How To Photograph Your Home Like A Professional

There are several different reasons a person may have for wanting to take a fantastic, magazine-worthy photograph of their home. A recent remodel or renovation has possibly left you breathlessly impressed with your own creative skill and now it’s time to share the final result with the virtual world.

Perhaps,  you’re reaching out to an interior designer who has requested shots of the space in order to aide his/her planning and design. Or maybe you are selling your home and want to take stellar photographs to post online.

Regardless of your reasons, the task of taking professional-looking photos of your home sounds easy enough, but the reality is —amazing pictures take amazing effort.  Luckily, even if you don’t have all of the professional equipment and skills, it doesn’t mean a professional-esque picture of your home is out of the question.

Here are few simple tips and tricks for making your home photos magazine-worthy:

 

Clean Your Home First

Before snapping any photos, you must de-clutter first.  Especially if the home is for a real estate ad, you’re going to want to clean up and eliminate anything that takes away from the space in an effort to give prospective buyers a clear view of the potential.

If the photograph is being taken for a rental as or Bed and Breakfast that you run out of your home, these pictures need to be extremely tidy. Clients will be looking for clean lines that indicate order within a homey space. This may require the hiring of a home staging expert—they know how to make your home look open and welcoming.

Additionally, it may be necessary to create a focal point where one didn’t before exist. Sometimes, capturing the entire room isn’t the most effective choice. It can create an overwhelming visual that doesn’t give the viewer a real chance to focus in on what’s great about the space. Consider picking a corner or specific set up, such as a dining room or fireplace, to focus on—this will help you photograph your home like a true professional.

Above all, take enough care with your photograph to keep blurriness at bay. Nothing screams amateur like a well-staged interior photograph of a home with blurry edges or lines. If you’re going to do this the right way, make sure you put as much care into the actual picture as you do setting up for it!

Lighting Livens Your Home (Inside and Out)

One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to photographing your home like a professional is lighting. This ever-changing dynamic can make or break a picture. Similarly, it can alter the feel of a photograph drastically within a matter of minutes depending on the time of day.

Go into your photography session with a plan. If you’re looking to create a softer feeling around your photograph, consider taking the majority of your shots in late afternoon as the sun filters dimly through the room. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a bright and airy photograph of an interior room, mid-day is going to be your best bet for the clearest light. And don’t forget to turn on all the lighting sources in the room such as lamps, overhead fixtures, and wall sconces—layered lighting creates an overall sense of warmth and openness (and gets rid of any dark corners in the room).

If you are taking exterior photos, then be sure to take them when the weather conditions allow for a clean and clear shot—without any harsh sun glares. You will not want to take a shot of the front facade when the sun is on its way behind your house as this will create glare and dark shadows.

If all else fails, it may be necessary to turn to technology in order to achieve prime results. Sometimes, no matter what angle you attempt, the best-laid shot of a room is only going to happen with a wider lens or with the help of photo-fixing software.

Invest In The Right Photography Equipment

It would definitely be convenient to just pull out your smart phone and snap a perfectly professional shot of your home or business interior. However, this just isn’t a realistic expectation. Without a little assistance, homemade shots just aren’t going to make the cut.

Professionals in the industry spend extraordinary amounts investing in the right equipment to get the perfect shot every time. While it’s not recommended that one spend their life savings on equipment for a single picture, it is highly beneficial to invest a little into buying (or possibly borrowing) the proper equipment— no matter what, it will be less expensive than hiring a professional photographer for the project.

When it comes to the right camera, there are plenty of choices to be considered on the market. One that often finds its way into homeowner hands is the SLR, or single lens reflex camera. Many agree that this type of camera gives a very stabilizing effect and creates very clear shots overall.

Even if you’ve invested in the right type of camera, don’t be afraid to spruce up a photograph when all is said and done with a little photo editing. While you don’t want to create a falsified image, giving your photo a slight face-lift is all the norm in the world of interior home photography. There are several apps available that can help you erase any flaws out of a photo— and it’s really not cheating.

Take Time Playing With Angles

While the end goal is obviously to get an amazing shot of any given room, many people make the mistake of stopping the photo shoot too early. In order to get the perfect shot and angle, you’re going to have to invest a significant amount of time and memory card space.

When it comes to photographing your home like a professional, you’re going to have to buckle down and think like one. This means you’ll need to take more pictures than seem necessary and be willing to play up all the weird and funny angles you can find. As lighting changes and angles change, the best photo can be born out of the most unexpected of shots!

Similarly, it’s important to be brave with your setup choices. If getting a stellar photo means taking the time to set up some helpful artificial lighting—so be it. And don’t be afraid to move furniture and accessories around to improve the space, even if it’s only temporary.

If you find yourself struggling with the final results, never hesitate to reach out to friends and family—they are sure to give you an honest answer. Run some of your final pictures by them and ask them what type of feeling it invokes. If you get the answer you’re looking for, great! If not, it’s time to keep on clicking because after all, you’re out to do this like a professional.

While doing your own home photography can be a challenge, the results are often worth the risk. It gives you a chance to not only create your own space, but put your personal touch into the final product in nearly every way.

If you’re willing to invest a little in order to save a lot, photographing your own home can be an extremely rewarding experience. Why not challenge yourself to take one professional looking picture of each room in your home in 2015? Even if you never use the photos for anything other than memories in your scrapbook, at least your photos will be a lasting keepsake of your glorious home.

Let’s talk about Maintenance

Are you wondering what home improvement project delivers the best return on investment?  In a word: maintenance.

Hiring a professional to catch small problems before they balloon into major expenses, will allow you to breathe easy, knowing your residence is in good hands.

Exterior - Rear Deck - Partial View

At Rule4, we understand that most people are simply too busy to maintain their home themselves with any regularity.  But, it is vitally important that your home’s interior and exterior be preserved.  Lack of time, cost considerations, and a general misunderstanding of what jobs are the most important for home longevity and good health, rank among the top reasons why homeowners look the other way when presented with home preservation items.  Most of us endeavor to lead a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise to ward off premature illness.  Why not adopt the same philosophy for your home?

Unfortunately, some homeowners have been led to believe that there is a specific home maintenance time clock.  Paint the house exterior every 5 years; pressure wash your deck every 2 years, etc…  The fact is, the more often you maintain, the less you need to do, each time.  Do know that the period of time between these projects varies, depending on some important factors.  Consider the following:

1.  The quality of the previous job.  Were corners cut?  Were items inadvertently overlooked?  Were repairs properly made before finishing?

2.  The products used.  Inferior products, inferior job.

3. Experience and expertise of the contractor.  Did the contractor come with references?  Did you follow up on them and ask them how many years between maintenance the workmanship allowed?

deck-1

Rule4 Group prides itself in being Your Contractor.  We want you to feel that we are a team, looking out for the best interest of your dwelling and your bottom line.  We want your business for life.  We are not your typical home improvement contractor.

Think: Quality workmanship.

Think: Long-term association.

Think: Worry-free relationship.

 

Could we low bid a project, just to get your business?  Sure, we could.  But, we won’t.

Could we use inferior products to save you money up front, but that will cost you more down the road?  Sure, we could.  But, we won’t.

Could we cut corners where you won’t notice, just to get the job done more quickly and to save time?  Sure, we could.  But, we won’t.

Lastly, could we send out workers who are inexperienced or untested, just to save you money?  Of course, we could.  But, we won’t do that, either.

At Rule4, our main goal is to do things properly.  During our first visit, our experienced maintenance contractor will evaluate the job and give you a thorough cost-considered estimate.  Initial pricing will guarantee a job well done, requiring fewer – though regular – future maintenance visits.  Just ask our former customers.

Consider signing up for a yearly maintenance contract.  Allow our team of qualified service workers to take care of everything, before it becomes a problem.

Call today for a consultation, (443) 757-0431.  Spring is just around the corner.

www.rule4.net

 

Decorating in Blue

The color blue can be bold and bright or soft and soothing. Get inspired by these looks starring blue, and find your favorite shade for decorating.

Adding color to a room doesn’t have to involve paint. White walls and whitewash furniture in this entryway create a gentle backdrop for a collection of cool blue accessories and decorative elements. A vase filled with orange roses adds a splash of contrasting color for visual interest.

More From Better Homes and Gardens

Creating a Color Scheme-Read More

kitchen renovation

The Hottest Houzz Discussion Topics of 2012 Discussions rocked and rolled this year with advice, support, budding friendships — and oh, yes, a political opinion or two

 

 

Remodeling has never been easy (just ask those who have lived through it), but preparing yourself as much as possible can help. Houzz readers wanted to learn about everything in 2012: from shower drains and shopping for materials to Japanese wood treatments and more than you’d ever think you could know about interior trim. These top 25 bookmarked remodeling stories on Houzz cover it all — take a look and see if you can get some insight for your next remodel.

 

Read More

Rule4 Presents: Fall 2012 Color Trends

Fall is fast approaching and a time for refreshing and updating your home before the holiday season.  There’s still plenty of time to repaint your dining room with new color before you begin planning your Thanksgiving Meal. So what are the trends this Fall? Pantone (www.pantone.com) released their take on the 2012 Fall Trends for fashion – the can also be applied to the home. Tangerine Tango has been voted color of the year – but how can you use it?

HGTV have done a good job of showing you where you might some of the colors above, or at least color similar to them.  HGTV – painting with fall colors

Here’s their idea for Tangerine Tango, plus a lovely blue to match.  We love the teaming of white with Chartreuse as well.  Not to mention Raspberry (or Pantone’s Pink Flambé).

 

 

Rule4 Lite provides interior and exterior professional painting services.  Once you have chosen your color, Rule4 will ensure a professional job from start to finish.  A customer recently posted on Angies List:- “excellent job from start to finish.  true professionals who know what they are doing. clean and efficient. highly recommend.”

For more information about Rule4’s custom paint and other services, visit Rule4 Lite

commercial painting

Interview with Joe Pizzi, Rule4 Project Manager.

Joe has been working in the construction industry for over 10 years and as Rule4 Project Manager for over 1 year. Joe works as onsite project manager for all sized projects offering every client an easy regular contact point throughout the renovation process.

What do you think is the most important part of your role as Project Manager?

Communication, definitely. When customers choose a company like Rule4 to do their renovation they should expect to have regular communication every step of the process.

What does this mean in your daily routine?

At the end of each day I make sure I speak to the customer. If they are not at home when I leave, I make sure that I pick up the phone and talk to them directly or leave a message if I cannot get hold of them.

What do you tend to discuss?

I like to review the day and discuss progress. If things haven’t gone as planned I like the customer to know that I am aware of what’s going on and how we are dealing with it going forward. Personally I don’t consider things that come up as “problems” but just part of the renovation process, which even with all the planning in the world can sometimes throw up the occasional hitch. I find that if we talk at the end of every day “hitches” don’t turn into “issues”.

Apart from communication what else do you pride yourself on?

Protection of the existing home, dust containment and daily clean up. Again with a company like Rule4 all customers should expect that to be part of the customer service we give.

What does this mean in practice?

At the very beginning of a project, before we lift one tool, we spend time preparing the home for renovation. This includes hanging high quality plastic, sealing non renovation areas, laying down floor protection and so on. We spend at least 2 hours on every job, for a larger job this can take up to 4 hours. We even protect TV’s and furniture in adjoining rooms with plastic, dust always finds a way, but it’s minimal if we do our job right. I often get feedback from customers that they were pleasantly surprised how little dust there was – that’s what we strive to do.

What does daily clean up involve?

At the end of each day we pride ourselves in cleaning up. Many renovation contracts stipulate “broom swept” at the end of each day. Personally I don’t own a broom, I have a high efficiency vacuum cleaner which frankly does a much better job. We also tend to pack up our tools and take them off the property at the end of each day, although sometimes practically it makes sense to store some neatly on the job site.

Professional Remodeling Project Managers – Communication is the Key!

Interview with Joe Pizzi, Rule4 Project Manager

Joe has been working in the construction industry for over 10 years and as Rule4 Project Manager for over 1 year. Joe works as onsite project manager for all sized projects offering every client an easy regular contact point throughout the renovation process.

What do you think is the most important part of your role as Project Manager?

Communication, definitely. When customers choose a company like Rule4 to do their renovation they should expect to have regular communication every step of the process.

What does this mean in your daily routine?

At the end of each day I make sure I speak to the customer. If they are not at home when I leave, I make sure that I pick up the phone and talk to them directly or leave a message if I cannot get hold of them.

What do you tend to discuss?

I like to review the day and discuss progress. If things haven’t gone as planned I like the customer to know that I am aware of what’s going on and how we are dealing with it going forward. Personally I don’t consider things that come up as “problems” but just part of the renovation process, which even with all the planning in the world can sometimes throw up the occasional hitch. I find that if we talk at the end of every day “hitches” don’t turn into “issues”.

Apart from communication what else do you pride yourself on?

Protection of the existing home, dust containment and daily clean up. Again with a company like Rule4 all customers should expect that to be part of the customer service we give.

What does this mean in practice?

At the very beginning of a project, before we lift one tool, we spend time preparing the home for renovation. This includes hanging high quality plastic, sealing non renovation areas, laying down floor protection and so on. We spend at least 2 hours on every job, for a larger job this can take up to 4 hours. We even protect TV’s and furniture in adjoining rooms with plastic, dust always finds a way, but it’s minimal if we do our job right. I often get feedback from customers that they were pleasantly surprised how little dust there was – that’s what we strive for.

What does daily clean up involve?

At the end of each day we pride ourselves in cleaning up. Many renovation contracts stipulate “broom swept” at the end of each day. Personally I don’t own a broom, I have a high efficiency vacuum cleaner which frankly does a much better job. We also tend to pack up our tools and take them off the property at the end of each day, although sometimes practically it makes sense to store some neatly on the job site.

 Interview recorded May 31 2012

Between Allison Ellis, Rule4 Marketing Manager & Joe Pizzi, Rule4 Project Manager

Remodel or Move – The Question on the Minds of Many Homeowners!

If you want to change your home, your other option besides remodeling is to find a new one. But more and more American families are deciding to stay put and improve their existing home. Here are some of the reasons:

  • Remodeling allows you to customize your home to meet your needs and desires. The only similar, but much more costly alternative is to have a brand new custom home designed and built.
  • Remodeling means that you don’t have to give up a familiar neighborhood and schools.
  • Remodeling is a more efficient use of your financial resources. According to the American Homeowner Foundation, selling your home and moving typically costs about 8-10% of the value of your current home. And much of this goes into moving expenses, closing costs, and broker commissions – items that have no direct impact on your home’s quality.
  • Remodeling can be stressful, but few experiences are more stressful than moving.

While there are many reasons that people choose to remodel, the bottom line is that remodeling makes your home a more enjoyable place to live. The intangible value of this pleasure needs to be considered, along with any resale value you hope to gain.

But there is no doubt that, as far as improving the sale of your home, all remodeling projects are not created equal. The general rule of thumb is that any remodeling project that brings your home up to the level of your neighbors’ is a worthy investment. But it doesn’t pay to be the most expensive house on the block – real estate experts recommend that a remodeling investment should not raise the value of your house to more than 10-15% above the median sales price in your neighborhood.

Remember that potential buyers will compare your home to ones newly built. Therefore, you’ll want to look at the design trends and amenities being built into new homes. Great rooms (open kitchen/family room arrangements), master bed and bath suites, and higher ceilings are a few of the features sought by today’s home buyers.

Each year, Remodeling magazine conducts its “Cost vs. Value” report to assess which remodeling projects create the greatest return on investment. Not surprisingly, kitchens and baths regularly come out on top. These are two of the most used rooms in the home, and they receive the most scrutiny from potential buyers.

Reproduced with kind permission from the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders)