They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to housing, that couldn’t be more accurate. Taking good photographs at different stages of construction is an excellent way to demonstrate the quality of your work to clients, funders, and other important community stakeholders.
For this week’s blog post, TSAHC staff members David Danenfelzer and Charlie Leal have done some research and put together 12 tips for getting great photos of your homes.
1. Take several photos during each stage of construction. Remember where and what time you take your photos so you can take follow up photos from the same angles at the same time of day.
2. Make sure your photos document all improvements to a property. New water heaters, HVAC ductwork, insulation and plumbing may not sound interesting to you, but funders really like to see where their dollars are being spent.
3. Don’t be afraid to include people in the photos. Action photos of carpenters, plumbers, and installers demonstrate that, not only are you creating high quality housing, you’re also contributing to economic development in your community. Make sure to adjust your camera settings to compensate for the speed of the actions. If you can't angle your camera to catch people in action, don't hesitate to ask them to change their positions.
4. Natural light should always be your first choice when taking interior photos. If your camera has a preview screen, take a few photos with and without the flash and compare them right away. If you can't tell which photo is better, take all photos with and without a flash.
5. Take photos with the lights on and off. Some rooms in the house get great natural light, but others (bathrooms, closets, etc.) may require that you turn on the overhead lights. Always take more photos than you need and sort through them all later.
6. For exterior photos of a property, the lighting is best within three hours of sunrise (if facing east) and within three hours of sunset (if facing west). If the property faces north or south, take pictures in the afternoon when the sun is no longer directly overhead.
7. Position your camera about 4 to 5 feet off the floor (midway between floor and ceiling). This camera angle helps straighten vertical lines and improves perspective.
8. If you are having difficulty taking a photo of an entire room, take it from a corner, a closet or just outside the doorway to expand your field of view. Just remember to keep the camera lens about 4-5 feet off the floor.
9. If your budget allows, invest in a DSLR camera with a wide angle lens (with no fisheye effect). This greatly improves the quality of your photos and is ideal for printing and marketing purposes.
Low or No-Cost Technology Recommendations
10. When using a cell phone camera, consider using an auto backup application like Dropbox, Google+ or Flickr. Not only will your photos be saved online in case your phone goes missing, but dropping your photos into email and documents will be easier. Some back-up systems like Google+ and Flickr offer free photo editing tools. You can also edit photos right on your smart phone or tablet by downloading apps such as PicTapGo, Instagram and Snapspeed.
11. Another great trick for smartphone users is to use a note-taking application like Evernote or OneNote. These apps let you add comments and send inspection reports to others with photos.
12. Finally, don’t be afraid to include date and time stamps on your photos. Date stamped photos can help you keep track of construction activities. They are also helpful in documenting to funders that you completed your project on time. However, make sure to check with your marketing team before including date stamps because they may prefer photos without date stamps for collateral materials.
For more information, check out the following sources:
This Old House
HGTV - 15 Secrets to Staging
MSN - 6 home-photo tips to draw buyers
Tech Savvy Agent
Making it Lovely
On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.