By Julie Legge, real estate photographer and videographer
Got a new luxury listing this spring? Consider a twilight photo session to supplement your professional interior pictures. Marketing the property with pictures taken at dusk is an excellent way to highlight exterior features such as upgraded landscape lighting, pool lighting and outdoor living spaces, conveying an alluring and welcoming glow that invites interested buyers to learn more about the home.
As a real estate photographer who loves to take twilight photos, I’ve compiled the following tips to help real estate professionals work with their sellers and photographers so the session can go smoothly and produce a great result.
1. Lighting: Someone who is familiar with the interior and exterior lighting and the pool features should be present at the photo session, whether it be a home owner, real estate broker or caretaker. Arrive early to turn on all interior and exterior lighting, including landscape and pool lighting. Be prepared to turn off any lighting upon the photographer’s request. For example, some flood lights can be harsh and detract from the desired effect.
2. Pool and water features: Have the pool cleaned of debris in advance of the session. Turn on pool lighting and water features where desired. Please note that turning on water features may make some of the surrounding hardscape look wet in the pictures; if you want a consistently dry hardscape look, plan accordingly.
3. Outdoor living features: Consider lighting fires in outdoor fireplaces. Remove grill covers — if the grill is in good condition.
4. Outdoor furniture: Remove covers from outdoor furniture and add chair cushions. Straighten pool and lounge chairs and arrange any side tables. Consider staging any tables with clean rolled towels and refreshments. Open pool umbrellas where they will not block important views.
5. Landscaping: Add flowering or green plants to empty planters and remove dead plants. Turn off yard irrigation and do not water flowers less than two hours prior to the photo session as driveways and patios that are partially wet or partially dry may not be optimal for pictures. Arrange for professional lawn care to occur at least a day prior to the session. If appropriate, replace mulch or other landscaping enhancements.
6. Other exterior tips: As with a daytime photo session, park vehicles in the garage with the garage door closed, or park on the street away from the front of the home. Pick up any toys from the yard, i.e. plastic children’s toys, balls and soccer goals. Sweep porches, patios, driveways and front walkways if necessary.
7. Advance preparation is key: Remember that the time window for twilight photos is short, so the property should be ready for photos in advance of the appointment.
As always, talk to your photographer about the property’s features and get additional helpful tips from her as you plan the session. If you need visual inspiration, check out photos of luxury homes in magazines or online, or see my online portfolio of twilight photos.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julie Legge is a professional real estate photographer in Charlotte, N.C. She’s photographed 1,000 homes for real estate brokers, builders, home stagers, and interior designers, and she coaches beginning photographers. Visit her web site: www.charlotterealestatephotos.com.