Tag Archives: freelance photographer

Essential professional property photography equipment

There is a common misapprehension that photographing a property is easy. Turn on the lights, tidy up, take a picture with whatever camera you happen to have at your disposal, and upload the results onto the internet. It’s a philosophy espoused by budget estate agents and one-person property firms, where selling is usually prioritised over marketing.

The sad reality is that an iPad or iPhone is not going to represent any building to best effect, or allow prospective purchasers and tenants to make an informed decision about its accommodation. The reasons why a smartphone doesn’t quality as appropriate property photography equipment would fill far more space than this blog can provide, but a few examples include:

  1. The basic nature of most smartphone or tablet flashes doesn’t illuminate the whole picture evenly, flooding some areas while leaving others looking dull.
  2. Camera lenses are rarely wide-angle, meaning they miss large percentages of each room. Even wide-angle phone lenses tend to distort around the edges.
  3. Focus is almost always automatic, meaning the camera decides which parts of a shot to have in focus and which to ignore. In reality, every part should be equally clear.
  4. Small, lightweight phones and tablets aren’t compatible with accessories like sunshades or filters, which may be required for glare-free outdoor photography.
  5. It’s hard to mount a mobile device on a tripod or monopod, which professional photographers use to ensure shots are properly framed with straight verticals.

If you vis the Before and After page of the G75 Images website, you’ll instantly see the difference between an image taken with high-calibre property photography equipment, and one taken using a basic camera lens. For the last ten years, we’ve been providing clients throughout Scotland and England with freelance property photography services, enabling them to market residential, commercial and industrial buildings to optimal effect.

• Our roster of property photography equipment includes Canon DSLR cameras, with wide-angle and telephoto lenses – the former for internal shots and the latter for views and details. Having formerly used Nikon cameras, we now find Canon images are sharper.
• We use a master flash gun mounted to the camera body, and a slave gun which can be positioned anywhere within infra-red radius. When the shutter button is depressed, both flashes fire simultaneously, casting equal amounts of light into every corner.
• A tripod has a dedicated space in the car boot, though seventeen years of freehand experience means it’s rarely needed. A trained eye can usually ensure verticals are perfectly straight at the first time of asking.
• Even if a shot does need peripheral clutter cropping out, or slight post-production adjustments to its brightness, we use advanced photo editing tools to ensure every image looks its best before it’s provided to the client.

If this sounds like the calibre of property photography you’d like to see in your next property listing, contact us for more information on our services and costs. We have the expertise, the confidence and the property photography equipment to ensure every listing looks its best, doing full justice to the building in question and maximising its appeal.

The challenges of photographing flats and apartment buildings

There is a common misconception among people unfamiliar with property photography that marketing one house or flat is the same as marketing any other. Every home has a frontage, an entrance, rooms and corridors, so surely the same photographic principles should apply whether you’re photographing flats, houses or bungalows?

In reality, that’s simply not the case. Photographing flats and apartment buildings requires what Liam Neeson fans would refer to as a very specific set of skills, due to the unique challenges these properties present. And while generalisations are the enemy of effective property marketing, these are some of the issues which are more likely to apply to flats than houses or bungalows:

Internal apartments. The design of apartment buildings tends to limit opportunities for windows, in the same way traditional back-to-back houses only enjoyed natural light in front-facing rooms. Effective illumination of internal apartments requires a flash gun with adjustable power, compensating for the absence of daylight without bleaching out images.

Tall external façades. It’s easy to stand outside a bungalow and take a photo where the verticals are neat and everything appears in shot. Yet photographing an apartment building by simply pointing the camera skywards results in shots where the building seems to be falling backwards. Clever framing and post-production tricks are essential here.

Other properties in shot. This is another challenge with communal buildings – portraying the property being marketed and giving a sense of place, without capturing too many other homes. If the property you’re photographing is on the ground floor of a ten-storey block, do you cut off the roof in your photos? If it’s on the top floor, do you crop out the ground?

Orientation. Even though we tend to hold mobile devices in portrait mode, most property portals favour landscape images – wider than they are tall. That’s incongruous when trying to capture buildings which are taller than wide. One compromise involves supplying square photos, framing each external in such a way it can be trimmed without losing key details.

Communal grounds. The photograph above shows a Glasgow tenement stretching into the distance. Its communal gardens do the same, with no demarcation. Capturing open spaces is much harder than in private gardens, where hedges and fences provide clear boundaries – and where neighbours’ rubbish or personal effects aren’t in full view.

Tricks of the trade

At this point, it would be easy to launch into detailed descriptions of how to tackle and mitigate the above issues. However, any guide would fail to explain the instinctive knowledge freelance property photographers bring to photographing flats and apartment buildings. At G75 Images, we’ve spent 17 years arriving outside tenements and apartment blocks, immediately assessing the challenges of street furniture or sunshine behind north-facing façades. We know how to mitigate dazzle, how to ensure a square building doesn’t appear trapezoidal, and how to direct the audience’s gaze to the property being marketed.

You can view examples of how G75 Images approaches photographing flats and apartment buildings on our Before and After page, with further examples of apartment photography in our Residential section. You can also contact us to discuss how we can provide our acclaimed freelance property photography services for your flat, or for properties you’re marketing.

Why cheap property photography could cost you dear

During the last decade, estate agency was unwittingly engaged in a race to the bottom. The advent of online estate agents led to industry-wide cost-cutting, driving many established brands out of business. From traditional solicitors property centres to online-only brands, numerous selling agents have folded in response to the proliferation of cut-price property marketing services.

If you’ve ever handed over thousands of pounds to an inept or indifferent estate agency, you might regard this as belated justice. However, prioritising cost over everything else has led to a marked drop in the quality of service some customers receive. And this is particularly evident in the cheap property photography appearing on property portals across Britain. As the most visual element of real estate marketing, property photography is uniquely susceptible to any loss of professionalism incurred by cost-cutting. And the start of a new decade makes this the perfect time to weigh up whether cheap property photography will do you more harm than good in the long run…

Taste the difference

On the Before and After page of this website, we’ve highlighted instances where G75 Images was asked to replace cheap property photography with high-calibre imagery. In every case, the selling agent was attempting to cut corners by (a) delegating photography to a valuer rather than a qualified professional, and (b) using basic equipment like pocket-sized cameras or tablets.

The first point reflects the jack-of-all-trades approach used by many budget estate agents and property marketing brands – saving money by asking one person to undertake several specialist roles. The second point provides another example of the perils of cheap property photography. Smartphone/tablet cameras lack the wide-angle lenses and flash guns required to make any room look its best. You might just about get away with it when taking external shots from twenty feet away, but internal images will suffer markedly.

Cheap property photography comes at a price

Our recent “How to recognise professional property photography” [How to recognise professional property photography] blog listed the specialist equipment G75 Images uses. Although our fees for professional property photography services start at just £100, we could never be accused of supplying cheap property photography to our clients. And since photographs are often the main aspect of a property listing people look at online, cutting corners is invariably counter-productive.

People browsing through online listings won’t care that a particular vendor saved a hundred pounds by accepting cheap property photography, rather than commissioning a freelance property photographer. They’ll simply decide the seller’s home looks cramped, dark and uninspiring, and move onto the next listing. Good news for selling agents who recognise the benefits of professional property photography – but bad news for anyone trying to sell their home on a budget. It’s impossible to say how many viewings and offers this might ultimately cost, but any loss of interest would be worth more than the money saved in the first place…

In conclusion, cheap property photography is never worth the cost. To upgrade your current property profile, or to ensure property marketing materials always look their best, get in touch with G75 Images for professional property photography in Scotland.

A strange decade in the freelance property photography sector

The end of a decade always inspires reflective editorials and articles about how much has changed over the last ten years. However, for G75 Images, the conclusion of the current decade is a cause for celebration rather than nostalgia. Our dedicated freelance property photography agency was launched early in 2010, as the property market struggled against a sluggish economy in uncertain political times. The more things change…

Business has been steady ever since we started accepting freelance property photography assignments from private individuals and estate agents in central Scotland. Yet as we look back on this decade, we’ve seen some fairly remarkable things. We’ve visited million-pound mansions with basement home cinemas and swimming pools. We’ve found ourselves standing in penthouse flats with spectacular city and coastal views. And at the other end of the spectrum, we’ve photographed a wooden Airbnb caravan on Skye, and student halls of residence in a converted Paisley office block.

Commercial breaks

While residential properties tend to be fairly conventional, G75 Images also undertakes commercial property photography throughout Scotland. These assignments are often fascinating, and occasionally bizarre; we once photographed the opening of a refurbished petrol station, with the ribbon cut by an elderly local resident who didn’t drive. Capturing images of an office complex inside an MoD base involved three separate security checks before we were allowed to set to work. And photographing a wedding shop in North Lanarkshire involved working around camera-shy brides-to-be in the fitting rooms…

Of course, strange photography assignments aren’t unique to this decade. In the Noughties, G75 Images’ founder Neil Cumins was asked to photograph a recently-cleared traveller site, and the evidence of a ram-raid on a corner shop. And sometimes it’s not the properties themselves that throw up challenges. How many people in any industry have been asked to grind wasps into someone’s carpet as a way of tackling an infestation, or been prevented from leaving a property until they ate a tomato sandwich? Still, nothing could be worse than having to photograph a recently-repossessed crack den in Kilmarnock, complete with soiled bedding and bloodstains…

Needless to say, the latter property’s selling agent is no longer a client of G75 Images. However, if you’d like to benefit from our freelance property photography services in 2020, give us a call. We’d be delighted to hear from you – providing your properties don’t contain a wasp’s nest or brown sheets…

Copyright G75 Images

The unique challenges of property photography in Edinburgh

Every city has its unique architectural elements and distinguishing features. Aberdeen’s property stock is characterised by the use of granite, while Glasgow’s sandstone tenements are equally famous. Scotland’s capital also has a distinctive architectural style of its own – the attractive tenement photo accompanying this article is quintessentially Edinburgh.

The challenges of property photography in Edinburgh

Undertaking property photography in Edinburgh often poses some specific challenges. This is a compact and congested city, whose roads are frequently clogged with traffic – not ideal for acquiring on-street externals. The proliferation of grey four-storey tenements makes photography challenging on a cloudy day – of which Edinburgh has more than its fair share. And mature trees frequently dominate the background view out of windows, requiring careful framing of each internal image.

Faced with challenges like these, an amateur photographer or multitasking estate agent might struggle to accurately capture the rugged beauty of Edinburgh’s housing stock. Fortunately, G75 Images takes a more professional approach. We’ve been conducting property photography in Edinburgh for a decade, having previously worked with one of the capital’s biggest property organisations. Our Edinburgh property photography assignments have ranged from designer kitchens to derelict villas via refurbished apartments and Airbnb photography. Indeed, many of our assignments have involved photographing hotels, B&Bs and self-contained accommodation, reflecting Edinburgh’s status as a tourist hotspot. You can see examples of our travel and tourism photography here.

Can you keep a secret?

We’re not going to reveal all the secrets of how we deliver high-quality property photography in Edinburgh. However, if you take a close look at the photograph accompanying this article, you might notice the absence of cars. You’d certainly be struck by how solid and well-aligned the tenement is, while the depth of field is captured in the banks of bay windows extending across the photo – both up and down, and from left to right.

Because we always strive to deliver the highest standards of property photography, G75 Images won’t resort to tilting a camera upwards and giving taller buildings a strange trapezoidal look. Nor do we let street furniture or traffic interfere with our property photography work. The client of the tenement in the above photograph was delighted with our work, and you could be, too. If you have property to sell or rent out in Edinburgh, G75 Images can ensure your property looks its best at marketing materials. Get in touch with us to obtain a fixed-price quote for property photography in Edinburgh.

Simplifying commercial property photography in Britain

When G75 Images was launched in 2010, commercial property photography wasn’t really on our agenda. Our business was created to tackle the inconsistent and disappointing standards of residential property photography in Scotland, by combining cutting-edge equipment with photographic techniques learned from some of the UK’s leading property photographers. Our services were quickly adopted by estate agents and housebuilders, including Savills, Robertson Homes, GSPC and Your Move.

 

As time went by, it became apparent that commercial property agents were also in need of our industry-leading property photography expertise. The standard of commercial photography was even worse than in the residential sector, with grainy, low-resolution images peppering online listings. As a result, G75 Images began offering commercial and industrial property photography packages on our website. We quickly expanded from hotel photography and contracts with private landlords to photographing commercial premises in Scotland and northern England, conducting detailed kitchen surveys and representing petrol station refurbishments from Dundee to Dumfries.

 

Today, G75 Images is increasingly focusing on commercial property photography, helping businesses to attract buyers and ensuring office or industrial units are displayed in their best light. At the same time, we still offer residential property photography packages from just £100, for homeowners, landlords and Airbnb enthusiasts. We’re also experts in hotel photography and tourism photography, as our recent blog explained. [The benefits of professional hotel photography in Scotland]

 

So far in 2019, we’ve provided commercial and industrial property photography services to a nightclub and a caravan park. From military installations to boarding kennels, we’ve been to the Isle of Skye, Dumfries and Galloway, Perthshire and Northumberland. We regularly undertake commercial property photography in Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as providing commercial and industrial property photography in Renfrewshire, Stirling and Ayrshire.

 

Not long after G75 Images was founded, we travelled to London to help a Savile Row tailor who’d requested full showroom photography. You can judge our handiwork in the accompanying photo. For more information on our commercial and industrial property photography services, visit the commercial or hotel and travel pages of this website. Alternatively, get in touch to see for yourself the difference G75 Images can make to property photography.