I probably see more house pics than most when looking for features for Scottish housesand so I have a few tips that go beyond the obvious cleaning and decluttering to make a still image location look as attractive as possible.
There are companies that offer a home staging service and create photos fit for a high-end glossy magazine, while at the other end of the scale there are salespeople who take dodgy snaps with their phones — which is if you’re not careful can go viral for all the wrong reasons.
But when a photographer comes along, you can make a difference by acting as an art director and staying one step ahead during the shoot to find quick fixes.
At first it may seem obvious, but try to take the photos on a sunny day. The morning sun softens the shadows in a garden and makes the interior appear brighter.
Make sure the outside of the property is photographed before the for sale sign appears. You don’t want to advertise the real estate agent any more than necessary, and a sign in your lawn somehow subtly implies that the apartment has been on the market for a while.
If possible, avoid taking pictures with a row of cars parked outside. On busier streets this can be hard to avoid, but asking the neighbors to vacate a seat in the front for a few minutes while shots are being taken will remove the red flag that parking is contested.
That may very well be the case, but you don’t want that to be the first impression of your home.
Municipal trash cans on city streets are also an eyesore, so move them around while the front is locked in place, or at least try an angle that locks them out.
In your own outdoor space, utilities like oil tanks can be shielded with a wicker panel – and if you’re not fixing it, you can move the same panel to hide more than one unsightly spot. Your choice of standing it up or crouching behind it and holding it in place for the shot depends on the value of your dignity.
Inside, make sure you’ve cleared the kitchen countertops including mundane things like hiding the dish soap left behind by the sink.
Curating bookshelves works wonders – uncovered paperbacks and badly folded maps that have been shoved somewhere on the shelves should definitely be removed. Arranging books in order of height rather than alphabetically or in your preferred genre might seem squeamish, but it looks better.
Loose electrical cords should be hidden and I would push the TV out of the picture if not wall mounted. There’s something repulsive about all that furniture facing a giant screen, honest as that is to our way of life. Place the couches around a fireplace, if one has one, and no one will notice when the TV reappears for viewing.
Iron your comforters. I realize that hardly anyone does this in their normal life anymore, but a rumpled bed really turns heads.
As an icing on the cake, a flower vase or two is worth the investment and can be reused in some places too – just don’t overdo it.
The same blooms in every shot betray the challenging game.