August 13th, 2008
What is real estate photography? A large part of selling a property these days is about making it look good online. A property that looks good online will attract more potential home buyers to come look at it in person. Nowadays all real estate transactions start online. Real estate photography is photography that gets potential home buyers to come look at properties that are for sale.
What are the keys to creating your own real estate photography business? Here is my summary with references to more details in previous PFRE blog posts:
- Essential Gear
- Wide-angle glass: This is the most important piece of gear you need. You need a wide angle lens that has an effective focal length between 14 and 24mm. See the PFRE lenses page for all the options. The lens I recommend to most people is the Sigma 10-20mm. It has good quality for a very reasonable price, and it’s available for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Samsung and Sony.
- DSLR: Any low-end DSLR is adequate. Don’t bother with point-and-shoot cameras, they don’t have good quality wide-angle lenses. If you are serious about this business you need a DSLR. What I mean by “Any low-end DSLR is adequate” is that in the overall scheme of things your wide angle lens is more important than what DSLR so spend your money on glass.
- Tripod: A Manfrotto or any sturdy tripod is adequate.
- Small flashes: Even if you are going to shot HDR/Exposure Fusion, you need at least one flash. A great way to go is a used SB-80-Dx or YN560-II or YN560-III. Trigger one with Cactus wireless triggers or RF602/603 Triggers if you using a Canon or Nikon body and use optical triggering for more than the first flash. For all the options on triggers see the Survey of Wireless Triggers page.
- Light stand: You want to get your single flash off your camera. The best way to do that is an inexpensive tripod or light stand like the Sunpak 620-020.
- Lighting Decisions: Lighting interiors with small flashes is the best approach, but there is a learning curve with this technique. I recommend starting out with one flash and using Exposure Fusion. Then expand to multiple flashes as you learn how to use them. In the mean time Exposure Fusion covers up many flash learning problems.
- Small Flashes: This is the technique that about half of professional real estate photographers use.
- HDR: HDR is hard to control. It used to be more popular in real estate than it is now.
- Hybrid of EF and small flash: This is what about half of professional real estate photographers use.
- Post Processing Software:
- Learning The Craft:
- Building Your Business:
- What should you charge?
- Is there a strong market in your area for real estate photography? Building a business in some locations will be harder than others.
- What’s the best way to market yourself?
- Find the top 1-5% of agents in your local market
- Market to those top agents face-to-face and with a large glossy postcard that shows your best work – educate them on how great photography sells property
- Here is the key message that sells real estate photography.
- Photography For Real Estate – By Larry Lohrman – An in depth look at real estate photography and what you need to get started.
- The Business of Real Estate Photography By Larry Lohrman – How to build your real estate photography business.
- Lighting Interiors: Techniques For Lighting With Small Flash – by Scott Hargis – How to use multiple small flashes to light interiors.
- Enfuse For Real Estate Photography – by Simon Maxwell – How to shoot bracketed images and process with LR/Enfuse Lightroom plugin.
- Lighting for Real Estate video series – by Scott Hargis -Scott’s video series on how to use multiple small flashes.
- Image Editing For Real Estate Photography by John McBay – Everything you need to know about image editing for real estate photography.
- Lightroom Tutorials by Simon Maxwell – Video Tutorials on using Lightroom for real estate post processing.