How to prepare your property for professional sales photography

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Guest Blogger

7 months ago - 08-05-2018

This guest post was provided by ViewScape property marketing specialists.

For those selling or letting their property, professional photography remains the cornerstone of a successful marketing campaign. Images of the interior and exterior of your property will appear on most of the advertising channels used to reach potential buyers or tenants, including property portals like RightMove and Zoopla, the Ellis & Co website, and print adverts.

Often the first impression for those searching for property, the quality of the images directly influences the level of interest and the number of viewings booked. Whilst it's often easy to tell the difference between good and bad photography, making sure your home is at its most photogenic ahead of the photo shoot can be a little more difficult.

In this article we discuss our tips for preparing your home for professional photography, and making that all important first impression to prospective buyers or tenants.

General

The first and often most obvious task is to thoroughly clean and tidy your property from top to bottom, whilst removing any day-to-day or personal items to maximise the feeling of open space. When searching for a new home people hope to imagine the life they could be living within the property, so by removing as many personal items as possible you allow viewers to imagine their own belongings in the space.

Whilst a reduction in clutter creates a more open feeling of a house ready to move in to, it's equally important that the house doesn't look empty or uninviting. This is where staging or dressing the property adds the finishing touch. Once your dining or coffee table is clear and clean, an arranged vase of flowers or bowl of fresh fruit adds a homely yet impersonal focal point for photos.

Equally important for quality photography is the amount of light which should, wherever possible, be natural. Ahead of the photo shoot, ensure that all curtains and blinds are fully open and tied back. Lights and lamps should be left switched off, except for rooms with no windows or evening photography.

Just before the photo shoot you'll also want to ensure that all TV and computer screens are switched off and pets are kept out of shot.

General Checklist

* Thoroughly clean and tidy - floors, walls, windows, surfaces, etc.
* Remove personal items - personal photos, shoes, jackets, devices, magazines etc.
* Staging/dressing - a vase of flowers of bowl of fruit.
* Screens switched off.
* Pets out of shot.

Exterior

Often referred to as curb appeal, the exterior view of your property is the first thing prospective buyers or tenants will see should they book a viewing. This is much the same during the selection process for those very viewings, so the digital curb appeal in your photographs will set the scene for the interior shots.

Like the interior, preparing the outside of your home for the photo shoot focuses on making things tidy and removing unnecessary clutter to maximise the sense of space. You'll want to ensure the garden is in good shape with the lawn mowed and plants well maintained. Any decking or patio areas should be brushed or cleaned appropriately too.

Garden tools and equipment - including hoses, kids toys, bikes and sports equipment - should be stored away out of sight. The same goes for wheelie bins and composters.

Outdoor furniture should be cleaned with any covers removed and stored away too.

Finally, you may consider moving your car from the driveway or front of the property if it is likely to block the view of the house in any photographs.

Exterior Checklist

* Mow/rake lawn.
* Trim shrubbery.
* Clean patio or decking areas.
* Remove garden tools and equipment, toys and sports equipment.
* Remove bins.
* Remove car from driveway.
* Remove cobwebs from window and door frames etc.

Kitchen

In addition to a thorough clean, it's worth considering removing the small appliances and kitchen objects which have found their permanent home on work surfaces and counters.

Knife blocks, chopping boards and dish racks should be removed if possible to maximise space; one or two appliances such as a coffee machine, bread maker or slow cooker should be left in place.

Personal items such as fridge magnets and children's drawings, photographs, cleaning products, brooms and mops should be stored out of sight, as should waste bins.

The kitchen is a one of the good areas in which to place a bowl of arranged fresh fruit as a focal point for photographs.

Kitchen Checklist

* Thoroughly clean all surfaces and appliances, stainless steel, oven, hob, vacuum/mop floor.
* Remove kitchen equipment from surfaces.
* Empty and clean the sink.
* Remove fridge magnets, photos, drawings etc.
* Remove cleaning products.
* Remove bins.
* Bowl of fresh fruit.

Reception Rooms

Dining Room

Symmetrical lines make for a good photograph; chairs should be arranged neatly and evenly around the table. Remove all personal items and paperwork from surfaces wherever possible.

The clear dining table is also a good location for a vase of arranged flowers.

Dining Room Checklist

* Clean and dust all surfaces.
* Clear away personal items, paperwork, mail etc.
* Arrange chairs around dining table.
* Add a vase of flowers to the dining table.

Living Room

Often one of the most 'lived in' spaces, you'll want to pay close attention to personal items including newspapers or magazines, mobile devices and TV remotes, blankets and toys. Any stray electrical wires should be tidied and tucked out of sight.

Surfaces should be clean and clear with some small, impersonal items such as coaster or coffee table books left in place. Cushions and throws should be arranged tidily on living room furniture.

Living Room Checklist

* Remove newspapers, magazines and mail.
* Remove TV remotes and mobile devices.
* Tidy stray electrical cables.
* Clean and tidy all surfaces.
* Arrange cushions and throws.

Bedrooms

Try to leave nothing but floor space, furniture and small general items to show your bedrooms at their true size. Clothing, shoes and personal items like family photos should be removed from surfaces, hooks and the floor. For the shoot itself you may wish to remove laundry baskets and waste paper bins.

Te bed is typically the centrepiece of a bedroom - try to ensure it is made with a neutral bedspread and pillows arranged tidily. If there are boxes or objects stored under the bed, try to ensure they are not visible for the photographs.

In children's rooms you should pay particular attention to stray toys, posters and drawings.

Bedroom Checklist

* Close cupboards and drawers.
* Store all clothes in wardrobe or drawers.
* Remove personal items.
* Remove laundry baskets and waste paper bins.
* Make the bed.
* Remove items from under the bed.
* Tidy toys, posters and drawings in children's rooms.

Bathrooms

As part of a thorough clean in the bathroom, pay close attention to mirrors, taps, and inside the bath or shower. Personal items including toothbrushes, soap, toiletries, medicines and beauty products should be stored away or removed.

You should also consider moving bath mats, bins, toilet rolls and toilet brushes ahead of the shoot, as well as closing the toilet lid. Finally, fresh towels folded neatly on a towel rail adds a finishing touch for photographs.

Bathroom Checklist

* Clean all fittings and surfaces.
* Remove toiletries and personal items.
* Remove mats and bins.
* Remove toilet rolls and brushes, close lid.
* Arrange fresh folded towels.

If you would like more advice about selling or letting your property, speak to your local Ellis & Co branch.

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Guest Blogger

Many industry experts from around the UK come to us with the intention of guest blogging, giving free advice on subjects as varied as flooring, finance tips, sustainable living, interior design and house prices. These specialised blogs allow our readers a greater insight into aspects of their property portfolio they may otherwise take for granted.

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