How to Take Great Before & After Photos of Your Outdoor Project - Black Diamond Coatings

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by Jamie Embree 4 min read

You're about to tackle a brand new home exterior project - a landscape and hardscape refresh, a remodel or renovation, a new garden, a new addition, or if you’re a Black Diamond Coatings customer, sealing your outdoor surfaces or stabilizing your pavers. Of course you want to document your success! But how to make sure you capture that dramatic Before & After in all of its glory? Well, we’ve got some tips that will help you take the best Before and After photos of your outdoor project.

 

Pre-Planning Your Before & After Photos

There are a few things you should think about before you take your first photo. Taking a few minutes ahead of time will help you take eye-catching, beautiful photos that wow people.

 

1. Pick Your Photo Angles and Vantage Points Ahead of Time

One of the ways to make your Before & After photos impactful is to make sure your Before photos are taken from the same spot as your After photos. This allows viewers to easily see the difference your project made. Test out vertical and horizontal photos to see which fits your space the best! All too often, folks take the Before photos with very little planning, but then spend time framing the best shots for their After photos… then no two photos matchup as a true Before and After! This is especially important if you are a contractor.

Example Before & After Photo

Read through the rest of the tips and make a plan of attack before you take your Before photos.

 

2. Clear the Clutter

Make sure you take a critical look at the area you want to photograph. Are things like yard waste, project equipment, and trash bins in your shots? You should also consider things like vehicles and power lines; will they take away from the final photo? Finally, when you’re planning your angles, make sure you shoot around the things you can't control, like that ugly shed next door or the junker across the street!

Don't forget to clear the clutter

 

3. Consider the Light and Time of Day

The right light can make or break a photo! Since your photos will be taken outside, you’ll have the best lighting available - no fancy studio equipment necessary. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of natural sunlight.

  • The Golden Hour - the golden hour is the first hour after sunrise and the last hour of light before sunset. The light at this time is warm and soft, producing lovely shadows that highlight features without being too harsh. Try to take your photos at this time, especially if you're hoping to capture the reflected shine on newly sealed pavers.
  • Eliminate Backlighting - Don't take your photos with the sun right in front of you. This leads to a white sky and completely blacking out whatever you’re trying to photograph. Aim for having the sun behind you, or at an angle.
  • Slightly Overcast Weather - Surprisingly, a slightly overcast or partially cloudy day can be the best for outdoor photography. Extremely clear, sunny days can be harsh and over-exposed, while cloudy days can sap the color out of your pictures.
  • Turn Off Your Flash - Make sure your phone or camera's built-in flash has been turned off.
Partially cloudy days make for great light

     

    4. Get Low!

    If you just used one of our DOMINATOR Wet-Look Paver Sealers and want to show off the shine on your freshly sealed pavers, you can kneel down to get the perfect shot! The sun glistening on your project at an angel makes a great impact when it comes to Before and After photos.

    Maybe you've just added DOMINATOR Polymeric Sand to your unsealed or already polished or sealed pavers? Getting lower to get a closer shot can help catch the details you've just added to your project!

    Low angles catch the light

     

    5. Turn Off the Date and Time Function

    This is an old bit of advice, but if you're using a traditional digital camera instead of your phone to take photos, be sure to turn off the automatic Date and Time function.

     

    6. Make Sure You Have Permission

    This last piece of advice is most important for contractors, though homeowners should make sure all owners of the home are OK with photos being shared.

    For contractors, this is a critical step that needs to be handled before taking and sharing photos of your projects. Don't just ask permission; make sure you have a photo release signed and filed for any Before & After photos you take of customers' homes. A Google search will help you find free templates and resources for creating a simple form for this purpose.

     

    7. Take LOTS of Photos

    Increase your chances of taking great photos by taking a lot of photos! Take several from the same spot (4-6), then move positions and take several from the next vantage point. Hopefully you pre-planned at least 5 angles and places you would stand for both your Before and After photos. That means by the time you're finished, you should have around 30 Before plus 30 After photos. Now you can choose the very best shots to show off with.

     

    Hopefully these tips help you take your Before & After photo game up a notch. We can't wait to see how your photos turn out! If they're amazing, be sure to submit them to our monthly BEFORE & AFTER Contest for a chance to win a $200 American Express gift card.

    Jamie Embree
    Jamie Embree

    Jamie is the Marketing Director for Black Diamond Coatings, Inc. She's worked in digital marketing, e-commerce and online strategy for over 20 years. When she isn't building email campaigns, she can be found tackling messy craft projects with her kids.


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