Any knowledgeable homeowner or real estate agent will agree that photographs can make or break a property listing. There are no more questions on why real estate photography is essential. However, the importance of real estate photography has been growing, and so have real estate photographers.
If you are trying to become a best in class real estate photographer, you will need more than basic camera use and editing skills. For example, a real estate photographer serves as a stylist, lighting expert, networker, and cameraman. It’s crucial to cultivate connections with realtors and be well-versed in your equipment.
It’s not as straightforward as other types of photography.
But fear not, this guide will help you from the starting of your career to its peak as a professional real estate photographer.
Let’s start from the basics.
WHAT IS REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY?
Real estate photography is a profitable commercial photography field. Commercial real estate photography is the process of taking photographs for a property listing that a real estate agent will sell on the open market.
The real estate photography market is certainly lucrative, and working as a real estate photographer may provide you with a substantial income. It also can assist you in breaking into the photography business and establishing a reputation for yourself. Real estate photography has become a full-time job for many photographers.
HOW TO GET INTO REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY?
As a photographer, specializing in or expanding into real estate photography might offer new opportunities. You may start making a reasonable living from your photography abilities if you follow the appropriate measures. However, like with any high-paying job, there are certain drawbacks.
In the real estate photography market, the competition is tough. To achieve long-term success, it’s necessary to be more efficient than the majority.
A real estate photographer’s job does not begin with taking images of houses. Instead, the house/property preparation, staging, contract discussions, and photo editing are all part of the process.
But knowing this all too well, how do you get into real estate photography?
It’s usually a good idea to shadow another real estate photographer as a starting point to learn the ropes. For example, you may shoot real estate photography for free until you are confident that you are producing professional images.
Check out your local real estate listing site and reach out to agents who can help you. Begin looking at equipment and how much money and time you want to invest in your real estate photography company at the same time.
WHAT EDUCATION AND QUALIFICATION DOES A REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHER REQUIRE?
A college degree is not obligatory to work as a real estate photographer. Training, on the other hand, is a must in the sector. Many real estate photographers have degrees in photography, art, design, or a related creative sector.
It will help if you have a solid portfolio to help you earn more clients and their trust. Even when you are not required a college degree, it is recommended that you do an internship or work under professionals. Practical experience is precious. Some of these credentials require you to do an internship while studying photography theory.
REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT
The fantastic thing about real estate photography is that you don’t have to invest much money in equipment. You’ll need a few basic types of equipment to get started with real estate photography:
REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY CAMERA
You should be able to use a cable release, a flash, multiple lenses, and wireless triggers with your camera. In the real estate sector, full-frame cameras function best. Unfortunately, the lack of a crop factor makes places appear smaller.
Because you will need to modify your settings based on the lighting situation in each home area, you will want a camera that can shoot manually.
REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY LENSES
Professionals recommend wide-angle lenses. They assist in enlarging tiny areas while also emphasizing the feeling of depth. There are no formal criteria, although cropped sensor cameras should be aimed at around 10-22mm and 12-24mm, while full-frame cameras should be geared toward 16-35mm.
REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY LIGHTING
You don’t need to acquire any lighting equipment to get started. However, if you plan to stay competitive, you’ll need it over time. Extra illumination is required when photographing gloomy interiors.
Light stands are another important piece of equipment for real estate photography for positioning your speed lights in various room parts to illuminate them.
Multiple light sources are generally a good idea when photographing real estate. For example, one Speedlight can be attached to your camera while a softbox or another Speedlight is attached to a light stand in another corner.
Make sure your flash is bounced from the wall behind you or the ceiling above you. Experiment with different bounce places until you achieve the desired illumination.
The best lighting for exterior home photography is early and late in the day when the light is warm and golden. The sun’s direction is also significant, so use an app like PhotoPills to figure out where the sun will be during the picture session. In general, shoot with the sun shining on the front of the house.
In the winter, the sun hardly shines on the front of certain south-facing residences.
If you don’t like how the light looks in the morning or afternoon, try shooting on a cloudy day. Cloudy skies can help with sun position issues but talk to your customer first because white sky might detract from an otherwise impressive outside photograph.
You may also use the dusk/dark strategy if you’re having trouble finding a decent moment to photograph during the day.
Tripods are helpful when photographing long exposures. To avoid fuzzy visuals, the objective is to shoot as much stability as possible. A robust tripod makes lowering your ISO and introducing less digital noise easier.
You’ll also be able to capture photographs with the exact camera positioning and height if you use a tripod.
Remember to select a tripod that is the same height as you when fully extended. Using the right tripod, you won’t have to lean over to see through the viewfinder.
Remote triggers allow you to take a picture without touching the camera. The importance of this may not be immediately apparent, but remote triggers reduce camera vibrations, resulting in blurry photographs or a loss of clarity.
This is especially important to notice in real estate photography, which frequently employs prolonged shutter speeds. Even gently touching the camera to initiate the shot at these rates might result in camera shaking and out-of-focus images.
THE FLASH AND THE FLASH TRIGGER
Natural light isn’t always adequate or better for real estate photography. Keep in mind that, in most circumstances, not all portions of a property are equally brightly lit. For example, the living area may have plenty of natural light, but the bathroom or corridors may be gloomy.
As a result, having a flash handy is usually a smart idea. Using a flash trigger in conjunction with your flash is also a fantastic option since it allows you to place both your flash and your camera in the best possible position and then remotely activate them both without having to deal with any problematic logistical concerns.
STANDS FOR LIGHT
It’s only natural to have light stands if you’re employing a flash. After all, you’ll need a place to put your flash and other lights. While lightweight stands work great for flashguns or strobes, a C-stand will be more stable and dependable if you’re utilizing bigger moonlights.
HOW TO SHOOT REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY?
So, you’ve prepared all of your tools and booked a local job. But how do you photograph a house to get the most outstanding results? What are your plans for your first real estate photography assignment?
Below is the step by step guide about how to take real estate photos.
STEP 1: PLANNING
A real estate photography project, like any other, needs some preparation. With your realtor, work out a flexible timetable. For example, you should schedule your shoot during a time of day when the light is at its best. Because there are so many variables that might affect a shoot, such as weather, lighting, and so on, success may necessitate a second visit.
Prospective purchasers always like to have a look at the exterior images first. So that’ll be your starting point. Make a list of the pictures you’d want to take—plan to photograph the outside from the front to the rear.
Always remember to incorporate needed elements as well as the facade. Pools, garden furniture, patios, and other features are all important to shoot. Make sure you acquire at least five photographs of the exteriors of the properties.
It will take time to shoot a successful shot; larger estates will take longer. To make sure you’re charging enough to cover your time, you’ll need to learn how to price real estate photography.
STEP 2: GETTING READY TO SHOOT
To guarantee a good shoot, you and the realtor will need to take certain measures together. For example, it may be beneficial to visit the site ahead of time to understand what you’ll be working with and what tools you’ll need.
Keep your SD cards clean and have external hard drives. Keep your camera always ready for the next job. Charge your batteries the night before the shoot. Don’t forget to pack extra batteries and memories. Pack up your camera bag, flashlights, tripod, etc. Next morning, you only need to address confirmation and be on time for the shoot.
Additionally, residences must be decluttered and cleaned beforehand to optimum outcomes. If feasible, send the homeowner a list of chores labeled for cleaning, staging, decluttering, and other necessary chores like opening windows and closing bathroom lids.
STEP 3: REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY COMPOSITION
Practice makes you confident when it comes to framing your photographs. Once you’ve been shooting for a while, you’ll notice the angles you’d like to capture very immediately. However, some rules are followed for wide, mid, and detail photos until it comes easily.
The ultimate objective is to utilize all three image styles to market a listing and give a clear and comprehensive picture of the home. Take the time to arrange your images properly to be balanced and well-composed.
EXTERIOR PHOTOS COMPOSITION
When photographing houses, the key is to look for the ideal perspectives and shoot from the corners.
To create depth in real estate exterior photography, avoid snapping shots from straight in front if at all feasible. You’ll be able to highlight external features like driveways, pools, and patios without taking up too much space in the front.
Air conditioning units and garbage cans should not be included in your composition. Remove any possible sources of distraction. In addition, no automobiles or people should be seen in your photograph.
When photographing real estate exteriors, the key guideline is to create photographs that generate a solid first impression.
INTERIOR PHOTOS COMPOSITION
Buyers want to envision themselves in the place before making a purchase. It may seem strange to them to discover photographs or things from the previous family. Make sure everything is spotless, and fresh flowers are always a welcome addition to your interior real estate photography.
After that, take a tour around the property to determine which angles would work best for you in taking real estate photos. If the location is small, use your wide-angle lens to make the area appear more prominent. Pay attention to the minor things.
Then, depending on how much natural light is available in the areas, you’ll need to determine whether to keep the lights on or off. Many people assume that leaving the lights on gives the space a warmer or orange glow, but this can also throw off your color temperatures.
If the property has a lot of natural light and huge windows, it’s a good sign. Then, wherever feasible, draw back the curtains and open the windows. Natural light is always lovely, and potential buyers like seeing the outside from the inside. As a result, wherever possible, expose for the inside and outside.
KEY COMPOSITION TIPS TO GET THE VERTICALS RIGHT
Keeping vertical borders straight is something that both realtors and photographers agree on regarding real estate photo shoots. For example, straight up and down wall lines are required. A level may be put in the hot shoe to level the camera to the room correctly. This approach may cause things like furniture to be cut off, so be cautious about lowering the tripod to avoid this.
You may also use a Tilt-Shift Lens to aid with this problem. For example, in post-production, the Lens Correction Tool in Photoshop and the level settings in Lightroom may be used to fix any converging vertical lines.
5 valuable tips for you to get perfect verticals in real estate photography.
- Use a 24-70mm or a 26-35mm lens.
- Invest in a good tripod. Get yourself a robust and reliable tripod with quick-release legs with the ball or ratcheted head.
- Observe and analyze your composition multiple times. You need your camera up at the highest level with the least distortion possible to the vertical lines.
- Use Adobe camera lens profile in Lightroom to fine control verticals and horizontals. You can use the guidelines to ensure you correct verticals and horizontals.
- You can use the skew command to bring out the top and bottom corners, allowing you to fine-tune your vertical or horizontal lines to perfection. For example, final tweaks on Adobe could make everything go right, even if you missed a few things during the shoot.
STEP 4: CAMERA SETTINGS FOR REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY
There are a few crucial parameters to keep in mind regarding real estate photography camera settings. As a starting point, make sure your camera is set to RAW. To keep interiors crisp, you’ll need to increase your aperture setting.
An aperture of f/2.8 will let in more light while just focusing on a portion of the scene. For sharper full-room images, adjust your aperture to 5.6 or higher. Because you’ll be losing so much light at these wide apertures, you’ll need to lower your shutter speed. Using a tripod to avoid fuzzy photographs at low shutter speeds is essential.
Finally, keep your ISO low to avoid adding grain to your images. For example, a 400-600 or lower shutter speed is optimal for real estate photography.
STEP 5: LIGHTING
Lighting should be your top focus for providing good real estate photographs. We’ll look at the best lighting techniques for exteriors and interiors in this stage.
LIGHTING FOR EXTERIORS
The time of day you photograph will significantly impact showcasing the most remarkable aspects. When photographing in low light, be careful not to overexpose your images.
In general, the optimum lighting conditions for exteriors are in the early morning or late evening. Natural light is softer and more evenly spread at this time of day.
You’ll naturally steer clear of solid light and reflections. However, be aware that trees and other tall objects in the area may produce undesirable shadows.
LIGHTING FOR INTERIORS
You’ll need to switch on the lights inside to get excellent exposure when shooting in the early morning or late evening. However, if the light isn’t ideal, you’ll need to utilize additional lighting.
Connect your flash to your camera if you have one. Set the flash to manual for the most precise control. Then begin with the lowest power setting (1/16th) and adjust as needed. It’s your job to fill in the gaps in the room’s shadows. To bounce off the ceiling and disperse light in the proper direction, point the flash upwards and guide it left or right.
You may handhold the flash to guide the light into the appropriate region of a room. Place other flashlights on supports in specific corners for a more complicated light style. While this sounds exciting and strong, you’ll have to pay for additional light stands and strobes. Setting up sophisticated lighting is also limited by time constraints.
STEP 6: EXPOSURE BRACKETING
Exposure bracketing is a Photoshop method that allows you to merge numerous photographs taken at different exposures. Uneven shadows and bright spots will result from various light sources (windows, internal lighting, flash).
You may pre-program your camera’s AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) function to take three shots of the same subject (some cameras enable you to shoot five), one with the specific settings, one purposely underexposed, and one purposefully overexposed image.
This way, you’ll be obtaining the most accurate illumination information.
PRO TIPS FOR REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY
You can use the best of our real estate photo tips today to get started. If you are confused or not sure about doing real estate photography, you can use these actionable tips for real estate photography.
TIP 1: HIGHLIGHT THE BEST FEATURES
Determine the essential aspect of a room or residence before photographing it (a window or wall painting, etc.). Then you can place your photo in the center of it. It’s simple to pick a focus point for your real estate pictures.
You might opt for a warm fireplace or a mahogany living room and furnishings. The goal is to draw the viewer’s attention to the room’s unique characteristics.
TIP 2: HOW TO MAKE EMPTY ROOMS LOOK ATTRACTIVE
Images of unfilled properties will be more appealing if virtual furniture is added to a space. For example, you may discover someone who provides virtual staging services online. Make a bargain and add it to your real estate photography package as an add-on. That’s how you outsmart your opponents.
TIP 3: PRESHOOT
You must first discover unique elements and ideal camera angles to take your images. The key is to examine a room and determine what makes it unique, then use that as the primary focus for your photograph.
When photographing real estate, you want the image to be as transparent as possible. As a result, aim to use an aperture of f/5.6 or higher. Otherwise, only the sofa or whatever is closest will focus, with the rest in lovely bokeh but not suitable for presenting the entire house.
TIP 4: EMPHASIZE EXTERNAL BEAUTY
Clients have learned to anticipate a variety of perspectives and viewpoints when it comes to real estate. As a result, you should take considerable measures to get a good image. As a general guideline, highlight any building feature you wish to highlight by presenting a little of the surrounding area.
Using a longer focal length and capturing a few images of fascinating architectural elements is a good strategy. Especially while photographing high-value houses. Pursue construction materials, pools, and patios, among other things.
TIP 5: ASK YOUR CLIENT TO CLEAN THE PROPERTY
You’re a photographer who specializes in photography real estate. For example, you might advise agents on how to prepare the property for the shoot on the shoot day. Let them know that delivering excellent photographs requires a clean and tidy house.
TIP 6: ALWAYS TAKE PHOTOS FROM DIFFERENT ANGLES
Taking images of the same room or a facade from several angles can provide you with more options. While consistency is important, you must also provide your clientele with some diversity.
Instead of depending solely on wide-angle lenses, you may interchange lenses from time to time. Instead, you use a more considerable focal length to compress perspectives and catch close-ups of some fascinating features.
TIP 7: MAKE USE OF NATURAL LIGHT
For any photographer for real estate, artificial light is easier to manage; on the other hand, natural light is still the most effective at producing deep shadows and a natural impression.
When photographing indoors, make sure all the windows and doors are open to allow as much light in as possible.
Natural light can also be enhanced with reflectors and LED panels. This may be essential if you want to bring attention to tiny details. Remember that bracketing is a fantastic strategy to get the perfect exposure.
TIP 8: GET THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Although your equipment does not define your skillset, having the right equipment makes your job much easier. However, this is especially vital when working in real estate photography since making a room seem desirable necessitates appropriate lenses and lighting.
TIP 9: KNOW WHAT TO CAPTURE
If you want to build a genuinely impressive property listing, make sure it seems full and addresses all of your potential renters’ inquiries.
While shooting, the living room makes sure it has a calm and homey feel about it. So take your time to pick the optimum perspective for your attempt to make the space appear as large as possible.
Make the bedroom appear warm and inviting. It’s usually a good idea to emphasize some perks, such as a beautiful view.
The kitchen is open to the dining room. You need this area to seem neat and valuable.
You’ll need to select the ideal area of the bathroom for your shot because the bathroom is generally the tiniest space. It may not be easy, but it is worthwhile.
Schedule your exterior shooting session around a moment when you’ll be able to take advantage of natural light. Outdoor photography is best done during the hours of sunlight and sunset.
TIP 10: PLAY WITH CAMERA SETTINGS
To take good photographs, you must master the art of catching the light. To do so, you’ll need to understand the concept of the exposure triangle, which comprises shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.
Experts recommend using a shutter speed of 1/60 to 12 seconds, depending on the quantity of natural light available.
Most real estate photographers feel that the aperture should be between F8 and F11.
The rule of thumb for ISO is to keep it as low as possible unless you want a picture with a lot of noise and grain. Experts advise that you don’t go higher than 400.
TIP 11: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF RETOUCHING
Once you have learned how to photograph real estate, you must retouch. A considerable degree of retouching is required to make photographs genuinely eye-catching.
You want your images to portray a home in its most pleasing light accurately. Exposure, sharpness, contrast, and cropping may all be adjusted with software.
RAW file editing and batch editing are two essential features of a picture editor. You may decrease your editing time in half by bulk editing your photographs.
You can apply the retouching in the photos that require virtual correction, HDR adjustments, proper cropping, and white balance settings. There are many guidelines you can use to edit real estate photos.
TIP 12: MAKE SURE TO AVOID COMMON MISTAKES
- Avoid that strange flash reflection; it screams unprofessionalism and should be avoided at all costs.
- Wipe and clean your lenses.
- Get rid of the clutter. Chaotic photographs do not sell, so be sure to clear off any excessive items before shooting.
- Don’t overdo the retouching. Keep in mind that little is more. When photographs appear strange, no one likes them.
- There are no children or pets allowed. They’re fantastic for Christmas house photography, but real estate photography is another story.
- Instead of focusing on a single thing in this area, try to capture the entire space in your realtor photography.
POST PROCESSING REAL ESTATE PHOTOS
Post-production is a vital part of any digital photography. This is especially true in real estate photography when your goal is to make the property appear as lovely as possible in real estate images to sell it as quickly as possible.
Post-processing and editing should never be utilized fraudulently or to hide defects; instead, they should be used to create the greatest possible watching experience for potential purchasers, showcase the property’s qualities, and provide viewers as thorough a tour as possible without having to visit the location.
Aside from color correction and other standard procedures, combining real estate pictures is a popular method in real estate photography.
HIGHLIGHTS AND SHADOWS
Lightroom editing aims to make a shot as bright as possible without cutting the highlights. Bring the shadows up and the blacks down for this. You may need to tweak the highlights simultaneously, lowering them down.
The Basic panel in the Develop module is where you’ll find highlights and shadows. Make it a habit to use the Tone Curve for more precise control.
CORRECT LENS DISTORTIONS
Every vertical line must be vertical. To fix distortions, use the lens corrections panel. Because you’ll typically utilize wide-angle lenses in real estate photography, which tend to distort things, you’ll constantly need to employ a lens correction.
Use Lightroom’s profile correction to repair the distortion and apply a manual lens profile.
Cool tones are frequently used in real estate photography. Keep this in mind while setting your white balance. Because you shot in RAW, altering all of your settings, including coloring, will be simple. To tone down the hue of your photograph, switch your white balance to the blue region in Lightroom or Photoshop.
USING LIGHTROOM PRESETS
As your style evolves, you’ll find yourself using comparable Lightroom effects regularly. In this instance, creating presets to serve as a starting point for your post-processing approach is the most incredible option.
If you want to gain more clients and get more work done, saving time is essential.
HOW TO BECOME A REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHER?
Will the technical information you have consumed so far through this guide, we can safely assume that you’re now well-versed in the technical aspects of taking excellent real estate photographs.
Now is the time to go into some particular factors that can assist you in becoming a skilled real estate photographer.
BUILD A PORTFOLIO
Building a portfolio is the best thing you can do if you’re new to this style of photography. Because you need to publicize yourself, exhibit your craft, and establish a website.
If you’re serious about establishing a career as a real estate photographer, you’ll need to show your work to gain additional clients. Make sure your portfolio only contains the most excellent photographs you have taken. They can make or break your career.
GETTING YOUR FIRST CLIENT
You’ll need to obtain your first clients when you’ve finished building your portfolio. Here’s how you get your first job booked.
- Collaborate with real estate agents who may be willing to have you photograph their properties for a reduced fee. Don’t be scared to give out the first photoshoot free of charge.
- Working as a photographer’s assistant is another option but a better one. As a result, you will understand the fundamentals of how to become a real estate photographer.
- Learning from someone who has years of expertise in the field may be beneficial. Apprenticeship is also a reliable method to meet potential clients, such as real estate brokers and property owners, who may want your services in the future.
HOW TO PRICE YOUR REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY?
WORKING FOR FREE
Ascertain that your first clients know that your first project was the only one you could complete for free. So don’t place yourself in a position to be taken advantage of by shady clientele. You’re in the same line of business as them.
You’ve put forth the effort to study, develop your skill, purchase equipment, and expand your portfolio. It’s time to start charging the appropriate amount.
PROVIDING THE CLIENT WITH THE FINAL IMAGES
So, here are a few basic real estate photography price guidelines to keep in mind:
Competitors are the most excellent place to start when investigating real estate photography prices. Examine their prices and services to determine how much to charge for real estate photography.
The cost of advanced services such as real estate drone photography will rise.
Think about your investment: Software and hardware (camera, lens, tripod, drone, etc.) (or outsourcing). A service menu is a wonderful method to break down prices into individual items. Make sure you account for the off-season.
Remember that, like any other photography sector, the real estate photography industry is crowded. Price your services competitively, but don’t undercut your competitors by too much, or you’ll wind up with an unsustainable firm and a cheap/low-quality reputation.
Add up the time and expenditures to estimate the price to quote for a specific job. For example, consider the expense of purchasing/renting equipment and the time required to set up the scene.
Take into account the time it will take to shoot and edit the relevant photographs. As a result, calculate the number of personnel hours and equipment expenditures. Then you’ll be able to figure out how much to charge for your services.
Insist on every client signing a legally binding contract. Do it before you start a new job. It’ll come in handy if you come across distrustful people. Everything from your obligations to the clients should be covered in the agreement. Don’t forget about your legal alternatives in the event of a breach.
Now that you’ve finished this guide, you’re ready to take on real estate photography.
Before you go out to your first house, keep the following in mind:
You’re not shooting for yourself; you’re shooting for clients who want professional-level results.
You don’t need costly equipment; simply obtain what you need to execute the task properly.
Master the art of photography’s creative aspects, such as angles, perspectives, and composition.
Learn about exposure, HDR, supplemental lighting, color matching, and exposure mixing, as well as other technical aspects of photography.
When editing real estate photographs, be careful not to misrepresent the property.
Above all, have a good time!