Over the last month, it’s been a really interesting experience to go “house shopping”. We’ve looked at listings online and based on the photographs, we’ve decided whether or not we’re going to go and view the house. We’ve been going to Google Maps and taking a look at the street view to decide whether or not the neighbourhood looks well kept. As we’ve looked longer and longer, we’ve ended up going to some of the places that we’d originally eliminated based on the photographs. What we’ve discovered is that sometimes what we see online, is not at all what we see when we arrive at the home. The angles used are wrong, or too wide or … you fill in the blank. There are just issues. To us, it stresses the importance of hiring someone who knows what they are doing, as it’s never a good idea to have someone walk away from your home feeling like it was a waste of time to come and see it!
During the process of selling our condo, the buyer’s realtor came to present their offer to us. She told me a little bit about the couple and their list of 12 requirements for a home. She then told me that our building didn’t meet two of those requirements… the strata fee and the age of the building, but she decided that they needed to look at our home based on the photographs that she saw online. They fell in love with it the moment they walked in the door, and the rest is history. Hearing all of this made me smile. It felt good to know that the time and energy we put into photographing our home from the best possible angles had made a difference. That there is still a tremendous value in having professional photographs taken. Especially when you consider we ended up getting over our asking price in a down market. We had two offers come in on the same day, all because of the photographs that the realtors had seen!
These are a few of the photographs of our home.
I don’t share this to say that you can’t take your own photographs or that you need to hire a professional at every turn. I truly think that you should take lots of photographs of your life, after all you are the one living it and you can’t have a photographer at every event, but I want to give you this food for thought. We are in a day and age where many people think that if they own a really nice digital camera, they can be a professional photographer.
Some of the houses that we looked at were photographed badly by “professional photographers.” They did not do justice to the houses they were photographing. They didn’t think about light, composition or angles, they didn’t take the time (or didn’t know how) to make the house look as good as it could to entice people to come and see it. I see the same issues in portrait photography. There are many professional photographers who break all of the rules of photography: they check the back of their camera every shot to make sure they got it, they don’t take into consideration a person’s face when they light it. They don’t think about making a better image, they just think about making more images. It’s not ok to practice being a photographer during someone’s wedding because you’ve charged little or nothing. It’s not ok to show a family hundreds of images because you couldn’t decide which images were best. Professional photography is about understanding light and shape and form and expression. It’s about documenting a special event and providing your client with a special keepsake.
For you, when you take the kids to the park, take your camera and take as many photographs as you need to record the event. Send them to all your friends, post them on Facebook, do whatever you’d like with them. When you’re recording your life, you do what you want and you get what you need to be able to remember those moments later.
When you’ve decided that you’d like to hire a professional, make sure it’s one that has invested time and energy into education. One that understands light, angles, composition and professionalism. Not just someone who has decided that they own a nice camera and can take a good photograph!