Property Photography has become a great way to make a living as a professional photographer in the last few years. As a result, lots of property photography jobs are available. With the range of properties available and the high sums of money changing hands in today’s market, it makes good property photos more important than ever to stand out from the crowd.
This is generally achieved by staging a property and producing high-quality images, films or even virtual tours. So here is a quick guide to everything you need to get those property photos looking great.
Visit the property before the shoot
This is something that is often overlooked in property photography by beginners. As already discussed, you need to know when the best time to shoot each room or location is. But it’s also a good idea to have a plan to achieve the best from each room. This could be different angles to detail shots. Whatever it is, you don’t want to go into the shoot without a plan for your shoot.
Always aim for the best light
Just like landscapes, a property needs to be photographed at the right time of day and in the right light. This may mean shooting different angles of the exteriors at sunrise and sunset or the afternoon when the kitchen or a bedroom is flooded with beautiful light. Your job is to make each property stand out and sell the dream to potential buyers.
Bring the right gear
Don’t solely rely on natural light as sometimes it won’t be enough. Make sure you have some umbrella lights to fill in those darker corners or add extra attention to certain details.
Invest in super wide-angle lenses of at least 17mm. You are often left working in very tight conditions in order to get the shot so you will need a wide-angle lens on pretty much all of your property photography jobs.
Use a tripod wherever possible. A camera and tripod can get in much tighter locations than you can and will guarantee your photo will be sharp and free of noise. You won’t be able to capture the same quality of photos in property photography shooting handheld.
Be aware of the contrast in light and dark
You should always open blinds or curtains in rooms. Generally, rooms look more flattering and seem like they have more space with the blinds or curtains opened. There will of course be exceptions to this, but most of the time you should allow as much light to flood into the room as possible.
One thing that you do need to be aware of when you open blinds and curtains is clipping happening. This is when either your highlights or shadows are cut by the edges of the histogram. This means they contain no detail at all and will show as pure black or white areas and are to be avoided. The way to get around this issue is by stacking multiple exposures on top of each other in post-production. A technique called “stacking” or “HDR”.
Turn on the lights
One of the most common mistakes I see in property photography are lights being left off. Whilst to the natural eye it is often nicer not to have lights on, this is very rarely the case with an image as lights and lamps only serve as a distraction.
The one-room that I found often breaks this rule is in Kitchens. Kitchens are often designed to be flooded with natural light so actually end up photographing better with the lights off. If you are unsure, take a set with the lights on and lights off and decide in post-production when you have more time.
So that’s our quick beginners’ guide to property photography. If you follow these simple steps on your next shoot you will see an improvement in your photos.
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Even though we may not be able to travel right now, we are already planning our trips for 2020 and 2021. Our UK workshops in the Yorkshire, Cornwall, Glencoe, Dorset, Lake District, Cotswolds or London will be starting again soon.
Jordan Banks is a successful travel photographer and Lee Filters & Cruise America brand ambassador. With almost 20 years of experience shooting assignments and campaigns for some of the world’s leading brands, companies & tourist boards such as British Airways, Credit Suisse & Visit England.
His editorial work has appeared on the covers of National Geographic, Lonely Planet, Sunday Times travel and many more. If you would like to learn more from Jordan or join him in the field, why not join one of his travel photography courses.
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