Main Content

Real Estate Photography: How to Get it Right

By Realty Times

When it comes to a successful property listing, photographs are key. The difference between amateur and professional property photos can be immense. Stellar photos can increase engagement on your listings exponentially. The good news is, with the right technique and a few key pieces of gear, you can take property photos that are truly eye-catching. Expert property managers with over 25 years in the industry at Utopia Management have shared their insider tips for taking great property photos without being a professional photographer:

  1. 1. Invest in a DSLR Camera with a Wide Angle Lens

This is the hardest-hitting piece of advice. If you want professional-grade property photos, you’ve got to use a professional-grade camera. If you can’t get your hands on one, this can be an investment of a few hundred dollars. If you’re an agent or you plan on photographing properties consistently in the future, this is probably an investment worth making. It’s also important to get a wide-angle lens. This allows you to get those spacious expanding photos that show off an entire room. You certainly don’t have to get high-end gear; an entry-level camera and lens will work just fine.

  1. 2. Always Use a Tripod

For real estate photography, a tripod is essential. Depending on the lighting, you might be taking lots of long exposure shots, so it’s important for the camera to stay still while the shutter is open. Additionally, a tripod allows you to control the height of the camera easily. With a tripod, you can take photos at a consistent height from room to room.

  1. 3. Preparing a Property For a Shoot

Of course, it’s important to consider the state of the property you need to shoot. If the property is occupied, things can be a little tricky, but you’ll have to make sure the property is cleaned thoroughly, and the furniture is photo-friendly. It’s usually easiest to schedule a day to have the tenants vacate so you can have space to work.

If the property is vacant, you have to decide between staging and shooting empty. For the best outcome, professional staging is the better choice. This makes photos more inviting and allows viewers to imagine themselves in the space rather than just seeing a bunch of empty rooms.

Either way, make sure the property is clean when you shoot. There shouldn’t be any loose items out, especially in the kitchen. Pots, pans, dishes, soaps, remotes, etc. should all be out of site for a shoot.

  1. 4. Always Shoot Late in the Day

Weather and timing are two of the most important factors when it comes to photography because they will have a dramatic impact on lighting. And the right lighting can truly transform your property photos. So, it’s best to shoot in the late afternoon, around sunset, or “golden hour”. This period of time offers a gentle, warm, diffused light and avoids spots where sharp sunlight is coming in from a window.

Similarly, check the weather before you commit to a shoot, as rain and storm clouds can make it difficult to get the lighting you need.

  1. 5. Create a Shot List

Before you start taking pictures, take a minute to jot down a list of all the shots you need for the property. This helps you stay organized and ensures you don’t leave any angle out. While your shot list will be specific to your property, a standard shot list should include:

  • Two wide-angle shots of the bedrooms, the living room, and the kitchen
  • One photo of each bathroom, although spacious or stunning bathrooms can have more than one shot
  • One shot of features such as walk-in closets, the garage, and laundry room
  • One or two shots of the front of the home to highlight curb appeal
  • One to three shots of the backyard

Keep in mind, the shot list is the list of final images that you need. Not a list of all the shots you’re going to take on shooting day. You should take multiple photos for each of the rooms and angles that you need to make sure you have a good one to choose from.

  1. 6. Lighting is Everything

If you’re taking the time to schedule your shoot in late afternoon, make sure you get the most out of this lighting. Make sure all blinds are open, especially on French doors. Use flash if needed (a flash diffusor is a great tool to have) and turn some lights on if the room is a little dark. Overhead lights can be a little harsh, especially if you’re using flash, so turn those off if they aren’t necessary.

You should also play around with camera settings to adjust to the lighting. For brighter images, make the shutter speed slower, so the shutter allows more light in for each photo. Try adjusting the white balance as well.

  1. 7. Showcase the Best Feature of Each Room

When deciding on angles, identify the most prominent or impressive feature of each room and try to emphasize it. Always try to shoot from angles that emphasize the size and spaciousness of a room. Try multiple angles for each room.

  1. 8. Editing is Worth the Time

You should definitely edit your photos afterward to correct distortions and make them extra bright and inviting. If you used a wide-angle lens, you might notice that some areas appear slightly warped. You can use a lens correction feature to correct distortions. You’ll also want the lighting to be consistent, so try using an adjustment brush feature to fix varying light temperatures in an image. Try playing with vibrance, contrast, and sharpness to make the photos pop. Or, hand it off to a professional.