Posted by: gnangarra | 4 October 2010

Preparing your house for photographs – Outside

So you’ve decide to sell up and move on, you’ve spoken with you agent and signed up what happens next is important.

The agent is going to discuss marketing with you, some of the best marketing you can get  are listings on the internet at sites like To do that you want good quality photographs so request that your agent uses a photographer, like me. It takes about an hour to photograph your house which provides your agent with 20-30 photographs to use, for the best results you need to spend time making some preparations.

What are those preparations, treat it like you would a home open because that’s exactly what the photographs do, they make your home open on the internet 24 hours a day 7 days week. Also something to remember like a home open you wouldn’t leave your handbag and car keys on the benches or beside your bed unattended. You should also consider what you want people to see things like collectables, military and sporting medals, electronic equipment can be an attraction to some of the less honourable people in our community. Like wise personal things like photographs, parlour toys and smoking implements can be a turn off to potential buyers, a good photographer will notice such things and suggest they be removed, we’ll cover more on this in the Inside part.


Gardens should be made neat and tidy, mow lawns, weed paths and if time permits weed/mulch garden beds. Planting out seedlings will make the garden look nice in the months to come but doing it the day before the photo shoot wont, if you really need to fix a problem area used advance plants like potted colour and plant them close together. Even the best fertilisers take 7 days before they start to have an effect, NPK blue will make your lawn nice and green within 7-10 days when combined with regular watering but remember that after 21 days it’ll need to be mowed. Also if it’s a hot day water an hour or two before I arrive so that the plants wont look as wiltered, in winter ensure there’s no puddles on paved areas.

Coil up hoses place, bins out of sight if you’ve got a shed use it I don’t photograph in there and I choose angles that don’t show whats between the shed and the fence. For visual security put a lock on the shed door and any gates even if you don’t normally have them, why tell people they can access you property any time they like with ease. Garden tools need to be out of sight, if you have a dog pick up its droppings and fill in any holes. Pet cages like aviaries and rabbit pens should be cleaned out while I might not photograph them in detail a white streak down the wall or a pile of old hay tells potential buyers that you havent really looked after the property and that there maybe pest problems in their future.

The Entertainment area

The area used for outdoor entertainment needs to be tidy, the table should be clean with seats neatly arranged. Remove the accumulated clutter from the top of the drinks fridge, the bright coloured packaging associated with pesticides and herbicides attract the eye in a photograph you want people see the whole picture.  While there are many elegantly designed lamps to ward off mozzies, too many can send the wrong message, fly traps should be cleaned out preferably  removed as the bright colours that attract flys also attract the eye in a photograph.  BBQ should be clean, not only the cooking surfaces but also any fat collectors, the steel hood and the dust cover.

The pool

If you have a pool you have a wonderful enhancement to the value of your property all you need to do is make sure it doesn’t look like a burden to potential buyers, scoop leaves off the surface, running the filter for an extended period the night before hand to improve water clarity. Check the waters chemical levels, as well-balanced chemicals give that extra sparkle to the water making it look inviting. Remove pool covers but allow time for any water spillage to dry, likewise Kreepy Krawly type cleaners and the attached hose should also be removed from the pool. Around the pool remove anything that is on the fence and remove inflatable toys etc from the pool side, any furniture should be adjusted to look natural but neat. This also applies equally for Spa’s

The Garage, sheds

Unless there are significant features you and your agent want to highlight then I wont be photographing inside them, this makes it  a good spot to store things, remember to close doors and add locks were appropriate. If the garage is open to road then it’ll be photographed if it’s open to the back yard it may be in the background of photographs in such cases anything in there should be neatly stacked if its empty oil stains should be covered or removed.

Vehicles, other garden ornaments

While cars, trailers, boats, caravans provide a good gage as to the size of an area, it can be negative as well a 30ft Caravan or boat can dwarf the front of your house making it look small and cramped. With vehicles that are there things like doors, bonnets, boots should be closed and covers should be in good condition, ideally they’ll be behind the closed garage doors.  Gnomes, swans, angels and other statues add to the garden ambience and create interesting photo opportunities, if they aren’t staying with the house let me know. Ponds, fountains and water features need to be full and the water clean, a working fountain adds to the ambience while providing a focal point for the photographs, let me know if a water feature is being removed. Remember to collect your paper early and to empty the letter box of junk mail.


Timing is everything, consider what is the best time of day to maximise the light on the front of your house this is the primary(first choice) image that agents use on the internet to showcase the house, it’s also the one they frequently use in newspaper adverts and on shop front signage.  With timing if its bin day ask your neighbours if you can put your bin on their verge instead. If you have a park or school nearby don’t choose the times that children are coming and going as parents can be uncomfortable with someone taking photographs while their children are around.

An example I photographed a house that had a park & school opposite as part of the shoot profile the agent requested photos of the park, firstly I waited 20 minutes for the school to stop using the park, as I was crossing the road to take the photos recess started another 20 minutes lost.  After all of this I took a series of photographs, ten minutes later we had the principle knocking on the door wanting to know who I was, what I was doing and why, all the while warning me he had call the police.  I appreciate and commend the principle for his concern but I had to stop the shoot and download the photos to my laptop so that the principle could review each them and satisfy himself that no children were in the photos.

Now the outside of your house is ready to be photographed let move inside….



  1. Good day!This was a really marvelous blog!
    I come from milan, I was luck to discover your website in yahoo
    Also I obtain a lot in your blog really thank your very much i will come daily

    • Thank you, I do real estate photographs and wanted to convey to the clients the little things that help them get the best results from the photographs.

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