Daily Archives: June 17, 2009

The Shortest day in Real Estate Photography

…..is actually coming this weekend on Sunday June 21st.

What happens on the shortest day of the year in New Zealand?

Well in the week before we have sunsets like tonights one pictured above. (larger shot here)

But what else? Well….

1.       The sun shines almost directly from the west (as you can see from above photo)

2.       The sun is lower at an earlier time of the afternoon, well all day actually (higher-res shot here) This photo above simply would not be possible in Spring & Summer, the sun would be higher and the photo would contain heaps more shadow.

3.       A home stands out more because of a lack, usually, of surrounding winter garden/shrub/plant foliage…you can imagine how much of the house you would see in summer with the leaves filling out the trees. (higher-res shot here) and casting longer shadows under the eaves.

Another thing about winter light is, generally speaking, the lack of haze, and the crisper, brighter daylight, well that’s what I reckon anyway.

So if you are thinking of moving in the next few years get that digital camera out this next week and start snapping off shots of your home.


–          to highlight that it is a sunny room, the late afternoon sun flowing over polished wooden floors does come up well in photos

–          to illustrate the sun does indeed reach all the way into the lounge or dining room area (higher res shot here)

–          to illustrate the sun flowing across a bed (higher-res shot here) in a room that doesn’t get as much direct sun at the other end of the year, this also has the side benefit of showing that the sun definitely enters this bedroom when you, arguably, need it most, in winter


–          to display the western / northwestern side of the home without shadows (easier to photography because there won’t be as many different zones between black / shadow and white / highlight

–          as mentioned above a great time to photograph from a place that will be covered up by spring leaves or summer growth in the garden. This is the time where you can take that long range shot and see most of the home, especially to show where the sun hits, because with all the growth on the trees, come Summer you may only be able to photograph 70% of the exterior, and as the sun will be higher there will be shadows under the eaves, etc

–          in Nelson many homes face to the north / north west, so this is also a great time to get out in your backyard or frontyard and take some oblique / side angle sort of shots that will be practically impossible to duplicate in spring/summer (from a brightness/light angle point of view) (higher-res shot here)

–          depending on your property/location, it might be the only time of year to photograph so that tall trees, nearby buildings, street/advertising signs or power poles / power lines don’t cast distracting shadows over the prime purpose/subject of the shot, the house itself.

In the above photo there is a shadow of the tree cast over the end bedroom, but for an inside shot you would see that sunshine falling across the bed, not something that you would be able to replicate in summer.

There’s many more things you may “just notice” that you hadn’t before because you are thinking outside the square and taking photos at what would not be deemed the “right” time of year.

Conventional wisdom says you have to show the flowers in bloom in spring, etc but many shots taken at this time of year (late December for our friends in the Northern Hemisphere) have a more “emotive” feel to them I feel.

Look at a photo of strong low setting afternoon sun streaming in through a large window and reflecting off polished wooden floors and tell me you don’t feel “warmth” written over that photo.

And in case you aren’t up to it, drop me a line or ph/txt and I’ll pop out and take some shots that I can email back to you and you can store on file for when you need them. While I’m there I can point out what things that can be done to the property that would add “value” in the eyes of a buyer, and conversely also point out those things that are better left “to the new buyer to place their stamp on the property with.”