“Blinds SUCK.” And Other Real Estate Photographer Problems

Well, like any job there are ups and there are downs. There are things we have to troubleshoot, and mishaps to overcome. As a real estate photographer, I don’t often know what I’m walking into before I shoot a home. When unfortunate situations arise I try to find some humor in them and make light of things that are frustrating but just aren’t that serious. So, let’s have some fun with the things that make real estate photographers go a little batty.

  • Bad light.
    Lighting is extremely important in any kind of photography. With real estate, it can literally make or break a space. One of the very first questions I ask before I book a session is “What direction does the front door of the house face?” If the front of the house faces west and the only time you have for me to shoot is the two hours before sundown, you’re going to have some very bad photos. Sorry to say it.


  • Oversized furniture.
    This should sort of go without saying, but I still see it far too often. Big furniture dwarfs and/or warps the perspective of the space, and typically makes otherwise nice sized rooms look like dollhouses.


  • …Or too much furniture in a room.
    I know how much you LOOOOOOOVE your grandmother’s cedar chest and the two dozen teddy bears you had as a child, but if your things are collecting dust and taking up space, it might be best to move them to the garage for the photoshoot. The same goes for the knick-knacks, unnecessary appliances (like your old Nintendo or your six different coffee makers), those annoying four-appendage lamps, and your shoes (so, so many shoes). Unless you have a unique, kitschy house with a certain je ne sais quoi, keep the “character” hidden away. Overall, less is better. We’re trying to get potential buyers interested in the SPACE, not the STUFF.


It may not apply in the literal sense, but I’d like to channel Coco for this one:

“Before you leave the house, remove one piece.”


  • “You can just photoshop it, right?”
    I know this isn’t only a real estate photographer’s problem, but it’s especially frustrating for a real estate photographer because it’s maddening when in reference to something that the client could have easily taken care of beforehand. Okay, so you can’t patch up every last paint problem, or hole in the wall, or fix the uneven stain on the floors, but if you don’t do the bare minimum — like clean the windows and mirrors, pick up clutter/toys/papers, etc., and at least attempt to hide that mess of cords behind the TV/dresser/desk — before I come to shoot, I will curse you under my breath for decades for asking me to “just photoshop” it for you.

Also, I have to expand on this because there are some things I cannot and will not just photoshop for you. Like full-on landscaping, so please mow your lawn and trim your trees if you want them in the photo, m’kay?

  • The voyeur.
    Photoshoots are fun, and particularly if it is your home that is the subject. But they aren’t and shouldn’t be family affairs. Without fail, every time the homeowner or anyone more than just the agent and an assistant is present for a shoot, someone inevitably gets in the way. (Like, literally. One day I’ll publish a coffee table book of all the photos I have accidentally taken of someone walking past the lens, or thinking they weren’t in the shot but were by just a toe or an elbow.) Take the fam out to lunch, go to the beach, or run errands. We’re the professionals; let us handle it.


  • And finally… why blinds SUCK:
    The main reason is that they are tragically inconsistent. Unless you had them installed yesterday, there is a very good chance they don’t open properly or to their full height. If there are two sets of blinds right next to one another, they’re probably uneven. Also, if they’re blinds with a rod for opening and closing, the rod always sticks out in such a strange and unflattering way when the blinds are pulled all the way up. Finally, from a retouching standpoint, they’re more difficult and unattractive in terms of window visage.My final review:
    No window coverings = excellent
    Drapes = yep
    Shutters = fine
    Blinds = BE GONE FOREVERRRR!!!!


Any questions on how to make your real estate or property photos marvelous? Ask away! I’m here to help.

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