Tag Archives: professional property photography

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.

How to recognise professional property photography

If you’re not a professional photographer, it’s often difficult to tell whether an image is good, bad or somewhere in between. Technical attributes like white balancing and ISO settings mean nothing to most people, while framing techniques such as the rule of thirds aren’t widely understood, either. Instead, most people make a subconscious decision about whether they like a particular shot based on factors like colour and clarity.

As a result, a company looking to refresh its website or produce new marketing materials might end up using photographs which don’t do its products and services any justice. Estate agents and letting agencies are notorious for this. A valuer who’s had one morning’s training on photographic techniques isn’t going to make a small shower room look impressive, especially if they’re only armed with an iPad. It’s tempting to think smartphones and tablets are capable of anything, but their images pale in comparison with professional property photography equipment.

When only professional property photography will do

As a specialist property and architectural photography agency, G75 Images uses property photography equipment which has been carefully chosen to maximise the sense of space and light in any residential or commercial building:

  1. Flash guns disperse huge volumes of light evenly across ceilings, ensuring every corner of an apartment is consistently illuminated.
  2. Wide angle lenses provide a view more representative of the human eye than the snapshots generated by a pocket camera or smartphone lens.
  3. Tripods provide stability in situations where handheld shots aren’t ideal, such as sunny north-facing scenes where a photographer’s shadow would be difficult to airbrush out
  4. Post-production software is used to remove imperfections, such as a piece of litter caught in a tree’s branches or the reflection of passing traffic in a mirror.

However, professional photography also involves framing the shot correctly in first instance. Truly great photography is about what you don’t see, as well as what you do. This can involve taking room shots from specific angles to hide cluttered display units, or angling the blinds to obscure utility vans parked outside.

Professional photography done properly

When G75 Images undertakes professional property photography for residential or commercial property clients, we’re very fussy about certain aspects of each image. Vertical lines have to be completely vertical, to give images a clean and crisp appearance. Colours must be accurately represented, so a bright wall doesn’t end up looking washed out or overly vibrant. You won’t see a reflection of the photographer in any of our shots – a common mistake made by less competent property photographers in confined spaces like en-suites. These issues have been plaguing the industry for decades, as our recent blog explained.

Whether you look through the residential, architectural or hotel and travel galleries on this website, you’ll notice how carefully each image has been framed. Professional photography makes even modest or tired accommodation look its best, while high-end homes and commercial premises appear compelling from every angle. That’s why companies across the UK rely on G75 Images to photograph everything from bedsits and B&Bs to office complexes and construction sites.