Frequently asked questions

 

1.  What is a Home Inspector?

A licensed home inspector is a rare breed of surveyor!  The qualification was launched in preparation for the then government's flagship Home Information Pack policy.  The original idea was that all Home Information Packs (HIPs) would contain a survey, known as a home condition report (HCR) and this would include the new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).  Training courses for Home Inspectors were launched in early 2006, but by the summer of that year the government realised that there would not be enough surveyors to cope with the anticipated demand at the scheduled launch of HIPs the following year, so they decided to make the home condition report element of the HIP voluntary.  After the next general election the new coalition government abolished HIPs altogether, but the EPC was retained and remains an important part of the home buying/renting landscape to this day.

2.  What camera gear do you use - Canon or Nikon?

Neither as it happens.  Olympus is my choice of camera manufacturer, specifically the OM-D E-M1.  I currently have two of the original Mk1 bodies and a MkII, with various M.Zuiko pro lenses.  I was an early adopter of the now widely used mirrorless camera format, and the Olympus cameras, with their relatively compact bodies and lenses, excellent image quality, and ease of use, give me all that I need for the types of photography I do.

3.  What camera settings do you use?

I'm often asked this at property photography shoots and my answer is 'manual.'  Interior photography is all about balancing the available natural light with additional flash lighting that is added, and for me the best way to achieve this with complete consistency is to take full control.  Many music photographers also shoot in manual, but 'aperture priority' is my choice in this environment, mainly because my brain isn't quick enough to keep up with the ever changing stage lighting, and I'd rather let the camera take over metering decisions so I can concentrate on composition, keeping the shutter speed in check by making ISO adjustments where necessary.

4.  How long have you been taking photos?

My interest in photography started in the early 1980s when I studied the subject as part of a full-time two year estate agency national diploma qualification at Norwich City College.  Learning photography techniques, the importance of composition and the interaction between shutter speed, aperture and film speed (ISO) in a structured way really struck a chord with me and photography became my main hobby after that. 

5.  Do you do weddings?

Wedding photography is not a service I offer, and I have absolutely no plans to do so on my own.  I have genuine admiration of all wedding photographers, especially those who work alone - being able to handle the demands of the day while consistently capturing creative images is a true skill possessed by very few photographers. However, I do work as a 'second shooter' assisting a good friend of mine and fabulous photographer, Simon Watson, and at the time of writing I have assisted him with over 30 weddings.  More details about this can be found under the Services tab - Working with other photographers, including a link to Simon's web site.

6.  What do the colours in your logo signify?

The seven colours in my logo are muted versions of the A-G energy performance certificate bands, with A dark green and red for the bottom band, G.

7.  Why do you do mainly property photography?

I was an estate agent for 27 years, and always loved the photography element of that work the most.  Taking good quality photos is not the only consideration for property photographers - the shots must be relevant too, capturing the essence of the home and its key selling points.  My long experience in the property industry does give me an advantage in this respect, and therefore property was an obvious choice when I decided to pursue my photography dream in 2013.

8.  I bet you'd rather be photographing a country house than my flat eh?

My time in estate agency was spent in general practice, selling all types of properties from the smallest to large country homes.  I'm genuinely just as happy photographing a beautifully presented flat or terrace house as I am a riverside home or country house in several acres.  A property seller who has made every effort to present their home well should benefit from good quality photos regardless of property type and size.

9.  I thought estate agents took their own photos?

Many still do, but increasingly agents are realising that good quality photographs are an essential selling tool.  Gone are the days when home buyers visited agents in person, collecting arm fulls of printed details.  Nowadays most people make viewing decisions based on what they see on Rightmove and other property portals, often by looking at the photos, the floor plan and paying little attention to the written information.  This is why photos are so important.  Of course, I'm not saying that estate agents are terrible photographers - many are excellent, but I know from personal experience that it's difficult to prioritise time for editing shots to get them 'just right' when the phone is ringing, there are important emails to answer and a full diary of appointments to consider.  I would say that out of the total time devoted to each property photography job only about half is spent taking the photos - the rest is taken up editing, and that's what makes all the difference. 

 

©John Newstead

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