According to Morgan Stanley Capital International, the real estate business is a trillion-dollar industry that employs over two million real estate agents in the United States. With the copious amount of competition, it’s essential to develop real estate photography skills that capture the potential buyer’s attention and sets you apart from the other agents. Real estate photos are the most valuable asset in this profession as they determine whether a house remains on or off the market.
Ready to learn the ins and outs of the industry? Follow these real estate photography tips to produce beautiful images and become the most successful professional photographer in your area.
Before the Real Estate Shoot
1. Pack Your Real Estate Photography Gear the Night Before
Surprisingly, real estate photography doesn’t require tons of equipment for snapping quality photos of various properties. Below I have generated an inventory of supplies that will be necessary for the photoshoot.
Selecting a camera is the first step to building a thriving career as a real estate photographer. Focus solely on full-frame cameras; they are perfect for capturing the beauty of a person’s home. They have larger pixels and gather more light which means a stronger image that requires less grain.
Wide Angle Lens
A wide-angle lens is essential when shooting interiors since it helps visually enlarge the room while still getting the entire layout in one shot. In addition, it captures a wider view of the space you are photographing and creates an inviting atmosphere. The best wide-angle lens in the market is NIKKOR 16-35mm for Nikon and EF 17-40mm f/4L for Canon.
A tripod stabilizes your camera and guarantees that you don’t end up with motion blur. They are helpful for long exposure shots as it allows for more light to enter the camera and retains the same perspective in each image.
A dead battery and full memory card mean no photos will be taken. Make sure to pack your bag with two extra memory cards and never forget your battery. If you have a secondary camera, it won’t hurt to also bring it with you.
Flash, often the most overlooked camera equipment, is essential for real estate photographers. The two main types of flashes are monolights and flashguns. Monolights photograph better for spacious properties and have a brighter light output. However, flashguns are more affordable.
Remote & Flash Trigger
When shooting with low shutter speeds, it’s highly recommended not to touch the camera. The camera will shake when pressing the shutter button. A remote trigger ensures a touch-free operation.
Similarly, the flash trigger allows the flash to perform automatically without a physical connection to the camera. It comes in two parts: a transmitter, mounted on the camera, and a receiver, mounted on the flash.
Light Modifiers & Stands
Light modifiers block out the unattractive cast that flash places on images. Point them towards the ceiling to soften and control the light it produces. Potential buyers don’t want to see dark shadows on property images.
Furthermore, light stands are needed to support your flash units. A regular light stand works perfectly for lightweight flash heads; bring one to four of these to light up the area. It can also hold other camera gear.
2. Examine the Property Before the Big Day
Don’t wait until the last minute! Every house is exceptionally different from one another and offers various characteristics that need to be paid attention to. Take about three photos for every part of the home and examine the shots to identify their key features.
This gives you a great idea of what time frame is best to take real estate photos of the home. That way, you know the hours that will give the property lots of natural light and brightness.
3. Establish a Shot List for the Home
A shot list defines the locations within the property where you must have real estate photos and what props (if any) will need to be used in that shot. It’s a detailed checklist that will provide you with direction to capture quality photos and allows you to organize your thoughts before shooting.
Example of a shot list:
- 1 wide-angle shot of each bathroom
- 1 shot of the laundry room, garage, pantry, and game room
- 2-3 wide-angle and regular shots of each bedroom, kitchen, and living room
- 3 shots of the backyard and a shot of the pool by itself
- 3 shots of the front of the house from different angles – one head-on, one from an angle, and one close-up
4. Map Out a Schedule that Gives You Enough Time for the Shoot
Real estate agents and photographers’ biggest mistake is not providing themselves with enough time to capture the images that they have listed in their shot list. Or spend too much time in one area of the house.
Example of a real estate shoot schedule:
- 10:30 am – Arrive at the house; scope everything out one last time and set up all the equipment
- 11 am – Begin shooting the front yard, back yard, and the pool
- 12 pm – Begin shooting each bathroom
- 12:30 pm – Begin shooting the laundry room, garage, pantry, and game room
- 1:30 pm – Lunch break
- 2 pm – Begin shooting each bedroom, kitchen, and living room
- 3:30 pm – Look through photos and see if anything needs to be reshot
- 4 pm – Pack up equipment and head home
The schedule will help you organize your time accordingly and confirm that all real estate photos were taken.
5. Set Your Price
Although real estate photography is a niche career, there is a massive demand for them. They have the potential of increasing a real estate agent’s client list and selling their homes at a faster rate. It’s a profitable field; the location, size of the house, and experience level decide their compensation.
As stated in the United States Department Labor Report, beginner photographers average around $40,000 per year, while experienced photographers make between $40,000 and $93,000. Most real estate photographers will charge $200 or less for properties less than 3,000 square feet. However, for larger homes, they charge between $250 to $500.
During the Real Estate Shoot
6. Stage the Home
Before taking the real estate photos, open all of the blinds to allow natural light to enter the rooms and turn on all the lights to add warmth to the images. Afterward, clear everything off counters and leave minimal decor. Finally, walk through all the rooms, straighten bedclothes, fix crooked paintings, and tidy up anything that needs to be done.
7 . Set Up Camera Settings Correctly
All photography requires good lighting. However, if you don’t have the proper equipment, try these camera settings to obtain quality photos.
ISO: Start at 200 ISO as the base and go no higher than 400 ISO
Aperture: Keep the aperture between F8 and F11 with F5.6 and F16.
Shutter Speed: Remain between 1/60 and 1/2 a second.
8. Know the Difference Between Lighting for Interior and Exterior Shots
Interior and exterior images require different lighting, equipment setup, and photo editing.
- Use strobes, flash or any additional lighting equipment
- Preferably, natural light
- Make items in the room the main focus and adjust the light accordingly
- Have a mixture of natural light and lighting equipment
- Don’t focus directly on the bright windows – high exposure
9. Invest in Polarizing Filters & Umbrella Brackets
Polarizing filters reduce the reflection of polarized light within the images. They enhance the color and sharpen the contrast of your photos.
On the other hand, umbrella brackets offer a similar effect at an affordable price point. They are perfect for beginners as they are the most straightforward light modifiers to use and are easily portable.
10. Examine Your Photos Before Leaving
This may seem obvious, but it’s commonly forgotten as professional photographers are eager to rush home after the shoot is over. Take about thirty minutes to look over all of your real estate photos and confirm that the images are all great.
After the Real Estate Shoot
11. Fix Color Temperature
Professional photographers also deal with hindered image quality due to horrible weather conditions, dark shadows, and the room’s lighting. To master correcting color temperature, use Lightroom or Photoshop and click on the adjustment brush to make the images warmer or cooler.
During the shoot, you can balance the color temperature by using a color-checker or a grey card.
12. Correct Lens Distortion
The use of wide-angle lenses causes lens distortion, which is a common problem in real estate photography. The two main distortions are barrel and perspective; however, they can be eliminated by using Lightroom or Photoshop. Lightroom recommends using their transform tool, while Photoshop uses the lens distortion tool to correct the subject’s perspective.
During the shoot, you can shoot straight for less distortion.
13. Take Real Estate Video Marketing Classes
The first step is learning real estate photography, as it teaches you how to captivate a potential buyer with just an image. The following step is taking real estate video marketing classes because it shows you how to tell the home’s story. A quality video offers potential clients to envision their future in that house.
To become a sought-after real estate photographer, you must continue practicing and excelling within each new real estate shoot. This can be accomplished through applying the real estate photography tips – investing time on all properties, purchasing the essential equipment, generating a schedule, and shot list.
If you are more interested in outsourcing a professional photographer, look no further than Versa Creative. We are a full-service marketing agency with over 12 years of experience photographing and editing stunning images and videos for various clients. Our team is committed to attracting potential buyers and driving sales for your real estate business. Contact us now!