WHAT TO EXPECT BEFORE THE MLS REAL ESTATE SHOOT

We care about the homeowners' successes!  We understand how exhausting and stressful moving and selling/buying houses can be.  So we have streamlined this process in order to help market properties for sale.

By hiring us, you are already ahead of the game.  Many people have started their search for their next or new home online!  Professional real estate photography and other great marketing tactics are so crucial in the marketing to these potential buyers; doing it right the first time matters. 

Hiring us to go the extra step will make you stand out.  Before we start taking photos, we will spend an extra few minutes at the beginning of each session to style the home as well as ask you the main selling features of the home.  Please note that does not mean we are professional cleaners and stagers - those bigger cleaning and tasks must be done prior to our session or else we will not have enough time.  For each individual image frame, we may need to move a few small (or furniture) items to make each image magazine-worthy.  We ask that you remain hidden for most of the session unless we ask for help in moving larger items around.

Whether you are a homeowner, a real estate agent/broker, or someone else, we are glad to be a part of your team!


PREPARING A HOME FOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Tips to create a fantastic environment for magazine-worthy images.

 

GENERAL TIPS FOR ALL AREAS OF THE HOME

  • Thoroughly clean whole house (vacuum carpet, mop hard floors, clean countertops, clean windows)
  • Turn all overhead lights and lamps OFF (this is preferred esp. for high end interior design photography styled session; if you absolutely want lights on only for the session, please turn ON all the lights - it will take a bit longer of a session since we'll be taking several frames of lights on and lights off for every image)
  • Turn all ceiling fans OFF
  • Turn all TVs OFF
  • Turn all computer screens OFF
  • Open blinds/window treatments to let in outside light. Please do this ahead of time, especially if you have plantation shutters.  The blinds/window treatments must be able to hold themselves up and we cannot fix these issues on-the-spot or Photoshop these issues during post-production.
  • We recommend remove personal photographs (or replace with general landscape/object photographs)
  • Make all beds.  This also means not shoving things below the bed because the camera will still capture it. 
  • Please do not "hide" anything in plain sight since our wide angle lens will most likely capture it.  Hide all clutter in closets and/or the garage since we don't shoot those.
  • Remove small floor rugs to reveal actual flooring
  • Place all shoes/jackets in closets
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BACK EXTERIOR

  • Clean porch, tidy up outdoor tables/chairs/cushions
  • Pillows/cushions should be fresh, not faded
  • Clear out kid's toys, balls, frisbees, etc.
  • Clean pool
  • Remove pool vacuum/cleaner hose
  • Hide pool cleaning supplies
  • Turn on pool fountains/water features
  • Remove visible water hoses
  • Remove trash cans

FRONT EXTERIOR

  • This is the curb-appeal shot! The first image for best first impressions. SO MAKE IT COUNT!!
  • Close garage doors
  • Remove cars from driveway and front of home
  • Clean up landscaping (mow, trim shrubs, clear leaves)
  • Remove empty planters
  • Use broom to remove cobwebs from eaves and door frames
  • Remove visible water hoses
  • Remove trash cans
  • Remove toys, sports balls, soccer goals, etc.
  • If possible, add some pops of color with flowers,
    tasteful decorations, etc.

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ENTRYWAY, FOYER, STAIRCASE

  • De-clutter and clear out as much as possible
  • Put any bags, shoes, other belongings away that can be very distracting in photos
  • Take off and put away baby/pet gates
  • Decorate minimally and watch out for large decorative pieces, do not obstruct any line of sight

DINING ROOM/TABLE

  • Clear table, dust and polish the table top
  • Use decorative place setting if available
  • Feature one center piece such as a short bouquet of flowers or bowl
  • Straighten all chairs and space them evenly
  • Remove child seats/booster chairs

 


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LIVING ROOM AND FAMILY ROOM

  • Remove stacks of magazines, papers, mail, etc.
  • De-clutter fireplace mantel/hearth (no more than 5 items, including art)
  • Clean interior of fireplace and re-paint if needed
  • Fluff and arrange furniture pillows
  • Remove kid's toys and any traces of pets

KITCHEN

  • Clear countertops as much as you can. No bulky items that obstruct views, baking supplies, mail, etc.  A few tasteful items is okay as long as if it is not obstructing or distracting.  Put colorful items away unless it is a decorative piece that fits the rest of the room.
  • One or two vases with fresh flowers are great - makes the room feel inviting.  One or two bowls of fruit are fine too.
  • Leave out max of one to two small appliance (ex. coffee maker)
  • Clear outside of refrigerator of magnets, papers, photos, etc.
  • Hide garbage cans in pantry or closet
  • Remove dishes and other items from sink, place in dishwasher or cabinets

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    MASTER BEDROOM

    • Make bed, including decorative pillows/shams if available
    • Press bed linens and bed skirts
    • Clear nightstands of all personal items, leave lamps, a few books, and other small, tasteful decorations
    • Store away phone/tablet charging cables
    • Remove all clutter from top of dressers
    • Remove most family photos from walls
    • Clean under bed, removing items that may show in the photos

    KIDS & GUEST BEDROOMS

    • Remove personalized names from walls, if you can
    • Remove wall stickers/posters, if you can
    • Remove diaper genies
    • Clean under bed, removing items that may show in the photos

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    BATHROOMS

    • Clear countertops completely. No medications, deodorant, etc.
    • A few tasteful decorative items such as hand soaps, very small vases/plants, toothbrush holder and toothbrush, etc. are fine.  Please put anything too colorful and distracting away.
    • Put toilet seats down
    • Close closet doors
    • Remove shampoo, soap, loofahs, etc. from showers and tubs
    • Remove dirty towels - leave out only new, unused towels
    • Remove floor mats

     


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      IF YOU HAVE PETS...

      • We love furry friends.  However, not all potential buyers do.  In fact, some people may be allergic to pets.  So please minimize the presence of pets or, most preferred, remove all traces of pets.
      • Place food and water bowls in pantry or closet
      • Place pet beds/toys in pantry or closet
      • Use lint roller on furniture to remove pet hair
      • Contain pets in hidden crate or outside
      • Clear back yard of pet waste/toys

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      TWILIGHT SESSIONS

      Recommended for new listings of $1M+ properties or $800k+ properties that have been on the market for over 6 months.

      • We will be there around 30 minutes before sunset and leave around 30 minutes after sunset depending on the property.  Times will depend on time of the year and weather.  Please check with us for your particular session for details.
      • We need access to the inside of your home to help light up any interiors with extra lighting in case the indoor lights are too dim.  Please make sure to not be sitting or standing in any of those rooms while we take the photos during the entire session - we will be able to see you in our shots!
      • Follow all guidelines for front exterior, with the exception of lights - all exterior lights and interior lights ON
      • Garage doors down, put away any signs including security system signs, put away any garden hose and trash cans, etc.
      • Make sure that there will be absolutely no cars or anything obstructing the front exterior view - we will set our tripod either in front of the home, on the street, or even in front of your neighbor's curb/yard across the street to get the best possible shot
      • All blinds up or open in the front windows (including garage and bathrooms/closets if any of them face out).  Make sure that everything is consistent, so if you have some windows without any treatment, put all blinds up for the rest of the windows.
      • All interior lights in rooms that you can see from the front exterior view need to be turned on
      • Landscaping completed for curb appeal
      • All outdoor and uplighting ON during the session
      • If you have an amazing area that lights up at dusk that is very special compared to other properties, please let us know ahead of time.  Normally, twilight sessions are only 1 front exterior image that we light paint with love, but we can absolutely take a few dusk shots of other areas and will need to plan for it ahead of time.

      Thank you for getting your home/property ready for the upcoming real estate shoot with us.  We look forward to providing you with amazing photos soon!


      A FEW QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS

      Q:  My session is not on a sunny day.  Can we reschedule?
      A:  The best sessions are actually not sunny days due to the harsh lighting but rather cloudy or even slightly rainy days.  The best professional photographers are not worried about the weather, with the exception of severe inclement weather (thunderstorm, snow storm, tornadoes, heavy wind, etc.).  We are more than capable of handling all lighting situations.  For all of our clients, we will be on the lookout for weather and address any issues or concerns we may have if we need to consider postponing the session.  In almost all scenarios, we will be able to take interiors and go back for exteriors if it is a thunderstorm or pouring rain.  Not loving the sky?  Chances are that we don't love it either and will replace the sky during our editing at no extra charge.

      Q:  What makes your services different from other photographers?
      A:  Our services cannot be compared apples to apples with other real estate photographers.  First, we absolutely carry insurance and take our profession seriously.  Many professional photographers will not take the time to know the real estate market of that property's neighborhood, take the time to style the homes and to know the main selling features, figure out the best "money shots" of the rooms, etc.  This means that we do not take a bunch of photos - hoping and praying that five photos out of all of them will turn out amazing... Each and every shot is deliberate - from angle to composition to flow of the room.  We are essentially bringing you a less expensive interior design photography session to market the home so you can stand out.  A marketing/advertising session with the minimum number of photos we provide you (quality, quantity, and turnaround time) would cost more than $2,000 per session.  We bring you outstanding services and magazine-worthy photos that other photographers will not.

      Q:  Do you photograph closets, garage, pantry, etc.?
      A:  Short answer, most likely no.  Longer answer, for most MLS listings the properties are occupied which means there's personal belongings in there.  No matter how clean those areas are, having items in the space will make the eyes go straight to the items in an image instead of the rest of the space.  We suggest leaving those photos out - they aren't the best selling features of a home.  This normally also makes it much easier to prepare a home... Feel free to shove belongings in there as a storage space during the photo session!  There are exceptions when a garage is converted to livable space, lounge, etc.  When in doubt, just ask!

      Q:  Can you photoshop a bush in or remove a hole in the wall or make the grass greener, etc.?
      A:  Short answer, no.  We are absolutely capable to perform major edits however with the MLS guidelines, you cannot remove or add in anything that does not 100% represent the home.  We can do sky replacements because the sky does not come with the home.  The lawn, roof, landscaping, walls, etc. come with the house so anything that needs to be fixed must be done prior to the photography session to prevent from any misrepresentations.  Again, this guidelines is for MLS-use images ONLY and not commercial photography - we follow other sets of guidelines for the different types of usage.

      Q:  We noticed that a lot of your portfolio and examples include very nice listings - $1M+.  Our listings is less than $300k.  Do you take photos for those properties?
      A:  Absolutely!  We take photos of everything you need us to take - land lots, lifestyle photos, smaller properties, larger properties, etc.  Many realtors justify spending a budget on our services because they understand the value of marketing/branding.  Some of the smaller properties can be trickier due to the tightness of space, and it takes a well-seasoned photographer to know how to properly shoot those smaller rooms.