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So, you’ve read yesterday’s post and come back for more?!  Yea!  Today is all about AFTER that hard decision to hire a professional to take photos of your home.  Now what?  There’s lots to do, so let’s jump right in!

1. Staging

Everyone who is selling a home should have their home professionally staged for the photography.  Not to mention the fact that the staging – in my opinion – is absolutely necessary for all showings, too.  Oh, did I just mention it?  Yep.  Staging, staging, staging.  I have a great stager to recommend, too: Michele Thrasher from Staging By Mon Brio.  Just take a gander at the photos above one more time.  They portray a picture-perfect home.  One that we all THINK our homes actually look like.  I say THINK because, well, look around you right now.  If you’re anything like me at all, you have a pile of mail over here…some laundry waiting to be put away over there…that extra bookshelf in the corner that doesn’t quite fit (or match) but you really need to put your stuff on it…etc. etc.  Michele will explain to you that staging a home for sale is VERY DIFFERENT than our everyday life.  She has great tips on both design/function AND keeping you and your loved ones and your loved belongings safe during the time when your home will be on the market.  Plus?  I absolutely LOVE photographing a home after Michele has been there… 🙂  Call her.  You won’t be disappointed!
www.StagingByMonBrio.com  |  monbrio@yahoo.com  |  419.350.5654

2. Scheduling

We’ll want to schedule your photography to occur before your home is actually listed in the MLS with your REALTOR.   This should occur sometime between when you’ve signed your listing contract and when the agent actually places the your home for sale on the internet.  When I call to schedule a photography session with you, I’ll typically request access to your home for approximately two hours (longer or shorter depending on your home’s size).  I typically plan to either meet you, a spouse, another family member, or sometimes your real estate agent at your home for this appointment.

3. Tidying

Is that a word?  Sure!  The last thing to do right before your photography session is to tidy up your personal belongings.  Yes, Michele will explain all of this in your staging appointment, but here are just a few things that often get left behind the morning of the shoot:

  • Personal care items – place them out of sight.  Toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoos, razors, lotions, soaps, etc., etc. should all be put under the sink or into the medicine cabinet.
  • Family photos – remove and replace with generic art.
  • Pet items – hide away.  This includes food/water dishes, toys and crates. 
…and that just about covers it!  I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about getting ready for a real estate photography session!

Okay, okay, so this post isn’t for everyone who reads my blog.  But if you have ever, or are planning to ever sell your home…or if you are a REALTOR, then you’ll want to read it; this one’s for you!

Real estate photography.  Many of you are probably thinking, “but I hired a real estate agent, won’t he/she just take the photos?”  My answer?  Probably.  However, there is a very important reason why this isn’t a great answer, and it has to do with getting your home SOLD.

The first step in preparing for professional real estate photography is simply deciding that it’s necessary. Here is some food for thought:

1.  Images create first impressions.  

We are no longer in the age where buyers wait until an open house to view a home for the first time.  According to NAR (National Association of REALTORS) statistics “The use of the internet in the home search rose slightly to 90 percent, and for buyers under the age of 44 this share increased to 96 percent.”  This means that the first impression of your home will come from the photos used to advertise it online…they better be good great!

2. Quality photos = more showings.

“Listings with photos taken by professionals have about 61% more views than other homes…across ALL price tiers.”   – Market Watch, The Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2012

So, now you probably agree that quality images, taken by a professional photographer, will most likely equal more views online, more showing appointments, and most likely, a quicker sale.  But, what is “professional photography”?

1.  Professional photography = NO iPHONE PHOTOS!

Yes, the iPhones and iPods and Galaxy Whatsis take cool pictures.  Yes, I use mine for personal stuff when I don’t want to lug my pro camera around.  NO, they don’t take the quality photos needed to make your house shine online.  Period.  I bring my professional cameras (yes, plural), professional tripods, and professional lighting equipment with me to every. single.  home.  Just take a look at the difference my equipment makes in a couple of before and after shots, below:

2. Experience and Service

I’ve got the experience needed to photograph your home and to help REALTORS market your listing.  I’ve photographed over 100 properties for real estate agents, staging professionals and home owners in the last year alone.  That experience, coupled with my desire to help your listing get the attention it deserves online is what sets my service apart.  The Photography By K website, blog, Facebook,  Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube (OH!  Did I forget to mention that EVERY home photographed gets a personalized video slideshow, too???), and other social media sites all help to make sure that your listing shines and that you attract qualified buyers to view your home.  Also, I KNOW the work that is needed to sell a home in the Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan real estate market.  I worked for a locally-owned real estate broker for 5 years, and I’m familiar with real estate technology in today’s market, such as the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). { References available upon request. }

Convinced?  Great!  Come back tomorrow to find out how to prep your home for professional photography!

Miss the beginning?  Get caught up on the previous posts in this series here:
Preparing for…Couple Photo Sessions
Preparing for…Family Sessions
Preparing for…Baby’s 1st Birthday and Toddler Photo Sessions
Preparing for…Newborn Sessions
Preparing for…Series Launch!

You’re graduating?!  Yea!  Most high school seniors want some creative portraits in addition to their yearbook photo during their senior year, and I am here to deliver.  Sure, I can take your yearbook photo in my home studio*, but in order to really get creative, we’ll want to get outside!  This is why the most popular time to take senior photos is during the warmer months – over summer break before the start of the senior year.  Let’s discuss how to prepare for your session…no matter when it’s scheduled!

*Special note regarding yearbook photos: some schools require the yearbook shot to be taken by a particular, pre-determined photographer.  Typically, instructions will be distributed at the start of the school year; regardless, you won’t be required to take your creative portraits at any one studio, and I hope that you’ll consider Photography By K!

1. PEOPLE

First and foremost, high school senior sessions are typically all about the senior.  And, while that’s true, it’s also a wonderful time to take the opportunity to snap a few photos with some other loved ones.  Life is crazy…one day, you are taking photos of your kids every. single. day.  Then, it’s about once a month when you pull out the camera.  Then, it becomes just for special occasions.  When is the last time that you took a photo of your family?  When is the last time you were IN that photo?  My point-and I do have one-is that everyone should celebrate this great accomplishment and rite of passage.  Mom and Dad should hop in a photo or two.  Sisters, Brothers, Best Friends, Furry Best Friends (aka the dog/cat) are all welcome at the session!  Sure, the senior is the star, and we’ll probably only snap a few quick shots of the others.  But?  If you take the time to get everyone together, you certainly won’t regret it!

2. PLACES

I personally think having multiple locations for a graduating high school senior is awesome.  Some folks are okay with just one place, and that’s cool, too, but having a nice variety of backgrounds, colors, and textures, will make a really killer portfolio display for the graduation party!  Take, for example, the hockey dude above.  We met at the Toledo Ice House for a few shots both in the locker room and on the ice.  Then, we came to my home studio to get really creative with lighting (and to take care of the ever-important yearbook photo).  Finally, we ended up at Wildwood for some great shots on the boardwalk leading up to the covered bridge (not pictured here, sorry!).  The gal?  We headed to downtown Toledo and hit up about 5-6 different locations to get lots of colors and grungy details.  The only limit is the time…I’ll hit up as many different places as you’d like during your 2 hour session.  Get creative, and get outside!

3. PROPS

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with #2 above.  Your backdrop may determine your props.  However, I not only allow, but ENCOURAGE you to bring as much stuff and as many changes of clothes as you’d like.  Again, the only constraint is the 2 hour time limit for each session.  If you want to change twice or ten times…great!  If you want to wear a uniform or bring your instrument…go on with your bad self!  The bottom line is that I want to make sure that the senior’s personality is captured.  This is what makes everyone’s session unique.  No two seniors that book me will have the same photos!

4. POSES

I get a LOT of questions about posing.  How to…?  What should I do…?  Where does my hand go…?  You want me to what?!?  I take a very hands-off approach to posing.  Instead of instructing the seniors to copy a position, I’ll guide them into a pose by telling them to sit or stand or turn, etc. etc.  I take pride in making sure that you look the best in every photo.  Do I fall short sometimes?  SURE!  Everyone does; after all, we are human.  I love it when I take a photo too early/late and get a wacky expression (I promise to never post those on Facebook!)…those are the kind of perfect, happy accidents that help to relax everyone.  Posing is an art, not necessarily a science.  What works for one, doesn’t always work for all.  Not to worry…I have lots of tricks up my sleeve, and if a particular pose doesn’t work for your senior, I’ll guide him/her into the next!  Oh, and one more thing.  I promise…no danger at my sessions.  If your senior ASKS me to capture them doing something mildly dangerous (jumping, climbing, balancing), I’ll look to mom/dad first.  You make the call.  I will never, ever SUGGEST a dangerous pose.  And?  I’ve personally only fallen down on someone like…twice……Kidding! 🙂

So, you want to celebrate your relationship with a lovely photo of you with your love?  What a great idea!  Here are some tips to consider when preparing for your one-on-one…on-one (I’ll be there, too!) session.

…Yep, this is part of a series of posts on “Preparing for…” various photography sessions.  Miss the first few?  Catch up here:
Preparing for…Family Sessions
Preparing for…Baby’s 1st Birthday and Toddler Photo Sessions
Preparing for…Newborn Sessions
Preparing for…Series Launch!

1. LOCATION

Are you and your honey celebrating something special?  Use your photo session location to commemorate that event!  Perhaps you are high school or college sweethearts…photos at the alma mater might be nice.  Just having a night out on the town without the kiddos tagging along?  Downtown provides some snazzy backdrops.  Maybe you’ve just bought your first home…photos on your new street strolling hand-in-hand would fit the bill!  Or, take a cue from the couple above who renewed their wedding vows in Chicago…and get outta town!  I’ll happily meet you at the location of your choice!* (*Travel fees may apply, of course.)

2. EMOTION

We don’t have to be all smiles all the time during your session.  I want to capture the love you share…the ups and downs of a real relationship…the true nitty gritty emotional bond.  I may ask you to look at each other, steal a kiss or two, or simply gaze off into the distance.  I promise that these actions won’t result in cheesy poses, but rather a true portrait of how you are together, right here, right now.  This leads me into #3…

3. …STORY

During your session, I’ll probably be asking lots of questions and having you fill me in on lots of details.  How did you meet?  Was it love at first sight?  When did you realize that you were meant for each other/doomed to spend eternity together?  Ok, so that last one isn’t a real question.  As far as you know! 😉  The point is, I’m going to talk to you throughout the session.  Relax.  Sink into your story.  Doing this and playing along will result in a very honest portrayal of your relationship.

4. TIME

Many people who contact me to update their portrait with a significant other make the assumption that the session will be shorter than a full family session because after all, “it’s just the two of us”.  Wrong!  I give you the same amount of time and attention to detail as I would a whole gaggle of folks.  I want you to have options when proofing your photos.  By looking at the sample above, you’ll see that I had them in two very distinct settings (and there were more…these are just the two I’m showing you here).  The first (on the left) shows them at Navy Pier.  We did some fun shots and some serious shots.  Some with the Navy Pier backdrop and some with the Chicago city skyline behind them.  Then, we went to a neutral location (on the right).  This series shows a progression of various emotions as we were sharing “happy!”, “sad!”, “surprised!” etc.  We did other poses here, too, of course.  My point?  We’ll walk together.  We’ll talk together.  We’ll play and have a little fun together.  And yes.  The session will still last about an hour to an hour and a half together. 🙂

Today, we’re going to keep the ball rolling on the Preparing for… series and tackle the most common questions I receive from families who have scheduled photo sessions.

Just a note, you can catch up with the previous posts in this series here:
Preparing for…Baby’s 1st Birthday and Toddler Photo Sessions
Preparing for…Newborn Sessions
Preparing for…Series Launch!

1. MATCHING

Don’t.  Just kidding!  Kind of.  I hear a LOT of questions about what to wear.  It’s probably #1 on the list of the most stressful decisions leading up to a photo session.  It’s worse than packing for a vacation without access to the weather forecast; you just get to pick ONE outfit for EVERYONE, and then hope  pray that the kids don’t get messy before the snapping begins.  The advice I always give is be comfortable and be yourself.  Wear what you feel comfortable in.  If the kids just won’t put on jeans, then dress them in leggings or khakis.  If dad never wears a button down shirt, please don’t force him into one for a portrait.  The more comfortable you are in your clothing, the more relaxed you will look in your photos.  Relaxed expressions = natural smiles!  Oh, about the matchy-matchy thing?  I recommend staying away from the “white shirt and jeans” phenomenon.  It’s just not natural.  Check out the family above.  Everyone in a different color, but it’s summer, and it works!

Think about where you are going to be displaying your photos when deciding on clothing choices.  If you want a photo to display on the mantel in your family room, but your family room doesn’t contain neon green…I’d recommend NOT wearing neon green on the day of your session.  🙂

Also, remember this one tip: The person in the lightest/brightest color will stand out.  Perfect…if that’s what you’re going for.  Just keep that in mind when putting together a pastel color scheme but your sister wants to wear royal blue because it brings out her eyes.  She’ll be the star in every picture!  Probably not what you are going for…

2. THEMES

This is a great one for the family that wants to have annual pictures taken for the scrapbook.  Try out different places, spaces, and even props for your session.  Maybe you’d like to commemorate a new home by having your session in your front yard and on your front porch.  Perhaps a son/daughter just got the acceptance letter from UT or BGSU (the campuses both make great backdrops).  What’s going on in your life right now?  We’ll come up with a perfect way to celebrate it and create a lasting memory!

3. SCHEDULE

Sammy has football practice at 4:00, dad doesn’t get home from work until 5:00, Sally goes to dance class at 6:00…ugh!  Working around everyone’s schedule (and still finding time to eat) can definitely be a challenge!  Don’t worry too much.  Call me.  We’ll chat.  I will find a way to schedule your session so that everyone can participate.  Maybe it’s a Saturday morning.  Perhaps a Sunday evening before the week begins.  That one Monday next month that the kids are off school and you’ll plan to take a 1/2 day at work?  Call me!  We’ll chat!  **I do tend to book approximately 4-6 weeks in advance in the fall season and 2-3 weeks in advance the rest of the year, so the earlier you call, the more flexible I can be to meet your scheduling needs.**

4. RELAX

Have fun!  Don’t take the session too seriously!  We’ll get the shots.  I promise.  Every now and again there are circumstances out of all of our control that don’t allow a full session.  Sometimes, it starts to rain.  Sometimes, kids just want nothing to do with it.  Don’t worry.  We’ll schedule a follow-up and we’ll get the shots.  The big thing to remember?  Smile.  Have fun.  Enjoy the dedicated hour with your family.  I’ll capture your memories along the way!

Yesterday, you read about preparing for a newborn photo session.  Today, we’ll keep moving forward and discuss how to prepare for your little one’s first birthday photo session.  I’m also going to throw in some tips for toddlers, as well, because I’m good like that! 😉


Ok, so the first birthday.  It’s an exciting time for everyone…there are parties to plan and lots and lots of memories to capture.  Here are some things to consider when preparing for the photo session:


1. Clothing

It can be nice to prepare a favorite outfit, mixed with a special new birthday choice.  The goal of this session is to remember everything about your child at this very moment. If she’s a she, but hates dresses and frills, then by all means, bring her in pants! We want to catch the smiles, and the best way to do that is by making your little one as comfortable as possible.  Also, think about a diaper cover (if you are going to try to capture any photos sans clothing). Designs on diapers, especially larger sizes, can be very distracting.

2. Snacks

Yes, snacks are important.  Make sure to bring some favorites like rice puffs or Cheerios to keep your baby happy between takes.  Also, a cake or a cupcake sometimes makes a great focal point for the birthday girl/boy.  I love the cake “smash” trend, and I am happy to accommodate!  Snacks also work well for toddlers.  I promise, even the most stubborn two year old will smile for fruit roll-ups…sometimes the mantra of the day becomes “I won’t bribe my children……..after today!”

3. Props & Toys

Feel free to bring “stuff” along for the ride!  A favorite toy or blanket.  The family dog.  Hats, bows, ties, jewelry, etc., etc.  Sure, I can provide lots of choices of backgrounds in my studio, and I have some chairs and stools and fun “stuff” to add…but you’ll want your photos to contain personal memories.  Some of the best images are created because they mean something to you personally.  Let your little one’s personality shine!

4. You

I get asked for the “kids only, ma’am” session all. the. time.  I totally get it.  I sometimes hate jumping in front of the camera myself.  But?  When your one-year-old becomes your eighteen-year-old, he/she will want to see the memories of YOU, too.  And guess what?  Your son/daughter WILL NOT CARE that you didn’t have your roots done/lost 10 more pounds/bought new clothes/had your glasses on/[insert more excuses here] in those pictures….not one bit!  Come prepared to jump in a photo or two; you’ll be glad that you did!  

This first post in the “Preparing for…” series starts at the beginning.  Brand new babies!  I love ’em.  You love ’em.  Ok, who doesn’t love babies???

Preparing for a newborn session can be quite daunting, so here is a brief list of how to prepare so that you will have a successful photography session with your little one!

1. SCHEDULE  

It is very important to capture baby in the first two weeks of life.  This ensures that baby will be all curlysnugglysquishy – a technical term in the photography world, I promise! – and able to be posed.  This means that you will need to call me approximately 1 month before your due date.  Yes, I said before.  Now, I know that the due date is not one set in stone.  The little one may grace us with his/her presence long before and sometimes after that date.  However, in order for me to properly prepare, I need to block out some time on my calendar for you…and then you’ll need to stay in touch with me. 🙂

2. SLEEP  

Once the bundle arrives, baby sets a schedule.  We will want baby to be asleep for the majority of the photography session – which lasts anywhere from 1-3 hours.  That means that we’ll need to schedule the session right after a nice full meal, and you’ll want to keep baby awake for the hour or so before that meal so that we achieve a deep slumber.

3. COMFORT

On the day of the session, you’ll want baby to be nekkid…sans clothing…in the birthday suit…for a couple of hours prior to your session start time.  This helps eliminate sock lines on ankles, and sleepy crease marks from cheeks.  Also, plan to bring plenty of outfit changes (this is optional of course, and I do have some accessories like headbands, hats, bows and blankets that you can use during the session) and plenty of diapers, bottles, and blankets.  Oh, and one more thing.  Mom, dad, and anyone else along for the ride should dress in layers.  I’ll have the studio heated up considerably to keep baby happy and calm, but it gets a bit toasty for the rest of us!

4. PATIENCE

Yes, I schedule newborn photo sessions for a 3 hour block on my calendar.  No, not all newborn sessions last 3 hours, but baby is in charge here!  We are at his/her mercy, and we break, eat, potty, you name it, on baby’s schedule.  If baby needs to eat, we stop and eat.  If baby wants to snuggle, we take a snuggle break (the best kind!).  Etc.  And?  If baby is having a bad day?  We reschedule and come back for attempt #2.  I will have uber patience for you and your baby on the day of your session…I just ask that you come prepared for the same.

That about sums it up.  Anything on your mind that I didn’t cover here?  Shout out all questions in the comments below and I’ll get them answered right away!

A question that I get asked ALL. THE. TIME. starts out like this “What should I…….on the day of my session?”  There are a multitude of ways to fill in those blank dots.  Think “wear”, “bring”, “schedule”. The list gets quite extensive when you think about all of the different types of photography sessions that I offer.  So.  I’ve been thinking about the best way to answer all of these questions, and what a better way to compile and save ideas than right here on this blog!

I’m going to be answering these questions for newborns, toddlers/children, siblings, high school seniors, families, couples, pets, formal and informal headshots and even real estate listings over the next few days.

Get ready.  The “Preparing for…” series is coming soon! 🙂

  

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