Luxury homes aren’t the same as normal homes. There are so many factors that differentiate them from even a large upscale suburban home that it takes extra effort and specialized skills to properly produce imagery that will do it justice.
One clear example that comes to mind is the home of the “Father of Architectural Photography”, Julius Schulman. Schulman had the architect Raphael Soriano design a home for him and that home is now designated a “Historic and Cultural Monument” in Los Angeles. When Schulman passed away in his late 90’s, this amazing home went up for sale – AND THE REALTOR USED A LOW-END PHOTOGRAPHER! What a travesty..
Fortunately, somebody did a much better job of capturing this treasure after a “sensitive” remodel was done a few years ago. You can see what this place looks like now.. Schulman House post-remodel
I often wonder what I could have done given the opportunity to photograph such a property. I would have shown the spaces for sure – but I would have doubled-down on the angles – the lines – the spaces – the light – the darkness – the surfaces and the setting. Those are things that are special about that home.
Though some luxury homes are architecturally significant – many aren’t. Their charms are more obvious and and more important to show off because they can’t rely on historical provenance to sell the property. It’s important to focus on those special things!
What are some examples of unique luxury home features? Here’s a few ideas – two story (or more!) aetriums with grand staircases, interior sport courts or basketball courts, swimming pools, or amazing landscaping. Featuring these things that are UNIQUE about that luxury home will help sell them more quickly. Here are some thoughts on capturing those luxury features:
- Grand Aetriums. With these areas, the biggest and the smallest are your mission. Shoot the aetrium WIDE with a 17mm or 24mm Tilt-Shift lens to show the grandness of the entry way and let the viewer experience the majesty. Let the lines of the staircases lead the eye into the photo and take the viewer on a tour. Small details are key here too – fancy rails on the staircase? Alcoves with lighting and plants? Inlays on the floor? Look close at them!
- Sport Courts / Basketball Courts. These can be challenging because often they are a white-painted box with a hoop on one end. You’ll need to create interest in the photo by staging sport gear in the photo – preferably in the foreground. Using the lines on the floor if they exist is also great for giving a sense of scale and location.
- Swimming Pools. The key here is to make the viewer feel like they are at the pool. One mistake I see many pool photographers make is putting the pool furniture too far from the pool. Against the wall or fence is the worst possible place for them photographically! Line them up near the pool – a few feet away is best. Make sure they are perfectly aligned and have the same “lean” if they can recline. Then – photograph THROUGH the backs of the seating from just behind them. This gives foreground interest and avoids having negative space in the most important visual locations. Night is great for pools as well if they having lighting.
- Landscaping. Time of day, weather, and lighting is really important for best landscaping shots. During midday on a sunny day, the harsh light makes too much contrast in foliage and the streaky shadows are distracting. On a cloudy day – the colors pop and there aren’t too many unflattering shadows. Dawn and dusk is great too – since it avoids the streaky shadows. Angle is super important – get LOW – down at the level of the landscaping preferably. This will create interesting foregrounds for your images.
There are many more things to consider when highlighting the perks of a luxury home – but these are some that we encounter often.
Can we feature your luxury home and make it look the best it can? Give us a call at (952) 373-1355 to discuss how to make your luxury listing look amazing.