Put your home in an album to treasure forever
Home is the where the heart is, so why not put it in the family album for posterity? Sharon Dale reports on a new style of property photography.
SOME of the happiest times of our lives can be relived through photographs, which is why holidays, weddings and anniversaries are all captured by camera.
But when it comes to homes we have lived in, loved and lost, all most of us have are some hazy, unreliable memories and perhaps an estate agent’s brochure aimed at selling the place rather than reflecting what we really loved about it.
A long shot of the sitting room to show its generous size isn’t the same as a vignette of your favourite chair by the window or a close up of the built-in bookshelves your father made for you.
Harrogate-based photographer Jude Palmer realised the difference between pictures that might help sell a property and those that could spark meaningful reminiscence when she was asked to photograph her friend, Beverley Whatmore’s home.
“She was selling the house and although I’m not a property photographer, she knew she would get a different perspective from me,” says Jude, whose work includes projects documenting homelessness and dementia.
“We started by sitting down and talking about what the house meant to her and then we walked round it together and it became clear what needed recording.”
Beverley says: “I asked Jude to photograph the house but not in the usual estate agent way. I wanted her to make it more personal. She perfectly captured our life in our beautiful home, enabling us to always treasure the happy memories that we have made there.”
Among the general exterior and interior shots, taken in a combination of colour and black and white, is a ballerina sculpture Beverley had made for the garden.
“The statue was of her daughter and so I took it looking back to the house and I over-exposed it deliberately to make it more evocative. The statue meant a lot to her but she was having to leave it behind, so capturing it in the right way and conveying some emotion was important. I also took pictures of some beautiful beads hanging from a window, her little dog curled up in a slipper in its favourite place in the kitchen and the photographs on the piano in the hallway,” says Jude
The house sold and all the pictures were printed and placed in an album for posterity.
The successful commission gave Jude the idea for a new style of property photography that blends images suitable for sales brochures and portals along with pictures that prompt nostalgia.
“The idea is that the estate agent can use some of the photographs for the brochure while the owner also gets a more comprehensive picture of what the home meant to them,” says Jude, whose prices start from £495 for 15 of her “Living Images”.
“My main motivation is to collect memories via the camera, so that when people leave or sell or renovate they have them there forever. It’s the emotional parts like the children’s height chart on the door frame or the antique rose planted for an anniversary.
“We make so many memories in our homes, some good and some bad, but to have them captured in an album to show future generations of your family is priceless.”
She also hopes that some of the more homely shots will help sell the property to would-be buyers who hanker after a similar lifestyle.
“I think the sort of pictures I take will make buyers see a house as a home. They’ll help them imagine a life there. If there’s a desk with a beautiful view or some food being cooked on the Aga then why not put those in the brochure? They are much more provocative than a straight room shot.”
She adds: “I think it helped with Beverley’s house, which was modern and quite minimal. It looked clinical on some photographs and so it was important to get across that it was a lovely, lived-in family home.
“Property photography need not be the usual formatted package of front and back elevations, interiors and floor plans; there is more life in a home than that and what I do shows that.”
For more details visit www. judemediaagency.com Brochure Photography Tips Pictures sell properties and so it’s well worthwhile paying a professional to take photographs. Agents who sell top-end properties always offer this service.
Make sure your home is photogenic. That means styling each room to make sure it is clear of clutter.
Have fun browsing property portals like Rightmove to find examples of how not to do it. You will find pictures of bathrooms with loo rolls piled on top of the toilet, bottles of Vosene by the bath and numerous toiletries crowding the windowsill. It doesn’t take much effort to move them. Ditto, washing up left in the kitchen sink, clothes dumped on the bedroom chair and unmade beds.
If you’re on Twitter then check out one of our favourite tweeters @badpropertypics.
Sharon Dale is on Twitter@ Propertywords.
BEST OF ALL WORLDS: Mill House is a characterful country home that is perfect for families and is also close to the A1. It is situated on the edge of a vibrant village, Topcliffe near Thirsk in North Yorkshire. The village has lots of facilities including a doctor’s surgery and a school.
PERSONAL HISTORY: The ballerina statue that Beverley was sad to leave behind when she sold her house, as it was based on her daughter.