Tag Archives: tips

Prepare Your Home for Real Estate Photography


– The First Impression Counts –

Buyers start their search online.

Most home buyers start their search online. It’s very important to make the first impression a great one! Follow these tips for real estate photos that show your home at it’s best.


– Tips for all areas in the home –

  • Thoroughly clean whole house (vacuum carpet, mop hard floors, clean countertops, clean windows)
  • Turn all overhead lights and lamps on (replace any burned out bulbs)
  • Use bulbs of the same temperature (ALL incandescent or ALL compact fluorescent)
  • Turn all ceiling fans off
  • Turn all TVs off
  • Turn all computer screens off
  • Open blinds/window treatments halfway to let in outside light
  • Remove personal photographs (or replace with non personal art/photographs)
  • Make all beds
  • Remove small floor rugs to reveal actual flooring (it makes the room look bigger too!)
  • Place all shoes/jackets in closets


Online “curb appeal” – the front exterior is usually the first photo buyers see


  • Close garage doors
  • Remove cars from driveway and front of home
  • Clean up landscaping (mow, trim shrubs, clear leaves)
  • Remove empty planters
  • Use broom to remove cobwebs from eaves and door frames
  • Remove visible water hoses
  • Remove toys, sports balls, basketball goals, soccer goals, etc.



The back yard should be a welcoming place to relax or play!

  • Clean porch, tidy up outdoor tables/chairs/cushions
  • Patio furniture pillows/cushions should look new, not faded
  • Clear out kid’s toys, balls, frisbees, etc.
  • Clean pool
  • Remove pool vacuum/cleaner hose
  • Hide pool cleaning supplies
  • Turn on pool fountains/water features
  • Remove visible water hoses
  • Remove/hide trash cans
  • Organize so that everything looks tidy and in its place


– Family and friends gather in the kitchen, it deserves attention to detail –


  • Clear countertops completely. No knife blocks, baking supplies, mail, etc.
  • Leave out max of one small appliance (ex. coffee maker)
  • Clear outside of refrigerator of magnets, papers, photos, etc.
  • Hide garbage cans in pantry or closet
  • Remove dishes from sink, place in dishwasher, or preferably have all dishes washed and put away



– Invite buyers to imagine a nice family meal –

  • Clear table, dust and polish the table top
  • Use decorative place setting if available
  • Feature one center piece such as a bouquet of flowers
  • Straighten all chairs and space them evenly
  • Remove child seats/booster chairs


– The room to enjoy conversation and spend quality time with family –


  • Clear stacks of magazines, papers, mail, etc.
  • De-clutter fireplace mantel/hearth (no more than 3-5 items, including art)
  • Clean fireplace and re-paint if needed
  • Fluff and arrange furniture pillows
  • Remove kid’s toys


– Create a sanctuary –


  • Make bed, including decorative pillows/shams if available
  • Press bed linens and bed skirts
  • Clear nightstands of all personal items
  • Store away phone/tablet charging cables
  • Remove all clutter from top of dressers
  • Remove family photos from walls
  • Clean under bed, removing items that may show in the photos



Don’t forget about guest bedrooms


  • Remove personalized names from walls
  • Remove wall stickers/posters
  • Remove diaper genies
  • Clean under bed, removing items that may show in the photos


– To appear spa-like and sanitary, the bathroom must be clear of all personal items –

  • Clear countertops completely. No soap, toothbrushes, medications, deodorant, etc.
  • Put toilet seats down
  • Close closet doors
  • Remove shampoo, soap, loofahs, etc. from showers and tubs
  • Remove dirty towels – leave out only new, unused towels
  • Remove floor mats


– We love our pets, but their presence should be minimized –


  • Place food and water bowls in pantry or closet
  • Place pet beds/toys in pantry or closet
  • Use lint roller or vaccum on furniture to remove pet hair
  • Contain pets in hidden crate, outside, or off site during showing
  • Clear back yard of pet waste/toys
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10 Makeup Tips to Help You Look Camera Ready

Jennifer Rutledge Photography

I love it when clients sign up for professional hair & make up for the senior portraits with Jennifer Rutledge Photography. Not only is it FUN, but it creates a polished look that really makes senior portraits beautiful. But not everyone wants the pomp & circumstance of a full style session.  For the more minimalist senior portrait client, who wants to do their own makeup, here are some helpful tips to follow:

1. LIGHTEN UP. Avoid going too dark in your foundation shade. Have your shade professionally matched to your skin tone as close to the day of your shoot as possible. This really matters!

2. MATTE IS A MUST. Especially for your cheeks, stay away from shimmery powder, no exceptions. For eyelids, keep shimmer strictly to the lids.

3. PRIMARY FOCUS. Primer is essential for keeping makeup intact! It’s like the base coat of a nail manicure. Oil-free versions are best and also sensitive skin-friendly.

4. SAY NO TO SPF. Primer and foundation should be SPF-free. Formulas containing sunscreen cast a ghostlike glow with the camera flash or reflector.

5. LINE UP. When lining eyelids, start in the center and work your way to the outer edge. Lining the entire lid will cause the eyes to appear smaller. Use a slanted brush with a dark (but not black) shadow to line the  lower lids brush with a dark (but not black) shadow to line the lower lids.

6. MORE IS MORE. Camera lighting will wash out colors, no matter what. Don’t be scared off by a dramatic finished look. It won’t photograph that way. Trust us on this. Your makeup should be darker than your every-day look.

7. BLEND, BLEND, BLEND. When it comes to concealer, cheek contouring and eye shadow, a quality set of brushes is key. The camera will highlight and pick up on unblended edges, creating a clown-like look. Unblended concealer will highlight fine lines.

8. MELLOW YELLOW. To set makeup, choose a yellow based powder rather than a translucent powder. Much like SPF formulas, translucent powders cast a white glow when photographed.

9. PRACTICE RUN. Don’t let the day of your photo shoot be the first time to try new products. Consultations and trial runs are essential to creating the perfect final look.

10. AU NATURALE. Always have makeup applied in a natural light. This will be the best indicator of how it will look when photographed.


*Big thanks to Teri Fode and her makeup artist for compiling and sharing their favorite tips!



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5 Things You Need to Know About High School Senior Portraits

Senior Portraits by Jennifer Rutledge

Senior Portraits by Jennifer Rutledge – All images @Jennifer Rutledge Photography 2015

You start high school feeling young and inexperienced, with four long years ahead of you; and then BAM!  Suddenly you’re a junior and you are bombarded with a Senior Year To-Do List that seems both never ending and crazy expensive. Some things are easy: Cap & Gown, check!  Some things are not so easy: Senior portraits are due when?!?

Every year, while booking high school senior portraits at Jennifer Rutledge Photography, I see countless seniors and parents who don’t realize how quickly the yearbook deadline arrives, and how hard it is to schedule photo shoots once the super busy senior year has begun. So today, I’m sharing 1 Don’t and 4 Do’s to help you conquer your Senior Portrait Experience.

→ DON’T Wait Until Fall to Book Your Photographer.

Summertime is for lazy days and photo shoots! Those precious twelve weeks of summer break are often the only time a busy high school student is free to prepare and participate in a portrait session.  As soon as school is back in session, days are quickly filled up with classes, sports, and jobs, not to mention the fading daylight.  If you’ve waited until September to book a photographer, you will be fighting for the last available session times, along with every other senior who waited too long to book!

Scheduling your session during summer break gives you time to choose clothes and locations that result in a senior portrait that reflects your personality, rather than a cookie-cutter picture with no real connection to you. If money is tight, booking early allows you to make payment plans, if that is something your photographer offers.  Knock on wood that it never happens to you, but; should you hate every single portrait taken, summer sessions allow time for a future  re-shoot, should you need one.

→ DO Get a Special Outfit, or Two!

Senior year is a huge milestone, and it might be your first professional photo shoot. It’s one of the few occasions, besides marriage and (hopefully) the occasional family portrait, to capture an image you love that will stand the test of time.  You made it through twelve years of school. That is something to dress up for!  Even if you can’t give up your trusty jeans and flannel,  get some new ones. Wearing clothes that are fresh and fit nicely will give you confidence, which absolutely shows in your portraits.

→ DO Think About the Style of Senior Portrait Photography You Want.

When you hire Jennifer Rutledge Photography for your high school senior portraits, I strive to create portraits that are YOU!  I’ve never met anyone who likes to lean against a brick wall for fun, so I’d rather not photograph you there. I’m all about environmental portraiture.  Look! It’s an elusive high school senior in their natural habitat!  Are you Woodsy? Beachy? City kid? Easy going? Serious? Playful? Contradictory? Pictures are worth a thousand words, what will your senior portrait say?

→ DO Start Saving Now.

Your senior year is full of expenses, if you and your parents save up during your junior year, and get photographed early, it will hurt the pocketbook much less. Trust me on this one.

Not gonna lie here: Professional portraits are expensive.  Unless you are a photographer, it’s difficult to understand all of the time and money that go into creating a quality senior portrait. Your session may take only a few hours, but your senior portraits actually take years of experience to create. And, hey, it’s less expensive than a 45 minute root canal or 2 hour surgery, and a lot more fun!

Let’s talk print quality.  Sure, you can buy a canvas print at the local five-and-dime for $59; but after twenty five years, is it going to look as good as the one created by a professional? My professional lab cannot touch the prices offered by consumer level printers, but I challenge you to appreciate the cheaper version when compared to the high-quality version.  Don’t let your portraits fade as fast as your childhood memories, because someday it might be all you have left!

Don’t you dare think digital files count as senior portraits.  Digital technology becomes obsolete very quickly.  A professionally printed portrait survives.

→ DO Leave It to the Professionals.

Did you know that your hometown museum has every yearbook on a shelf, just waiting for future generations to laugh at? Don’t be that high school senior. You know, the one with the TERRIBLE portrait.  Let’s face it, your clothes and hair will be enough to laugh at; at least make sure your high school senior portrait is a quality representation of your fabulous eighteen-year-old self. Professional senior portrait photographers can help you with details, like clothing and makeup – so you look your absolute best in your senior portraits!

Take pity on your high school Yearbook Adviser!  This poor adviser spends countless hours working on a yearbook to commemorate your senior year. When you submit an image that is not properly proportioned, cropped, or resized, you create: at the least, exacerbation; and at most, a horribly warped and nearly unrecognizable image that becomes your high school legacy.  The professionals know how to prep your portrait for perfect yearbook display.

You will, hopefully, be leaving the nest soon. Give your parents a loving portrait for them to remember you by! Hang your mug on their wall, so when you bring your new boyfriend/girlfriend home, they can coo over your adorable, yet charmingly nerdy, senior portrait. Finally, should you be lucky enough to someday have great-great-great-grandchildren, they will know you through your professional senior portrait, which, I think, is very cool.

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