• Photo: Vidane Visuals
  • Photo: Vidane Visuals
  • Photo: Vidane Visuals
  • Photo: Vidane Visuals
  • Photo: Vidane Visuals

Preparing for a Photo Shoot

June 25 2018By: Sean D. Altice

Preparing for a vacation home photo session is an important part in ensuring the result of your photoshoot are just as you’ve envisioned.  Getting the right photos is key in advertising your vacation rental and showcasing what’s unique about the property.

Photos and drone shots of each vacation home could be viewed by up to millions of potential guests. Photography and video is also one of the most influential promotional opportunities in maximizing the overall occupancy and revenues of your vacation home.  While we do not recommend overstating or embellishing the features and assets of each vacation home, we do encourage the goal of capturing the home at its best in each quality photo. Sell accurately and effectively. Be truthful about what the home offers to the potential guest and get GREAT coverage of those elements.

Here are some tips and guidelines to help you prepare for your vacation home photo shoot.

Timeline & Shot List

The photoshoot will most likey last a minimum of one hour of time based on the size of the home and the interior and exterior shots that will be required to best promote the property and its location. All major rooms, and interesting transition spaces will be photographed from several angles using a wide-angle lens. Every space/area that may be captured in the photograph must be cleaned and staged.

You may have an idea of the shots you are wanting to take in advance of your shoot day. Write those ideas down as a shot list and organize them by room and time of day. If you’d like to capture the best lighting, pay attention to window elements and location of the sun in advance of the shoot. Twilight shoots provide great natural lighting to enhance the outdoor spaces of your home. Morning shoots are typically good for bright interior shots.

Be sure to take plenty of photos of each room and living space to ensure relevant and sufficient information is available for potential guests. For example, if there are multiple outdoor living spaces, be sure to get a variety of shots for each – perhaps in the morning, and at dusk. If you have 2 master bedrooms, take specific photos which show a bath adjoining to the bedroom. And, if you have a multi-story home, follow the room shots in sequence from the ground floor up so the guest can follow along and gain a better understanding of the property layout.

Exterior Prep

  1. Remove all vehicles from driveways and do not park directly in front of the home
  2. Move garbage cans out of sight

  3. Remove all garden tools including hoses and sprinklers

  4. Mow and rake yard. Trim/Prune all trees and plants and remove dead or discolored leaves or stems. Plant new flowers if possible to give the garden a fresh and lively look

  5. Clean out the pool and turn on any water features

  6. Sweep driveways, sidewalks and patios, and other outdoor space that may be photographed or captured via a drone

  7. If the grill is in good condition display the grill with-out a grill cover. If grill has exterior rust or visible defects, use a grill cover that is in good condition

  8. Strategically position patio furnishing in a conversational placement with umbrella’s in the up position

  9. Remove leaves and debris from roof and gutter that may be seen by a drone or wide exterior angles

  10. Replace faded or sun damaged cushions

  11. Wash exterior windows, remove dirt and cobweb build-up off of exterior siding and pathways

  12. For Twilight Shots: Turn on all landscape lighting including pool lights if applicable. Light firepit if applicable. Photographer may ask to wet landscaping and concrete surfaces to provide a more reflective surface

Interior Prep

  1. Deep clean the kitchen and have all surfaces sparkling.  Coffee Makers may be left on the counter if strategically placed and in good condition or popular brand
  2. Minimalize items on counter spaces. Remove small appliances such as blenders, toasters, decorative items such as pottery, soap/paper towel dispensers, and other items that may detract from the quality of the kitchen
  3. Remove photos, notes and papers from the refrigerator
  4. De-clutter rooms which may be excessively furnished. This may include chairs, stools, tables, decorations, or art that may make a room look crowded or block other important features of the home
  5. Reposition furniture into conversational groups, position furniture so traffic pattern flows are obvious
  6. Vary heights and width of furnishings and decorations to achieve depth of frame
  7. Remove piles of paper of newspaper and strategically place magazines and books
  8. The table may be set with a nice dinner service setting and glassware, or without place settings if the table looks its best in a minimalist state
  9. Strategically place pillows/books, and have the interior fireplace turned-on when applicable
  10. Make all beds with crisp linens, pillows, comforters, blankets, and/or duvets.  Use appropriate shams, pillows, art work to add a color and vitality.  Clothes must be folded and put away out of sight
  11. Bathrooms must have fresh towels, shower curtain, and show at its best.  Remove Tooth Brushes, cosmetics, and all items other than appropriate bathroom accessories that accentuate the bathroom space
  12. On all linens, towels, pillows, and blankets, hide all tags and seems
  13. Hide all electrical cable to the best of your ability
  14. Tuck trash cans out of view in a closet or cupboard
  15. Turn on all interior lights. Make sure all lightbulbs are working and are of the same wattage and tint. Photographer may dim the lighting where appropriate during the shoot to capture different moods, so be prepared to use dimmers where available
  16. Leave fans OFF
  17. Should your home contain valuable works of art that you wish to be photographed, please point those out ahead of time

Additional Items

  1. If there are special features of your home that the Photographer may not be aware of, please let them know prior to the shoot so that they may include it in the shot agenda
  2. Remove all pets from premises
  3. When possible, the owner should plan to have a nice bowl of fruit or a fresh flower arrangement to use as props

We hope these tips help you showcase your property and maximize your rental outcomes. Have a great shoot!

The Aerie

Photo: Jason Stepanek
About The Author
Sean D. Altice

I am the Co-Owner and COO of Altez Vacations. I believe that vacations are a way to cleanse the mind, body, and soul. As a result, I find great passion in connecting travelers and guests to the local communities and cultures that make each destination unique. Through our shared experiences, we are able to break down barriers and share within our commonalities.

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