Though the nights are (finally) getting lighter, the early sunsets make the start of the year ideal for dusk photography. The low winter light creates a beautifully ethereal quality and the pre-5pm sunset means convenient shooting times for both clients and photographers.
With so many properties on the market and professional photography now commonplace, it’s a job to make listings stand out – this is the perfect example of when dusk and night photography can be beneficial.
We asked some of our photography experts in the office to answer some questions about this service: Tom Hancock, our Head of Creative, and John Williams, our Head of Photography.
Why should people choose night/dusk photography?
TH: Night photography is great because it shows the property in an alternative light. The average quality of property marketing is continually increasing across the industry so clients must find new and creative ways to differentiate their photography, particularly for special properties where there is a great deal of competition for the initial instruction.
JW: Let’s not forget that we live in the UK and let’s face it, most of us get home in the dark for half the year! Plus, some properties look great in the dark; if they’re located somewhere without light pollution for example, they can look really striking.
What makes a house suitable for night photography?
TH: Arguably any property is suitable for night or dusk shots, however it’s particularly effective for properties with lots of windows or glass, custom external lighting or even a special setting. Who doesn’t love a sunset?!
JW: We predominantly do externals for dusk photography, but some properties work for internals too if they have amazing views, special lighting or perhaps if the décor lends itself to entertainment and nightlife is a key selling point for the desired applicant demographic. We’ve taken some great dusk shots of London properties with roof terraces – the lights of surrounding buildings look fantastic against a clear night sky.
What preparations do agents or owners need to take for dusk photography to be successful?
JW: All lights on please – and we mean all of them! Inside and out it’s important to declutter as much as possible – less is more definitely more. Externally, move cars, wheelie bins, remove any furniture that might block the view (unless it’s particularly stylish!) and BBQ covers. Think about small things too: no wonky pots or badly stashed hosepipes. Inside, it’s nice to light fires: real flames look great crackling away in the grate and even a wood-burning stove can give off a nice glow – but the glass does have to be clean! If there are French windows or bi-fold doors, get them nice and wide open.
TH: There is a small window of opportunity to get the perfect light, so preparation is key. We usually ask agents or owners for a short brief, so we know what they’re expecting: externals only, internals only, perhaps both? The owner will know the best angles, so it’s good to get their input too. They will know the best place from which to view a sunset, or the view from the sink when you’re washing up.
Why is this time of year ideal for dusk/night photography?
JW: Autumn, winter and early spring are ideal due to the shorter days, meaning earlier appointment times and better availability. During the summer dusk photography sometimes has to take place at 11pm to get the right light, which isn’t always convenient for vendors, agents or our photographers.
What happens during a dusk/night photography appointment?
TH: The photographer will get in contact with either the agent or vendor to obtain a brief so they can be sure of what’s required. Because of the small time window to get the right light, it’s best to be specific about the kind of angles desired or at least what we should be trying to achieve or highlight from the dusk photography.
JW: The appointment itself is quite efficient. The photographer will arrive with gloves and hat at the ready – it can be very chilly. Our photographers are quite self-sufficient: they’ll quickly look at the property and work out the best angles and set up ready for the optimum time. They will then shoot away – the ideal point is when the exposure means the internal lights are visible from the property but it’s still light enough to view detail in the shadows. The photographer normally knows the property as they tend to have been for the daytime shoot previously.
How do we shoot and edit to make the photos look so good?
TH: The basics of night photography are actually sometimes easier than daytime property shots, but people seem to get a little scared by the low light. Without giving away our secrets, the challenge is to allow the property to naturally stand out in the moodier and more atmospheric lighting state. There are a number of potential outputs from post-production editing, from a dusky sky to simulating a darker time of night which is particularly effective if there is garden or property lighting. See the video below which shows a comparison.
For more information on dusk photography, get in touch with us using the contact form below, or just give us a call.