Photographing Display Homes

Courtney Dunn
February 10, 2023

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to photograph a display home? We don’t blame you for being curious! Display homes are designed to highlight the best of both the build and the styling—so it makes sense that photographing these displays is an experience. While we photograph display homes all across Australia and New Zealand, one of our franchisees—Kate from the Sunshine Coast—spends a lot of time shooting these spaces. This month, we sat down with Kate to find out what it’s like to photograph a display home.

Q&A with Kate Davey

What was your first experience photographing a display home?

Not long after taking over the business, I was informed about the display homes in Aura that had been arranged by the previous owner and that I was going to continue photographing. I had Nick come up from the Gold Coast so I could shadow him for four or five homes, but there was only one that was ready to be photographed while he was here. It was a month later that I went out to shoot my first display home. I was a little nervous, but also comforted by the fact that I wasn’t on any time constraints—nor did I have anyone following me around!

Do you have any memorable experiences?

There’s no one memorable experience, as such, but the great thing about photographing display homes is that they are all new builds that are staged beautifully—so there are many occasions where you walk in going ‘WOW’, and you get excited about all the amazing spaces to photograph. Although, there was this one home that still had workmen doing stuff when I was trying to photograph, so I got half the shots but ended up going back. The second time I was there, I was told to ‘be careful outside—there was a brown snake right there the other day’!

Have you come up with a routine? 

It took a while, but after doing a few in a row you definitely find your groove! I always introduce myself to the builder and ask if they are all good for me to go through, then I head in and start from the front and work my way to the back. Display homes are all set up and ready to go, with everything in its place and lights already on—so you only need to make minor (if any) adjustments as you go.

Every type of shoot has its challenges, what would you say is unique to display homes? 

I think the thing for me was that, initially, I went in photographing them like I would a real estate listing—but these homes are all about the builder! I realised I wanted to have fun shooting these while also showcasing the different elements the builder brought to the home.

What was your most challenging experience? 

Haha—that would be a builder saying the home is ready to be photographed, but it’s not and they still have workmen wandering around while you’re trying to photograph. In these cases, it’s possible to photograph and do what you can—although this can really slow you down. So, if you can come back, it’s good to arrange for another day.

What is unique to display homes, and when is the best time to photograph them? 

Everything is perfect, the builder is showcasing the best of their designs, plus the property is immaculately staged. I find most of them light and bright, so both morning and afternoon turn out great—but, for me, I like it in the morning when I’m feeling nice and fresh, so I can go in all creative and capture the special features of the home.

What is your favourite thing about photographing a display home? 

Everything is staged perfectly, so all the rooms are enjoyable to photograph. I especially enjoyed photographing the bathrooms—these days they are next level. I love a floating bathroom cabinet and capturing a front-on shot. When it comes to entrance ways, there are some that I walk into and think, ‘Wow I love this.’ It’s easy to get carried away photographing different spaces and angles.

It’s no secret that—like Kate—everyone here at RPP loves photographing display homes! Although they do need to be approached a certain way, display homes allow our photographers to get creative and take some show-stopping images. Do you have a display home that needs to be photographed? We’ll capture everything that makes it special.