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What Has Changed in Real Estate Photography in the Past Couple of Years?

Published: 30/10/2017
By: larry

Last week Dave asked:

I've been away from real estate photography for a  couple of years. I'm curious if there have been notable changes to how people are creating their real estate images. I'm still shooting 3-6 bracketed images and using the fusion (interior) setting in Photomatix (version 5) for jobs that I feel require a little more hand-holding. I may process some images using the LR Enfuse Plugin. Of my bracketed images I may include a frame or two with a flash to add a little "pop" to the whites or to offset over-exposed windows, etc. I'm still shooting an original Canon 7D from 2009 which despite multiple falls from tripod level, is working just fine.

Is this still a common "go-to" workflow for many people? Have new techniques, software, or gadgets arrived that would prove to be beneficial to RE Photographers images?

I wouldn't say there is a single "go-to" workflow. You can see this from our poll titled "What is your main method of lighting for real estate photography" (6th poll down on the poll page).

The light poll shows that:

  • Lighting with small manual flash is over 25%
  • Exposure Fusion/Flash Hybrid (as you say you use) is around 16%

What has become noticeably more popular in the past few years is hand blending ambient and flash frames in Photoshop. You can see the popularity of this technique in the postings in the PFRE Flickr group.

Because of this increase in popularity of hand blending in Photoshop Simon Maxwell has added several chapters in his Enfuse book on this technique and extended the name of the book to include that technique.

Over the past few years, there are more 360, floorplan and virtual staging products being sold but with all of these things, you have to be very careful to make sure these are in demand in your market.

Probably the biggest change in real estate photography in the past few years is the usage of UAVs.

6 comments on “What Has Changed in Real Estate Photography in the Past Couple of Years?”

  1. A couple of things for me. We are in a huge seller's market where I am, so many agents don't see as much of a need to use professional photography. My business has gone down because of it. Another is that video is becoming more of an impact. I'm getting more requests for walk-through video, so I just bought a stabilizer and starting to practice with it.

  2. What would be an interesting poll Larry, if the data is there through descriptions, is what percentage of contest winning photos in the past two years are blends. If I had to estimate I’d say a good 90%. I could be way off on that number.

  3. @Jim - Excellent point! I've heard that a similar thing is going on in the Seattle market. Very hot seller's market and many homes are selling without even listing them on the MLS! In July 2017 70% of the homes sold were not even listed on the NWMLS. I think many are being sold via Zillow's make me an offer feature. Zillow is becoming a very powerful force real estate sales.

    It is worthwhile becoming a Zillow certified photographer.

    @Andrew - yes, 90% or more of the contest winners in the last couple of years are blends. I'd guess closer to 100% than 90%.

  4. In the Atlanta metro area it's a seller's market so professional photos give agents and edge. The top agents realize this, especially with homes 300-400K and up.

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