I recently got the opportunity to help a long-time client solve a problem that involved photographing a custom home, heavily editing the photos, and virtually staging the interior…all to meet a big advertising deadline. I’m not a fan of heavy photo editing, but sometimes there’s a real case for it and it becomes necessary to edit your photos to serve a purpose. In this case heavy editing and virtual staging saved the day.

The Problem:

My client is Sombra Homes, a custom home builder in Oro Valley, Arizona. The client had an interesting challenge; the completion of their latest custom home was pushed back because the counter tops were a few weeks late, so the house wasn’t ready to be photographed. My client had a deadline for a print ad to advertise this house, so they needed high quality pictures of the home to send to the magazine before the ad deadline.
On the day we had scheduled the photo shoot and just a few days before the ad deadline, the house was far from finished. Of course there were no counter tops, painters were still touching up the walls so there was tape, missing wall plates, and plastic on the floor, and no cleanup had been done. There was even equipment and tools still laying around.
On top of that, there was no furniture to give the house that finishing touch and no landscaping was done.
In short…the house was far from photo ready.

The Solution:

First, I photographed the house with what I had to work with. The Great Room was in relatively good shape, so we moved the tools and debris we needed to, and I took a photo looking from the kitchen, through the huge tiled room, and out the two banks of picture windows that showed the back yard and gorgeous mountain views. Then, I went outside and took some aerial shots from an extra tall 24′ tripod, using about 18′ of it. The photos were at sunset, but the sunset wan’t exactly spectacular, so I did some editing later. All of the shots were taken in a way that would minimize editing, which meant hiding anything I could with creative angles.
Later in the editing process I touched up the interior, added landscaping rock, fixed an un-finished wall, and removed debris inside and out. Lastly I used virtual staging software to furniture, accessories, and even patio furniture to give the house warmth and a lived in look.
The final product was beautiful pictures of this custom home that were ready for the printer. My client was very happy with the photos, and was especially happy they were ready for the ad deadline. Here’s her comment:
“The pics look great! Thanks for all your help in making this possible!”

Services used for this project:

How do you think it turned out? Leave your comments below.