Property Owners: Location Scout Location Photography Tips and Best Practices
Some Hands-on Tips for Photographing Your Property for Location Scouting:
- Use a digital camera, set it on the highest ISO setting you can use for getting clear photos.
- Use 16:1 (hdtv) setting if available.
- Photo size: 1080 x 1920 is perfect.
- Turn the flash OFF. Please only shoot during the day.
- Please ONLY shoot “horizonals”
- Shoot at eye level
- Hold the camera very still – support it / yourself against a door jamb or use a tripod if needed.
- OUTSIDE: Start outside at the street, looking at the house / building. Go across the street if you need to get the entire house / building in the photo.
- Going left to right, photograph the street looking down it, then pan, one photo at a time, showing the yard and the house till you have photographed the house, yard and the street looking both ways. This should take 3-5 shots.
- Go in a little closer and photograph the front porch / door / entry straight on then in two shots from each side – like you were following a person going into the house / building.
- Shoot reverse left to right looking from the house / building – out – from @ the house to the street and yard.
- Go all around the house shooting the side yards.
- Shoot the back of the house / building like the front.
- Be sure and shoot any decks, porches, pools other interesting features.
- INSIDE: Start @ the front door – especially inside it is important to lead the viewer thru the house – like a real estate tour.
- Shoot the front door / foyer from the sides – again imagine someone going thru the doorway and let the camera follow them from the side doing it – a Director / Director of Photography will almost never shoot the back of someone’s head!
- Shot the main rooms – either stand in a corner or in center of room; going L / R pan across the room in 3 shots. If bright windows turn the inside of the room dark try moving the camera around a little so this effect is minimized. Turn on the flash if needed – altho it might not help in a big room.
- Then do the reverse.
- Go thru the entire house but dont obsess on tiny areas – we don’t need to see every single end table or chotchke up close. But please be sure and shoot the basement, attic and inside garage if they are accessible.
- Again, always please shoot @ eyelevel and try to avoid using the flash – shoot during the day unless specially specifically requested to shoot at night. Please NEVER write on or imposes text on a photo.
Distribute Your Photos
It’s good to know how to post location photographs to a website for many reasons. A lot of people go about this task of sending location scouts photos using email and attaching the images, but there are a few reasons this IS NOT a always a good idea – and there are alternatives!
Consider this: You have a dozen pictures (of anything) that you need to have someone see. Depending on the resolution of the pictures, you could spend HOURS emailing these pictures.
- If you get ONE letter or number or other character in the recipient(s) email address wrong YOU GOTTA START OVER
- If your ISP limits the message size & you go over YOU GOTTA START OVER
- If you need for someone (else) to see the pics later on then YOU HAVE TO SEND THEM AGAIN
- If you forgot to cc: someone YOU HAVE TO SEND THEM AGAIN
- If you left out a picture you have to figure out which one it was and email everybody again.
Doesn’t it make a lot of sense to only have to go thru these hassles only once?
FIRST THINGS FIRST- WEB BASICS
A basic understanding of how the internet (www or world wide web) works is needed. For instance, what happens when you look at a web page is that your computer (browser/client) sends a request over an electronic network (the web) to another computer (server) asking it to let you look at some files. (The computers have to understand each other but that’s a story for another day…) The area on the other computer (on the network) where the files are stored is known as a URL (Uniform Resource Locator). The spot that you are “calling” from is known as your IP address (Internet Protocol address). Provided everything goes well, you are sent the content that you requested and you will see a web page (text and/or pictures, etc.) That’s all the web is: FILES ON COMPUTERS! Proper software and hardware on your end makes VIEWING these files possible.
So the next question is: “How do I share files“?
Answer: Several ways, to start.
Since you are probably new to this you may want to try one of the many “free web space” services available. Several popular ones are: Geocities ( Geocities ), Tripod ( www.tripod.com ), I’m not going to go into detail about using these services, if you go their site(s) plenty of info is available. One way or another the files you wish to display are UPLOADED to a server (More about this later)
- NOTE: The reason these services are free is because you almost always have to display some advertising on your web pages for them. Often you can pay a fee and forego this duty.
- ANOTHER NOTE: You probably use an ISP (Internet Service Provider) to “get on the web”, like AOL, Earthlink, Concentric, RCN using a DIAL UP CONNECTION or maybe you have a DSL or ISDN, CABLE MODEM or SATELLITE connection, or maybe you are affiliated with a learning institute or have a a job with a company that is “wired” and they provide you with access to the web. Anyway the point is, if you have an ISP that you pay for, you often get web space to use as part of the service.
You can also get your own DOMAIN. This has a certain amount of appeal because you it’s YOUR domain, and its often easier for people to identify you, which can be a huge boon, especially if you are in business. (i.e. www.nyc.locationscout.us is MUCH easier to remember than www.tripod.com/rrhobbs or www.geocities.com/broadway/6247/ (these were real url’s at one time, however they have not been updated for some time) Getting your own domain involves checking availabilty of whatever domain name “dotcom, net, org” you have in mind, (i.e. nyc.locationscout.us), and registering the domain with the INTERNIC. The INTERNIC is: “US Department of Commerce regulated organization provides public information regarding Internet domain-name registration services.” See the INTERNIC site for all the details ( www.internic.net )
Once you have your own DOMAIN alas, you still need a HOST (a server to use). Often your present ISP offers WEB HOSTING SERVICES, and there are many companies who do nothing but web hosting. www.ispcheck.com is a good starting point for finding a web hosting service. Your web host can assist you in registering your domain, too.
GETTING YOUR FILES ONLINE- REALLY
If you get your own domain and web host, most likely the way you will be getting your files on the server is to FTP (FILE TRANSFER PROTOCOL) them to the server. Your webhost will most likely have plenty of details about this (the parameters,settings and password needed by your FTP PROGRAM (your webhost will probably have some suggestions, a couple I know of are FileZilla and Cute FTP. There are Mac OS ftp programs (clients).
A user friendly way to present your pictures is to use THUMBNAILS. Free / Shareware programs I have used are IrfanView and Thumbnailer. These graphics programs will not only create thumbnails, they can automatically generate html web pages, saving a LOT of time and headaches.
NOTE:Unfortunately, (at this writing) IrfanView and Thumbnailer are only natively available for Windows, but there are plenty of free / shareware Apple Macintosh graphics programs around and you can also make thumbnails in Photoshop, a professional level photographics program by Adobe Software.
This is not, nor is it intended to be, a be-all / end-all for web publishing. In that vein, please don’t email me with questions about any of this unless I specifically requested you do so. Use your ingenuity and search for more info about stuff you dont understand or would like to know more about on the web. There’s A BUNCH of stuff! Good luck!
Legal Mumbo-Jumbo: The reader uses information obtained via this document at his/her own risk. The author is in no way responsible for damges incurred in any way from use of any information contained in this document.
Are you considering making your property available as a location for film, photo or video shoots? Very necessary information that you need to know is below!
Sooke (British Columbia, Canada) Film Society: How to Shoot a Photo File to International Film Commission Standards:
The Film Industry expects location information in the standard location file format shown in the file assembly guide.
*Film: ASA 400 – Location photofiles must show all aspects of the recommended location. They are not “postcards” showing only pretty views or distinctive features.
Location Scout / Location Manager R. Richard Hobbs’ Quick Tips for Photographing Your Film / Video Photo Location for Presentation to a Location Scout or Film Commission
These are some of the most important considerations:
- Try to photograph with light striking your back as you face your house or into your room(s).
- Do >not
- Do turn on lights in the room and let skylight in thru windows.
- Photograph during daylight hours if there are windows in the room. Light at the beginning or end of day as the light levels inside more closely match the light levels outdoors is especially good in many cases, as long as the sun is not blasting thru the windows right into your lens.
- Use a tripod or monopod if possible, especially photographing rooms. Rooms can be dark and the pictures blurry if you don’t use a tripod. An inexpensive one can be had at most discount department stores.
- Stepping back is better when photographing rooms. It is better to see what the room looks like overall. If you can’t fit the whole room in the picture from side to side, shoot several pictures. It is ok if the coverage overlaps a little.
- Good luck! Have fun! 🙂
Location Scout 101: Photographing in Low Light
Backpacker Magazine – June 2008 | Start Smart: Shoot Low-Light Photos | Master dawn and dusk photographs with these pro tips. | by: Berne Broudy
WAKE UP EARLY OR SCOUT A LOCATION before dark if you want to take memorable shots, says pro photographer Seth Resnick. “At sunrise and sunset, rays of soft, low-angle light paint the sky and the ground with brilliant colors.” But that’s also when most consumer cameras struggle to produce a good shot. Fog and heavy foliage can also scramble your camera’s light sensor, even if your eyes don’t perceive the darkness. Here’s how to overcome three photo pitfalls when the light is only half there.
Property owners (and location-scouts, too) if you have been trying to figure out the key to making those photos of your locations come to life, you have just found it. It can be summarized in two phrases:
- Use a tripod, or at very least, a monopod
- Turn OFF the flash (or better yet, use an automatic flash exposure mode that does not rely completely on the output of the flash to determine exposure, but rather bases exposure on a combination of light factors)