The concept of being “Camera Ready” has played a significant role in my career for over a decade. Whether I was having a client’s product photographed at a Hollywood event in which they sponsored or making sure a celebrity client had enough powder applied (or not too much) before they took the couch on The Tonight Show. I have been trained to see slight imperfections that can be noticeable in photographs and on screen. Knowing what to look for and knowing the tricks to fix any flaw are important skills to have when photographing your home, the items you would like to list on eBay and even selling your house.
“Camera-Ready” means a space or item is presented in a way that captures its best qualities and will translate well on film. I recently worked on a guest house that had a few space planning issues. The owner used a luxury broker and their vacation rental website (to book guests and renters. The Guest House is a very spacious two-story home built in the 70’s and that had not been updated in many years. There were a few furniture pieces that I was able use in addition to a small budge. I started by applying very general Feng Shui elements to space plan the furniture layout. I made sure the position of the couches allowed guests to view the front door. I added mirrors and color as accents and bought very inexpensive shelving and a TV stand.
The home owner and Broker’s responses were awesome. The broker told me that it was very difficult relaying to potential renters that the property was comfortable and family friendly prior to the re-design. He said the minor adjustments made a huge impact in the photographs-adding layers of texture and offering opportunities to showcase specific areas better. He sent updated photos to a family that did not respond to the house at all when they first saw the listing and they changed their mind as soon as they saw the new shots. It was an odd shaped and huge room – but I think it turned out great. By the way, our budget was $500.00.
Here are FIVE EASY TIPS TO GET YOUR ROOM CAMERA-READY:
1. Identify – When you walk into a room or select an item to list online, you want to highlight and identify the best part in the photo. Break the room or item down into smaller sections or VIGNETTES. Obviously this applies a bit more to a room than to products you may want to sell, but utilizing a unique wall or table in your home to showcase an item can add eye-catching appeal to your listing.
2. Edit – When you decide on a location or vignette that you want to shoot, look through your camera and notice what catches your eye. You can remove clutter, tuck cords that are poking out, etc. If your shot has a lot going on, it may distract from the message you’re trying to convey. Get innovative and remove the noise. Use curtains or a bed sheet as a backdrop to create an all-white background, etc.
3. Lighting – If you are a point and shoot type of photographer (like me) and set your camera on auto hoping for the best, it is good to know what kind of light should be used and avoided.
– Natural Light works in a room that has indirect sunlight. If the light is either beaming directly in or is fairly low it can cause problems with your exposure. You are better off blocking out all of the natural light and using as much light as you can produce with lamps-the higher the wattage the better.
– Fluorescent Light is the worst. It cast a green shadow over pictures that can be very difficult to warm up.
– Don’t use your flash. It will make theroom look strange and can affect colors.
4. Stability – Make sure you use either a tripod or something else that allows you to shoot as still as possible. The low light when shooting indoors does not respond well to any blurriness, so stillness is key! Also, shooting at eye-level can completely change the way something looks. I think it add a modern dimension.
5. Styling – When you identify your shot, you want to make sure it pops. You can frame the photo to remove any background like we already covered, you can shoot close-up or you may want to add objects that catch your attention like: opposing colors, bright flowers, mix hard and soft textures, etc. By bringing in design you are adding interest to the photo.
I am personally not someone that strives to look Camera-Ready at all times. Hair in a bun, no make-up and jeans are my norms. But when it comes to organizing, I strive to make every space I de-clutter, room I re-design and closet I arrange look as though it could be in any home magazine. Taking a great picture that reflects the hard work is challenging and very rewarding!
Here are the pictures taken by the brokers at Prive for their website (it’s too bad the lighting isn’t a little better). I’ve included the photos of the living room that were previously on the site and what they have up now.