This is not so much a narration about a shoot, as it is an attempt at a humorous observation as to what goes down during a listing in general - but particularly in a Saskatchewan Winter:
1. No one leaves their vehicles until they absolutely have to:
- I admit it: I loathe being cold. So the realtor and I make eye contact and nod at each other several times from the warmth of our vehicles as if one is daring the other to get out first. They obviously have access to the building, so they have to leave first - but the game of challenge must be played non-the-less. I hate the idea of treading carefully (so as not to slip on the ice) yet speedily (because I'm COLD) toward a house with my gear bag that I am praying I won't drop, and tripod, keys and phone somewhere in tow while keeping an eye on the Realtor as they open the door.
2. Sorry did I say open the door? I meant struggle with the frozen lock box and/or their keypad that has
decided now is a good time for an update. Really? The powers that be cannot have these mandatory
updates happen overnight when everyone is asleep and warm? Awkward conversation ensues between
us while we both curse quietly under our breath and re-think our life choices that have landed us here.
3. Finally the door opens, and both realtor and I attempt to burst into the house. Whomever is first inevitably starts to remove their snow-covered boots in the entry way - on the tiniest mat that was ever made - whilst whomever is second (usually moi) continues to freeze their face off behind them. Finally inside, I am able to take off my boots - and proceed to stand in puddles of water on said tiny mat in the places the Realtor had stood first to remove their boots. Faaaan-tastic!
4.1 While my gear warms up and acclimates to a warmer temperature in the bag, we do a walk through of the home (careful not to leave damp socked footprints anywhere) Several things tend to happen here: sometimes the Realtor squeals in pleasantly surprised delight to find the property meticulously cleaned and ordered; and sometimes they groan in despair at overflowing recycling or unmade beds. (as a side note, if you are on instagram, you should look up and follow @realestatephotofails for a good laugh. These things cannot be made up - and I have to admit that I have made a few contributions myself). If beds need to be made - I will NOT make them! It's at this point that the Realtor makes a calculated decision - a) they make the bed b) they wonder if this room is necessary in the collection of photos for the listing c) they call the client and (nicely) ream them out for lack of preparation and book another shoot.
4.2 While my gear warms up, we walk though the home with the client or tenant and talk through things that can be moved or changed if necessary (such as the bed being made). It's VERY awkward telling a grown person that they need to make their bed or do the dishes or clean out their garbage, but whatevs.
5 If the shoot is to go ahead, we walk around turning on lights, adjusting blinds and discussing best angles. Sometimes, for example, there is a gorgeous stone fireplace in a family room that should be turned on to help create the ambiance of the room and/or heat it up...that is, if we can figure out how it works.
6. Then I go ahead and do what I do. I love the challenge of making each room look unique, and bringing out the best in it. I will admit - sometimes they are just a challenge because of furnishings or colour choices - but ultimately, every room in every house has good qualities.
7. Then there's the bathroom - as one photographer tweeted "If I never have to photograph another half bathroom, I will be ecstatic" These half-baths are amazing options -practically necessary for a family home. But photographing them requires some acrobatics on my part - whether its standing on a footstool, or contorting my body into the strangest positions to get the shot.
8. At the end of the session, we both wander back through the house double checking lights are turned off and everything is back to where it should be. If the realtor steps in a puddle, I giggle inside- but usually it is me stepping in puddles again because I'm leading the way to leave so they can lock up. Once bundled back up, I say my goodbyes in the warmth of the house, before scuttling (carefully) back to my car - leaving the Realtor to lock up and replace the keys in the lock box.
Here is a short list of things this real estate photographer might love/hate about a listing:
1. The agents sign is already on the front lawn before the shoot is started. How do I get clear front shots without showing it?
2. The family pets (or toddler) follows around in FRONT of the lens, not behind me, and no one notices. A cat I will pick up and remove. But a child? What would you like me to do?
3. Giant windows: Personal and absolute favourite of mine! Natural light is an absolute dream to
photograph in...unless all we can see is the neighbors siding, in which case blinds are handy as if they are left down, but open - you still get texture and light.
4. It doesn't matter how many megapixels your smartphone has, the photos will NOT look the same as those I take because my camera sensor is bigger and I am going to spend good time editing them for you. Scrolling through the new listings and seeing the agent reflected in a bathroom mirror, or microwave glass makes me squirm...
5. A home-seller insisting on photographs of their floral arrangement or living room knickknacks. These items do add to the overall feel of "home" in a photo, but their detail is not important in the listing photos of said home. A buyer wants to know if their couch will fit, not what you found at the local decor shop. If its detail you want how about we feature the custom granite counters, gorgeous double ovens and expensive under-cabinet lighting and back-splash instead?
6. Water marks on a mirror or faucets. These will show up as dirt. I can't remove all of them in edit, and I won't be washing anyone's bathroom down either. Used and full garbage bins in a bathroom make me nauseous.
7. Seasonal decorations in a home - and being asked to "block it out" or "photograph around it". Sometimes it can be done...but how on earth do I work around a 7ft Santa Claus in the front yard or collection of plastic tombstones and skeletons along the driveway if I'm already anxious about your for sale sign?
8. I get excited at matching furnishings or pops of colour. Kitchens are everything - even if its in a small apartment.
9. The backyard. If you have one, it matters. So cleanup any kids toys or animal poop. I hate second guessing whether or not that's a pile of dirt...
10. I am thankful, blessed and overjoyed to work with so many wonderful realtors who understand the details that make for a successful listing shoot, and overall polished presentation to their client and potential buyers.
What do you think? Drop your comments below!
Regina, SK...I mean, there's small houses, big houses, ginormous houses..and then there's just. Crazy. It took me 2.5 hours to get through this 3,000sq ft mammoth of a home! But the details in its make-up are amazing. Each room is truly unique to its function and form and leaves the options for decor wide - I mean WIDE - open! Here's a few of my favourite contrasts found in the Den, the Office and the Study..?
Anyone who knows me however, knows that lots of light (big windows) and a kitchen make or break the house for me. And this home didn't disappoint! I would absolutely pretend I was a master chef every time I prepared a meal here!
And then there is the master WING. Yes you read right- aint no typos here! Behind the 3 car garage is a space big enough to be considered a second home. There's a bedroom, two walk in closets, a large 4 piece bathroom, a second bedroom with an en-suite (for guests I suppose?), and a fitness room.
Say wha-? And the best bit? I haven't even begun to describe the main part of the house - where the second floor boasts another 4 bedrooms - one of which has its own ensuite. You'd have to see this place in person to believe it exists in the Queen City! There's also a basement, but who needs those details??
...did I mention that the fenced yard is shared with just SEVEN other properties?
Let me know what you think of this crazy big house! I think my siblings and I along with our families could easily live here and still never see each other! Just incredible! You can see the 3D Virtual Tour of this property here.
White City, SK...I wasn't expecting quite this much unique design in a new build. They all seem to look the same sometimes - predictable floorplans and kitchens. I literally lost my breath - and my words- when I walked through these doors! I spend ages looking for more amazing angles on the main floor. I mean LOOK at it!
But I eventually had to go upstairs, where I expected the usual second floor with three bedrooms and a master suite. And there was more squealing but can you blame me? This master suite has everything you can imagine from bookcases that hide walk in closets, to a bathroom AND dressing room with tons of natural light.
What do you think? Post your comments below!
I'm a creative at heart, with a penchant for photography, sunflowers and elephants. I also get excited about decorative details, and perfectly placed cushions. Large windows, wide hallways and exquisite kitchens leave me breathless. Here are a few of my favourite stories and thoughts out loud. If you don't like my flavour, that's ok too - you can move along. :)