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Fine & Country Bulletin

The quality of your pictures is of the utmost importance when marketing your property. They will attract the attention of potential buyers' and demonstrate to potential vendors the quality of the service you offer. In this bulletin, we give you some tips on taking good photography - from the tools you need to software you can use to enhance your pictures.

We are also pleased to provide you details of the Fine & Country Warwickshire Gold Cup Polo event, with an electronic invitation and booking form - we launch our Telegraph App advertising campaign - and also provide you some exciting referral opportunities in the UK and France!

Creative and engaging photography

One of the key factors in successful lifestyle marketing is the quality of your photographs. You can have a fantastic property and a captivating story, but the animation is the most important element, and this is achieved through creative and engaging photography. Here are a few tips to taking good pictures: 

Choose the right equipment 

> Camera
Take 30 minutes to learn how to use the camera properly – especially image quality and exposure settings – Learning how to half-press the shutter to focus then recomposing will give much better results than just point & shoot!

Experiment with different settings then upload your tests to the computer and decide which looks best. Remember that every house is different so settings that make one house look great may not work as well for another.

Set camera to high/fine JPEG at the maximum resolution and ISO 100 for outdoors - 400 for indoor shots if you aren’t using a tripod of other camera support. If you are able to change the aperture the best all round option would be about F8.

Ensure your camera has a wide-zoom (E.g. 18-55mm or 12-24mm) lens so you can take good interior and exterior photos

> Tripod
A tripod is a very important piece of equipment that will give you the stability to take clearer, sharper and more consistent photographs. To prevent your pictures looking wonky, use a bubble spirit level to ensure your camera is perfectly angled for each room. Having the use of a tripod is essential to taking professional looking property photographs. They are relatively inexpensive but can make a huge difference to you shots. 

Room preparation 

> Indoor
Staging a room is a way of showing how best it can be used. Temporarily repositioning furniture in a room, putting lamps on tables and flowers in vases, or setting a table for dinner are the best ways to show off the property. The most important thing to remember is to clear away clutter, hide things in drawers, move them out of the room you are about to photograph, just make sure there are no personal belongings laying about.

If there are obvious special elements about the property it is crucial to show them now. Whether it is the view from the kitchen table into the garden or an inviting flowered terrace – show those gems to inspire a potential homebuyer to action.

> Outdoor
Make sure all bins are out of sight, remove all cars from the driveway, hide footballs, outdoor toys and roll the basketball hoop away – whatever the focus of your photo attend to the details and make sure the tidiness abounds. Also make sure the vendor isn’t standing in the window!


> Internal shots
Do the interior photos during the day, whilst you have available light from the windows. Natural sunlight makes for better pictures. Before taking pictures of your home for sale, open the blinds, remove the curtains, and let the sunlight in. Just make sure that you're always taking pictures with the light behind you to avoid glare.

Having all the lights on in your home can make it look warmer and more appealing so try a few pictures with the lights on and a few with them off. Then pick your favourite later, when you view the results on your computer.

Set your camera to manual, switch the flash off and ideally use a camera support. The flash will only light the foreground objects, whilst not reaching the far end of the room. It also makes for uneven lighting so it doesn't look natural and creates nasty shadows behind every object in the room. The ISO determines how sensitive the camera's sensor is to the light that reaches it. Use a low setting, such as ISO100, for outdoors, on a sunny day, then change it to 400 for indoor shots but if you are using a tripod of other support there is no need to change the ISO so keep it as low as possible at all times.

> External shots
Try to avoid taking photos when the sun is behind the property, as the property will come out dark – choose a different time of day.

If possible try and find a flowerbed in bloom to create a natural frame around the bottom of the image adding interest to the foreground of your shot. Also try filling the top of the frame with branches and leaves from a tree, this also creates a natural frame, but be sure not to allow the leaves to cover the elevation of the house.

Don't take exteriors on a dull, grey day. Wait for a clear blue sky. Have the sun behind you (but beware of your shadow) and take the front in the morning, then the back in the afternoon, or vice versa, depending on which way the property is facing.


Try snapping images from unusual perspectives, don’t just stand in the corner of the room, find an interesting area, maybe with eye catching furniture and think about creating depth in the photograph by having something positioned in the foreground.

When photographing a room the best height to shoot from is waist level keeping the camera parallel with the floor. This helps keep everything in proportion and all vertical lines straight making the photo look uniform and professional. You can do this by using a tripod set at this height or you can kneel down. If you shoot from head height it is very obvious how tall the camera operator is by how much they are looking down on the room, this combined with a wide-angle lens completely throws the proportions out and looks messy.

Think Art – Get in close and use macro to blur the background whilst keeping your interesting detail in focus, this draws the viewers’ attention to the subject. Frame a photo in what seems to be the most traditional method, then think of how you could make it more artistic, such as zooming in tight on a beautiful fixture or detail. If there is symmetry in a property, use it.

Make use of wide-angle lens with interior photos; position yourself where you have the best view of the room. Include important features like fire places, doors and windows so the potential buyer can get a good idea of how the room is laid out.
Make sure nothing is partially obscuring your view, such as the edge of a lampshade; set your camera lens to its widest, to take in as much of the room as possible. Hold the camera steady, use a tripod if you have one or place it on a solid surface like a cabinet or worktop making sure it is at the edge so not to get the surface in the photo.

Photography software

Photography software helps soften, sharpen and generally tidy up any imperfections. There are many photo-editing tools available; some very expensive (Adobe Photoshop), some free (Pixlr ( The most common tools you'll need are brightness, contrast settings and the ability to crop your images (all available in Pixlr): contrast to improve the definition of items in your property, brightness to adjust the lighting and crop to remove unwanted objects on the sides of your image.

Take a photography course

There are photography courses run by specialist companies or even adult education centers all over the country, and are a great place to start learning about taking better pictures. Study professional photographers’ photos online or in property magazines, look at what angles they use, what they have included/excluded from a shot, write down what makes them pleasing photos to look at. Also note their attention to detail; the smallest things in a photograph can make all the difference.


Hire a professional photographer

Sometimes leaving it to the professionals can be the best solution. Hiring a professional can make the difference between the house selling/renting quickly or not, and between winning an instruction due to the quality of your imagery or not. Please speak to the Professional Services department on 01223 361720 to arrange for our network of professional photographers to photograph your properties.


Telegraph App Adverts Campaign

"Be the first to promote your property in our advertisment within the Telegraph News App everyday only available through Fine & Country".

In April, May and September 2013, all Fine & Country properties are being advertised everyday in the news section of the Telegraph App. Fine & Country will be the first estate agent to advertise in the App in a bid to stay ahead of our competition and offer you another unique selling point.

The adverts will change every week in order to remain fresh and entice readers to click on the links, which take them to different areas of the Fine & Country website such as 'valuation request' and 'national property search'. Following on from the results of last year's advertising campaing in the Times and Sunday Times App, where advertising presenting an image of a stunning property received more clicks than USPs adverts, all our adverts will be property oriented to attracted the most interest from readers.

Head Office have created some marketing materials to enable you to promote this fantastic unique selling point. All materials available below, are on the member's hub and the digital hub for personalisation. 

> Direct Mail and Canvassing Cards

The direct mail and canvassing cards are available for you to order on the Fine & Country Digital Hub (button at the top left of this page). These canvassing cards can be distributed at your leisure to potential customers whilst the direct mail cards will allow you to reach a targeted socio-demographic segment of the population within your area, maximising the success of the campaign.



To see examples please click here.

> Mini mag

The mini-mag enables you to advertise the unique selling points of your properties and the current marketing campaign to a large number of potential customers in your local area.



 > Window Cards

Ready for you to print and place in your window, these window cards are a free and easy way to advertise the Telegraph App adverts

A3 window cards

 A4 window cards


> Newspaper/Magazine Advertisement

For changes to artwork, please contact the Studio or 01223 443 906

Newspaper Banner Advert

To see examples please click here.

Magazine Full Page Advert

  To see examples please click here.

> Emailer

An emailer has been created for you to send to your entire database of prospects.

> Press Release

The Fine & Country Media Centre has created a press release for you to send to your list of local media and generate widespread press.

Click here to download the press release.

FIne & Country Warwikshire Gold Cup

With over 5,000 visitors, the Fine & Country Warwickshire Gold Cup is fast becoming the second largest polo event in the country and is THE social event to invite your customers to. Over the forthcoming weeks we will be supplying a suite of marketing materials to help you promote this unique Fine & Country event to your clients. However, the booking form and electronic materials are already available.

Sunday 14th July 2013, 11am - 5pm 
Dallas Burston Polo Grounds, Stoneythorpe Estate, Southam, Nr Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV47 2DL
Online invitation and registration:  

As well as the polo there will be various activities throughout the day which can be enjoyed by the whole family, including obstacle courses and pony rides. There will be an international food court offering hog roast, paella, crepes and various other treats. You are welcome to bring your own picnic. Why not enjoy ice cold Pimms or Mojitos from a selection of bars throughout the venue, whilst exploring the exhibitors offering luxury products and services. This is clearly the event not to be missed!

For those of you wishing to have VIP access to the Dallas Buston Clubhouse, we offer a five course fine dining lunch prepared by Mark Higgs' Indievictual Catering, which creates mouth-watering, elegant quality cuisine from locally sourced products.


To book your VIP dining experience, please contact   

This is a free event however, a minimum donation per car will be &5.00 at the gate with 100% donation being gifted to the Estate Agency Foundation - Combating Homelessness (for more information on the charity or to make a donation, please visit

We are in the process of creating some marketing materials to help you promote the event. In the meantime, you can send an electronic invitation and booking form to all your customers by sending them the following link:






Have you booked your Royal Mail Door-to-Door delivery yet?

You now have the option to use Royal Mail Door-to-Door delivery as part of our marketing delivery services. The benefits of using this service are two fold: cost saving and a widespread reach. Being hand delivered, you are sure that your message will be delivered and will not require a stamp, which adds to the cost of delivery by post. You can hit an entire postcode sector from about &60 per 1,000 households (delivery cost only. Does not include design and printing costs.)

How does it work?

It could not be easier:


When should you book Royal Mail?

If you are distributing Finer on a quarterly basis (available only via traditional postage method), then we advise you to book Royal Mail Door-to-Door in between issues. As an example, bookings can be made as follows:



What marketing materials can I send?

We have many marketing materials you can send via Royal Mail. However, the key marketing tool is:

Mini Mags

Mini mags are a smaller and lighter version of Finer Lite. The mini mags are entirely bespoke to suit your needs; editorial pages to include the message of your choice (pre-written text can be used as part of the quarterly marketing campaign) and a list of properties which can be for sale, sold, to let or let.

As this is distributed to a postcode district eg CB1 5, it hits a less targeted but wider audience to that of Finer or Finer Lite. As such if you have a core brand you may wish to consider a two pronged attack with a 16 page version, 8 pages dedicated to Fine & Country and 8 pages dedicated to your core brand.

Confidential Marketing - Two exclusive properties in Cannes


Dear Fine & Country colleagues,

Working in the upper quartile, we have all come across sellers who do not want their properties “advertised” to the open market. The question for us as agents is “how do we sell a secret?”  With the Fine & Country network, it doesn’t have to be a secret… Maybe you know someone who might be interested in a property in Cannes.

What’s in it for you? 25% referral fee of our 6% commission (That is a full UK commission)!!! 

What’s so special about these 2 properties? 

> In the heart of the famous Croisette 
> Overlooking Cannes’ glamorous sandy beaches 
> Opposite the Palais des Festivals – with balconies overlooking the iconic red carpet (if you want a front seat to view Brad Pitt there’s nowhere better!)
> They are both renovated to a luxury standard 
> They are both extremely rare properties in an extraordinary location 
> Both have great short term let options during high season and year round congresses and festivals (the Cannes Film Festival being the most well-known of them) – giving the owners reliable income streams if they desire them

For more information please contact

Fine & Country Cannes
Tel: +33 (0)4 92 59 25 93/4

Find a buyer and earn £25,000 in referral fee!


Parc Maes Ffynnon, NP16, Itton, Near Chepstow
Offers In Excess Of & 5,500,000 - 7 Bedrooms - Country House
Potential referral fee: &25,000

Remarkable is an apt description for this miniature country estate which is secluded towards the top of a ridge amidst some 150 acres of fine pasture and woodland and yet only a few miles from the old Severn Bridge at Chepstow.

Remarkable because it is a modern mansion which was designed and built for the vendor. It was completed to an exacting specification in 2007, and combines the character and appeal of a period country house with the best of up to date efficiency in technology, materials and design.


Remarkable because it took the vision of one family to find and secure such a wonderful setting for their dream home, and then deliver such an impressive and unique building.

A true Grand Design.

For more information please contact:

John Parry
Fine & Country Monmouth
Tel: 01600 713030  

Click here to view the property on the Fine & Country website. 


New Fine & Country Linkedin Page


After Facebook and Twitter, the Media Centre takes on another social media giant; Linkedin. Why going on Linkedin? Whilst some people think that LinkedIn is a platform for graduates and mid-level management to search for a job, LinkedIn is also a great platform for Fine & Country to interact with a targeted audience of educated professionals who are or will become a Fine & Country customer. 

A few facts about LinkedIn

• As of December 31, 2012, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the internet with more than 200 million members in over 200 countries and territories.

• As of December 31, 2012 (the end of the fourth quarter), professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of approximately two new members per second.

• As of the school year ending May 2012, there are over 20 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. They are LinkedIn's fastest-growing demographic.

• As of December 31, 2012, LinkedIn counts executives from all 2012 Fortune 500 companies as members; its corporate talent solutions are used by 86 of the Fortune 100 companies.

• More than 2.7 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages.


Fine & Country LinkedIn page

We have created a Fine & Country company page which you can view on: As for Facebook and Twitter, we will update the LinkedIn page on a regular basis with market comments and other industry related topics to attract and interact with LinkedIn users.


How can you help?

> Subscribe to the page

> Send us industry related comments to post on our wall

> Participate to some of the discussion

Do not hesitate to send us your feedback to