat.
  • Hide hand towels, dish soap, cleaning products, and so forth in the kitchen.  Make it look as if the kitchen has never been used.
  • Arrange all curtains/blinds to be consistent.  I prefer them about 3/4 open so that there is a good view outside – but the blind can still be seen.
  • Put the garbage cans in the garage.  This includes the outside cans and recycling bins.
  • Finally, mow and rake the lawn.  Having the lawn freshly watered also gives it some extra sparkle and the colors from wet grass pop out even more.
  • A couple of winter tips for those of us in northern climates: Make sure the walk is freshly shoveled and de-iced.  If you have big icicles or ice dams – have them removed.

To really make a home look the best it can possibly be, consider enlisting a stager.  There are basically two types of stagers – one that comes in to arrange your furniture and another that places their own furniture.  They are experts in placing decor and furniture in such a fashion to attract buyers.  A hundred or two dollars to have somebody arrange things can really make a difference.

It’s the little things that sell a house – and good photography along with good staging and good preparation will help you get maximum return on your house in the minimum time on the market.

Go Somewhere Special…

Mark Teskey

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