When it comes to shooting commercial properties for marketing them, high-quality photography is of paramount importance.
Whether it be factory photography, marketing office space or anything in between, good quality commercial property photography can be the ‘make or break’ for any potential tenant, broker, or investor.
High-quality building photography is essential to selling property as it is used to make the property attractive to potential buyers, and will be used across all areas of marketing i.e. websites, print brochures, and listing portals. In the commercial real estate market, it’s important for properties to be well-represented in great imagery to help get an edge on the competition.
Excellent estate photography is crucial in quickly creating interest from buyers for selling or leasing properties. This makes a high-quality photographer a desirable asset for estate brokers as stellar photographs generate a good ROI for the property.
What are you trying to showcase?
It’s important to get clear on your objective. In most cases of marketing a property, it will be the property broker who heads the marketing campaign and will contact the photographer, so it will be imperative to understand their needs for selling the property. When coming up with your property photography ideas, understanding the client’s goals are significant in preparing your shot list. Are you marketing the view? Are you marketing the proximity to the train station? Are you marketing the amenities of the property? By asking the right questions, you’re on track to satisfying the client.
It is recommended that you shoot with a DSLR camera as they capture high-quality images and offer customisation which is optimal for property photography. DSLR have interchangeable lenses, which is beneficial for shooting bigger properties as you can customise your lenses for the space. Some shots will require a wide-angle view, like an exterior shot or a warehouse, and some will require a narrower scope, like a foyer.
As well as your camera, a tripod is necessary for the stability required to take sharp photos. In addition to this, consider a remote shutter release. While it’s not mandatory, it is advantageous to your photography technique, as it assists you in taking the photo without touching the camera and allows for clearer images.
Lighting equipment can be challenging, as commercial space can be large, and doesn’t always come with helpful sources of natural light. For commercial property photography, you may need to use exposure bracketing, as you can then merge images with different exposures to create the perfect image which is optimally exposed.
The location of a property is arguably the key factor in determining its overall value. If the property is located in a strategic area, you should emphasise this in the shot. For commercial real estate, proximity to other properties may be an important feature for the buyer which should be represented in the photographs. In residential property photography, you are going to want to depict the property as calm and quiet. However, in commercial property photography, hustle and bustle is potentially more attractive to potential buyers as it could indicate more business. When you’re marketing a property, its proximity to nearby parking, or the high street, can be considered desirable, and incentivise buyers.
Elevated photography using a mast is great for commercial property photography, as not every property photographs well from ground level. The advantage of elevated photography for commercial properties is that you can show the property boundaries and location in one photograph. You can also accentuate any architectural features and unique selling points of your property in an elevated photograph which allows for a much grander scope. This also will be an apt solution for any obstructions to your photographs, such as trees and fencing.
Commercial property drone photography
Like elevated photography, drone photography is a favourable asset in commercial estate photography as high-altitude shots can show the property within the context of the wider area. As already mentioned, the location is highly significant in determining the marketability of a property, and by using aerial shots via a drone you can show off the location in your photo. Potential buyers and investors will be able to get a feel of the area surrounding the property that they will be investing in.
Time of day
Lighting is crucial in any photo, but especially the exterior shot of the building, so it is important to consider the time of day you will shoot at. You need to get the right balance between severe sunlight and dark shadows. For marketing purposes, the street view of the property is high-priority. Ascertain the direction of the sunlight to get a good picture. You can use Google maps to see which direction the property is facing in advance of the shoot.
The best property photos feature the sun in a lower position shining on the building front, so determine the ideal time of day for this. North-facing properties won’t get direct sunlight, so your objective should be to shoot at a time when the sun is not behind the building, glaring into the camera. A remedy for this might be overcast weather, or shooting at dusk. Avoid times of day where there will be heavy shadows in the photo.
Especially when shooting interiors, make sure the space is minimal and well-cleaned. As you’re marketing the property, and not the things inside it, make sure it’s a relatively empty space. A few practical props are fine to show the functionality of the space, and to help show proportions, but too many will be distracting. Make sure that windows are clean, lightbulbs are working, and there’s no graffiti or unclean areas.
When photographing commercial properties, it is essential for photographers to obtain a model release from anyone who appears in the photos, for legal security. This is important to consider, especially if you’re taking photographs that require models – for example, if you’re marketing an office space. Provide model releases to the property owner beforehand so that they can be distributed and returned before shooting, and keep some to hand in case anyone is spontaneously photographed on the day.
Commercial property photography can be very different to photographing, for example, a private home; it requires a different understanding of space, light and many other factors.
This brings with it many new challenges which can only be overcome through experience, however, but following the suggestions above, we hope that this will help shortcut some of the time it takes to acquire that experience!
Aside from photography, video has become a must-have property marketing tool – for more exploration of how video has a massive impact on property sales and marketing, take a look at the article below: