Real Estate Photography Best Practices for Stunning Listings
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in real estate photography, the only words we shoot for are, “I gotta have it.” Discover the best real estate photography practices for stunning listings. With most prospective buyers house hunting online, you’ll want pictures that make your property pop.
Your online listing’s first impressions make show-stopping photography integral to real estate marketing. Since your home’s online image can make or break your sale, here’s everything you need to know about taking great real estate photos.
It might be tempting to pull out your smartphone and start snapping pics, but there’s an art and a science to real estate photography. A professional photographer uses a high-end camera, wide-angle lenses, specialized equipment (maybe even a drone now for aerial shots), and additional lighting to create the perfect images.
On the other hand, apps, filters, and editing software can help you mimic the results of hiring a pro, if you’re willing to do the work, have an eye for photography, and own a decent non-smartphone camera.
Here are a few tips for achieving professional-level pics without hiring a pro:
Use a Quality Camera
Take crisp, distortion-free pictures with a high-quality camera. A high-resolution image is essential for online listings. According to PhotoUp, the Canon EOS Rebel SL3, Nikon D3500, and Sony A7R III are popular cameras for real estate photography.
Wide-angle lenses capture more of a room in one shot, but you should avoid overusing wide-angle settings. They can create unnaturally large rooms and misrepresent your space.
Invest in a Tripod or Gimbal
Most people understand the importance of tripods when stabilizing stationary shots, but tripods also allow precise framing, steady exposures, and sharp images, especially in low-light conditions.
On the other hand, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is a video worth? Those stunning videos of images gliding across your screen use a gimbal.
Gimbals stabilize cameras, smartphones, and other recording equipment by counteracting unwanted movements and vibrations with three motorized axes. They provide smooth footage, and these fluid, shake-free cinematography machines have become a popular tool in real estate photography.
Tips for Great Real Estate Photos
Once you have gathered your equipment, you’re ready to start snapping. Consider these technical tips to produce inviting images:
- Choose a full-frame camera for better low-light performance and image quality.
- Shoot in manual mode to control settings.
- Consider focus bracketing for scenes with multiple focal planes (e.g., foreground and background).
- Preserve image data and allow for processing by shooting in RAW format.
- Use a low ISO, the numerical measurement for light sensitivity, to minimize noise and maintain image quality.
- Always take multiple shots at different exposures. Later, you can blend the images in post-production to create well-exposed photos.
Now that you understand the camera settings, it is time to think about composition and lighting. Here’s how to showcase your home’s beauty, charm, and functionality:
Understand Your Angles
Consider various angles to showcase your space. Multiple angles give the viewer a better sense of the size and layout. Experts advise providing three to four angles for high-traffic rooms like the kitchen and living room and two to three images of smaller rooms like spare bedrooms and offices.
Shoot your photos from chest height or about 5 feet for optimal results. Getting the right angles in real estate photography is crucial for showcasing your property accurately. Here are a few more tips to help you capture your home’s best angles:
- Shoot from the corners: Snap your photos from the corners of each room to give the viewer a realistic perspective.
- Use open doorways: Frame shots from open doorways to enhance the visual flow of your home.
- Get the money shots: Highlight your property’s unique selling points: fireplaces, built-ins, and other architectural details that draw interest from homebuyers.
- Go with the flow: Guide viewers through your property, showcasing the connectivity between each room.
- Line it up: Ensure that the horizontal and vertical lines in the frame are straight.
- Photograph from floor to ceiling: Focus on interesting details like exposed beams, captivating light fixtures, and flooring materials.
- Venture into the outdoors: For stellar outdoor pics, include multiple angles to showcase your yard, highlighting pools, patios, outdoor kitchens, landscaping, and more.
- Lights! Camera! Awesome!: Real estate photographers prefer natural light. The golden hours of early morning and late afternoon provide warm, soft sunlight that enhances the ambiance of your property.
Both interior and exterior shots benefit from natural light. You can create a welcoming atmosphere by supplementing natural light with artificial lighting, like lamps and ceiling fixtures. Be sure to avoid direct sunlight which can cause strong contrasts and overexposure.
A balanced blend of natural and artificial light emphasizes your property’s features while maintaining a bright, inviting, and natural look in your real estate photographs.
Fly a Drone
Drones, the newest addition to real estate photos, capture stunning aerial perspectives of properties and their surroundings. This unique view makes a listing more appealing by highlighting a property’s size, layout, and proximity to amenities. Hire a drone photographer or invest in a small model to capture stunning aerial images.
Use a drone to emphasize your home’s architectural details, landscaping, or pool. Your concrete in-ground pool cost a fortune to install, so make sure it looks good in photos with an overhead view. Drones enhance your real estate listing’s presentation and help buyers understand your property.
Use Your Phone Wisely
Smartphones can be used for real estate photography if they are used thoughtfully. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Ensure the lens is clean and free of smudges and dirt.
- Use a wide-angle or panoramic mode to capture the whole room.
- Use a tripod or brace your arms against a stable surface to prevent blurriness.
- Shoot during golden hours and avoid harsh shadows.
- Use natural light to your advantage. Additional lighting, such as ring lights, can brighten small spaces.
- Use HDR mode to capture a wide range of exposures and enhance colors and sharpness using photo editing apps.
Add Immersive VR
VR (Virtual Reality) in real estate photography involves using specialized 360-degree cameras and software to create immersive virtual tours. The camera takes panoramic images that are pieced together with a smartphone to create a virtual environment. VR tours allow potential buyers to explore a property remotely, providing a highly interactive and realistic viewing experience.
Users can view your property from all angles and move throughout your home. VR real estate photography enhances the marketability of listings, and they are especially great for vacant properties. Editing software allows you to virtually stage the empty space by adding furniture, refreshing landscaping, and even changing the color of the sky.
Edit Like a Pro
After you’ve taken your photos, you need to edit them. The goal is to maximize each photo’s visual appeal while preserving the integrity of the subject. Remember, a heavy-handed edit will disappoint prospective buyers come showtime.
A good understanding of your photo editing software will ensure that your colors and lighting are accurately represented.
Here are a few pointers to edit like a pro:
- Correct lens distortion and keep vertical and horizontal lines straight to maintain a professional look.
- Retouch minor imperfections, but avoid over-editing to maintain a natural appearance.
- Ensure your editing style is consistent across all photos to create a cohesive presentation.
Whether you are a seasoned real estate agent or a budding photographer, these practices will help you create compelling property listings that attract buyers. Make your listings stand out in the crowded real estate landscape and fetch top dollar with stunning photography.