A Checklist of Real Estate Photography Essentials

One of the most crucial selling points for any real estate agent is a set of high quality, dynamic images that convey as much information to a customer as possible. With demand rising, more and more photographers are trying their hand at photographing the interiors and exteriors of apartments, homes, and condos. This video tutorial offers a handful of helpful tricks, tips, and advice on taking real estate photography to the professional level:

Before a Real Estate Photo Shoot:

  • Pay attention to the details. Start out by clearing any clutter from the countertops and floors. Scout out each room and be sure to remove any unsightly details such as dirty dishes or toiletries.
  • Turn on all of the lights in the area in which you’re photographing. The more that you can show, the better. Most people will agree that a bright interior is much more inviting than a room shrouded in darkness.
  • For additional light, push aside any curtains and open blinds that might be covering up the windows.
  • Seek out the symmetry that the room has to offer. As Troy Nikolic explains, people are naturally attracted to uniformity; center any large elements of the room such as ceiling fans to maintain balance in your composition.

During a Real Estate Shoot:

  • Use a wide angle lens to capture as much of the room as possible.
  • Be sure to use a tripod to ensure steady, consistent photographs. The use of a tripod will also allow for slower shutter speeds without running the risk of motion blur.
  • Capture multiple exposures of the same composition. Expose for different areas of the room, with and without a speed light. Using photo editing software, you can later stack these exposures to create a single HDR exposure with minimal loss in detail.

Preparing interior photo shoot

  • Position your camera in the corners of an interior in order to capture the most accurate perspective possible. Take the time to shoot a single room from multiple vantage points.
  • Keep in mind that smaller rooms require less strobe power to properly expose. Larger rooms may call for more intense settings or additional pieces of equipment in order to fully light.

Post-Processing Real Estate Photos:

  • For outdoor images, make two copies of a single image. Dial down the exposure of one copy and bring up the exposure on the other. Layer these images together to create a single file with higher dynamic range.
  • For interior images, use the exposure blending technique to increase the amount of details visible. To minimize artifacts and flash glares, be sure to drop images utilizing natural light over any flash photography.
  • Be sure to color correct your images to attain photographs that look as close to life as possible.

Keep in mind that no two properties are the same. As with any photography subject, each shoot brings its own set of unique challenges. Nevertheless, these guidelines are sure to assist any beginner seeking to get their foot through the door of the real estate industry.

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One response to “A Checklist of Real Estate Photography Essentials”

  1. Bob Dumon says:

    Real estate photography is my main business, and I agree with most of what you’ve said here, with a couple exceptions:

    1. I used to use a tripod all the time, but have found with today’s excellent low-noise sensors by shooting handheld with a fairly high ISO level (I shoot in Shutter Priority mode, unlike many others), and a fairly fast shutter speed I can capture a lot of “kitchen cabinetry” in a small space by bracing against a wall in a galley kitchen, for example, and leaning way back to all my 15-30mm zoom lens to take in a large wall of cabinets. I can’t do that with a tripod, and for me, capturing as much of a small room as possible is very important. I shoot with a full-frame Nikon D750 and Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 V.C. lens which I’ve found to be an excellent combination for interior real estate photography.

    2. I rarely shoot with overhead lights on, but ALWAYS with any table lamps on, which I find creates a nice warm and inviting glow to the photo. I use a lot of bounce flash to soften the light so the room isn’t dark, but love the look with table lamps on. Works for me….

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