The Food Network's Iron Chef may have "Kitchen Stadium", but here at Jon Barnes Photo we have "Living Room Laboratory." It's actually not as exciting as it sounds, but hey, I tried. Sorta.
Anyway, for our first interior photography experiment let's try some easy staging. Goodness knows what sort of mess you might find when going into someone's home to take real estate photographs. I've been pretty lucky so far, but almost every home you photograph is going to need some help (unless you are fortunate enough to be shooting a professionally staged home).
Enter my living room. It's actually not in horrible shape, but it does need a bit of attention. There are the obvious things, like the toys on the floor, the couch throws, and the droopy pillows.
But then there are the subtler things: The louvers of the plantation shutters are in various disarray, and the ceiling fixture is crooked (right now my wife is wondering why it took a blog post for me to get around to fixing that).
It takes 2 or 3 minutes to straighten up small things like these, but it makes a big difference in the final photo. Now, we're not taking the room to a level worthy of a professional home stager or interior designer; however, we don't want to spend a long time on it. Remember, on a real estate shoot, we have a whole house to photograph in a short amount of time!
Usually, real estate agents will let the homeowner know to clean things up, and that certainly makes things easy. Regardless, it's not a bad idea to check with them beforehand, but there's bound to be a little work you'll have to do on your own. Take a few minutes and make it right.