Tips For Real Estate Photography

22 Real Estate Photography Tips for Beginners


22 Real Estate Photography Tips for Beginners

Use these 22 real estate photography tips to avoid the mistakes that I made.

1. Choose Right Time

Choosing the right time is very important for real estate photographers. If you have the opportunity, schedule a photo shoot at the daytime. This way, you will get a lot of natural light and bright, saturated colors in your pictures.

If the weather is cloudy, you should choose another time for shooting. Some people like to photograph real estate during the sunset. Undoubtedly, you can get very beautiful shots in this period of the day.

However, you should consider one very important aspect. The sun should be behind the house. Thus, you will get really good lighting in this position. Download The Weather Channel (AndroidiOS) or Dark Sky Weather (AndroidiOS) app to know whether condition beforehand and plan your photoshoot right.

2. Examine the Property Beforehand

Do not rush. First, you have to learn every nuance of the house. Remember that they may be very different, so you must pay attention to every detail. Before the photo session, walk around the house and yard, and make a few shots.

Take 2-3 pictures of each room. Do not forget to take 1-3 photos of the backyard and 1-2 photos of the facade of the house.

Then you should examine these shots very attentively to identify features that should be considered when taking professional photos. This approach helps photographers see those details that seem imperceptible at first glance but have great importance.

In addition, this way, you will be able to ensure that the house is ready for shooting. Probably, you may need some time to correct some imperfections.

3. Open Blinds/Windows

Figuring out how to shoot real estate photography correctly, you must remember that natural light is the best option. No artificial light sources can replace the sun.

This way only you can get very beautiful, saturated shadows. Enhance the effect of natural light with LED panels and reflectors. They will help you highlight important details, such as metal, wooden or textile elements of furniture.

Besides, natural light will make your photos as realistic as possible, and the clients will see how the house actually looks.

4. Turn On All the Lights

This is one of the basic but at the same time very useful tips for real estate photography. Turning the lights on and off, you can achieve different effects. It all depends on your goals. For example, the additional light will give some warmth and coziness to your pictures.

Nevertheless, you should remember that such photos require light temperature correction during further photo editing.

Working with the lights off will bring you a balanced temperature, but such pictures will look quite cold.

5. Set Prices Right

According to the United States Department of Labor report, real estate photography job is the most well-paid on the market.

The beginning photographers have around $40,000 per year, the top real estate specialists make between $40,000 and $93,000. If you want to receive more, you should provide educational lectures and materials like online or printed books on real estate photography.

Study to shoot a real estate video and make a 3D tour. The 3D tour service brings me about $5000 per a month.

6. Use a Tripod in Low Light

One day I was asked to photograph a house decorated with Christmas lights at night. I took a lot of shots but all the pictures were blurry. I asked professional photo editors to eliminate these defects.

After that, I realized that in order to get the best real estate photography at night or in poor lighting conditions, you need to use a tripod. It will help you achieve good image sharpness and simplify the shooting process.

7. Choose a Full-Frame Camera

Choosing the best camera for real estate photography is key to your success. I advise you to pay attention to the full frame cameras. They are perfect for this type of shooting.

The fact is that a cropped sensor camera can’t get a lot of light and full-frame cameras cope with this task perfectly.

However, if you do not have the opportunity to buy such a device, choose any camera with interchangeable lenses. This way you can make any, even the simplest camera body, more professional.

8. Buy Wide-Angle Lenses

To take pro-level real estate photos, you must use good lenses that aren’t fixed. Very often, they play an even bigger role than a camera itself.

The main task of a photographer is to move around the object quickly and cover the maximum space. Choose wide-angle lenses. They will help you visually enlarge the room and create a more comfortable and inviting look.

9. Use Flashes

Add external flashes to your residential photography toolkit. As a rule, the standard flashes are too weak. This is not enough to take professional images with even lighting. I advise you to use an external flash.

You can attach it to your camera or place it anywhere to improve lighting and highlight important details.

10. Use Polarizing Filters

Make sure you get a filter that has the right size for your particular lens and make sure it’s a circular polarizing filter. If you don’t know how to shoot real estate photography, I recommend not forget to take the filter off or the filter blocks off around 50% to 75% of your light.

I’ve been using polarizing filters by Hoya and Marumi before and they’re both great. Although I prefer the Hoya filters as the colors seem to be more faithful. I’ve heard that filters by BNH are also very good.

11. Buy Umbrella Brackets

Notice, that the farther you place the umbrella, the less light will come through it. Remember about a bounce umbrella. It always has a lining, which can be either silver or gold.

A white lining will be the best decision. By changing the position of an umbrella, you will affect the power of flash.

12. Gather Essential Accessories

Have the sand bags in your arsenal. They guarantee your light stands or umbrellas will not fall down and spoil the clients’ furniture or floor.

I had an interior photo session in Phoenix, and my battery was dead. I didn’t have spare ones, and had to go in the local shop to buy them. It took much time, and the client was dissatisfied. Always have extra batteries in your bag. Let them just be there, even if you use them only once in your life.

Be careful with your drone while using it not to fall and be broken. The FAA reports the top two uses of commercial using of drones are aerial photography (34 %) and real estate (26 %). There are many no drone zones in the USA. Install the FAA’s safety application, which uses your GPS location to feed you real-time data about airspace restrictions and flying rules.

Have a step ladder that should be very small and be moved with only one hand. Its normal weight is 4.2 kg. It occupies not much place. For instance, it can be placed in a small golf car. By placing elbows on a ladder, you will avoid camera shaking.

I always have two 64GB memory cards if something lags.

Ask your customer to clean the room or yard in advance. If you shoot an interior photo, then you need to carry a mini vacuum cleaner and a rag with detergent. But in order to facilitate the process of photo retouching or to create certain lighting effects, carry cleaning cloths or devices to wipe the window or remove the defects or mud from a table or furniture.

13. Find Creative Angles of Shooting

Do not photograph the interior of the room from the corner. Such photos look very trivially. Try to find more interesting, unusual angles. This is a very important thing in real estate photography business.

For example, you can shoot a room from a doorway. Thus, you may capture the maximum amount of space and show the whole room. Also, do not forget to pay attention to details. If you notice any distracting elements, such as a picture or some pieces of furniture, remove them from the frame to create a laconic and clear image.

14. Use Props

Stage a bouquet of flowers and a bowl of fruit. This prop adds life and style without breaking the bank. Try just one color; all green apples or all red roses.

Get rid of clutter (stacks of paper, trash cans, spices and oils in the kitchen, and toiletries in the bathroom), and stage interiors for best results.

Remove all kitchen devices from counter tops. Toasters, blenders, shakers, and spices should all be placed away. Kitchens look best when they are open and clear of clutter.

15. Set Proper Camera Settings

Residential photography requires good lighting. If you do not have special lighting equipment or do not know how to use it, you can try these camera settings to keep the quality of your photos high.

Aperture. Use an aperture value from f/7.1 to f/9. However, if you want to highlight some objects, you can try a shallow depth of field.

Shutter speed. The shutter speed should normally be between 1/60 and 1/2 a second. This value is dependent on the amount of light in the room.

16. Take Care of ISO Settings

Higher shutter speeds require increasing the ISO value. Do not forget that too high ISO can add a lot of digital noise to your photos. Try to set ISO below 400.

Learn your camera, experiment, and find the perfect value that will not spoil the quality of your pictures.

17. Fix Color Temperature

The fact is that the result will depend not only on your skills and equipment. Typically, image quality hinges on many factors. For example, it may be affected by lighting, bad weather conditions, incorrect shadows, or unwanted clutter.

Learn how to correct light temperature. This skill will help you eliminate a lot of problems very easily and quickly.

For example, very often artificial lighting in the bathroom can give an unpleasant yellow tint. To eliminate this defect, you just need to move the yellow (or orange) slider until the yellow shade turns into a plain white light.

By the way, such a problem will occur quite often if you use different light sources simultaneously, for example, combining daylight with LED, CFL, and halogen lamps.

18. Lighting for Exteriors

Experiment with different lighting for real estate photography on location and take pictures with mixed lighting.

Make sure your exterior photos are filled with sunlight.

Do not remove all shadows while editing.

Feel free to adjust curtains to correct the contrast in photos.

Knowing the address of the property, it’s easy to find its location on Google Maps, and see which direction the house faces. It will give you a general idea of when it’s better to do a photo session.

Don’t photograph straight into bright windows – it makes the camera cut on the exposure.

19. Lighting for Interiors

Take photos only from a standing position using a tripod to get rid of blurred images.

Focus on the subject (animal, flowers, bookshelf, table, etc.) and adjust the light to it. Move the things in the room to compose the real estate photo well.

Take two lenses – a wide-angle one (24mm) is for all photos, a normal one (50mm) is for particular decorations/details in the room.

Natural light with LED panels and several reflectors create magic.

Turn of the exterior lights.

Don’t be afraid of using HDR effect, additional lights, a flash or strobe lights for photography.

Give preference to natural light.

A small (f/5.6-f/11) aperture is highly recommended if you want to receive a bokehlicious look.

20. Correct Lens Distortion

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Perspective distortion is a fairly common problem in photography for real estate. It occurs because of the use of wide-angle lenses. There are two types of distortion:

Barrel distortion: This defect occurs when using ultra-wide zooms. In this case, the photographer gets curved lines near the edge of the image instead of straight ones.

Perspective distortion: This is a feature of wide-angle lenses. The fact is that the perspective looks exaggerated because it differs from the usual perception of human eyes and the brain.

In order to eliminate these shortcomings, it is necessary to use photo editing tools correctly.

21. Outsource Photo Editing

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Order Real Estate Photo Editing

Using outsourcing services does not mean that you are too weak in photo editing. On the contrary, true real estate photography business professionals, who value their time, resort to such services constantly. Just try and you’ll surely like the result!

22. Shoot in RAW

This file format is for a deep and professional editing. 90% of the real estate photographers take JPEG photos and are satisfy with the quality they have.


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