Making sure your property is well presented photographically is highly important to David Burr and in Mike Fletcher they have a superb cameraman. Here he explains how he goes about his photography work.
What is your biggest challenge?
Definitely the general tidiness of a home. It can be really difficult to make an interior shine and sparkle if all you can see is clutter. So often you have to spend a bit of time preparing the shot and making sure nothing is going to spoil the picture.
Are there any tricks of the trade you use?
No tricks, just taking the time to get the basics right. Have a bit of a tidy-up if necessary, make sure you haven’t missed something obvious like a drawer half open, or a cat sitting by the fire. And I always use a tripod; I like everything to look vertical if it’s meant to be vertical, we don’t want to distort the perspective. Having a steady camera on a tripod allows me to check the horizontal/vertical planes and get the framing perfect.
Presumably summer days are better for your property photography than winter?
Summer obviously allows for better shots inside and out. The big problem with winter shoots is the sun is much lower in the sky. I’ve many a time set up a lovely shot from one side of a room, only to find the world’s largest flash light blinding me through a large room window. It’s not all bad on a cloudy day, it can help with the interior images.
Has anything amusing or odd happened to you while taking property pictures?
I was once at a really lovely house, and the vendor, a well known local sculptor, was giving me a hand to tidy-up the front garden before I took a shot. We moved the wheelie bins, garden hose and a few other odds and sods, just to make it all look perfect.
The vendor asked me if I was happy and wanted anything else moved, and I said, “yes, can we move that horrible rusty thing, next to the front door?” The vendor’s face dropped, he threw me a look and said: “you mean that really nice peace of sculpture, which I put there earlier because you were coming?” Thankfully the vendor saw the funny side, and we moved the sculpture – it did look a bit scruffy!
What camera do you use?
I use a Nikon D800, it’s been a great camera, perfect for photographing interiors.
Do you take pictures of other subjects?
Unfortunately I don’t have much spare time for photographing other subjects, as much as I’d love to get out and do some landscapes. But I really love doing what I do, I get to photograph some amazing homes, set in the most beautiful parts of East Anglia, and best of all, I get to meet some really lovely people. I’m a lucky boy!