You’d think that photographing property on a bright sunny day would always give you great results and that when you take your camera out with you, you‘d want to shout ‘hooray’ at the top of your voice because the birds are singing, and the sky is blue.
Take your photos at the optimal time, and the Sun can help you create shots to shout about, but get the timing wrong, and strong sunshine can create massive photography challenges as well.
Here are some professional tips to help you out.
1) Say goodbye to shadows: When the sun is shining bright, it can cast harsh shadows over an elevation. This can make it difficult to capture a property’s image in a way that will show it off to the buying public. Who wants to see a giant shadow of a tree or another building covering half the architecture?
Solution: Take the photo at the optimal time.
Download the LightTrac app to your mobile phone from the app store, and use that to work out when best to arrive at the property. Here’s a very short video to show you how to use it. Use the magnifying glass to locate the property and place the white dot on the elevation. The yellow line shows you when the sun will rise, and the blue line shows when it will set. The optimal time for taking a photo of 10 Downing Street, for example, would be between about 10 am and 10.45 am. Before that, the Sun won’t be shining on the elevation. After 10.45, you will see shadows on the buildings to the left created by buildings on the other side of the road. Later still, and the whole elevation will be in the shade.
2) Overexposure is a no-no: Bright sunshine can also cause overexposure in your photos.This can mean that white areas of your image will be too bright and lack detail. No one wants to see a grey, undefined blob where the windows should be!
Solution: Look in your camera’s manual for ExposureCompensation. Retake the photo using a darker exposure.
3) Reflections, reflections, reflections: If you photograph a property's fishpond, or if it there is glare from the Sun shining on its windows, you'll have to deal with pesky reflections. These can be distracting and take away from the overall quality of your photos.
Solution: Attach a polarising filter to your lens.
This will cut down reflections, and when the sky is blue, it’ll look bluer still.
4) South-facing back gardens mean the elevation may only be lit by sunshine at certain times of the year. When the sun is behind a due-north-facing elevation, (due South at the back), the shadow at the front will likely have a blue colour cast because the reds and yellows in the light spectrum will be filtered out. If your likely buyers are Gomez and Morticia Addams, then well done, the photo will stand a good chance of getting noticed by them. But virtually everyone else will likely lack the imagination to fully appreciate what you're trying to sell. You can't increase a property's value even with the best photography, but you can most certainly reduce the market for it with bad photos.
Solution: The Sun, at certain times of the year, may light the elevation early in the morning or very late in the evening.
So, you might need to be there at 5 am or 9 pm to benefit from that. A better alternative would be to take the photo on a cloudy day when the contrast level isn’t so great and shadows are less harsh.
5) The heat is on: Let's not forget about the heat! When you're out in the sun for too long, you can start to feel like a melting Cornetto. And if you're using a camera that's been sitting in the sun, it can overheat and cause some serious damage. Also, don't forget the sunscreen and most of all, have fun!