by Ariel Penn

As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. If you want to promote your property for filming, taking the best photos you can is key, whether you plan to promote your property on your own website and/or a third-party film location site.

How do I take the best photos of my film location to attract on location production? Always include a  photo of both the front and back exteriors of your location. Then photograph  all rooms available for filming within your property.  Use the highest resolution camera that you own which may be your cell phone camera. Use the widest angle or panorama function and include all three walls in your view followed a reverse shot showing the space behind you (also include all three walls). 

You want to acquire the best quality photos possible.  Plan to reduce the  size later when you are ready to upload them to the web.  

If you have on site parking or staging areas available, take a photo of that as well.

Anytime you plan to publish photos online, either for location promotions or real estate, consider the following: Hide all valuables, precious objects such as expensive paintings, equipment, awards, sculptures or any other items of personal value especially in a residence without security.  Also, ensure that your property is clean and tidy before taking photos.


Reduce the size of each photo  prior to uploading it on the web.  Feel free to use the standard tools that come with your computer to do so.  Or you can take advantage of an online resize resource such as

Make copies and place all  photos you plan to submit in  a folder.  These are the photos you will resize.  Keep your full size originals in a separate folder.

Or you may want to try a design tool such as which allows you to resize photos and graphics to any size you like.


Click on each photo and it will be opened in Preview mode.  On the Preview menu, select Tools – Adjust S.

Under width (or height if picture is vertical), type a number no more than 1200  pixels for all of your photographs.  Select pixels.  Then check scale proportionally and resample image, then OK.   This can turn a 5.4 MB file into one that’s 320K, much smaller and sure to load faster on the site.

RESIZE MULTIPLE IMAGES WITH MAC:  You can open multiple files and change them quickly by selecting all of the photos you wish to resize, then File – Open With – Preview in your Finder menu.  Select each photo in the left display bar to resize.

GET READY TO ZIP!  To send your photos in one folder and be able to attach it to an email, you’ll need to zip them. On a Mac, you would highlight the folder with your mouse. Then go to your Finder menu. Select File – Compress “Name of Your Highlight Folder”  should appear. It’s that simple. Send the new zip file to us.


Open a photo and select Edit & Create – 3D Paint or Paint.

Select Canvas, then no more than 1200px for width.  Make sure lock aspect ratio is checked. Make sure the following function is turned on:  “When resizing the canvas, adjust my image as well.

Select Menu & Save to save your resizing changes.

RESIZE MULTIPLE IMAGES ON PC:  To resize multiple items at once, make a duplicate folder with all the photos you plan to send.  Open duplicate folder, Home – Select All. Then Share – Email – select the Medium sizing option which should resize all photos but keep their aspect ratios.


  1. Locate the file or folder that you want to zip.
  2. Press and hold (or right-click) the file or folder, select (or point to) Send to, and then select Compressed (zipped) folder. A new zipped folder with the same name is created in the same location. This zip file is the one to send to website hosts or to upload easily into your own online media library.

Below is gallery of a residential property featuring good vantage points and examples of the types of pictures you should obtain. Select each picture to display it full size.


  • Photograph your property the way you feel it. Think about what makes you feel great about your place.  It might be the soft, inviting glow at night from pendant lights providing dreamy illumination over kitchen countertops. Or how morning light streams in from your skylight. Or how late afternoon light makes the trellis in your courtyard shine ike copper.
  • When photographing in lower light, use a tripod, if you can.  Cleaner, clearer images will help scouts see specific details in your property. It allows for crisper shadows and highlights which enhance the textures and mood allowing filmmakers to imagine your property as a cinematic backdrop.
  • Don’t shoot directly into a light source, especially any sunlight that’s flooding in through your windows. It will darken the rest of your location making it harder for scouts to see details.
  • Look for natural frames and leading lines in your architecture to enhance any photos of your space. Identify repeating patterns in beams or windows or pillars that can be used to to frame the picture and draw the eye to the center of focus of your location.
  • Explore the different vantage points around your property.  Perhaps the best photograph of your space is from above or down below. Down below means kneeling close to the ground and raking the camera upwards 45 degrees to capture the monumental feel of the space.
  • Pay attention to the natural light at your location and how it changes during the day. Identify appealing patterns painted by the light against walls and flat surfaces. This will add visual interest to any scene. Catch it in your photograph at the right time of day.
  • Supplemental lighting may be needed for interiors if you have too much light coming in from the outside. Or maybe you have poorly lit features within a specific area such as a seating alcove. Use a monopod with a small light shining into that darkened spot adding to the dimensionality of your space ensuring no details are lost. If you are using a cell phone, you can get a hybrid (a monopod that’s also a tripod) which I have found very useful when I shoot locations.
  • When shooting the exteriors of your property, plan to do a wet down. What this means is taking a hose and spraying down the pavement. This adds interesting reflections and light. FUN FACT: Many of your favorite films use this technique. Next time you see a movie, check the pavement the actors are standing on for reflections. If you see the reflections, make a mental note to check if it’s actually raining in the scene. Many times it’s not, but is worth a chuckle as you are now aware of another cinematic trick known only to Hollywood insiders.
  • Shooting exteriors: Go for “magic hour.” This is when the sun is low on the horizon and twilight is imminent. It’s that moment when the nice ambient lighting from the lowering sun evenly lights your property giving it a warm glow. But don’t let the sun fall too far down. This will help you avoid the problem of shooting so late that the artificial lighting (such as from porch lights or pool lights) ends up being brighter than the ambient light shining on the exterior property. Wait until the exposure or level of the exterior lighting and ambient light are a near match.
  • When shooting exteriors later in the day or at twilight, light the interiors. And  turn on exterior lights to add a sense of depth and mystery as light brightens certain areas and casts shadows on other spots.
  • Don’t shoot exteriors too early in the day or when the sun is high overhead. This can flatten or wash out the look of your property. Too much sun can darken the features of the architecture making the sky look great and your property just blah.
  • Review photos through lighting presets on your phone or camera.  For instance, the three circle filter icon which appears in Edit mode on the iPhone helps with color adjustments and lighting. Test the feature presets to see if it makes your photographs more vivid and clear.
  • If you are using a DSLR, here’s a quick, but powerful photography tip:  Check your histogram.  It will identify what is technically wrong with your lighting when you are questioning your eyes.   The histogram should be evenly balanced across the spectrum.  If it spikes too much on the right, your picture is too over-exposed.  If it spikes too much to the left, the photo is too dark. 
  • Take advantage of free tools to adjust your photos. I recommend Google Photos which allows you to do some of the same things you would in Photoshop or other editing software. You can adjust lighting, color saturations, crop photos, and use some automatic adjustments and presets. The functions in Google Photos are more than enough to improve most location photography. You will probably use the Automatic filter most of the time to spruce up your photographs. The Automatic filter balances the lighting and provides more color saturation if necessary.

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Published: March 12, 2022