Property Photography Guidelines

Property Photography Guidelines

Someone once said that property photography was 10% technique and 90% moving furniture. Sometimes we know the feeling. Over the years we’ve photographed countless properties in both London and Rhodes. Every property presents its own unique challenges and rewards. There are, however, a few universal truths that apply to castles and condos alike. It’s the tiny details which make the greatest difference. A bowl of fruit on a table. A glass of juice next to a sun bed. Magazines and candles. Clean towels and sheets. Sparkling mirrors and kitchen appliances. All of these touches might seem trivial but they all help to create a homely and welcoming atmosphere.  Photography relies on light. We bring our own off-camera equipment to supplement the existing interior lighting but one faulty bulb can ruin a photograph

Over the years we have faced a multitude of technical headaches and scenarios. It is our job to overcome these hurdles and provide imagery which accurately reflects the property to the best of our ability. There are several ways to approach photography but there is one option on which every professional agrees and that is to avoid the unnecessary use of Photoshop. Every photograph has obviously seen a little software during its journey from memory chip to final edit. Yet the old maxim that less is more is particularly appropriate to property photography. Commercial photography has been around far longer than computers and we’ve come to appreciate the skill and patience of those original masters who had to rely solely on their experience, equipment and a darkroom. 

The excessive use of Photoshop can be divisive amongst photographers and property owners. The notion that software alone can simply eradicate fundamental construction flaws in a property is a short-term viewpoint. Over the years we have been asked to remove electric cables and pylons, airbrush rubbish skips and caravans, and even fill swimming pools with water. It’s a fine line between striving to make a property look appealing and misrepresentation. As far as the latter is concerned, the photographer is as culpable as the owner. The law assumes that both parties have colluded to deceive. It is also another short-term solution. Clients booking a rental villa on the strength of our photography expect to see something similar upon arrival. If what appeared to be an uninterrupted panoramic view of the sea is in reality a power station then they are perfectly entitled to demand compensation. It also raises questions of trust. In these days of internet forums and travel websites, the customer has more power than ever before.

The PPA (Professional Photographers Association) has drawn up a volountary code of ethics concerning digital image manipulation in commercial photography. In a nutshell this boils down to one single guideline. If an object can be physically moved by hand then it is acceptable to remove that object in post-production. If it cannot be moved by hand then Photoshop is not acceptable. In other words, a garden hose can be digitally removed. Weather-worn furniture can be removed. Unsightly vehicles and bicycles can be removed from driveways. Skips and wheelie bins can be removed. But surrounding buildings and telegraph poles cannot be removed. An ugly hotel on the horizon cannot be removed. And an entire landscape garden cannot be grown from the simple pixel tree. Digitally repairing a broken bathroom tile is one thing, but populating the same space with the finest Italian marble is another altogether.

Obviously we should try and frame a photograph to obscure any unsightly and immovable objects. We can photograph from a different angle or move something to maybe hide the view. If, however, the unsightly object is too dominant within the frame then we will consult with the owner on the appropriate way forward.

Property photography is essentially concerned with the balance of light. There is also an ethical balance that we strive to respect.

For more information and advice on property photography, please don’t hesitate to contact us here .

To view our gallery of property photography please click here


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