You mentioned sending in jpeg images. Do we need to supply all of the photography to the magazine?
Some magazines like to shoot their own photography so if you don’t have images that’s fine. Pitch the project anyway and just send in a few snaps, even if you take them with your phone, to give a visual reference. However, many magazines will rely on you to supply the photos, these need to be high resolution and taken professionally. If the copyright for the photography is with the photographer you must get his/her permission to use them in editorial. This is usually fine as long as the photographer is named – you just need to tell the magazine who to credit.
As well as the photographer do we need permission from the client?
Yes, not only is it a courtesy to tell them that you are considering their home for use in your marketing, but you don’t want to fall foul of GDPR legislation.
Perhaps photography is something you can discuss with your client right from the start. Find out if they are happy to have the project photographed and have a written agreement as to where those images can be used – on your website, social media, press, etc. If they are happy for you to pitch the project to the press, ask if they wish to remain anonymous or if they would be happy to talk to a journalist. Some magazines like to interview the homeowner and show them in the photography, but they will also accept a great project even if your client does not wish to appear personally.
Do you have any tips on what to include in the photos when we are arranging a shoot?
Pets! I know editors who will feature a kitchen on the front cover just because there is a dog in the shot. Dogs and cats help make a house look like a home, so if there is an obliging pet take one photo with and one without so the editor has a choice. In terms of what not to include, avoid anything seasonal. No Christmas trees, pumpkins or Easter eggs. If your shoot is too seasonal it limits its usability to the magazines.
For security reasons, be cautious about showing anything that might identify the property, for instance, distinctive architecture or a house number. And avoid contemporary works of art as, if they are the original, the copyright may still be with the artist rather than the owner (a minefield too complicated to go into here). Simply remove them for the shoot or photoshop them out afterwards.
And finally, try to offer exclusivity. Magazines are very competitive and you are unlikely to see your project used in House & Garden if it has already appeared in the Sunday Times. When you make your initial pitch to the editor be sure to mention that they can have the images exclusively.