If The Property Has None, Take Your Own Props
Property Photography Fixtures and Fittings – Again, once you are in the room that you wish to photograph, and you have set up the shot, exposure and lighting, don’t just fire away.
Step back, have a look around, take another look through the viewfinder and look all around the room to each and every corner. What do you see?
- Loose wires hanging from a wall or table?
- Carpet folded over?
- Cups, crockery or other distractions?
- Wonky picture?
- The back of the sofa or chairs?
- Rubbish or litter?
- Dead or dying flowers?
- Creased, torn or badly folded bedclothes?
- Clothes or towels on the floor?
- General clutter such as toothpaste, hairbrush or magazines?
You get the picture?
What you are looking for is in your property photography fixtures and fittings is anything that will draw the viewer’s eye away from the room or property. You want them to admire the image and make them want to visit the property no matter how big or small.
A shabby photograph means shabby room means shabby occupants means shabby maintenance. All of this is what could go through a potential buyers or tenants mind.
You need to visually create an ambience of luxury, warmth, homeliness, comfort and desire. The image should have the same effect as the aroma of freshly baked bread or ground coffee, the same things that people create when potential buyers or tenants actually view the property, although you must make it a visual interpretation!
It isn’t actually that difficult. Once you have removed the “debris”, straightened the pictures and generally tidied up, you can start to add a few things of your own.
(Note: Normally, the owners/occupants will have done their best to make their property look its best, but believe me, I have actually walked away from properties before they were that disgusting. When you are faced with interior damage, maggots, stench and mould etc., you are quite within your rights to refuse the work until the property has been properly cleaned.)
For a minimal outlay and very little effort, you can have your own collection of props to assist you in your work. Things such as;
- A nice vase or two with plastic daffodils
- Various plastic fruit in a bowl
- High class property magazines
- A couple of good looking books
- Ornaments and general desktop décor
These are great things to add to a coffee table or desk if the property is fairly empty and needs a bit of a “lived in” look. Have a look through property magazines to get an idea of what props to buy and use. Also use these magazines to get an idea of what really makes an interior image great.
If a place does need a bit of help, try some of these tips to enhance what little it may have;
Property Photography Fixtures and Fittings – The Natural Look – Should you come across a beautiful, rustic kitchen on a sunny day, boil the kettle! If the sun is beaming through the windows and you want to highlight the suns rays, rather than making a mess and throwing flour everywhere, leave some water boiling on the stove and waft it around a bit. The steam will get to a point where it looks quite effective! Natural lighting works best here too.
Property Photography Fixtures and Fittings – Get Stuck In – Don’t be afraid to move the furniture about. If the shot you want means turning the sofa around or taking out altogether, ask the proprietor and do it. A little effort can make all the difference to a shot. Remember that when a person buys the house or moves in, the furniture will be different anyway. Experiment a little.
Property Photography Fixtures and Fittings – Tidy Up – If it is absolutely impossible to remove stains, wires or obtrusions, make a note and remove them later in Photoshop. Make the image as clean as you can but don’t overdo it! If you “paint over” a door or window, you are misrepresenting the property and this will be bad for your career.
Property Photography Fixtures and Fittings – Open Up – Open the windows where possible and practical, obviously if it is blowing a gale or raining, leave them shut. Open windows look inviting and “fresh” especially if there is a slight breeze that is gently blowing the curtains in. It also makes any room look bigger.
Property Photography Fixtures and Fittings – Impersonalise (?) – Anything that you don’t want in a picture, clear it out of sight but remember to put it back later. Bathrooms, for example, tend to look cluttered at all times. Remove old toothbrushes, half empty toothpaste tubes and basically everything that looks messy. Fold the towels and place them on the side of the bath. Fill the glasses next to the bed with water but try and remove “personal” items of the owners, such as slippers, spectacles or mugs with their name on. This all shows permanent possession and personal “markings” which won’t help in making a sale.
The potential buyer wants to see the property as theirs with their own possessions and ideas taking shape, so whilst it is good to have items all around; it is good practice to keep them as “neutral” as possible.
Property Photography Fixtures and Fittings – See Beyond – If the view to the outside is in the picture, add to it if necessary. Move a table or sun loungers into the view of your image. Remove the hosepipes. Put some glasses filled with orange juice on the table of the terrace. Shift the flowers about and make it look like a view that you would want yourself if you were buying the property.
The property photography fixtures and fittings are almost as important to the end result as the property itself!
All of this sounds like a lot of effort for just one picture, but once you become known for the effort you make (and your great rates), and the quality of your results, people will want to recommend you to others. It has happened to me on a number of occasions and not just with property photography. Like I mentioned before, all sorts of job offers can come about directly from the effort you make here.