I was recently interviewed for the Little Hotelier blog – a resource for small hotels/Bnb/guest house owners focusing on marketing and offering advice.
You can read the original interview here.
1) Tell us about your job – why do you love taking photos of properties?
I’m a freelance photographer based in Sydney specialising in interiors, exteriors and furniture photography. I love the challenges that come with property photography and enjoy helping my clients show their properties in the best way possible. Each job is unique and I love capturing the way light plays into spaces, how architectural elements enhance a space and communicating a mood and ambience through photography.
I don’t have a particular preference for the type of properties – commercial or residential are both equally interesting and challenging to me. Properties that have unique design features, have personality or character or are designed to maximise natural light are usually the most enjoyable to shoot.
3) What are your best tips for taking photos of rooms?
Tip #1 – Clean up. Make sure the room is tidy, uncluttered and clean before photography even starts (this sounds simple but what can look ok to the eye can often appear cluttered or messy to the camera)
Tip #2 – Don’t go too wide. It’s very tempting to use an ultra wide angle (UWA) lens to try and fit as much of a room into a shot as possible but as well as not looking realistic it can produce distorted angles and is quite an unnatural field of view.
Try zooming to between 24-30mm on your lens (or better yet use a prime lens at a similar focal length) and including only two walls, perhaps featuring a certain aspect of the room, and create a pleasing composition using a few elements.
Tip #3 – Turn the lights off. While it seems logical to turn every light on the room for property photography, this can often look a little strange and create orange glows or hot spots from the bulbs in lamps and light fixtures. I recommend using natural light as much as possible and using a small amount of off-camera flash as fill, when needed. Floor and table lamps, when used sparingly, can create a nice ambience.
Knowing how to expose properly for natural light is probably too large a topic to tackle in this blog post but getting to grips with your camera’s metering system and knowing the relationship between f-stop/shutter speed/ISO and focal length is a great start.
Oh, and use a tripod!
A tripod is essential! Contrary to my advice above about interiors – turn on all visible interior and exterior lights (unless the exterior lights are large flood lights!).
Try taking these sorts of shots at dusk rather than when it is truly dark – some detail/colour in the sky is much more appealing than pitch black.
Try using the timer function on your camera to avoid camera shake.
5) What time of day is best to take photos?
Generally early in the morning or late in the afternoon is best for capturing interiors as the quality of natural light is softer and shadows are less harsh than in the middle of the day. However this isn’t always possible so a good interiors photographer will make the shoot work best for the time of day and may leave some rooms until last depending on how the light is behaving.
Although I prefer to work with natural light, I do introduce off camera flash from time to time which can assist to add shape to furniture and rooms, especially ones with little natural light.
6) Do you have any tips for what small hotels can do to capture the charm of their establishment through photos?
Think about what sets your hotel/property apart from others, make sure rooms and areas to be photographed are as well presented as possible (see tip #1 above), communicate clearly to the photography what the essential shots are and what you want to communicate with your photography.
7) What would you say are the key things that property owners should look for in their photographer?
Portfolio/previous work – check out the photographers website and portfolio to see if their style of photography would be a good suit for your property and if they have examples of their previous interiors work
Professionalism – If your initial communications with the photographer aren’t the greatest (if they take a long time to respond to emails for example), this can often translate into a poor approach to their photography.
8) What’s the best way to prepare for a photo shoot of a property? How can property owners help the photographer prepare?
Ensure that all the rooms you are going to photograph are clean and uncluttered, have a solid idea of the shots you require (your photographer should be able to contribute to this!) and be prepared to move furniture and props around if required.
But most of all, enjoy the experience and trust in your photographer!