Picture Perfect: North Country real estate photography, videography business owners talk tips for making your home look as good as possible on camera | Best Stories

As the world of real estate sales moves increasingly online, it’s easier than ever for sellers to showcase homes and potential buyers to easily view them wherever they are at the time, how a seller or real estate agent ensure that the house is shown to its full potential?

Jared J. Hackbarth and Jason B. Maurer, owners of Jared Hackbarth photography and VideoWorx, two northern country men involved in the world of real estate photography and video, share their tips for making homes as inviting and move-in ready. be sold as possible, gathered from years of experience in the industry.

Mr. Hackbarth has been photographing since he was a child, playing with the viewfinder of his father’s camera. Fast forward to 2011, he said he was lucky enough to afford his own digital camera and, on the recommendation of a friend, got a call from a real estate agent looking for someone to take pictures of a house. He had never done this before, but he was up for the challenge and had always been interested in architecture as a hobby. After photographing the house and delivering the photos, he said the client was very happy and lined him up for a few more shots that week. Before he knew it, he had started his own business in the field of architectural and interior photography.

“Real estate photography is just part of what I do as an architectural and interiors photographer,” he said. “I also shoot for builders, designers, Air BnB/VRBO clients, etc. As far as the company name goes, I stick with my name. I like to think I look meticulous and creative in my images that makes them instantly recognizable as my work.Neither better nor worse, just different.

Mr Hackbarth said that as cliché as it sounds, he sticks to the motto ‘less is more’ when it comes to preparing a space to photograph. He said if you’re thinking ‘should I delete this ____?’ then your brain already thinks you should. If an element doesn’t add to a scene, it gets distracted from it, and our brains are so good at pointing out what’s wrong with an image, it’s best to just remove the element.

Contrary to popular belief, Hackbarth said cloudy, overcast days are the best days to shoot interiors because the clouds act like a big softbox, casting a nice soft light that makes scenes look calm and calm. inviting.

“I personally like small spaces, around 1,000 square feet or so,” he said. “I love seeing the innovation and creativity employed by architects and it challenges me to bring my creativity to the table to find the best way to capture the space.”

While he doesn’t personally stage spaces, depending on the assignment, he can spend up to an hour moving furniture around to get them in camera, but that’s usually reserved for high-end projects of a whole day. In real estate photography in particular, he said photographers don’t really have time to move things around because they usually have several houses to photograph in a day and only stay on location for about an hour. Typically, homes are either occupied, professionally staged, or vacant.

Mr Hackbarth said he likes to create vignettes when working, small scenes in which the viewer can imagine themselves, either sitting by a fireplace enjoying a cup of coffee or simply washing the dishes in looking out the window to the backyard. These moments in time are what he likes to create the most. He said he still remembered the moment he walked through the door of a house known as “Castle Bluff” in Henderson Harbor. He said the driveway and walkway were unassuming and blocked the view behind, but once the front door opened and he approached a railing overlooking a huge wall of Floor to ceiling windows that showed the view of the water, he was impressed. and I knew right away that it would be a fun project.

Mr Hackbarth said some of the best practices for customers to remember before filming include opening curtains, hiding fridge magnets, toothbrushes and pet bowls, and especially lowering the toilet seat.

“Turn off all the lights and let natural light into the house,” he said. “Bulbs come in all different color temperatures and can create ugly color casts, making an image look muddy and unappealing. At this point, architects spend hours and hours designing spaces so that they are well lit, and turning on all the lights in the house would do the architect and designers a disservice.

Mr. Hackbarth noted that his most recent job was for a real estate client and when he gets there he likes to show up and walk around with the landlord to get an idea of ​​anything that needs to be hidden or moved, make sure you they open all the closed blinds and see how the space is lit by natural daylight, turning on only the lights that absolutely must be on.

“Our job is to provide an accurate representation of the space so that potential buyers can get an idea of ​​how the home will look and feel,” he said.

Once done, he said he headed outside and documented the exterior of the house, making sure to place the building in the space around it so the viewer could get a sense of the building. location of the house in relation to its environment. If needed or requested by the client, he will use his drone to capture different perspectives that are not possible from the ground.

As the name of his company suggests, what Mr. Maurer mainly does, and what he really loves, is video production. With VideoWorx, it offers a range of services including real estate photos, HDR photos of the interior and exterior of the house, as well as drone photos if requested; video tours of the property and home interiors taken with a drone and camera gimbal that keep the shot steady and smooth throughout the home; Matterport Services, interactive 3D models of a home that can be browsed by online prospects, which are also available for viewing with VR glasses; floor plan work; customer testimonial videos and personal agent/broker videos.

“I produce short promotional videos for companies that people mostly use online these days; I’ve done TV ads, but that kind of advertising is dying out,” he said. “It’s mostly online marketing stuff. I started with that, doing a lot of promotional videos and I still do, but I started doing video tours of houses and properties. And since I got into this maybe six or seven years ago, I decided to do property photography as well.

He said he still does video tours, but not as much because a lot of people don’t want to pay more to do that kind of thing, although he tries to get more people to go in that direction because think they are really useful.

Mr. Maurer said that basically when it comes to getting a house ready for a shoot, it’s good for the homeowner to make sure his grass is cut and mulch his yard to make sure that the courtyard is the most beautiful possible. He also likes to have vehicles, if possible, out of the driveway while he takes pictures outside so you can see everything clearly without the distraction of cars. Inside, he said it’s important to make sure everything is tidy, that you don’t have a bunch of clutter everywhere.

“Clean up before I come, make sure everything is clean,” he said. “A lot of times people move, they have boxes of stuff, so my recommendation is to take the smallest room or a basement or a garage and put everything in there instead of having everything in the corners of different rooms.”

Especially with the north of the country, being so close to Fort Drum, it’s an area where a lot of army people move to, and sometimes they don’t see the house in person until they buy it. This is why online listings are so important and different techniques are used to show houses as much as possible through a screen.

Mr. Maurer said that one of the benefits of the work he does is that he can see beautiful places all over the Thousand Islands; sometimes he can take a boat to different islands and he will put his drone in the air and take all kinds of cool pictures of the properties.

“It’s kind of artistic, but I guess a lot of what I do is that way,” he said.

A fan of open plan homes, Mr Maurer said they always tended to look pretty, although he said house styles were a matter of personal preference, but if one was considering remodeling a house to resell it, it should perhaps be taken into account. .

“These things change over the years, styles and stuff,” he said. “So that’s another thing that I guess needs to be followed. Not that I necessarily have to keep up because my job is to come and photograph everything they have so it’s really more the estate agent or the broker who would give advice on how to do a renovation.

Mr. Maurer said that in his years in the industry he had learned from real estate agents and brokers because they are professionals with things like how to stage houses, that is part of their businesses to know these things. And because he’s been at it for a while, he’s also learned over the years.

As trends come and go and markets fluctuate, it seems there will always be a need for different types of housing, and as long as that need remains, designers like Mr. Hackbarth and Mr. Maurer will continue to present houses so that potential buyers can get as much of an idea as possible about a house before they take the plunge and buy it – even if this experience is completely virtual and the physical site has not been visited by potential buyers. When it comes to professional work, buyers will feel like they know the house, all its quirks and charms, well, looking at them through their screens. So when they finally arrive at the property, they will feel like they are coming home.

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Stewart C. Hartline