By Kate Senn
Photo's by Alan Ward and Nick Swingle
Finding a needle in a haystack is difficult. So is standing out among the number of listings similar to yours. With fine-tuned photographs that genuinely familiarize potential clients, your listing can be the easy needle to find in the haystack.
It’s a proven fact; high quality photos lead to more bookings. If hiring a local photographer is out of your budget and there is no photographer eager to trade work for a trip in sight, follow our easy-to-follow DIY tips to taking better photos of your property.
Daytime vs. Evening Light
Natural light at its best
Unless you need to capture an idyllic campfire scene or a trip out on a dark night, stick to taking photos during daylight. However, if your trips start or end with a memorable sunrise or sunset that leave clients speachless or muttering, it might be something to include in a photo.
When shooting indoor photos, schedule a time to take photos when the room is at its brightest. Each room will be different so plan accordingly. Allow sunlight to pour in through windows, and turn on lamps to highlight dark corners.
Something to consider: If you are trying to take an indoor photo and the automatic flash keeps trying to take the photo with the flash on, you are probably taking the photo too late in the day. Avoid using the flash on indoor photos by adjusting the time of day you are taking the photo, or by adding more artificial light sources to the room.
Maximize your Camera’s Usability
Architecture photography is not rocket science, but it does use helpful tools to get the job done. Prepare your camera before shooting to avoid any wasted time during the ideal shooting light.
Turn on the grid to help photograph images both indoors and outside. Finding a level distance in the horizon or aligning window curtains before you take the picture reduces any additional editing if your shot turns out crooked.
To turn on grid settings on an iPhone, go to Settings and find the option to turn on ‘Grid’ under ‘Camera’.
Turn the camera’s flash off. Most camera’s will have the flash on if shot automatically. To turn off the flash on an iPhone, bring up your camera app as if you wish to take a photo. In the upper left-hand corner, select the lightning bolt. Auto, On and Off will appear on the top of the screen. Click off to turn the flash completely off.
It’s All About the Angle
The angles of the photo should enhance the room or setting. To find the right spot go low or high with your camera, standing on something securely if needed. Always hold the phone straight and horizontally.
Sometimes the birdseye view, or above the subject is an effective way to capture a large space or room. In other instances, like when shooting a client with their trophy bull, for example, a parallel, angle is best, and the photographer needs to kneel or crouch. Lodges with comfortable, inviting furniture is best shot at this 'crouched' perspective.
Spacious versus Close-up Shots
Aim for Space
To capture the feeling of your property and its' experience, provide photos that realistically display what people enjoy when they spend a night, or a week there. Good photos should set expectations and provide an honest overview of what clients should look forward to. Great shots will naturally attract the right clients to your property, and ideally, recommendations to their friends in the future!
If needed, shoot photos of a room from more than one angle. Eagle Review recommends four to six photos of the living quarters offered.
When shooting a room, take time with your camera to find well balanced lighting for your photos. To avoid under- or overexposing, touch various parts of the room on your phone's screen to see which adjustment, or focal point boosts overall the room's picture.
To focus on this ideal area, touch the phone's screen and watch as the camera adjusts. This may take a few tries to find the right amount of light for the picture.
Is there a signature statue, or trophy mount that every client remembers about your property? A close up of something unique and distinctive can establish a general trend, or theme about your listing.
To take a close up, or macro photo with your iPhone, hold the phone close to the subject- six inches to a foot away in most cases. Avoid zooming into the subject if possible- instead move the camera closer to the subject.
Focus on the subject by touching it on the phone's screen. This will focus the camera on your subject and make adjustments to enhance just those details. This may take a number of 'pokes' to find the right focal point.
Now that you've taken all the right shots of your property to create a story about it through your listing's photographs, it's time to make minor improvements to the photos.
If shooting on a smartphone, the tools you need to edit your photos are right on the phone. To edit photos on your iPhone, open the photo album, click on the photo once, and on the bottom bar, click Edit. From there, select the third from the right option, the dial symbol.
Underneath the three options, “Light”, “Color” and “B&W” are different settings you can adjust to enhance your photos. To get to adjustments specific to those categories, click the category, then click the list icon on the right-hand side of the bottom bar.
The three most important settings to look into are: brightness, contrast and saturation.
Brightness: Adjusting the brightness of a room shot is not uncommon to draw emphasis away from the dark points of the room. A slight adjustment will make considerable changes to the color and mood of the photo.
Contrast: Dark rooms that are typically very cozy and comfortable in person can show up dull and uninviting. Lower the contrast to reduce shadows. Turn down the contrast if you are outside, and the sun is overwhelming and washing out the photo. Emphasizing highlights in the room ever so slightly will promote a crisp, open room full of depth.
Saturation: A slight boost in color can also help give the potential client a better understanding of your property. Like a dash of salt, an overwhelming amount of saturation adjustment is pure overkill. Oversaturation occurs commonly in nature shots where there is a lot of green landscape. Only on the Emerald Isle are landscape shots that green.