30+ Real Estate Photography Tips for Realtors in 2020
Appealing and high-quality photos are the most essential detail in creating a positive first impression of a potential home buyer viewing your property listing. Pictures are responsible in retaining a user on the page during the first few seconds, which is crucial for having more people eventually contact you to schedule the showing.
We reached out to a number of highly-skilled and experienced real estate photography professionals and asked them to share their expert advice on making stunning, quality photos that will help you attract as many interested home buyers as possible. Here are over 30 most effective real estate photography tips that we collected for you.
6 Expert Photographers Share Their Tips on Taking Real Estate Photos
#1. Vic Devore
Vic Devore is a real estate photographer from Tampa, Florida. In 2014 he began offering real estate photography service bundled with aerial photography and narrated video. Since then, his company Devore Design has grown from one photographer to a team of 12+ talented photographers and editors.
We asked Vic to provide us with a few photography tips, and here is what he advised:
One of the most important components of effective real estate photography is actually not directly related to taking pictures – it’s preparing the property for a photoshoot.
In order to capture the most compelling and beautiful photos, the property must be properly staged and cleaned.
- The floors should be clean and free of visible dust and debris.
- Light bulbs should be working and should all be of the same color.
- Blinds and window treatments are typically best open to allow natural light into the space.
- Personal photographs should be removed or at least limited so the viewer isn’t distracted.
- All the beds should be neatly made.
- Trash cans should be hidden from view, along with any other non-essential utility items like phone chargers, excessive kitchen appliances, vacuums, pet food dishes, etc.
- Each room should be free of clutter, and furniture should be arranged to show as much floor space as possible.
- It’s a good idea to walk through the property with the photographer so any problem areas can be properly identified at the start of the photo shoot.
#2. Charlie Taylor
Charlie Taylor has been in the photography and videography business for 22 years. When moving to Scottsdale in 2015 he noticed the poor quality of real estate photography as compared to Dallas. He had photographed homes in Dallas and knew his quality photographs were far better than what he found in the Phoenix area, so he started his own real estate photography company Snap2Close.
Additionally to the Vic’s tips on home staging and cleaning, Charlie recommends to follow the next 10 tips to prepare the property:
- Declutter, and then declutter some more.
- Clean and then clean even more.
- Remove all bathmats and toiletries from bathrooms.
- Wash all windows inside and out. Don’t forget glass shower walls and doors.
- Mow, edge, and pull the weeds.
- Remove all hoses, signs and banners, and distracting objects from the front and back yards.
- Remove all religious and political artifacts.
- Make sure that all shutters and blinds are in working order.
- Replace all burned out light bulbs with matching types.
- Make sure all of the lights are on and fans are off the day the photographer arrives.
#3. Pouria Safa
Pouria Safa was a realtor when the housing market went down around 2006-2008. He planned to become a professional photographer, as photography had been his hobby for so many years. Pouria turned his hobby into a full-time job. As a professional Realtor, he has a perfect vision of what will work best for presenting a property in the best light. Pouria owns Real Estate Photo Co—a realtor photography studio in Irvine, CA.
Pouria provided us with an outline of the preparation of a house for the photoshoot and gave tips on the equipment and the photographing process itself.
Photography is one of the widest professions which has a lot into it besides “click and capture”. If you are a homeowner, real estate agent, broker or even an investor who wants to have good photos of a property, there is some homework needs to be done before we get into the technicalities.
Before you take photos, you need to advise your homeowner to follow these steps:
- Make sure all lights and lamps are working.
- Clean up the kitchen and bathroom countertops. The less you have on the counters the better results you will have.
- Move all unnecessary stuff from your living room and all bedrooms.
- By adding a few small colorful flower pots on coffee table, counters and patio table will have nice contrast to your photos.
- Make sure to vacuum entire house and clean all windows.
- When you are taking photos, make sure to open blinds to any window with a nice view to show it on your photos.
- Based on your location, pick the best time to not have a shadow on your building.
- Check the weather to make sure you have a great day for a shoot. Or if you know how to work with Photoshop to turn the sky blue, then make sure it’s not raining.
You will have the best result with a professional full frame camera and a wide angle lens. If you have it—great! Use it. If not, you can use any camera with wide angle lens, or nowadays all smartphones come with kind of wide angle lens and will do the job. But of course it will be inferior to using the right equipment.
Imagine how you would like to present the property, choose the angle and make sure to hold your camera straight and around 4 feet above the floor. Knowing how to work with Photoshop and Lightroom is a big bounce, and you can edit lots of detail such as exposure and contrast.
#4. Jean-Louis Eck
Jean-Louis Eck, a professional photographer from Boston, specializes in many branches of photography, and particularly in producing professional images of various types of building exteriors and interiors that emphasize space and light and create an impression of depth. His own company EckFoto, has been in the business for almost nine years now.
Jean-Louis shared with us the top 7 principles that help him and his team members create images of the highest quality.
For a home listing, photos are the most essential means of creating a positive first impression and having a buyer to contact you for more details. So here are my most effective real estate photography tips for realtors:
- Focus on high quality images: they will bring many more potential buyers to you.
- Emphasize on space and natural light.
- Work on balancing ambient and artificial light.
- Aim for “real life” images by setting up the exact exposure.
- Create a sense of depth by using wide angle lenses.
- Look for the best composition to provide accurate visual representation.
- Use a tripod, remote triggering and tethering systems for consistency and sharper images.
#5. Jacob Macias
Jacob Macias started shooting for real estate agents of Fremont, CA he knew in person. He quickly started getting referrals, which allowed him to quit his day job. After a while, Jacob formed Pinnacle Tour as his brand. His company has been in the business for more than eight years.
Here are the ten essential tips Jacob and his team use in their practice and kindly shared with us:
- Bracket your images. All cameras, and even some cell phone apps, allow you to do this. Look up videos on youtube on how to bracket with your phone or camera.
- Use a tripod. This simple measure will instantly give you better results.
- Keep your camera straight and level. Never point the lens down or up.
- Include three walls whenever possible to anchor the room.
- Camera height should be about 1/3 up from the floor to emphasize the ground and not so much ceiling.
- Use a professional retoucher for a lot less than a photographer.
- Be mindful of your reflection in mirrors and glass that is in pictures frames, doors, cabinets and windows.
- Be objective with how many images you are using. Select the best and forget the rest. Less is more.
- Shut toilet lids.
- Don’t use a flash pointed directly into the room.
#6. Boaz Meiri
Boaz Meiri started his photography career in 2013 by working for a photography school in Israel, together with world-class photographers. At that time he specialized in still-life and product photography.
In a year he moved to San Francisco, and while choosing a house for his family, he noticed that the local real estate market needed more good photographers, so he decided to contribute his talent and experience to the industry and opened Boaz Meiri Photography Inc. Now Boaz specializes in photographing luxury real estate, creating 3D tours, and working on architectural and interior design projects.
Tip 1 – Turn the Lights Off, Shoot with Natural Light
It is very common to shoot real estate with all the lights on, as a default. I prefer natural light. When we’re home during the day, we want to enjoy the natural light rather than turning all the lights on.
Correct? Then why showing the property with all the lights on, while there is plenty of sunlight outside? In most houses the light bulbs have a yellow tone to them and it affects the overall color of the interior. We want to keep the true colors of the interior.
Tip 2 – Turn the Lights On
Confused?? From time to time I turn on small lamps on the night stands, especially if the room is a little dark. The glow of the lights on the walls adds an intimate feel, even romantic. Also, in old Victorian style homes, wood cabins and dark interiors the lights add a warm feel that matches the mood that the interior provides.
Tip 3 – Angle of View
How wide should I shoot? This is also a very common way of shooting real estate: using the widest angle possible. True, it does make the spaces look much bigger but not only that it is deceiving the buyers, but it also causes distortion.
It is most noticeable with objects that are near the camera, on the side of the frame. Bathroom sink is a great example. When using an extremely wide-angle lens, a round sink would become oval.
So how do we capture the entire bathroom? We step back as much as possible and zoom in a little, making sure not to miss the faucet or other important features.
We can also take 2 different photos, in two different angles, depending on the layout. In some cases I take a horizontal image and then a vertical one, that shows the floor and possibly the light fixture above the sink.
The extremely wide-angle makes near objects much bigger and further objects much smaller. If we shoot a children’s room, that has a small table and chairs against the opposite wall, they will look even tinier.
The bottom line: try top step back as much as possible and zoom in a little. Use an angle of view not wider than 12mm (crop sensor camera) or 18mm (full-frame camera).
Tip 4 – The “3 Walls Technique”
When showing bedrooms or any other square/rectangular spaces, it is a good idea to show 3 walls. It gives the viewer a better idea of the size of the space.
But make sure to show very little of the third wall. Again, we don’t want to shoot too wide. In bedrooms try to stay around 12-16mm (crop) or 18-22mm (full-frame).
Tip 5 – One Point Perspective
One point perspective refers to when we position the camera straight on, as opposed to angled. Sometimes it looks better to shoot in parallel to the wall. I love doing it when there is plenty of room for me to step back since shooting this way in a very wide angle causes even more distortion than when shooting in an angle.
Try doing this when shooting a kitchen island for example, or when facing a French/sliding door to the back yard, etc. This leads the viewer straight forward, to the interesting point that you want to show.
Tip 6 – Details
Some clients say to me: “Shoot only wide angles. I am not selling the furniture so don’t focus on them”. Well, if that is so, then why spending $2k -$4k on staging? We want to give the viewer a homey feeling.
Shooting a sitting area a little closer, using 20-30mm (crop) or 30-50mm (full-frame) gives us a very intimate feel of the space, almost inviting the viewer to take a seat and relax… Don’t forget to take a closer look at the appliances. Many times they stay with the property.
Tip 7 – Camera Height
In general, we want to show more floor than ceiling (unless we want to emphasize a unique ceiling). So keep the camera low enough to show more floor than ceiling, but not too low, when shooting in the kitchen and bathrooms.
We want to be able to see the top of the counter-top. In children’s rooms, or wherever there is low furniture, go even lower, especially in closer shots but not only. We don’t want to look down at a low futon bed, a low couch or a fireplace.
Tip 8 – Windows
Two things about windows: keep them clean, and keep the view through them lighter than the interior. Dirty windows are a nightmare, especially when the sun is facing them. It creates a lot of glare and makes the image look “muddy”.
In many real estate photos, it is common to see the exterior and the interior at the same level of brightness. Unless we shoot at twilight, or unless there is a solar eclipse, this is simply not natural.
If you blend multiple exposures, do it carefully, keep the view brighter than the interior. On the other hand, don’t “nuke” the windows. If the view is ugly, then feel free to keep it very bright, to show fewer details, but don’t make it all-white.
Tip 9 – Verticals and Horizontals
Unless we take some artistic shots or detailed shots of chandeliers etc., we want to keep all vertical lines actually vertical. Don’t tile the camera up or down.
And when we shoot one-point perspective (see tip 5), we want to make sure that the horizontal lines are actually horizontal and parallel to each other
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