10 Photography Tips for Real Estate

Listing Real Estate photos are usually a buyer’s first impression of a house and will determine whether it’s worthy continue looking into. According to a study, 79% of buyers use online resources to buy a house — and real estate listing photos are often the first thing buyers see when looking at homes online. All the more reason for you to put these ten real estate photography tips to good use.

Whether you’re a seasoned photographer, a real estate agency or you simply have a spare house or two, these are the 10 Photography Tips for Real Estate that will make life better for everyone.


Make a photography plan, think for a bit

Congratulations! Reading these tips is a great beginning, you’ve already started the first and most important part. Doing research before a shooting day is a great start and will save you precious time on shooting day.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Which photos do I need?
  • What would the buyer would like to see?
  • What are special features of the house that I can highlight?
  • What is the weather going to be like?
  • Which lenses do I need?
  • Are my batteries charged?
  • Is my SD-card formatted/empty?
  • How much time do I have?

Answering these basic questions before shooting day will save you time and stress during shooting day. Determine beforehand which photos you actually need, outdoor and indoor. Make sure to photograph each single room when you’re doing real estate photography.

Something that often is overlooked are overview photos, pictures of the broader view. Buyers want to see the larger picture more than anything. Ask yourself this: “What are the surroundings of the property? How close is the property to the neighbours? Where’s the nearest supermarket?”.

Once you have created your road map, write down all the different photos you would like to shoot in a notebook and take the notebook with you. This will save you a lot of time on shooting day and you don’t have to cluelessly go through each room. Instead you will look like a professional who has a plan, confidence is key.


Hire a real estate photographer

If you’re not confident enough, consider hiring a professional real estate photographer. A professional photographer is often the fastest and easiest way to get the best property images, especially when you’re under strict timelines. Use local professional photographers who have the time and expertise to take as many great-looking photos as you need. 

Here are some steps to finding a real estate photography professional:

Estimate the costs: The cost will vary depending on the photographer, the size of the property and the number of photos you require. Generally, real estate photography pricing starts around €100 and can go well into the thousands, especially if you want real estate drone photography to capture aerial images of the property.

View their portfolio ahead of time: Make sure they have a strong portfolio and the appropriate skill set by viewing their past real estate listing photos online.


Buy a camera within your budget

Digital cameras come in all shapes, sizes and price ranges — and although you don’t want to throw on image quality, you don’t need to spend thousands to properly photograph a home. Here are some real estate camera options to consider:

Digital point-and-shoot: These compact, easy-to-use cameras are popular with many agents. Consider one that shoots at least 5-megapixel images.

Smartphone: Chances are you already own a smartphone with a decent camera. Consider purchasing attachments such as a lens, stand or light for taking real estate photos with your phone.

Drone: You can use a drone to capture images of the exterior and interior. The advantage of real estate drone photography is that you can often shoot from angles that aren’t possible while standing on the ground. The downside is that drones typically have a high upfront cost compared with point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones.

DSLR: If you’re looking to invest in a long-term real estate camera, a DSLR may be a good choice. They’ll provide the best real estate listing photos in any lighting condition, have interchangeable lenses (for a wide variety of shots) and typically allow more control over photo quality.

According to a study, around 80% of sellers want agents who can take photos of their property and promote the listing on real estate websites, so owning a camera — and knowing how to use it — may help you convert more leads.


Buy a wide-angle lens

Using a wide-angle lens for real estate photography will show more of a room than using a conventional lens, giving buyers a better sense of what they’re seeing. Many wide-angle lenses are relatively inexpensive — you may be able to find a standard 24mm lens for a little over €100, which is a small price to pay to bring a whole new perspective to your real estate listing photos.

If you don’t have a wide-angle lens, here are some tips for shooting real estate photos using a standard lens:

Shoot from a corner or doorway. This will help make rooms look more spacious by including as much of the room as possible in the shot.

Stand at an angle. This is a common trick for adding depth to a home, especially on exterior shots. Even if you have a wide-angle lens, don’t stand directly facing a wall when you shoot.

Take lots of photos from different angles. Once you’ve got the pictures up on your computer, you will quickly be able to determine which angles work best and use those photos in the listing


Buy a tripod

One of the easiest (yet most ignored) tips for real estate photography is to use a tripod. While a tripod is helpful in any situation, it’s critical when taking interior shots using natural light, as natural lighting is best captured with a slow shutter speed. Get an adjustable tripod and you’ll be able to eliminate blurry images. 

Make sure you buy a steady tripod, preferably with a gimbal. This way you can adjust your camera in all different angles. Also ease-of-use is a thing to take in mind, this means that the legs of the tripod should be easy to adjust in height. A good brand to begin with is Manfrotto.


Prepare the house or room before taking photos

Even if you end up hiring a pro, it’s important to make each room photo-ready before taking real estate photos. Here are our top real estate photography tips to use before you shoot.


Clean and declutter

A clean, tidy home lets buyers know that the property is well-maintained. Do your best to:

  • Remove any stains on the floors and walls.
  • Clear and wipe all countertops.
  • Clean all mirrors and glass surfaces like windows and tables.
  • Lower toilet seats.
  • Put away all dish soap, sponges, paper towels and other cleaning items and toiletries.
  • Take magnets off the fridge and put them in a drawer.
  • Make the beds.
  • Organize the garage.
  • Remove window screens.
  • Landscape the yard and trim plants and trees.


Consider staging

When staging a home, you don’t want to overdo it. Stick to major furniture pieces like tables, beds and couches, and a few tasteful decorations. When deciding on a home, 40% of Gen Z buyers and 39% of millennials find it extremely or very important for it to be staged. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure all towels in the bathroom match.
  • Place a nice set of dishes on the kitchen table.
  • Rearrange furniture to create an even flow.
  • Add a few pillows to a couch, or place a rug in the living room or entryway.
  • Set a bowl of fruit or a bouquet of flowers on the kitchen counter.


Reflect the season

In conjunction with staging, you can add little touches to the home to reflect the current season. Be careful not to add too much, as that may detract from the home’s features or turn away buyers who don’t celebrate certain holidays.

In winter: Turn on the fireplace, or take a photo of the home after a fresh snowfall.

In spring: Place seasonal, local flowers on the kitchen counter or outside the front door, and make sure to take pictures of a garden if the home has one.

In summer: Use natural sunlight to brighten your shots, and consider placing a pitcher of lemonade or bowl of seasonal fruit in the kitchen.

In fall: Take advantage of changing leaves outside, or consider adding small decorations that are colored like fall foliage.


Think about consistent lighting

Real estate photography lighting is crucial. Ideally, you want the lighting in each room to be consistent. Some things to consider:

Determine if the lights are better on or off.  Turning on the lights can make a space feel warmer and more welcoming, but combining interior lights with natural light can affect a photo’s white balance. On the other hand, using only natural light can provide an even temperature across your photos, but it can also make them feel cold if there’s not enough light coming in through the windows.

Make sure all lightbulbs are the same. Varying light temperatures can make a room feel unbalanced. Make sure all lightbulbs are the same type (and in working order) before shooting real estate photos.

Only use a flash if you really need to. Pointing a flash directly at a space can create uneven light distribution and glare. See if you can turn the flash so it’s pointing at the ceiling or a side wall to soften the glare and provide a more natural appearance.

Turn off the lamps. Just like a flash, lamps create an imbalance in a room’s lighting. It’s best to use other light sources when taking real estate photos.

Purchase a diffuser or umbrella flash stand. If you have a space where there’s not much natural light, like a basement or interior room, a diffuser or light stand will let you control the direction of the light and ensure even distribution.


Make use of natural light

When it comes to real estate photography lighting, natural light can be a useful tool. When used strategically, it can often be better than ambient lighting.

  • Open blinds and windows to let natural light into a home.
  • Avoid shooting directly into bright windows, as doing so can make a space feel smaller and add glare.
  • Use a wide-aperture setting so your camera lets in as much light as possible (if your camera has an adjustable F-stop, lower it to around f/1.8).
  • Shoot with the sun behind the camera to brighten the home and avoid shadows.
  • Take exterior shots on overcast days to remove all shadows and help prevent glare.
  • Avoid rainy days and nighttime shots — and any other conditions that can make a home appear gloomy.


Use the camera grid lines

Wondering how to take real estate photos like a pro? Keep your camera’s vertical axis lined up with walls and other vertical objects. In addition to eliminating blurry images, a tripod will hold a camera steady and can be adjusted for a perfect shot. Homes are filled with vertical lines, and you want to make sure they’re perfectly up-and-down when shooting. Crooked images will appear out of place when buyers are browsing real estate listing photos.


Take a lot of photos at different exposures

It can be challenging to get the perfect exposure when taking real estate photos, especially if you’re trying to balance natural and artificial light. One way to deal with this is with a method called exposure bracketing, where you combine several of the same images taken at different exposures. Most photo editing programs have this capability. If not, you’ll at least have different exposures to choose one image from, which means you won’t have to go back and retake any bad shots.

When real estate listing photos are the first thing buyers see when searching for homes online, first impressions count, so invest in great photography. Buyers come for the photos — make sure they stay for the details.

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