Are you a complete beginner when it comes to real estate photography? You’ve come to the right place. Using quality photos in real estate listings can make all the difference. This article provides real estate photography tips and resources from real estate and photography professionals who’ll give you great beginner advice on taking photos that sell homes. Let’s get started!
As technology continues to advance, you have other amazing visual options to offer along with your professional quality real estate pictures. Many clients are going to expect a virtual tour of their property as part of the services you provide.
Virtual tours can expose a far wider range of potential clients to the listing in ways that only an in-person open house tour could in the past. Virtual tours are not simply a tool to supplement a well-rounded listing on the MLS; with Instagram and other social platforms, you can expose people who are genuinely invested in your area to walk through a great listing on the market. Learn more about this cutting edge technology by reading a free e-book from Matterport, “Top 10 Ways to Use VR to Win Listings in Real Estate.”
2. Invest In a Wide Angle Lens
Ivan Ciraj, Sales Representative, Square One Condos
Ciraj gives two specific real estate photography tips. First, he states that using a wide angle lens is essential to capturing the full essence of the space. Specifically, he states that using a wide angle camera lens allows for wider shots that give a better sense of depth and detail.
Secondly, if you want further direction in how to take real estate photos, Ivan stressed that using HDR photography will make you stand out from the crowd. HDR photography is when you take three photos of the same scene but at different shutter speeds for a combination of different lighting. In HDR, these three photos are merged into one that creates a combination of different lighting and brings out the details.
When potential buyers are looking at photos online, HDR leaves a memorable note due to its unique and polished look.
3. Compose Your Pictures to Emphasize Space and Natural Light
Leah Brown, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services | Anderson Properties
Space and natural light are two qualities that home buyers are always looking for. That’s why Leah Brown of Berkshire Hathaway advises that you keep space and natural light in mind as her top real estate photography tip. For a perfect example of this technique, check her comparison pictures below. Which looks more appealing?
4. Use Landscape Orientation for Optimal Viewing
John B Thomas, Jr., Realtor and Associate Broker, RE/MAX & WorldVentures
“The human eye sees the world in a roughly 4:3 aspect ratio, though the standard ratio is moving to 16:9, so our brain finds the horizontal/landscape view more pleasing than the smartphone vertical picture we see far too often.”
5. Hire a Professional Photographer
Blain Handley, Realtor, Keller Williams
“[Don’t] scrimp on the cost of a highly experienced real estate photographer in the field. This industry is littered with agents who take photos of high-dollar properties with their smartphones. Having professionally-taken photos is truly the key to marketing and selling the home.”
While there are many ways in which you can take real estate photos with a professional quality, many agents will find their time best used communicating with clients instead. Want to learn how to hire a photographer who won’t let you down? Check out Placester’s awesome guide here.
6. Forget Megapixels and Buy a Full Frame Camera
Chris Feltus, Realtor, United Real Estate
“Sensor size, not megapixels, is the most important criteria to consider when purchasing a new digital camera. Generally speaking, larger sensors mean better image quality, better low light performance, but more importantly, a wider field of view, which allows you to capture more of the room in your picture.”
Take a look at the example image below to see the difference in what a realtor could capture with the right photography tools. The pink box is what your typical digital camera would capture. The dark blue line bordering the photo is what a full frame camera would capture.
7. Dedicate Several Hours for Your Photoshoot
Giovanni Farinacci, Courtier Immobilier Real Estate Broker, Keller Williams Prestige
“I tend to orchestrate the shoot going room per room. A decent shoot takes about two hours for a 3,000-square-foot home.”
8. Emphasize the Best Feature in Each Room
Liat Tzoubari, Director of Sales & Marketing, Apartable
“Our top tip for real estate photography would be to take a photo that emphasizes each room’s selling point, whether it is the natural light in the room, the spaciousness, or the little nook in the corner that will make buyers curious to see more.”
For outstanding advice on how to take real estate photos, Linova Photography put together a room-by-room guide showing you how to prepare each one for your photo shoot. Here are a few tips for preparing kitchens and bathrooms for your photo shoot:
Preparing the Kitchen for a Photo Shoot:
- Remove everything from the top and doors of the fridge. This includes magnets, business cards, photos, etc.
- Clear and wipe off the counters. Clean counters look great in photos.
- Hide dish soaps, sponges and paper towels.
- Set up the kitchen or dining table with nice set of dishes.
- A bowl of fruit or bouquet of flowers presents nicely in the photos.
Preparing the Bathroom for a Photo Shoot:
- Put down toilet lids.
- Hide any toiletries that are in the shower or bath, as well as on the counter.
- Clean mirrors and any glass surfaces.
- Remove old towels from doors, showers and bathtubs. Hang a new set of towels that coordinate with the paint or tiles.
- Depending on the space, a flower or plant can add a nice touch.
Angela Colley, Realtor.com
In her real estate photography tips, Angela Colley covers the importance of megapixels (they’re not important), cleaning the home before your shoot, waiting for the right weather, removing knickknacks, and how little things can make or break a picture of a home.
11. Add a Pop of Color to Bring Your Photos to Life
Tamela Ekstrom, Owner & Broker, HAVEN Real Estate + Design
“When we are selling homes, we like a neutral color pallet so the homes appeal to a larger pool of buyers. However, in real estate photography, it’s the pops of bright color that photograph well. My biggest tip is using colorful artwork and vibrant pillows to make real estate photos pop and garner attention.”
12. Take Shots During the “Magic Hour” at Dusk
Megan Luce and Kelly Dinnsen from Willis Allen Real Estate
Shooting exteriors at dusk is one real estate photography tip that can yield dramatic results. For example, check out this gorgeous shot from Willis Allen Real Estate:
When learning how to take real estate photos, a key tip is not ending the photo at the shot. Photos often don’t match the human eye experience of the room, and sometimes can misrepresent beautiful features. Be sure to give your real estate pictures a close review and fix problem areas.
Alan Carville discussed one particular problem, called the “keystone effect,” that often occurs around architectural features. Sometimes lenses add distortion to vertical lines in your photographs, making tall lines appear bowed or leaning backward, as in the example below. Luckily, this can be fixed in Photoshop if you know what to look for.
14. Use a Wide Angle Lens, Not a Fisheye
Jennifer Allwood, Owner, The Magic Brush, Inc.
“There is a trend right now in real estate photography to shoot homes with poor quality fisheye lenses. Not only does this look ridiculous, but it’s deceiving to the potential buyer. Making a space look larger than it is by using a lens that distorts the area is not going to increase a buyer’s interest. They are going to arrive expecting a mansion and viewing a shack. Honest photos which exemplify the space are best.”
15. Use a Tripod to Shoot in Natural Light and Get Sharper Images
Erin Spain, Home and DIY Blogger
“Most homes look much more appealing when shot in natural light. If you don’t have professional flash equipment or a very steady hand, pictures taken without a tripod in natural light will look dark and blurry. Tripods allow you to shoot at slower shutter speeds to take advantage of natural light while still keeping images sharp.”
16. Begin with Preset Options
If you want to learn how to take professional quality real estate photos, Smith advises beginning with preset editing options in Photoshop or Lightroom. She particularly advocated for the SLR Lounge Lightroom presets to give your real estate pictures a professional edge.
17. Use Current Technology, Like Drones
Drones can show a perspective and range of space that traditional photos just can’t match. As a real estate photography “don’t,” Than Merrill strongly suggests avoiding any photographs of listings with anything personal or specific to the previous owner. Family holiday decor, while adorable to the people who live there, can impact potential buyer perceptions.
18. Take a Video Course
Ever wanted to do the twilight exterior photo shoot? The results can be incredible real estate photos! Although it might look simple, there is a method to getting the perfect shot. Take a look at this video excerpt from a course by master photographer Mike Kelley. There’s lots of great real estate photography tips here to get you started. If the video piques your interest, you can also download the full eight-hour course from the Fstoppers store.
While some say you should just hire out, there are some real estate photography tips that will have your photos looking like a million bucks. Over on Design Sponge, Maxwell Tielman put together a list of five tips and tricks to take better real estate pictures of interiors.
His five tips give specific advice and direction on:
- Using natural light
- Shooting in RAW mode
- Shooting straight into a room
- Capturing more of a room by moving furniture or backing up into a doorway (as seen below)
- Understanding aperture and depth of field
Be sure to see Maxwell Tielman’s Five Tips and Tricks to shooting interiors for even more information on how to make your interior real estate photography pop.
20. Watch for Mirror Reflections
Have you ever seen real estate pictures where you can see the reflection of the agent in the shot? Sometimes you can learn from someone else’s mistakes, and this article by the folks at Adorama gives you nine great examples (with pictures). One great tip is to watch for flash reflection or your reflection in mirrors. If possible, take the picture from a different angle.
Vacant lots are challenging for any agent to photograph. While they might have fantastic features that make them the perfect spot for a number of options, showcasing these features can seem impossible in real estate pictures.
What if you need to take photos of a vacant lot? Steve Sanders at LotNetwork.com has the perfect article for you. From how many photos you should include to do’s and don’ts of which angles you should shoot, this article has a lot of advice for capturing photos that sell.
Although sometimes you can’t afford an expensive DSLR (digital single lens reflex camera), it doesn’t mean your photos have to suffer. Our smartphones are our life, and the photo quality potential from the newest phones can produce truly stunning photos if used correctly.
The article by AHRN blog above contains eight real estate photography tips from Kristin at the Automated Housing Referral Network on how to perfect your real estate photos using only your smartphone.
Need a mini course on how to take real estate photos? Don’t be ashamed to dive in and learn all you can from the professionals who know it best. Check out this five-part course that covers everything from file management to memory cards to Lightroom presets in crafting the perfect real estate pictures.
24. Use DSLR Professional Photography
According to a 2013 Redfin study, homes that are professionally photographed provide sharper images, and sharper images sell faster. “Across all price tiers, homes with DSLR photography were more likely to sell within six months than homes with point-and-shoot photos.” The study also showed that “The sharpest 10 percent of photos sold at or above list price 44 percent of the time, while listings with average sharpness sold at or above list just 13 percent of the time.”
25. Analyze Great Real Estate Photographs to See Why They Work
One of the best ways to learn how to master real estate photography is to analyze great pictures to see why they work. We all know when realtor photography doesn’t work, but it’s important to look at the angles, lighting, staging, and other variables of great shots to guide how to take real estate photos for optimum results.
Over on Placester’s Real Estate Academy, they have an excellent write up on what to look for when assessing great real estate pictures. They walk you through dozens of examples and explain why they work and strategies to get similar results in your own photos.
Bonus: Knowing the Proper Angles to Take Photos Means Everything
“If you’re new to taking real estate photos, the best way to learn what angles will showcase your listings best is by practicing and making sure also that you take lots of photos. You can always delete bad photos but you cannot select a photo if you haven’t taken it. I suggest taking photos of each room from almost every angle that is possible.”
The Bottom Line
A big thanks to everyone who contributed and shared their tips and tricks to fantastic real estate photography. Now it’s your turn: What’s your favorite real estate photography tip? Let us know in the comments below.
If you liked all the advice on how to take real estate photos, we also asked 50 experts for their best real estate marketing idea. Click here to see what they told us!