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As a working professional photographer or a real estate agent confident of your photography skills, you may find yourself needing to photograph real estate during the holidays.
What challenges does that type of situation produce and how do you handle them?
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When we photograph real estate during the holidays, we often find that homes or businesses are decorated with a specific holiday theme. Especially is this true when photographing commercial real estate properties.
While the lights, wreaths, dioramas, signs, trees, gourds, and goblins (depending on exactly what holiday) might look amazing, anything that draws attention away from the property itself can be problematic.
For commercial properties wanting year-round ad images, these decorations also identify only a short period of time during the year and might lead viewers to the wrong conclusions. Unless the commercial property is a holiday-specific business, of course.
It may be best to have the client avoid putting up holiday-themed decorations up until after the photography is done. For an inhabited home, we may not have much control but we can turn off the exterior lights if they’re already up.
Working with Client Schedules
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Scheduling when to photograph real estate during the holidays can become a real headache for the homeowner or business operator, so being very flexible ourselves is going to be important.
Having a flexible schedule and working with the clients are important business photography tips in general. Developing a good reputation with realtors and with clients is easier when we are seen as adaptable, as well as being very good at real estate photography.
In addition to the scheduling issues from the client or homeowner, weather can also affect our scheduling. Using the bracket and merge HDR method for handling lighting and exposure allows us a lot of flexibility for shooting in less than perfect weather, but you may still need to reschedule for snowfall, ice, heavy rain, and so on.
Service Provider Turnaround Time
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One of the photography business tips I tend to forget when I photograph real estate during the holidays is that our service providers may have a much higher workload and thus their turnaround times lengthen.
If we’re doing our own bracket and merge HDR processing, this may not affect us too much, but other services are also affected such as any physical photo printing or legal and financial services. So, again, flexibility ourselves becomes very important. Plus, we may want to inform our clients of possible delays.
Basic Real Estate Photography Tips
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All of the other real estate photography tips apply during this time. So, as we photograph real estate during the holidays, we will still level our cameras to avoid distortion, show 3 walls of interior rooms as we can, and take advantage of our skill with the bracket and merge method of managing exposure and lighting concerns.
Something I like to stress in my own mind and also tell anyone else who may be present as we work is to take extra care for safety issues. Tiled and wood floors can get really slick with melting snow from our jackets or shoes. Exterior walkways can be slippery for all sorts of reasons during this time of year.
Snowfall might also obscure low spots and holes in the ground, on sidewalks, in driveways, and other spots around the property. Plus, winter weather may cause some traffic hazards, most of which are readily handled by the oft-repeated advice to slow down.
I usually double-check all my insurance policies too, for my vehicles, for my office, and my liability coverages. Just to be on the safe side of thieves - it gives me peace of mind to have one less thing to be concerned about while juggling all the other issues as I photograph real estate during the holidays.
Don’t forget to schedule yourself some personal time, all work and no play, as the old saying goes. Take care, have fun, be safe!