Top tips for photographing property

When selling or renting out a property, the images you take can really make or break a potential buyer’s decision to book a viewing. Photographing property needn’t be overly difficult or time consuming, but remembering these key things could really help to sell your property faster (and at a higher price).

Tidy Up

It’s amazing how photographs can be ruined by even the smallest of objects being left in the shot. From a used dish cloth hanging over the kitchen tap, to a full-to-bursting laundry bin in the bathroom, remove any item that distracts from the space and style of the room you are shooting.

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Stand in the corner

9/10 times, the best position to shoot a room from is in the corner. This often provides the biggest sense of space and enables you to fit a maximum amount of a room’s features in the image. Where this isn’t possible, take a walk around and keep shooting until you find a spot that maximises the sense of space.

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Don’t be afraid to move furniture 

Sometimes, simply moving an item of furniture only slightly can have a massive impact on your image. Don’t be afraid to move that armchair slightly closer to the wall to show more floor space, or to rotate the coffee table so it doesn’t take up so much of the image. Remember it is the room being promoted – not necessarily its contents.

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Keep verticals vertical

The biggest error I see in property photography is what is known as “converging verticals” – this is when walls look like they are leaning into each other. Make sure that you shoot from a position and angle where the main walls in the room appear vertical in your view finder. Often the height at which you shoot from can play a major role in this, so play around with viewpoints until it looks correct.

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Highlight the main features of the room

Ideally, when photographing a room you will have enough space to capture both the floor and the ceiling to give a real sense of the room’s dimensions. However, where space is limited, you may not have this luxury and a compromise might need to be made. Always try to shoot from a height / angle that showcases the main features of the room – for example make sure you shoot from a high enough angle to see the tops of worktops in a kitchen but low enough to include the bath in a bathroom shot.

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Think about the light

Rooms should be made to look as bright and airy as possible. A dark and underexposed image can be the biggest turn-off for perspective buyers. Sometimes, the light from a window will be a lot brighter than the rest of the room itself and if you do not have the ability to add an off-camera flash or produce a composite of several images, it is better to overexpose the window light than underexpose the room.  If a room has a window, always include a shot from an angle that showcases this.

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Show space / connecting rooms

The more you are able to give a feel of how the property works as a whole and flows from room to room, the stronger your set of images will be. Therefore, always try to include shots of open-plan areas and connecting rooms. It helps buyers to envisage how they would live and interact in the space.

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Include details

For all properties – but especially those being rented out as furnished and / or short stay accommodation – include close-ups of the little details that make the property feel homely and welcoming. The attention-to-detail in how you have decorated your home can help to add an extra dimension to your property images that not all vendors will have thought of.

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Don’t forget the exterior

Always include images of the front of the property and any gardens / additional space. Whether the property is fully detached or part of a block of flats, provide the viewer with a sense of location and the external environment.

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So there you have it – a few simple tricks to vastly improve the quality of your property images whatever camera you are using. If you have any questions or comment feel free to add them in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading.

Ross

Ross Willsher is a social (weddings and portraits) and commercial photographer based in Chelmsford and covering Essex and London, who is passionate about creating images as individual as you are. His work can be viewed at http://www.rosswillsherphotography.co.uk / http://www.rosswillshercommercialphotography.co.uk

info@rosswillsherphotography.co.uk | 07590 520539

facebook.com/rosswillsherphotography | @RWillsherPhoto | instagram.com/rosswillsherphotography | http://www.linkedin.com/in/rosswillsher/

 

 

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Top tips for photographing property

The life of a dirty low-light photographer…

Did you know…

The word “photography” is a combination of the Greek root words “photo-,” meaning “light,” and “-graphia,” meaning “writing” or “drawing.” Thus, “photography” literally means “writing or drawing with light.” (Source: https://www.reference.com)

That’s all very well, and most of the time there is more than ample light to play with during a shoot and it’s simply a case of identifying whether it needs diffusing (softening), shaping or controlling in some form. However what happens when there is very little light? How do us photographers cope with with night-time shoots, indoor events and a general lack of the bright stuff? Below are a few low-light shots from various assignments and a little explanation of how I utilised my dirty low-light skills!

Working with what you have

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This shot was taken during a charity event in a beautiful but very dimly lit cathedral (St. John’s College, Cambridge). In such sacred buildings, flash and artificial light are forbidden and it is simply a case of working with what you have. Tripods and slow shutter speeds do not work when shooting moving subjects (such as public speakers photographed here) and so I needed to be able to have a shutter speed that was fast enough to freeze the animated actions of the speaker above. Luckily my professional camera has a sensor that still produces high quality images at extreme settings and I could utilise this to help increase the shutter speed and get the shot needed. It’s a little “grainy” but this small amount of digital noise (the term we use for grainy images) is a lot better than a blurry under-exposed image that didn’t capture this charismatic gesture. For me, capturing the moment, mood or brand of the subject matter is the most important part of my job and in such extreme settings sometimes a compromise has to be made.

Looking for the Light 

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At times, even in the darkest of buildings, there are little spots of light that can help the subject to pop out from its surroundings and create a shot with real atmosphere. By exposing just for the brightest part of the image in a dimly-lit scene (known as spot metering), professional photographers are able to allow darker items in the shot to fade into the background and draw the viewers’ eye to the main focal point. The shot above from Acanteen’s Halloween event is a perfect example of how exposing for a small part of the image helped me to produce a sense of atmosphere and intrigue that communicated the story of the occasion.

Adding Artificial Light 

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For many events that take place in the evening, it is essential that I know how to use artificial light quickly and in a manner that flatters the attendees and performers. An external flash (known as a speedlite) is perfect for such occasions as I can pop it on to my camera and move around the venue and take shots quickly and without interrupting or slowing down proceedings. This flash is unobtrusive as it is never aimed directly towards the subject and is perfect for corporate and social occasions that need a little extra lighting. Sometimes there is only stage lighting to work with, but I love being able to mix my artificial light with the ambient lighting in the room. Doing so can create vibrant and colourful images that will help the event organisers to promote future events to potential new attendees.

Finding a Story in the Darkness 

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This shot is actually from my personal street photography portfolio, but it’s a great example of how light can be used to tell a story, set a scene or entice viewers to ask questions. Here I used the light in the shot to draw the viewers’ eye into the scene, but used the lack of details in the people’s faces to create a sense of the unknown. What is being said? What might happen next? We will never know but it makes us as viewers stop and think.

Therefore low-light isn’t always bad news and low-lit images can work well if you are looking for shots that force your clients to ask questions and spend those extra few seconds engaging with your promotional material or website.

So there you have it – a little insight into how I work in low-light situations. Sometimes low-light means a bit of extra kit, sometimes it means a bit of compromise but one way or another I can light up even the darkest of rooms (photographically speaking at least)!

Have you tried any low light photography? Let me know in the comments section below.

Until next time, have a great week.

Ross

Ross Willsher is a social (weddings and portraits) and commercial photographer based in Chelmsford and covering Essex and London, who is passionate about creating images as individual as you are.  His work can be viewed at www.rosswillsherphotography.co.uk / www.rosswillshercommercialphotography.co.uk 

facebook.com/rosswillsherphotography | @RWillsherPhoto | instagram.com/rosswillsherphotography | www.linkedin.com/in/rosswillsher/

 

The life of a dirty low-light photographer…

Stronger Together – Photographing Colchester Military Wives Choir

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One of the most exciting things about becoming a professional photographer is never knowing who you are going to be asked to photograph next. This year alone, my work has introduced me to creative yoga instructors, passionate charity workers, dedicated business owners and a whole range of groups and individuals whose stories I am privileged to capture through my lens.

One of the most inspiring group of people I have had the pleasure of working with on a number of occasions this year is Colchester Military Wives Choir. Each time I have worked with the ladies I learn a little more about their talent, their passion for singing and the support network that they provide for one another. Following their successful performance at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester earlier this autumn, I chatted to their chair, Helen O’Neill to find out a little more about this talented group of ladies.

 

Tell me a little bit about the history of Colchester MWC – when was it established and how has it grown in members and stature since it commenced?

Colchester Military Wives Choir was established in July 2012. Since then it has earned a formidable reputation with a string of concerts including appearing at the House of Commons for three consecutive years to mark Remembrance Day, a sell-out joint event with the Band of the Parachute Regiment at St Botolph’s Church in Colchester and a joint concert with Men2Sing at Chelmsford Cathedral. 

In 2013 the choir was invited to take part in the Canadian Military Tattoo, along with the Corps of Drums of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, which was staged at the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton Ontario.

In 2014 the choir was also represented at the War Horse Prom, an event commemorating the start of WW1. This endeavour involved being part of a BBC television series culminating in a sell-out performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

In 2015, the choir was privileged to be asked to sing the British and US national anthems at a sell-out NBA basketball game in the O2 Arena in London. As well as performing in front of a sell-out audience, the game was also live on television in both Britain and America. 

Later in 2015, our ladies were also invited to take part in West End Heroes at the Dominion Theatre in London. The show united some of the country’s top military musicians in a dazzling display of show stopping numbers, and also included special performances from top west end musicals. This particular event raised money for the charity Help For Heroes. 

2016 started with a bang for the choir, when we were invited to perform on stage with Lulu. Lulu and her brother recorded a song which was re-written specifically for the military wives and serving members for the military. It was an amazing experience for our ladies singing on stage with Lulu.  

In November 2014 and 2015, the choir staged an evening at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester where it performed to a full house. In September this year we performed two concerts at the Mercury theatre, which allowed more people the opportunity to see us, and as always we had a great time entertaining our local audience.  We are also fortunate and proud to support local charities at this annual event.

The choir is part of a growing network of Military Wives Choirs across the forces community worldwide. Currently the choir has approximately 40 members, including serving reservists, mothers of soldiers and of course military wives. The choir is fortunate to have the dedication and talents of Musical Director Mrs Sally Leung and accompanist Mrs Sharon Tidbury.

 

It is clear that the members of the choir are a very cohesive unit – how integral is the choir in providing a support network for the military wives?

 

Our ultimate aim is to be a support for the military community within our area, and to reach out to women and families in a similar situation.  We are a group of ladies who enjoy singing together, and because of our common bond, are able to support one another in the unique challenges we face.
Your repertoire seems very eclectic which is great – who decides on the songs that you perform? Are there certain songs that members of all Military Choirs need to learn and how often to you collaborate with other MWC?  

 

Yes, we do have a large repertoire, and we work hard to learn new songs every year, in order to both entertain our audience and challenge ourselves.  We also perform core military wives choir songs, and these songs are an integral part of our repertoire which our audience expect to hear.   We have also been very lucky to perform alongside other military wives choirs, both at local and international events. Our choir members and musical director have input into the songs we learn and perform.
You have had a very busy year – what have been your highlights of 2016?

 

As stated above, performing twice this year at our local theatre here in Colchester has been a real highlight for our choir.  We do enjoy performing around the UK, and the wider world, however there is something very special about performing in our home town.
This year the choir was also represented at Carnegie Hall, New York, and amongst other songs performed a new composition by Paul Mealor, who wrote the number one song Wherever You Are.  This was a wonderful experience for all those involved.
Your performance at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester was exceptional? Why did you choose the Mercury Theatre and was the concert in aid of any cause or charity?

 

We very much enjoy entertaining our local audience here in Colchester, and for us, the Mercury performances are a real highlight of our year.  This year we were delighted and honoured to support Colchester and Tendring Women’s Refuge at this particular event.

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I was delighted that you contacted me to once again to photograph the event, can you tell me why having professional photographs taken of the performance was so important to you? 

 

We are absolutely delighted with the photos you have taken of our ladies, and for the patience and professionalism you have shown in helping us create these wonderful memories.  Having you present at our rehearsals and at the concerts meant that you were able to capture many special moments for us, which we greatly appreciate. 

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Finally, what is next for CMWC? What can we look forward to before Christmas and into 2017?

 

We are a very busy choir, and Christmas will be an increasingly busy time for our ladies. Among other events, we will be performing with The Braintree Male Voice Choir, at Braintree Arts Theatre on Saturday 3rd December. We are also performing at Colchester Town Hall on Thursday 15th December for a charity event organised by the Mayor of Colchester, so there are still opportunities for people to hear us this year. Please see our website for further details of our performances, http://www.colchestermilitarywiveschoir.org.uk/ 
Many thanks to Helen O”Neill and Colchester Military Wives Choir for their participation in this blog post. I can guarantee that if you do go and see the ladies perform, you will not be disappointed.  Please visit their website (above) for more information. Alternatively you can contact the choir by emailing colchester@militarywiveschoirs.org.  The choir also has it’s own Facebook Page –  facebook.com/ColchesterMilitaryWivesChoir/ 



Ross Willsher is a social (weddings and portraits) and commercial photographer based in Chelmsford and covering Essex and London who is passionate about creating images as individual as you are.  His work can be viewed at www.rosswillsherphotography.co.uk / www.rosswillshercommercialphotography.co.uk 

facebook.com/rosswillsherphotography | @RWIllsherPhoto | instagram.com/rosswillsherphotography

Gallery

Meet The Flower Arranger – positive vibes & incredible designs.

In the second post in my blog series on exciting Essex businesses, I chat to Sapphire Bates AKA The Flower Arranger about inspiration, creativity and seizing the moment.

Sapphire’s creativity and unique sense of style and fun was evident as soon as I stepped into her Colchester-based studio to photograph her at work. Surrounded by a multitude of motivational quotes and sayings, I snapped away as Sapphire worked her magic. Over the course of the morning, I witnessed the transformation of a freshly delivered array of flowers into a set of stunning floral arrangements that no doubt dazzled all of the bride’s guests at the following day’s wedding ceremony.

I was intrigued to find out a little more about the girl known simply as The Flower Arranger…

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Tell me a little bit about your floristry background and how you became The Flower Arranger:

I ended up in floristry very randomly, I definitely had no idea that this would end being my career path. After finishing a fashion and business course in London I had ruled out fashion but was certain I needed a job that was creative. I decided to do some work experience with a friend of a friend who ran a wedding florist. I ended up spending several years at Lily and May in Brentwood where I became a qualified florist and learnt pretty much everything I now know.

I then took time out from working to travel some of the world, whilst sat on a beach in Thailand thinking about what job I was going to go back too and how I would pay my bills. I just thought why work for someone else why not just start up on my own? …and here I am today with The Flower Arranger.

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I notice that your studio is beautifully adorned with quotes of positivity and inspiration – is their a particular quote that sums up your personality and approach to what you do? 

That is such a hard question. I think positivity is so important, you have to believe in what you do in order to make it work. If I had to choose a quote to sum up my life personally I’d probably say ‘life is short’ because it so is! I have it tattooed on my arm as a daily reminder to take risks and take every opportunity be it a new personal adventure or business related.

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Your creations are stunning – would you describe your designs as having a certain style and if so, what would you define this as?

I think I definitely have my own style of flower arranging however I’m not sure exactly how you’d sum it up. All of my work features a lot of texture and colour. I love playing with shapes and mixing things up, breaking the rules of floristry a little to make something truly unique.

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What are the current trends in wedding flowers and do you seek to embrace or differentiate from these ever-changing styles and looks?

There a few different trends that are currently populating wedding flowers – roses in a soft nude and pale pink tones is one of them. I think a ‘wild’ and natural look is also very in right now, brides are being very creative and bold with their wedding flowers which is amazing, your wedding day should be unique to you!

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Tell me a little about how you work with brides to design their wedding flower packages. How do you ensure a balance between meeting their set brief and maintaining your own creative ideas and input? 

I meet with all of my brides in person at our studio in Essex to sit with them and look through our portfolio and have a browse on Pinterest. I think it’s really important to work closely with my clients to ensure they are really involved in designing and creating the flowers for their day.

My amount of input with creative ideas completely depends on each couple that I meet some have all their ideas already and just need me to help make them real and others have absolutely know idea what they are after and I then help to come up with designs that fit with the feel of their day.

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What advice would you give to couples who are choosing their wedding flowers?

Research before you meet with you florist, have a look at different florists on instagram and Pinterest to get an idea of the kinds of flowers and styles that stand out to you. Always work with a florist who’s work you love and who is happy to help you figure out what you are after because it can be hard to choose your wedding flowers if you don’t know anything about flowers.

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If you are as impressed with Sapphire’s creations as I am, do check out her website at www.theflowerarranger.co.uk. You can also keep up to date with The Flower Arranger by following her on Social Media;

www.facebook.com/theflowerarranager | @TFA_Sapphire | instagram.com/theflowerarranger

Thank you for reading. See you next month.

Ross Willsher is a social (weddings and portraits) and commercial photographer based in Essex who is passionate about creating images as individual as you are.  His work can be viewed at www.rosswillsherphotography.co.uk / www.rosswillshercommercialphotography.co.uk 

facebook.com/rosswillsherphotography | @RWIllsherPhoto | instagram.com/rosswillsherphotography

 

Meet The Flower Arranger – positive vibes & incredible designs.