Homeowners and agents want to sell properties at their target prices fast, so they need real estate photographers who can take enticing and high-quality pictures to market listings. That’s why we're going to discuss real estate photography tips involving equipment, settings, lighting, compositions, shot list, post-processing, and work ethics.
Real estate photos need to make a solid impression right away. You can achieve this with the right equipment, the appropriate camera settings, and knowing how to find the best lighting. You must also work on composition, staging, and editing to make images look spacious yet natural.
High-quality photos can either make or break a property listing, and consequently, your credibility as a real estate photographer. With that said, it's time to learn the best real estate photography tips and practices so that you can become a successful and in-demand photographer in your area.
While your shooting skills matter the most, you can only do that if you have the proper shooting gear. When you're just getting started in real estate photography, you can use standard equipment, although it helps to upgrade to particular tools that can deliver the demands of real estate.
It would be better to use a full-frame DSLR or mirrorless camera for real estate photography. While cropped-sensor cameras are also good, they can't get a lot of light as opposed to full-frame cameras.
In addition, make sure to pick a camera with interchangeable lenses so that you can use specialty lenses. A camera must also have great ISO performance for night and low-light shooting.
Being a real estate photographer means shooting around properties quickly while covering the most space you can. You need a lens with a focal length that's wide enough to capture a place entirely without causing distortions.
It's ideal to use 24mm and 16-35mm lenses, although you can also try 17mm, 10-24mm, 16-28mm, 18-35m, and 17mm-40mm.
Sharpness, height, and straight lines are fundamental elements of real estate photography. With a tripod, you get to stabilize your camera setup even when you need to use low ISO or slow shutter speeds.
When shooting bracketed exposures for HDR, you would need a consistent angle and height so that you can easily edit the exposure in Photoshop and Lightroom.
In general, one high quality flash is enough for small rooms, whereas you would need to add strobes for bigger spaces. While you can use natural lighting, there are spacious properties that need more light, and light from windows or doors may not be enough.
For off-camera flashes, you would also need to attach a flash trigger for your camera and flash units so that both pieces of equipment would fire off at the same time as you press the shutter.
If you're shooting at low shutter speeds or you want to avoid repositioning your tripod, you can use a remote trigger for touch-free operation.
Direct flash often creates harsh light, resulting in dark shadows. Therefore, you would need light modifiers to soften the light. When photographing interiors, diffusers like umbrellas and softboxes can spread or soften concentrated light for a more flattering effect.
You would also need light stands to keep your external lights stable and safe. Since you would encounter different property sizes, it's beneficial to have a light stand with rollers for portability, as well as universal heads for attaching a variety of lights and equipment.
You don't need to have a polarizing filter right away, although bringing one helps manage reflections, suppress glare, darken skies, and enhance color saturation.
As you rotate the filter, you would see reflections in glass, water, mirrors, and non-metallic objects appear and disappear. Keep in mind that you have to use the appropriate filter size for your lens.
Your shooting gear will be useless if you can't apply the correct camera settings. Since properties have varying features and spaces, there's no one-size-fits-all approach for camera settings, especially regarding exposure. That being said, it's good to have a starting point that you can modify depending on the situation.
Keep your camera in manual shooting mode because you would need to modify these settings.
About 83% of buyers find professional photos useful for decision-making. Your job is to provide a digital or virtual tour for them. With a walkthrough session, you can see how you should market a property and get an idea of photographing a home.
In this way, you can find the best light and angles. Consequently, you can determine whether you need to remove or add objects to correct imperfections.
Make sure to ask the realtor or owners about the important features they want to highlight. Likewise, learn about the nuances you must avoid.
Professionally-photographed homes sell 32% faster, spending an average of 89 days on the market, compared to 123 days of other properties.
Lighting plays a key role in capturing beautiful real estate photos that can sell this fast, as it can impact the brightness, contrast, mood, and atmosphere. Thus, it's crucial that you can control lighting to create vibrant colors and pleasing textures.
Selecting the right time to photograph influences lighting, especially if you need to shoot exteriors. If possible, schedule the shoot during the daytime so that you can get lots of natural, bright light.
White skies work best for interior shots, so make sure to check the weather to plan your time and have a backup schedule.
Some clients request shooting at dusk because it can create dramatic colors and mood. While you can also consider shooting during the sunset, it would be better if the sun comes from behind you and the camera. If you use backlighting, you would wash out colors and lose a lot of details.
While it's best to make use of natural light, you can incorporate external lighting to improve the brightness and contrast of your pictures.
Attaching a flash unit to your camera is among the best ways to move from one space to another faster. However, you must bounce the light to soften it.
If you point the flash directly into a spot, you would see a focused, harsh light only in that area. This typically happens when you only have a pop-up flash. Consider these pointers when bouncing light.
A poorly shot image can grab a buyer's attention for only 2 seconds, whereas an excellent real estate photo retains attention for 20 seconds. Composition in real estate isn't all about pointing and shooting, you would need to position yourself strategically and your camera to make spaces appealing.
Knowing how to compose and angle your shots is one of the best real estate photography tips that can set you apart from other photographers. Hence, your angles and compositions should make viewers feel like they're stepping into their dream homes.
While some objects can make properties rather homey in time, having too many doesn't work well with real estate photos as you must keep surfaces neat.
Keep desks, coffee tables, and countertops free of clutter. Remove trash cans, toiletries, stacks of paper, and small pieces of appliances. Additionally, clean debris, dirt, and visible markings.
While you can leave 1 to 3 decorative items, such as a bowl of fruit or bouquet of flowers, try using a single color like all white roses or red apples.
If you're struggling with composition, preparing a shot list can keep you in check and guarantee you don't miss anything. While no two properties are similar, there are usual shots you can take to improve your efficiency as a real estate photographer.
Make sure to coordinate the list with your client so that you can adjust it according to their needs and requests.
Property listings with quality photos get a 47% higher asking price per square foot, which means you must ensure that you edit images to improve the final output.
Unless your client requires you to remove or add objects, real estate photography doesn't need extensive editing. Remember to shoot in RAW so that you can retain all image data and do these post-processing techniques swiftly.
Real estate photography is among the most well-paid industries on the American market, with photographers having an average annual pay of $60,000. Aside from skills and equipment, your attitude and work ethics can affect your career growth.
Real estate photography is a challenging yet rewarding niche. With these real estate photography tips, you can take professional images to build your portfolio and grow your career. Once you get a steady stream of clients, you can make this job a reliable source of income.