Don't Forget to Take a "Before" Picture!

Don't Forget to Take a "Before" Picture!

Regina Yunghans
May 13, 2011

It's one of the most frustrating things: Putting all of that hard work and cash into a renovation and then realizing, when it's all done, that you didn't take a "before" picture. And there's no going back:

Photos of your kitchen, bath, whatever space you're renovating can be useful for a number of reasons:

Bragging Rights: Just showing friend and family how bad the space was before you renovated can be quite fulfilling.
Blogs: How else can your space ever be featured as a Before & After project here on Apartment Thearpy?
Resale: We've yet to see a home marketed in this way, but we're waiting to see a renovated home's listing complete with before and after shots to show just how value was added to the property.

Those are some pretty important reasons for taking "before" photographs. But if you, like us, forget to do so all the time, here are some ideas:

Write a note. Afix a note that reads "Don't forget before pics." to your toolbox, paint cans, whatever you go to when you start a project. We store all of our interior paint colors on a shelf in the basement. A reminder taped to their lids would prevent us from moving on to painting yet another room without first photographing it.
Check with the realtor: Did you rent or buy your place through a realtor? Check with them to see if they still have the listing information for your home. While this isn't ideal, it will provide you with some form of "before" photography.

Okay, so now that you've been reminded and you're setting off to photograph your "before" spaces before a hammer is swung or a brush is dipped, here are a few pointers for taking the shot itself:

Angle: Take some good overall shots at an angle you can anticipate will be good once the reno is complete. Before and after shots are so much more compelling when they're taken from the same angle.
Honesty: Don't junk it up on purpose or take the "before" shot halfway through demo when it really should be called a "during" shot. Simply take a photo of the space that reflects its traits before it was renovated - this will drive home the impact your renovation truly had on the space.

Image: Before & After: Brooklyn Brownstone Galley Kitchen

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