As a rule of thumb, we like to suggest that the property should be prepared to the same standard (or a little higher) as for the day of arrival of your guests. If you work to that goal, the house and gardens should be pretty much ready for a photoshoot. But just to make sure, and to help you a little (if you are not an old hand at this), we have included some guidelines below. Ultimately, these are only our suggestions and we are happy to work to your instructions and requirements.
A few days before our arrival (See note 1)
Lighting: As we use both the natural light coming into the room as well as the room’s electrical lighting, it is important that all of the available lights (lightbulbs) are in full working order. It does not make for the best presentation to have only one bedside light working, for example.
Main living area: This area should be clear of most personal effects and clutter-free. Cables should be tidied where possible and fixtures and fittings should be in good repair, clean and straight.
Kitchen: To give an impression of space and ease of use of the kitchen, it is best for the surfaces to be clear of non-essential items. It is important though to show that the kitchen has good facilities, so on display should be the standard accessories that will be available during the guests’ stay – for example, toaster, kettle, coffeemaker, juicer etc. Washing machines should be empty and the sink area should be clear of all items other than the essential washing up items (sponge, cloth and washing up liquid).
Dining area: The dining area, if possible, should have a matching set of table and chairs and the full complement of chairs in place (the amount that would be available when guests are staying). An attractive table cloth with matching crockery laid out really adds to the appeal of the photos.
Bedrooms: For the best presentation, beds should be fully made (or at least made to look fully made) with pillow cases on pillows and crumple-free bedlinen. Bedside lights should be in place and should be working. Boxes or other items should be removed from under the beds (or at least not visible to the eye) and shelf spaces should be clear of personal belongings.
Bathrooms: Again, it is best to remove all personal belongings from the bathroom and to only have on show the items that would be made available during the guests’ stay (soaps, hand-wash, shampoos etc). It is best to only have one of each of these items so that the bathroom does not look cluttered. There should be a set of towels in place for hand, bath and bath mat use.
Gardens and terraces: It certainly helps if the gardens have been maintained and lawns are mowed. Garden furniture should be clean and functional and should be set out in a pleasant location (alongside the pool or under the shade of a nice tree for example).
Pool and pool area: It is essential that the pool itself is in tip top condition. The water should be clean and the surfaces of the pool (walls and floor) should be clear of algae. The pool area should be clean and any pool furniture (sunbeds, chairs etc) should be set out in and around the pool.
Property: If your property has the benefit of having an attractive exterior, then for good photo results, it’s essential that the paintwork / plasterwork / brickwork is looking its best. Many owners freshen up their properties after the winter period which then means that spring is the ideal time to do the photoshoot – not to mention that the surrounding countryside is also pretty and green. It helps if the property is freshly painted (or is cleaned of water marks or streaking), that shutters/rollers are functional and are straight and that terraces/courtyard areas are clear of leaves and debris.
On the day of arrival (See note 2)
If you are planning to set out any tables with breakfast or lunch items, then these can be prepared in the morning. Plates of cheese, fruit and glasses of drinks really add extra appeal to the pictures. It also helps to add some flowers to the rooms, but we can move these around during the shoot, so there really only needs to be a couple of vases for example. At this point, the shutters for all of the rooms should be opened and the curtains tied back neatly to give the most light.
Additional touches such as a breakfast tray perched on the foot of a bed, some appropriate books set out in the lounge or on a bedside cabinet can also add to the final result.
It is best that there are no cars around the property (assuming that there is a driveway for example) and that the garden tools (wheelbarrows etc) have been put away. If you can, then it is best to remove washing lines, but if not, then at least there should be no washing on them. Hose pipes should be put away and it is best if outside terraced areas are clean and dry – using the pool and leaving large wet areas on the pool tiling will be detrimental to the final results. Similarly, watering plant pots on the morning of the shoot may leave water puddles which would be unsightly in the final photos. Pool nets, covers and unused pool accessories (rings, floats etc) should not be visible. Brightly coloured pool towels (if they are going to be available for guests to use) can be placed on the sunbeds.
During the photoshoot
Hopefully, by this point we are well on our way to ensuring that you are going to have the best set of photos for your property. As we do use some fairly wide angle lenses, and we do ensure that the exteriors are visible, even in the interior shots, we do ask that the areas that we are photographing are kept clear and that people do not pass doorways or stand outside the windows of the room we are shooting. Even when you think you are not going to be in the shot – there is a good chance you are!
We may ask for your help in doing the final preparations of each room as we complete the shoot. Once we have completed a room, it may be that we need to move flowers to the next room, or we need to take some of the items from the dining table to be set up on the terrace for example. We can do all of this ourselves, but with your help things are done more quickly and with your input for the final result.
Again, by this stage there should be little left to chance and the exteriors should be ready for the photography. It is important to ensure that the area being photographed is clear of people and cars, and the pool and any terrace areas are dry. If possible, it’s helpful to have the swimming pool pumps running to bring some life into the water. Also, having turbulent water can mask the depths of the pool if there does happen to be a little dirt at the bottom.
Whilst we do not normally shoot properties with people in the photos, we can do so if you wish – although it does change the shooting style a little because we normally work with minimal artificial lighting. Please let us know in advance if you would like people in the shots.
If you are going to be renting the property via websites that have portrait images of the owners, then we would be happy to take some photographs during the shoot which we will then include in the final image delivery.
Olives in a bowl
Bottle of wine
Bunches of flowers
A few days before our arrival (See note 1)
Ruins and semi-derelict: Really, the neater the better. When selling a ruin or semi-derelict place, and assuming there are no services (eg electricity) to the property, the main thing that you can do is to ensure that the area inside and around the ruin is clear of rubbish. Prospective buyers will be put off if they consider that the area is being used as a dumping ground. Even though it is a ruin, we want to present the buyer with a positive image of what the property could be, enhancing its potential. It also helps if you know in advance where the services are and if we can photograph them.
Renovation: The property should be clear of rubbish if possible and arrangements made so that the property can be accessed (safely) prior to our visit. It also helps to ensure that shutters (or boarded up windows) can be opened so that the rooms can be photographed with as much light as possible. Features such as fireplaces, bread ovens, roof terraces etc. should also be visible and available to photograph.
Habitable (empty): If the property has electricity connected, then it helps to ensure that rooms have light bulbs. The rooms should be clear of all items and as clean as possible. Again, shutters should be opened to let in natural light. Please ensure that any specific features of the property that you would like photographed are pointed out to us and are clean/serviceable.
The exterior should also be maintained and ready for photographs (see the rental notes above for further suggestions on preparing the exterior).
Habitable (furnished): If you are selling your property as a fully furnished property, then we would recommend similar guidelines to the rental details given above.
On the day of arrival and photoshoot (See note 2)
Ruins and semi-derelict: We will shoot the property itself and any surrounding land. We will also try to photograph the surrounding area to give potential buyers a better idea of the location of the property, but if there are specific features that you would like us to include, then please let us know on arrival.
Renovation: On the day of the shoot, it is best if the property is opened up (windows and doors) in readiness for taking the photographs. We will ensure that we do a complete shoot of the property, but if there are specific features that you would like us to include, then please let us know when we arrive.
Habitable (empty): Please ensure that the shutters of the property are all open and that the rooms are clear. If there is electricity, then this should be turned on so that we can put on lights in the rooms. The exteriors should be clear, with garden tools put away and cars etc. parked so that they do not appear in the photographs. (It may help to review the rental guidelines to see if any of the suggestions might also apply here).
Habitable (furnished): Selling your property fully furnished is very similar to renting your property. We would suggest following the rental guidelines given above, but with a few provisos. The prospective buyers will be aware that your personal effects will be removed when you leave, so it is not quite as essential to clear the property of all personal items prior to the shoot – it can even be quite helpful for buyers to get an idea of what the rooms look like with a “lived in” feel.
Unlike rentals, there is no need to make “welcome” preparations so setting out breakfast on the terrace or the dining table is not really essential in this case.
Finally, if there are specific features of the property that you would like us to photograph, then please let us know on arrival and we will ensure that we include these items.
Note 1: All photoshoots are weather dependent. We monitor the weather forecast up until the day of the photoshoot and ask that you do the same (assuming that you are at the photoshoot location). If we consider the weather not to be suitable and that the resultant photographs will be sub-standard, we will cancel the shoot and work with you to arrange another suitable date.
Note 2: It is not possible to say in advance if we will shoot the interiors or exteriors first. Depending on the direction of the property, the sun/time of day, the weather and the forecast conditions for the rest of the day, we may want to shoot outside first to ensure that we get the best lighting.
"Declutter! When renting your house it is essential that guests can project an image of themselves staying there - not you. Neutral environments are best."
Photo Ready. Either the house should still be "lived in" and tidy, or cleared out and empty. A room full of boxes and bags on the day of the photos is a no no.
Lighting. Make sure that all of the lights and lamps are working around the property. It looks bad to have photos or video with missing or broken bulbs.
The cleaner the better. It is not always viable to redecorate a house you are selling, but a spring clean helps - especially mouldy areas, stains etc.
Show off! Let the client see what you have. Put the covers on sun loungers and open sun shades, show the appliances in the kitchen and towels in the bathrooms.
Open up. Let in natural light and brighten up the interiors. Clear the outside areas and mow lawns, cut back greenery to show as much space as possible.
A good place to start ... If you are looking for photographic services or want to promote the rental or sale of your property, then we are sure we can help. You can either enter your name and email below or if you would like to give us some more details, you can use our contact form. Either way we will get back to you ASAP.