A picture tells a thousand words, or so they say. In property PR a good picture is worth more than that. Editors want to create an eye-catching and aspirational publication, but with many without their own budget for photography they depend on the images that are supplied to them by their good friends in PR like us. The better the photo, the more likely it is that it will be used, or that it will become the lead image in a feature.
A great home won’t compensate for a weak image. But an exceptional image will push similar properties aside to take the limelight.
Really good photography is a significant investment, but it will massively improve how your development or property for sale/rent looks online and in adverts. Plus, it will greatly increase the likelihood that you will get good press coverage. Frustratingly, time and time again, we are sent images, which just aren’t fit for print and it is so disappointing when we know that otherwise we would have stood a great chance in generating column inches. Often, a less interesting story can be pushed onto the front pages because of the high quality photography that we are able to provide.
- Keep it real – if your property/development isn’t built yet, invest in a good CGI artist. CGIs should look as realistic as possible. Think cloudy skies, as opposed to bright blue (this is the UK after all) and avoiding anything too seasonal if you plan to use all year round, such as hosts of daffodils. Use planting to break up the foreground as large expanses of paving or tarmac tend to look quite flat. Don’t include too many cars and where they are make sure that they’re aspirational. Our most important rule – don’t include people! Shots of individual resale homes wouldn’t have them in, so you don’t need to have them on CGIs.
- Home sweet home – it’s a cliché, but photography for homes should ‘sell the dream’. Most people can’t picture their lives in an empty room or make an accurate assessment of how big the property is and whether their furniture will fit. Dressing a home will help buyers to see the true dimensions of individual rooms and will help you to create eye-catching images.
- The kitchen factor – the limited colour palettes used in many kitchens means that they can look too ‘clinical’ when photographed without dressing. Consider kettles, coffee pots, cookery books and pot plants (good artificial plants will be fine, succulents are on trend and tend to look realistic). Covetable brands such as Le Creuset, NutriBullet or KitchenAid can all help to create the ‘right’ image.
- Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise – we’ve all heard that it’s best to opt for ‘neutral’ décor but new homes are often criticised for their ‘greige’ interiors. For a memorable image, think about accessories. Brightly coloured cushions, distinctive light fittings and colourful pictures won’t frighten the horses, but they will help to make your property stand out from the crowd.
- In detail – close-up detail shots can be useful in award submissions, adverts and social media. Even if they don’t show the whole room they can help to create the right impression.
- Keep it fresh – artificial plants can work well in a show home, not least because they don’t need daily maintenance. For a photo shoot it’s worth buying fresh fruit and flowers.
- Technical details – a professional photographer will have the right lenses and lighting to get the perfect shot. If it’s a new photographer, ask to see their portfolio. Good photography is time consuming, don’t be surprised if it takes a good hour to take the best shot of the kitchen or a full day to shoot a four-bedroom house.
- Branding – don’t go crazy with corporate branding in your imagery. Whilst it’s acceptable to have photos taken in front of a logo and signage for your own website or marketing material, if this is included in your photography for press, it will likely be rejected or at least placed to the bottom of the pile, especially with the nationals. Your accompanying story should be able to include the branding messages you wish to include. If you don’t like this thought, try taking a few with and then a few without branding – then at least you can offer both. I’m confident that I know which will be used!
- Case study photography – for those of you in the property world, we’ve all seen a photo of a couple outside a house with a glass of champagne, set of keys and flowers. This is really NOT the way to go for press photography. Keep the photo simple, with background fuss to a minimum. A picture editor would much rather see a happy family in a comfortable setting than a sales advisor shaking hands with them on the front door step of a new home.
Put simply; the better your image, the better chances of coverage so good photography should always form an essential part of your PR strategy. Through our network of excellent photographers and own experience, we will always be happy to help advise you as to how you can best photograph your subject in order to help raise your chances of press coverage. So do get in touch to give your PR campaign the best chances of success right from the outset.
Here are a few client images that we love…