Many of my clients want to use their own home for their branding photo-shoot to create authentic images, but the thought of putting their home on display can bring about very natural fears and worries. Today I want to share with you 5 easy top tips to help your home look its best for a photo-shoot and to put your mind at rest.
1. Don’t try to do it all
Speak with your photographer in advance to work out which spaces might be used in the shoot and concentrate your energy in those areas. I always ask my clients for photos of particular spaces they might like to use, or we might arrange a Zoom tour to get a better sense of the space and how it might work. If you know you’ll only be using two or three rooms, that means you can eliminate everything else - WIN!
2. Clean and declutter (especially surfaces - desks, tables, worktops and counters)
LA-based interiors photographer Laure Joliet once said, “Don’t be afraid to strip down 70% of what normally lives on any surface,” yes, really! Clear away knickknacks from the windowsills, coffee table, piano top, bookshelves and other surfaces. Stray items can be put in a box out of the way if only for the duration of the shoot! When it comes to desk setups, remove as many wires as possible (while still having enough for your tech to work!) and if possible, remove any additional tech like printers and scanners etc. to keep your desk space as clear as possible. Move the pet’s bed out of the corner of the room. In the kitchen, remove sponges, paper towels, cleaning products, shopping lists from the fridge door, and most small appliances to keep your worktops clear and minimise distractions - this photo-shoot is about you, not your NutriBullet! Then dust, wipe, vacuum, plump and spruce cushions!
3. Dead-head any plants that might be in shot
I adore having flowers and greenery in a photo-shoot - they add colour, life and a sense of freshness to the images. Make sure to remove any dead flowers or leaves before the shoot, and if a plant is particularly sad it’s probably best to move it out altogether. These little touches make a big difference!
4. Open blinds / curtains, and switch off artificial lights
Light makes all the difference to any shoot, and natural, available light always looks best and is the most flattering (and often the most interesting too!). Open curtains and blinds, if you have Venetian style blinds, pull them up as opposed to just opening the slats in order to maximise the light that comes in. It’s always best to start off with too much light and shape it from there than not enough. Switch off ceiling lights and desk lamps as far as possible as they can cast shadows and strange colour casts unless they’re being used for a particular effect.
5. Curate your space
Lastly, it’s time to curate your space. My top tip with this is to only have items on display you’re happy to be in shot. This particularly applies to family photos and other sentimental items. Are you happy for people to see these? If in doubt, remember Jasmine Star’s “stranger on an aeroplane” rule - if you’re not happy for a stranger on an aeroplane to know about it, don’t have it in your shoot - you need to feel comfortable about what’s on show. When it comes to styling your space, instead of having lots of trinkets and knickknacks on a surface, have one bold vase, vessel or large plant, or a trio of smaller objects that read as one whole. Group items together to create a secondary focal point as opposed to having lots of scattered objects distracting your eye. This adds interest and personality and makes a place look lived in while still feeling calm and serene.
So there you have it, 5 top tips to perfectly prepare your home ready for your next personal branding photo-shoot. Work with your photographer, discuss with them what to move / remove, and whether they think something might enhance or detract. Keep that conversation open and be prepared to move things around to make use of the best light or angle. Using your own home in a shoot is a lovely way to let your community get to know you, and remember, it’s never your whole home on show!
I’d love to know how this helps you, let me know on Instagram so we can keep the conversation going.