Styling - living room

Picture perfect

A picture tells a thousand words and, with the right styling and post-production, can turn a house into a home.

Photo courtesy Space Constructions

Author

Sarah O'Donovan

In the home building industry we know a small investment goes a long way. This is especially true in the renovations sector where a few thousand dollars can boost a home’s value exponentially. You’ve probably heard this sentiment echoed by property gurus when it comes to home styling and professional photography, but if you’re in the business of building homes, not selling them – does it matter to you?

Just as important to your business as keeping your clients happy and delivering saleable homes is how you present your work to the world. The most structurally-sound and innovative house won’t become a home if no one can see themselves living in it.

When you finish a home – even if it won’t be going on the market and the owners are ready to move in – you should consider handing the keys over to a photographer and a stylist prior to occupancy (remember to allow a few days for this in your contracts).

There are a few reasons to have professional, staged photos taken at this point:

• You have full access to the home so whoever you hire won’t need to coordinate their work around a family schedule.
• The home is a blank canvas, this means a stylist will be able to make the most of the home without needing to move old and existing furniture or clutter around.
• This also means the home is clean. No hidden scuff marks lurking behind a strategically positioned couch.
• While you may not have a direct need for images upon completion, you will find plenty of uses in the future. Typically after the owners have moved in.

Much like a renovation, what you invest in styling and photography will earn itself back many times over. Imagery of your work can be used to produce marketing collateral such as ads, an online photo gallery, social media content and more. And while smart phones are great for capturing ‘in the moment’ and ‘behind the scenes’ images onsite, professionally produced shots will add an element of esteem to your brand’s identity and generate business from clients looking for quality.

Styling - living room
What you invest in styling and photography will earn itself back many times over
Photo courtesy Space Constructions
Uniqwa
The home styling game is booming so finding these services is as simple as an online search
Photo courtesy Uniqwa

A collection of your work can prove useful for a variety of other applications, too:

• Award entries. If you’re entering your project into any awards you’ll usually need around 10 photos. While these need to highlight your workmanship, they should also show an inviting and liveable home.
• Portfolios. Just because you’ve been working for years, doesn’t mean you can forget about your professional portfolio. Every professional should keep an up-to-date portfolio highlighting their biggest and most interesting achievements
to date.
• Marketing material. Use images of your best work for your Instagram posts, advertisements, website content, emails, pamphlets, signs and more. As long as you have full usage rights (discuss this with your photographer) you can promote your business across any platform in a visually appealing way.
• Future consultations. Begin a physical book of work to show your future clients. Use photos of common and unique features to visually demonstrate what’s possible, what’s not possible, and what the final result looks like. This both helps to ensure you’re talking about the same features and colours (their idea of ‘green accents’ might look very different to yours) while developing trust in your skill and experience.

The home styling game is booming so finding these services is as simple as an online search.

Each professional will provide a unique service but this is what you can generally expect the pros to do for you:

• Stage the home. Stylists will use rental furniture and artwork to create an ambience that suits the home perfectly while it’s either photographed or displayed.
• Get the right angles. A property photographer who specialises in real estate or architecture will take lifestyle shots, wide angle shots, and capture the flow of the home.
• Post production. Photography often includes an amount of post-production too. This will mean enhancing, balancing and editing the best photos to maximise their impact.
• Tell a story. Whether it’s in the finer details or the layout of a room, a professional property styling service can turn an empty house into a cosy home, a garage into a decked out man cave and a garden into an adventure playground.
Uniqwa Furniture

Take it from Charl

Earlier this year, Founder and Director of Uniqwa Furniture Charl van Heerden told Housing ‘We are living in a visually stimulating environment and people have become accustomed to scrolling through thousands of beautiful images all over the internet and social media.

‘The expectations are high and if you do not visually present to the expectations of your customer then you are doing yourself a disservice,’ he continued. ‘[You] can take photographs but it is important to find the way that the message of the interior and space is captured. It should be a factor of consideration in any plan to showcase a home and the design and interior should be built upon creating beautiful images.’

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