To change up the blog a little bit, I thought I'd post before and after pictures for a house I shot recently. The before pictures were taken by the agent, Diane Wescott of Allen & Selig Realty, who's given me permission to use them here. (She freely admits that she's not a professional photographer which is why she hires me for every house she has).
The ones I took are the after shots. I thought it would be interesting because this house is a modest ranch house and it still is very important to have great photos for houses, no matter what the price point. In fact it may be more important for the average house because there is greater competition, less chance of another professional photographer taking pictures, and this listing will stand out in the crowd. Anyway, here are some photos and my thoughts of what I did to make the house look the best that it could. Cheers, Hannah
The picture on the left is the before, and the two pictures in the center and right are the afters. The before picture shows cold light, underexposure and a very cluttered kitchen. The seller decluttered it quite a bit before I came over, and then I had her take pretty much everything off the counters. The camera sees every detail, more so than we see with our naked eye. Not to go too much off on a tangent but even after a house is staged, I usually need to make some adjustments in order to take good pictures. Staging is part one of the process to show a house well, to shoot the best pictures I need to go to part two - usually much more spare than regular staging, and then after the shoot the house can go back to part one again. I think this merits a whole other blog post, but wanted to delve into that quickly.
For the after pictures, I used the natural light from the window and side door, but also made sure to have every light on in the kitchen to make it more appealing. I also have portable lights if there are huge shadows or something is backlit, but for this house I didn't use them as they can get in the way in small spaces. I also overexpose a bit, just to make the rooms be a bright as possible and to have all the details pop. Finally, I use staging material such as plants for the potential buyer's eye to rest on something, and to have a positive feeling about the item and also the room. I have some of my own materials but also enjoy using what the seller has in their house.
The living room was cluttered, the light was tricky because of the windows behind the furniture, and the furniture was pretty heavy for the size of the room. I had the sellers clear off all extraneous items and then looked for the most open shot in the room. I rarely shoot TVs, so just worked that out of my picture (you can see it in the corner of the before shot). I bumped up the exposure again, turned on all the lights, and not to get too detailed but worked on the light metering to make sure it was taking a reading off the sofa, not the windows (which would have made the picture too backlit and dark, which is what happened in the before picture).
This was a very attractive room, with lots of space and light. I wanted to highlight this room as being something fairly unusual to find in a ranch. In the before picture it is dark again (a challenge in a sun room as the outside can be so bright) and a bit cluttery. The seller decluttered, rearranged the furniture and I worked on the lighting. By opening up the blinds it would let in too much light so I had them partially closed, just enough to show that it was sunny without interfering with the light. Also, because it is mud season in Maine and the outdoors isn't too attractive, I tried to minimize what was outside and in fact with one picture overexposed the picture so that you couldn't see outside in any case.
Here is the exterior of the listing. This listing is important to shoot carefully as it has many competitors. In fact many agents might not feel that it was worth having professional photography taken because of its price point, but you can see the difference between what an agent would generally shoot and what a professional photographer would. As buyers now eliminate online, this listing should stand out over its competition.