I teach a lot of people how to improve their property photography but my business also edits several thousand photos every month for estate agents and individual customers all around the UK. On photography workshop days, the questions that I invariably get asked about involve Photoshop and these include, ‘How did you get rid of that car?’ and ‘How do you add blue skies? Some people are fascinated by what can be achieved, but like many other skills, success boils down to experience and the ability to see things differently. Read the rest of this entry »

One of the easiest ways to make your properties stand out from the competition is to use photos that are so obviously unlike the others on the portals and in your news ads, that they’ll prove irresistible to buyers who will want to find out more.

But how do you take photos like those below? Read the rest of this entry »

This time of year it’s not the cloudy days that are the property photographer’s enemy, it’s the bright sunny ones.

This is especially the case if there are big trees or other tall structures causing high-contrast shadows over gardens and elevations when the bright Sun drops behind them – at this time of year that would be most of the daytime.

The problem is that there is, on a bright day, a difference of around 22 f-stops worth of available light in the real world* but the average digital camera records detail in a range equal to around 7 f-stops (less able cameras) to 14 (more able SLR cameras). The human eye can see the equivalent of around 20 f-stops in a scene, because it constantly adjusts as it focusses on different elements of it. In plain English, this translates to the unfortunate fact that in high-contrast scenes, a photograph’s detail can easily be lost with blocky shadows at one end of the scale or blown highlights at the other.

So – what to do? Read the rest of this entry »

A frequent problem that agents have when selling brand new homes is the developer’s impatience for sales to begin, balanced against the fact that most building sites resemble my second daughter’s bedroom when she was 13. Her abode used to attract varying comments drawing comparison (naturally) with building sites, and homes that had been burgled. Things at that time were so bad that my daughter’s room became a popular practice venue for the town’s crime-scene investigators; but then she went through a caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis and became a beautiful (and tidy) young lady – although somehow she did retain the hairy legs. Read the rest of this entry »

I said recently that I don’t think of myself as a photographer. My role in life is, and always has been, to make the properties I’ve been asked to sell look the very best they can. These days we’re not restricted to paper-based advertising, we also have the Internet which makes the world our showcase, rendering the need for property images to be that much more refined than perhaps they once were. With the portals bringing together all of a property’s competition on one screen it’s become even more important to make the one(s) we’re selling stand out from the crowd; literally there are thousands of homes available to buy and rent across the UK so anyone who’s looking must be given good reason to take time out from their busy lives and go see.

It just so happens that photographs are the most visual way to grab the attention of the best buyers; and, all other things being equal, the better the photos, the more potential buyers who will be attracted and therefore the better the price etc etc. So, for me photography is a means to an end – which isn’t me saying I’m not interested in photography; in fact I’m very interested in learning from the best and for that reason I spend a tremendous amount of time reading, learning and watching. I’d like to introduce you now to some of the people who have influenced me in one way or another. I very much hope that you’ll also take an interest in what they’re doing – you might be surprised at how techniques that are used by wedding photographers for example, might translate in some small way to property photography especially when you’re able to maintain an open mind – it’s being open to ideas and learning that enables you to grow…

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Most of us recognise that creating good photos of interiors can be problematical especially when there’s a window in  the shot. The light value outside of the window will often be massively higher than that inside, so that a good exposure of the room will result in the window being over-exposed, or vice-versa. There are techniques for dealing with this, including layering two photos that were taken off a tripod, (one correctly exposed for the exterior, and on top of that, a second photo exposed for the interior) and carefully selecting the window area of the photo that was exposed for the room so that its over-exposed window selection can be deleted leaving the correctly exposed window on the lower layer to be merged with the room exposure.  (You might need to read that a couple of times :o) ). A similar and more detailed (perhaps even better explained) approach can be found here in this excellent article on Larry Lohrman’s site. However these solutions won’t help you when you have bright wall or ceiling lighting causing ‘halo’s’ to shine against a wall or ceiling – the effect of which can look hideous and spoil an otherwise good photo…

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