People are not just primping themselves to be camera ready, but also their home. Maybe they want to sell it and know that buyers study photographs first before they drive to a location to take a longer look.
Or maybe photos of a house are needed to rent it. Potential tenants pore over images before they contact a landlord.
Or maybe it’s time to brag on Instagram about a new sofa or finished DIY kitchen project.
For all these reasons and more, you will need to get your home ready for a close up. To help, we turned to Justin Riordan, a trained architect and master image maker.
He is the creative director of Spade and Archer Design Agency, a home staging company based in Portland with services in Seattle and Palm Springs.
We asked him for 10 tips, but …
“Ah, yes the beloved Top 10 list. If only life were that simple and any skill you ever wanted to learn could be perfected with just 10 easy to learn, neatly packaged tips. I can see it now: ‘The top 10 tips for removing your own brain tumor’ or ‘The top 10 tips for raising the dead.’
“Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that having your house photographed is as complicated as brain surgery or necromancy, but it is often best left to the professionals.
“However, if you find yourself without a professional and needing to prepare your house for photographs either for a vacation rental, to sell it, or to just show off your new digs to friends and family, here are Spade and Archer’s top 12 tips on how to best get’r done.”
1. Design for the camera, not for the end user
When putting together a space, we always think of the camera first. Will this angle look right, will it show off the best feature of the house? Will the light hit these items correctly? The good news is you have a camera in your pocket as you read this. When we stage a house for market we are constantly taking photographs of it and looking at it through the camera lens. It helps us to see errors in symmetry, lighting, cleanliness and more.
2. No more wrinkles
In real life, wrinkly sheets don’t make a lick of difference. You will still sleep the same and wake up refreshed, whether you iron them or not. The camera, however, hates wrinkles and makes them look 100 times worse than they really are. Our best advice is to use a professional steamer. The hot steam will take those wrinkles right out and makes the sheets, pillows, shower curtains and other fabrics look picture perfect.
3. Light it up
Light can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If you don’t know how to control it, you are destined to fail. The time of day and weather conditions can make a huge difference on how well your space photographs.
If the afternoon sun is blazing into your room, throwing harsh shadows all over, the shot is destined to look “blown out” with areas as dark as night and as bright as a nuclear holocaust.
To help combat this problem, look for the best time for indirect sunlight outside and inside your space. Cloudy days are perfect for this. It is also a great idea to turn on your interior lights and lamps to help even out the lighting in the space.
4. Fluff the carpet
So often we see houses photographed with harsh vacuum lines or matted carpet that looks old and tired. The best way to fluff up your tired wall to wall is to use a broom. Running the broom over the top of the carpet in random directions will bring new life to a sagging floor textile.
5. Look beyond the window
It’s true enough you are photographing the interiors of your space but the outside of your windows will be seen in the photos. If there are piles of trash covered with blue tarps right outside your window, they are going to come through in the photos.
Clean up the areas outside the window and make it visually quiet so it does not draw attention to itself. If the area can’t be cleaned up, consider a frosted film on the window.
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