Property photography

The majority of blog posts thus far have talked about music photography; so I've tried to break the monotony and talk about the property photography I've done recently. It roughly accounts for 20-25% of my workload and I'm constantly trying to increase that, but it's hard to make new clients out there when you have very few contacts!

In the beginning, I had no clue how to shoot houses and spaces in general, but It's taken a few years to find a method. I now feel confident in my ability to light a property and what angles I should use. It seems like the go-to in property photography is a good wide angle lens and I'll admit it's something I rely on heavily. However, It's something you need to be careful with, as it will help make get the whole room in shot, but it can also distort the perspective of the property which isn't helpful to a potential tenant.

Lighting is incredibly important to me when shooting property. It was something I initially tried to do with natural light, in order to be honest with the lighting of the property which in hindsight was quite naive.  The reality of it is that natural light does not enter your average room well unless it's a greenhouse! So I learned that a flash is necessary to light the interiors even with the lighting of the property.

So I'll turn all of the lights on in the property when I first arrive, this allows me to see what light I have to work with and it also reminds me what rooms I've shot, as I turn the light off once I've shot that room. Call it a strange habit I've acquired, but it hasn't let me forget about a room yet. 

Finally, if you're shooting the rooms with an on-camera flash, the light will obviously be strongest in the centre of the shot and get darker towards the edges. You can counter-act this by bumping the power of the flash, but you'll always get some shadows and darker parts of the image. The way to combat this is by editing the image effectively. I edit in Adobe Lightroom and use the graduated filter to raise the lighting at the edges of the image and maybe an awkward angle of shadow that is bothering me. So that the exposure of the image is consistent thoughout.

Here I used two flashes wirelessly to light two different spaces in one shot, so that the furthest part of the image was still exposed correctly.

Here I used two flashes wirelessly to light two different spaces in one shot, so that the furthest part of the image was still exposed correctly.

So once you've shot the rooms with your wide angle it's job done, right? ..not necessarily. A smaller property won't have many defining features, but you can still try and find something noteable to highlight which breaks the cycle of wide angle shots. It could be an original fireplace, a unique set of taps or a view from the property. This is where you can raise the focal length and maybe use a portrait shot.

The challenge I love with shooting properties is that regardless of the size or quality of the space it's my task to make it look good. If it's a small and cramped space, then I need to show people that it's still a desirable property and has potential. If it's a huge house with a lot of rooms then I need to do it justice and focus on the unique traits of the house.