These real estate photography tips can help you level up your shooting game and develop the business. Due to the constant demand for real estate photographers, this direction may be attractive in terms of building a career or the ability to replenish your income from freelance.
However, success in this area requires knowledge of some techniques and understanding of the factors that distinguish this genre from other photographic fields. This real estate photo tips guide contains instructions from a huge community of photographers from around the world, starting from basic tips and preparation to the professional photo editing methods.
Choosing the most suitable time is very important for a real estate photographer. If you have the opportunity, schedule a daytime photoshoot. Thus, you will get a lot of natural light and bright, saturated colors in your photos.
If the weather is cloudy, you should choose a different time for shooting. Some people like to photograph real estate during sunset. Undoubtedly, you can get very beautiful pictures at this time of the day. However, you must remember one very important aspect.
The sun should be behind the house. Thus, you will get really good lighting in this position. To choose the right time for shooting, we recommend using the ‘Golden Hour’ application.
It will show the best period for evening shooting. ‘The Weather Channel’ will give you the weather information you need.
The ideas below are universal and suitable for most situations. Read this list carefully and use these tips during shooting:
Taking these standard shots, you don’t need to focus on the details. Your task is to demonstrate the house as a whole, present it to potential buyers. You will take detailed pictures later.
At this stage, you need to cover the entire property as detailed as possible without paying attention to the artistic aspect. Besides, taking these images is a fairly simple way of how to get into real estate photography. You can get the first high-quality photos for your portfolio without problems.
At the same time, you can save money on very expensive lenses. You just need to get a Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens, which allows you to take sharp and detailed photos with a wide shooting angle.
To understand how to take real estate photos correctly, you must remember that natural light is the best option. No artificial light sources can replace the Sun. Thus, you can get very beautiful, saturated shadows.
Moreover, you can enhance the effect of natural light with LED panels and reflectors. They highlight important interior details such as metal, wood or textile furniture.
Additionally, you can use the LightTrac application. It shows you where the Sun is at any time. Information about the Sun position and how it gets into your house will help you get better photos.
This is a typical shooting scheme used by lots of interior photographers working for real estate agencies. I am sure you have seen similar examples with your own eyes: 2 walls, a carpet, a ceiling, half of a ceiling fan, one window.
There isn’t any context, anything interesting, any hint to connect this room with the rest of the space of the house.
Move around. Place the camera over the bed, put it on the countertop, next to the stairs, and take a picture through the doorway. In other words, breathe context into the photo and add elements of architecture to make a real estate photo more interesting.
You can use a linear, angular or three-point perspective to boost your creativity.
Add a little style and life by placing a fruit vase or flowers in the room. It is better to use only one color. For example, collect a bouquet of pink roses or put only green apples on a dish.
Take care of the order in the room and remove all unnecessary items. Hide the toiletries in the bathroom, oils and spices in the kitchen or take away papers from the table.
If you intend to photograph the kitchen, remove all the appliances. It looks more attractive and neat without toasters, blenders, and other things.
This may come as a shock, but many good real estate photos you see online are the result of combining frames with different exposures. For example, you have a hardwood floor with terrible glare from the windows.
You can take one picture with a well-exposed room, and the other with the floor. Then you open photos in Photoshop and use the Pen, hiding the incorrectly exposed floor and eliminating glare.
The same technique is used for reflections on stainless surfaces or in case the flash is mounted in a good place but casts a shadow. You can simply show the area without glare. Of course, you need two photos, but it's a problem.
Besides, following this method you can achieve maximum sharpness throughout the entire photo. Mind that for high-quality photo post-processing, we recommend using real estate image editing services.
Most houses look more attractive when shooting in natural light. If you don’t have a professional flash or a very steady hand, pictures taken without a tripod in natural light may look dark and blurry. Tripods allow you to shoot with slower shutter speeds.
You get the opportunity to use natural light while preserving the sharpness of the image. In terms of camera settings, we recommend using ISO100 as the base and aperture priority between F7.1-11. These settings will give you the most dramatic results, especially when shooting at dusk.
When buying a digital camera, you should pay attention to the sensor size but not to megapixels. Choosing larger sensors will give you better picture quality. Equally important for realty photography is the fact that large sensors allow you to capture more space.
Here you can see an example of a photograph that perfectly demonstrates the possibilities of a photographer with the right equipment. Pink borders show how a standard digital camera “sees” the space.
Blue lines demonstrate what you can capture with a full-frame camera. In this case, you do not have to buy the most expensive camera; beginners can look in the direction of models such as Canon Rebel T6i or 750D.
One of the popular trends in modern photography for real estate is shooting with fisheye lenses. This is a rather dubious approach that seems ridiculous and creates the wrong impression of a home on buyers. If you artificially increase the space with a lens, this will not attract more buyers.
Try to demonstrate the space accurately and you will be the best in your field. For example, you can use an L-series lens. Canon EF 17-40mm has excellent optics.
You will get high-quality pictures with excellent clarity, sharpness, and low aberrations. The focal length of this lens allows you to photograph both the interior and exterior of the house. By combining this lens with a crop sensor camera, you get a winning focal length of about 27-64mm for wide-angle views.
One of the most important real estate photography tips is to use external flashes. Most standard flashes are too weak to provide you with sufficient light. Therefore, to take professional-looking real estate images, you need to mount on external flashes.
But you should not use only the flash on the camera. Instead, buy a couple of cheap racks and put the lighting sources onto them. This will provide more realistic lighting, and also allow you to use several sources to illuminate walkways, stairs and remote rooms that look dark and frightening without light. External additional flashes will allow you to get rid of the shadows created by one light source.
As for choosing a flash, devices such as the Yongnuo 560 III, Canon Speedlites and Profoto D1 Air 1000W/s have proven their worth in realty photography. You can use them or look for close analogs.
Use only circular polarizing filters. Remember, it should fully fit your lens in size. Since the filter delays from 50 to 75 percent of the light, you should remove it before shooting real estate.
Hoya and Marumi polarizing filters are very popular among photographers due to their quality. The Hoya filters are known for their incredibly precise and natural colors. Also, you can find many flattering words about the BNH filters.
Real estate photography requires good lighting. If you don’t have special lighting equipment or don’t know how to use it, you can try these camera settings to maintain the high quality of your real estate photo.
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 be between 1/60 and 1/2 second. This value depends on the amount of light in the room.
ISO. Using higher shutter speeds, you should set a higher ISO value. Be careful because very high ISO can cause too much digital noise. The most suitable ISO value is below 400.
When doing photography for real estate with wide-angle lenses, you may have some problems with perspective distortion. Specialists usually indicate 2 types of distortion:
Barrel distortion: If you use ultra-wide zooms, then you can observe curved lines around the edges of the picture.
Perspective distortion: It appears when you use wide-angle lenses. In this case, the perspective will seem exaggerated since it is perceived differently than by the brain and eyes.
You can fix these issues during photo editing.
In general, you can get rid of unnecessary elements applying the clone stamp tool in Photoshop. Activate the Clone Stamp and select the desired area. After that, you can delete the object by cloning and painting it.
Next, we recommend using curves. You can find the Curves tool in the Image menu, then select Adjustments and open Curves. In the window that appears, select Auto.
By moving the diagonal line up or down you can make your real estate photo darker or brighter. Click OK when you get the desired result.
Experiment until you find your own style. You can save your favorite settings in the form of Lightroom presets. Over time, you will have enough ready-made filters for each shot.
Also, for these purposes, you can download free real estate Lightroom presets for high-quality photo editing without even being a professional in color correction.
Be careful with the lights in the rooms. Artificial lighting looks yellow while sunlight is bluer.
Most tips for real estate photography recommend balancing light temperatures. You can do it in Photoshop or Lightroom and get a more professional look in your pictures.
It is better to use the Adjustment Brush for these purposes. If you want to get a warmer light, move the temperature of the light to blue with a brush. Don’t stop until the light becomes neutral and merges with the surrounding background. You will get softer blending if you increase brush size, strength, and feathering.