What’s the best time of day to photograph real estate?
We’ve all seen listing photos with the window completely white or “blown out.” A clear view through the windows makes a much more inviting image.
If lighting is the most important thing in photography, than timing is second. You may have heard of the “Golden Hour.” That’s the hour before sunset when sunlight is at its most interesting and usually the softest. That only matters for half of the house.
The trick to getting an even exposure for interiors is balancing the light between inside and out. That’s to have about the same about of ambient light inside the room as the amount of light coming through the windows. You can achieve this in two methods.
- Use a very heavy flash to light the interior to a light level matching the window view. This is discussed in detail in another article.
- Wait for the light level in the window to match the interior ambient light level. This is the best way if you do not own external flashes.
To do this, you will need to make at least two photography trips to your listing.
- The first trip should be within an hour of sunrise. The sun rises in the east so the window on the west side of the property does not have direct sunlight in the mornings. That’s when you photography that side of the listing.
- The second trip should be about an hour before sunset. The sun sets in the west. Therefore the windows on the east side will not have direct sunlight.
Basically, photograph each room when the sun in on the other side of the property. This will give you much more even exposures therefore creating a more inviting image.
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- Declutter!!! A busy home does not photograph well. Remove as much clutter as possible. This includes: knick-knacks on the selves/mantel, photo frames on the bed stand, remote controls. etc.
- Remove items that are too personal to appeal to the general public. Examples are: art work that may be offensive to some, the beat up quilt you’ve had since you were a kid, etc.
- Replace any burnt out light bulbs. It will make the photo shoot better and will show better when buyers come in.
We all know that listings look better furnished than vacant. Sometime that’s just not an option. For example, if the home owners have already moved out and the listing is just empty.
There is nothing better than traditional staging to bring life to your listing. However, most sellers are simply not willing to pay the thousands of dollars for it to be done.