Photographing a home or a business is an involved and detailed process. Getting the composition just right as well as making sure the technical aspects of the camera are correct are just a couple of things I make sure I tend to for each shot I take. Since it is usually my first time viewing the property, I don’t often notice something that may seem out of place to the home owner. This is why staging the home is crucial prior to my arrival. I can’t stress enough the importance of having the home ready for photography before I arrive to do my work.
I have been relaxed in my standard policy of edits and re-shoots lately and I’m going to start to stand firm on that policy from here on out. I wanted to take some time to outline that policy here.
I typically spend 2 or more hours on each set of photos I take to process them so they look great when I deliver them to my clients. I do standard edits such as exposure compensation, brightness/contrast, color balance and saturation just to name a few. There are times where I use Photoshop to clone out certain things (such as the camera reflection in mirrors or windows or a bird flying into view of an exterior shot). I consider those edits to be “my fault” as often times I cannot get the proper shot without my camera positioned in the reflection of a mirror or having forces of nature interfering with my setup. Those edits are part of the photo package that my clients purchase.
When it comes to staging edits however, I consider those to be the responsibility of the home owner/Real Estate Agent/client. As I mentioned earlier, the property should be ready for me to photograph when I arrive. If I shoot a room and there is something there that shouldn’t be, I can likely remove it in Photoshop after the shoot, but those services are considered “extras” and will be billed accordingly. Moving items around from room to room while I shoot is not recommended as I typically shoot very wide angles and you would be able to see into other rooms of the house in most of my shots. The bottom line is to make sure anything you don’t want to see in any photo is placed in a closet, basement, garage, etc.
Sometimes re-shoots may be necessary due to inaccurate settings in the camera or focusing issues from the lens. I tend to ensure the shots I get at the property are properly taken and technically accurate before I leave so that I don’t have to return. However, any re-shoots due to technical (camera/photographer) problems are done without extra charge to the client.
When a client asks to have re-shoots done due to staging problems they will be billed at a reduced rate (unless the entire shoot is requested to be re-done at which point it will be considered a new separate photo shoot and will be billed as such). Re-shoots will likely be more costly than Photoshop edits, but sometimes Photoshop cannot be used to make the requested edits, so re-shoots may be necessary even for only 1 or 2 photos.
To sum up… please take the time to make sure the property is staged properly before the photographer arrives. Otherwise you will likely end up paying for editing time and re-shoots for any staging discrepancies you find after the final images are delivered.