How to get the best results
Last month I wrote about how to prepare for exterior and aerial photographs. That column generated a lot of interest, as well as questions about how to prepare for interior shoots. Here are the best ways to prepare your house for the best photographs possible.
One of the main goals in photographing a home for a listing is to make the rooms look as large and impersonal as possible.
1. General Cleaning: Carpets should be vacuumed, and hard floors mopped. Windows/mirrors cleaned, and surfaces dusted. This is extremely important in rooms with good sunlight as any dust or streaks can be highlighted.
2. Artwork: Any questionable or controversial artwork or posters, should be removed.
3. Seasonal Decorations: Any seasonal items, such as Christmas decorations, should be removed because they date the photos. Dated photos can look bad if the house doesn't sell immediately.
4. Pets: If you have pets, hide all food/water bowls, pet beds, and pet toys. Also, keep any pets in another room so they are not visible in the photos.
5. Ceiling Fans: Ceiling fans must be off. Some photographers, like me, take multiple shots and merge them together later for better quality photos or wider views. Moving fan blades will be a blur, and will not line up in merged photos
6. Lighting and electronics: Overhead lights and lamps should be on and burned out light bulbs replaced. All lighting should have the same color type of bulb (all bright white or soft white). Different color bulbs are distracting in photos. Television screens and computer monitors should be off.
7. Blinds and curtains: Blinds and curtains should be opened to let in natural light.
8. Bedrooms/Offices: Beds must be made, clothing put away, and personal items cleared where possible. This includes desk items, photographs, posters and corkboards. It is also advisable to remove anything on the floor, such as baskets and trash cans.
9. Bathrooms: Remove items from surfaces. Remove laundry baskets, and empty trash cans. Towels on racks should be neat and hung at the same level. Open showers and remove bottles or soap bars. Toilets should be closed.
10. Kitchen and dining areas: Make sure surfaces are clean and dirty dishes are not visible. If there is a desk area, remove all clutter and personal papers, calendars, cork boards and personal messages. Clear the counters of all but maybe one small appliance (like a coffee maker). If there is an island, place a bowl of fruit on it. Clear away refrigerator magnets, photos, etc. Remove garbage cans.
Stage place settings on tables if possible. Display a nice centerpiece, such as a flower bouquet. Space chairs evenly, and remove any child seats.
Many things have to be considered when you're using photos and video to sell a property. This is where an experienced photographer can really make a property stand out from the crowd.