Expert Interview: Staging & Props, 2 Tips for Amazing Landscaping or Lawn Care Pictures

You wouldn't show up for a first date not looking your best. The same should also be true when it comes to a photo shoot for your lawn care or landscaping company. 

These are two very, very important components to make sure that you get outstanding images for marketing or recruiting purposes. 

Today, we're going to give you tips to help you make a great impression. Stay Tuned.

(Check out the video with description, resources, comments, etc. on YouTube)

 

Video Transcription

Chad:  Hey, what's up? It's Chad with Landscape Leadership. I'm here today with my friend Mike Miville who takes a lot of photos for our clients, all in the lawn care and landscape industry. 

Today, we are following up in a series of videos that we've recorded about landscaping and lawn care photography. We're talking today about staging and props. These are two very, very important components to make sure that these properties just look their absolute best.

In earlier videos we talked about, pre-staging, meaning getting the property ready, having mulch and pulling the weeds and doing all that stuff.

So today I want to talk about things that you and I have run into when we're on location. The properties were supposedly good last week (both laugh and sigh).

And also all the other little items that we ask our clients to bring along with them. The props, the things that are just the icing on the cake, which are amazing things that pull great landscaping and lawn care marketing images off.

So let's talk about what has happened when we showed up to some of these shoots?

 

Staging Locations for Landscaping & Lawn Care Photo Shoots

Mike:  Yeah. Hi. One of the first things is we always ask people like get the property looking it's best and sometimes people just think, okay, just mow the lawn.

And that's literally where it stops. Even just filling in mulch is, is a pretty simple thing you can do. And then once you fill in that mulch, actually cleaning it off walkways is good.

Chad: It's amazing the impact of little details. Even with mowing a lawn, there's like a perfect time to do it. It may be best to not mow the day before. Maybe give it like two days so you get a little bit of top growth.

That's interesting, since we're talking about lawn care clients. Some of our clients that that's all they do. They treat lawns and they don't take care of the rest of the landscape maintenance and they might have no clue about what it looks like. So I often recommend finding the right locations. Who are those fussy customers, the ones that you know the rest of the place looks great the rest of the time.

I remember we've showed up to a location there was a dead tree. It was a gorgeous lawn but there's a dead tree in the front lawn.

I think you have to look past what you actually do and look at the properties as a whole.

Mike:  Absolutely. Yeah. That's a really good point, looking past what you do. Sometimes when I'm photographing for something else, say it's a food client, we are looking more past the food as to perhaps to go around the food, like the napkins, tables and things like that.

The same is true with lawn and landscape locations. You can't just look at the actual service that you completed, you kind of have to look at everything around it and look at the bigger picture because all of that other stuff helps enhance what you did right. No matter if you did it or not. Make sure the bushes and trees are trimmed and that walkways and driveways are blown off from grass clippings or mulch, things like that.

These are just simple things that, if you go out the day before a photo shoot, you can kind of take care of those things. Ask the homeowner to take care of it or whatever it takes to get it done so we're not wasting extra time during what's supposed to be the photo shoot to try and get that done.

I showed up to a house one time for an architecture client and we told the homeowner a week beforehand, make sure all your leaves are not in your grass. It was during the fall. We knew they were going to be leaves. They're like, "Yes, the day before we'll take care of it." We showed up and there was a yard full of leaves. We did not have time because we were shooting early morning, and the earth doesn't stop rotating so we couldn't do it for them. We had to shoot it because the sun was rising.

Chad:  It steals focus. You're trying to focus on this amazing house  in me was like, "Mike didn't you tell that guy to clean up those leaves?", and you're like, "YES! I told him to!"

I think our clients do a really great job of going out the week before, mulching the place, pulling in the weeds, making sure the shrubs are trimmed. But there are those situations that we run into the day of. Even if the these locations looked great a week before. And then we show up and we spent 45 minutes, (two of us 45 minutes), cleaning the place up just so we could take a picture of it. There's little leaves everywhere. Maybe the weather that night before there was rough and wind and rain made stuff came down.

Mike:  Yeah, there were little plugs and stuff sitting on the grill and...

Chad: And stuff like, I don't know, cardboard boxes and other random stuff.

Mike:  Yeah, like that type of stuff. If you go out the day before and look at that stuff, it helps.

Chad:  Yeah, as close as you can do that before the shoots, the better. Staging is important. And when we've been on these sites, we've pruned shrubs and done other things.

I remember as soon as we rolled up on that one property in Florida, there was this palm tree in the front yard. I said, oh...that dead frond has got to go.

Luckily, the person at the landscape company had along some pruning clips and we took some of that out there. That's another really good point. It's important for your photographer, maybe even the person from the agency that you're working with, and also someone from your company to come along with tools and different things like a leaf blower, all those things that you can use to do a little touch up.

 

Props for Landscaping & Lawn Care Images

But now, let's talk now about props. What I feel makes really, really great images and what makes you stand out in this ocean of sameness in the green industry are props. I look at dozens of websites a week.

Say you've gone past the bad level of the grass isn't grown in. The grass is good but there's a patio. It has no furniture or maybe it has furniture, but there's no cushions on the furniture.

Mike:  Or the chairs aren't even pushed in.

Chad:  Say there's also throw pillows on the furniture. There's candles that match those things. There are all these little tiny details that pop.

And that's just taking a picture of this space. On the other hand, when you insert people into the mix, like your customers to pose like models, there's all these fun, little props. So, so let's go through them. Let's talk first about lawn care. What are some really great props to have on your photo shoot?

Lawn Care Photo Props

Mike:  For lawns themselves, we can do things where people are having picnics. We can do games for kids and families and things like that. Also, sometimes it's good if you have employees there to have everything they're going to need for a treatment. So you would need an entire truck of their stuff. 

Chad:  I think the idea is you have those service delivery shots, everything that they need, what they would usually using. And then on the other side of this with customers in the images, what's natural? Do you kick ball in the backyard? Do you push kids on a swing set?

Mike:  Do you throw ball with your dog? Are you playing volleyball in the background, kicking soccer balls, things like that. Having extra games helps.

Chad:  Even things that are just so simple, like a really great clean Adirondack chair. Or a book! Take a book along with you.

Mike:  Or a wineglass when you're at the table.

Landscape Design Photo Props

Chad:  So you brought up wine glasses and food. I think I get most excited about the photography that we do that's for landscape design/build clients. With these props, you really have so many things when it comes to food and drink to add pops of color and life.

This isn't an empty fire pit with no logs in it and just chairs. Now we're putting people in this image and what are some of the props that we've used in that situation?

Mike:  Sometimes you just got to think of like what you would do if you were going to use the outdoor living space. If there's a fire pit, we need wood, fire-starting stuff, lighter, paper, whatever.

Chad:  And the fire tools.

Mike:  Yeah. Whatever you need for actually using that design element. A lot of the times the homeowners have these props but we just need access to them or bring your own, which is probably the better idea.

Chad:  And the ooey, gooey s'mores! 

Mike:  Yes, they're good to have around a fire. And beer, unless you don't want to show alcohol, then glasses of tea or something like that. You might need some type of food or other props. Even if you haven't built the deck or patio, but you treat the lawn, having food on the patio is a great idea.

Chad:  And the color! I think about hardscaping materials. They're gray and brown for the most part, very earth-toned.

But I think about all the colors that we've been able to interject and images. Like salmon, that bright pink color. And peppers...red peppers, yellow peppers, purple onions....

Mike:  Apples, bright green like Granny Smith apples are good.

Chad:  Yeah, some big red steak! Not your impossible burger or whatever it was you were trying the other day. (both laugh). We're not even going to go there.

 

Using Landscaping & Lawn Care Photography to Sell an Outdoor Experience

Getting back to those lawn care images or even just lawn areas right next to patios. People have this whole outdoor experience. There could be yard games they might be playing like corn hole. There could be balls and frisbees, volleyball nets and all those things.

Again, what's really important to understand is when your prospective customer is seeing these images, they do want the patio, they do want the green grass, but ultimately what they're after is that experience.

It's the benefits that they can have, the life that they can live to the fullest. You can really communicate that really well by having the right props included on your photo shoots. And taking the extra time, a week before and even the day before these photo shoots, to make sure you're getting the most for your money.

I hope you learned a lot and I hope you're developing a great list of prompts right now in your head. Thanks a lot. have a really great day.

 

Want regular, practical tips like these to take your lawn care or landscaping business to the next level? Then consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. Or if you'd rather read our in-depth articles on Landscape Leadership's website, you can also subscribe to our blog   

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