Photo Shoot Standards
Evolve Vacation Rental Network is redefining vacation rental management. We partner with talented photographers to help us accomplish this mission by capturing enticing images of the vacation homes in our network.
As our partners, we want to ensure you’re equipped with the tools you need to succeed. We created a video to give you a quick overview of how to shoot an Evolve property.
Camera: You must have a DSLR capable of auto bracketing a minimum of 5 frames (full frame preferred)
Tripod: Use a tripod for all shots so that the camera is motionless while capturing the bracketed sequences
Ultra Wide-Angle Lens:
- 14-16mm on a full frame camera
- 10-11mm on a crop sensor camera
Cable release: To avoid any blur from a shutter press, use a cable release or remote trigger
- Capturing all bracketed exposures with a single press of the cable release increases speed and efficiency through a shoot
Lenspen: Keep your lens clear and clean by regularly using a lenspen
Fisheye lens: Fisheye photos do not achieve the style needed
Flash: Do not use a flash in any of your photos
Camera mode: Aperture Priority
Auto exposure bracket: 5 exposures with 2 full stops between each bracket, or 9 with 1 full stop between each bracket
- In high contrast scenes shoot 2 sets of your current bracket settings (5 or 9), one exposing the shadows and one exposing the highlights, covering the entire tonal range
Aperture: f8 to f11
ISO: Recommend 100 but up to 400
White balance: Auto (or whichever setting is necessary)
Image quality: High quality JPG - at least 4000 pixels on the longest side, but no larger than 5500 (minimum file size: 4000 x 2666 pixels)
Aspect ratio: 3:2
Metering Mode: Evaluative (on Canon) or Matrix (on Nikon)
EXAMPLE 5-FRAME BRACKET RANGE:
- Provide a minimum of 30 unique photos (otherwise, the shoot is considered incomplete)
- Capture a minimum of 4 different angles for:
- Each room (including bathrooms)
- The exterior
- The views
- The amenities
- We require wide-angle shots
- You must use a wide-angle lens to fully document the space
- Focal length requirements are:
- 14-16mm on a full frame camera
- 10-11mm on a crop sensor camera
- We prefer horizontal photos
- Only use vertically oriented shots when there is no other option to show a necessary feature of a home, but please include a horizontal shot to give us a choice
- Shoot with your camera on a tripod
- Make sure it is completely level and perfectly horizontal, to ensure vertical lines are truly vertical
- Do not shoot downward or upward angles
- We suggest setting your tripod to around 4-4.5 feet to provide the best composition
- Make sure your lens is clean and clear of dirt and dust
Post Shoot Requirements
- Send us original, unedited images
- Please do not rename images
- Please do not edit the photos post-shoot
- You may apply lens correction on all images if you wish
- You are required to deliver photos to Evolve via Box.com within 48 hours of the shoot
- If you do not meet these quality standards, or do not photograph a property in its entirety, we will require a re-shoot without additional payment
- All images are owned by Evolve unless the homeowner purchases them directly from us
- You are welcome to use all photos from the shoot for your portfolio
Often the camera will meter a room very differently depending on whether you are composing your shot away from or toward windows. When there are windows in the shot, the camera will meter for the brighter exterior light and consequently make the interior darker.
It is recommended that you review the last (typically brightest) exposure in the camera after every capture to make sure that the metering is consistent and correct, providing images that are both bright enough and dark enough.
If it is too dark or too light, you can adjust your brackets by using exposure compensation up +1 or +2 EVs. Keep in mind, by using the EV comp you are only making the image darker or lighter and not actually increasing the tonal range value. Taking 2 bracketed sets may be necessary to document the full tonal range.
In most cases, all available lighting in the property should be turned on. There may be times where this produces lens flare or issues with white balance, so use your best judgment.
- This includes ceiling lighting, table lamps, floor lamps, recessed lighting in cabinets, under-cabinet lighting, fan lights, exterior, landscape, and any other sources of lighting
- Raise the blinds in all rooms to let sun rays shine in
- Think like a traveler
- What in the room would be important to see as a traveler and how can you emphasize it?
- Highlight views when possible
- Try to show the entire space and how it relates to other parts of the home, ie. show that the kitchen is next to the living room, or that there is a bathroom connected to the bedroom
- Capture each room from all corners
- Balance the frame using the rule of thirds
- Do not shoot too high or too low
- Shooting below counter height or higher than eye-level produces an uncomfortable perspective
- Make the subject of the room (bed, couch, etc.) the main focus by making it the center of the frame or by balancing with other subjects
- Do not leave large open spaces on the ceilings or sides when possible
- Do not shoot with door frames on the edges of the photo if possible
- Do not split the frame in half with a wall when trying to show 2 rooms
- Avoid shooting straight on making the space feel flat and tunnel-like
The homeowner is responsible for cleaning and preparing the home for the shoot. If you arrive at the property and it is not in a condition to be photographed, please contact Evolve. If you are unable to reach someone on the Evolve Photography Team, please take photos of the main issues that are preventing the shoot and leave the premises - do not execute a full shoot.
You are not expected to ready the home, but please keep these tips in mind before photographing:
GENERAL INTERIOR TIPS
- Keep your lens hood on at all times, including interior shots
- Be on the lookout for glare
- This may come from reflections, snow, direct sunlight - essentially anywhere where there is a lot of light
- Turn off all ceiling fans
- Turn off all TVs
- Turn on gas fireplaces if present
- Turn lamp shade seams away from the camera so that they are not visible in the shots
- Try to ensure your reflection is not visible
- Mirrors, framed art, TVs, oven and microwave doors, and shower doors are common culprits
- Shower curtains should be partially opened to show off tile work and fixtures
- Move toiletries so they are out of sight
- Ensure towels are folded in an orderly fashion
- Lower all toilet lids
- Never include people in any of the photos
- Make sure all bedding and pillows are arranged neatly
- If there are objects that detract from an appealing photo and they can be moved, please do so
- ie. trash cans, cleaning products, items of clothing, rugs, towels, bath mats, toiletries, remote controls, items on top of counters, etc.
GENERAL Exterior TIPS
- Walk the full extent of the land around the property to scout out the best shots and views
- Garbage or recycling bins should not be visible
- Put away hoses, toys, boxes, and other distracting or unappealing items
- Check to make sure the sun is not hitting the lens
- Avoid lens flares if possible
- Take a front, side, and rear elevation view
Photo Shoot Property
REview & Feedback
As photographers, you are our eyes and ears in the field. You are Evolve’s first connection to a property before it joins our network and that is why it is so important that we hear from you within 48 hours after each and every property shoot regarding the home’s safety and overall presentation.
When you provide feedback about an Evolve home, it makes all the difference in that homeowner’s property performance. Because of you and your valuable insights, we are able to work with homeowners to improve their properties before their first few bookings, ensuring the best performance and guests reviews from day one.
Small Property Guide
It can be tricky to come up with a variety of shots when you’re dealing with a smaller space. A 4-bedroom home is going to lend itself to a higher quantity of shots than a studio apartment due to sheer square footage. But it’s still important to provide the same number of photos (which is a minimum of 30) for a quality listing, despite the smaller space.
To start, get a shot from every corner of every room (bathroom excluded). Stand as far into the corner as possible (depending on the layout of furniture) to document as much space as possible. You can even move your camera to the right or left to get up to 3 or 4 angles per corner of the room (think of it as looking from left to right in the space).
After documenting the space as a whole from different angles, move in closer to certain items: 3-4 angles of the bed as the primary focus, a few angles of the couch or TV area, 3-4 angles focused on the kitchen/dining table, angles looking both in and out of the bathroom, etc. These photos should show the majority of those objects and spaces and be focused on them instead of the space as a whole.
Take images focused on smaller areas - things like the kitchen sink area, a coffee maker, the bathroom sink and tub or shower, night stand, the kitchen/dining table (especially if set with dishes or a centerpiece).
Take images of every angle of the exterior of the house/building (front, sides, back, at diagonals), from different distances as well. It doesn’t matter what is around the house, as travelers will see that when they get to the property. If there are benches, swings, chairs, grills, etc. get images focused on just those things, along with images of the larger scene as a whole. If there is a balcony or patio, get images looking toward the house, as well as the view (even if it’s minimal).
And finally, if you are still struggling to shoot enough photos of the home itself, you can always take photos of nearby area attractions.