How many times have you heard or even said yourself: A picture is worth a thousand words. Old adages earn that status for the simple truth of the statement. However, in this case we would like to amend the familiar saying: The right picture is worth a thousand words.
The “right” photos tell a story and stimulate the imagination—something that is important for every builder, developer, and remodeler—and imperative for those with an eye toward winning top honors in the Best In American Living Awards. Here we’ll share a few tips to help you shoot photos that will capture the interest and imagination of prospects…and of the awards judges .
What to Consider When Taking a Photo
The list is long, but we’ve narrowed it down to a few basics you should always consider:
- Composition: Angle can make all the difference in an image. Photo One captures the elevation yet flattens it at the same time. Photo Two is the same house, shot from a slightly different perspective. It shows depth and is more inviting.
The same applies to shooting interior spaces. Photos Three and Four both show hallways, yet the latter photo is a far more compelling shot because it has visual anchors both in the foreground (stairs), in the middle (the arch) and in the distance (the window to the outside).
Just as important is ensuring the viewer has a focal point in each image. In Photo Five the eye is drawn down the dramatic hallway to the fireplace beyond. Photo Six shows an intimate entry that beckons viewers to the open doorway.
- Time of day: Always capture at least one daytime and one dusk shot of a building exterior. There is no hard and fast rule that one is better than the other, but contrast always helps an image pop as illustrated here in Photo Eight when compared to the same building in Photo Seven.
- Background: The inclination is to make the home dominant in every shot, but as Photo Nine illustrates the background can really inform a photo. In this case, framing the photo so the house is at the bottom of the image showcases the natural beauty of the location and helps every viewer understand how the home is laid out to take in its surroundings.
- The Outdoors: When photographing interiors, a peek out the window can be a good thing—or not. Photo Ten uses the expansive glass and views to make the living space look larger. Similarly, in Photo Eleven, the partly shuttered blinds lend a sense of warmth to the space.
What to Avoid When Taking a Photo
What to leave out of a photo is just as important as what to put in. Some things to avoid:
- Clutter: Some shots die because of the clutter in the image, no matter how good the composition and framing. Too much landscaping hides the elevation in Photo Twelve, while a more restrained plant palette enhances the home in Photo Thirteen. Make sure to confer with the landscape architect and interior designer in advance of actually photographing a project.
- Furniture shots: Each image should showcase a space to help the viewer understand how people live in it. Too many times that thought takes the back seat, and the result is a nice photo of furniture as shown in Photo Fourteen. Furniture should enhance an image, not become the focus of it.