These are my 8 real estate photography tips that I use for all my photoshoots
1. Check The Weather Forecast
Good photos rely on good weather. Sunny bright days make for the best photographs when it comes to real estate, so make sure to check your local weather forecast before heading out to shoot a property.
When you arrive at a house try to shoot the outside first, the weather might change on you in just a few minutes (at least it here in Florida). After your done with the outside, proceed with any major interior photos that require windows pulls.
If the weather is not nice, you can always use Photoshop or software like Luminar 4 to do a sky replacement. Personally, I use Luminar 4 for this, it has an AI sky replacement system that saves me a lot of time.
2. Do a walkthrough of the house
Have the property owner or the realtor show you what they consider is important to photograph.
Check for open toilet lids, crooked lampshades, dog bowls, or anything that is out of place. Do not hesitate to point things out. If you think your comment might offend the homeowner, pull the realtor to the side, and tell them about it.
And above all, do not move objects or furniture without the owner’s consent or supervision. Remember you broke it, you bought it!
3. Open All The Blinds and Curtains
Natural light is the best light when photographing a home, so make sure everything is open. The light color and the soft shadows you get from a window can never be matched with just a flash or strobe.
Just as before, ask before you open them. And if you can get the homeowner to do this even better.
In my experience not all blinds are usually in working order, especially in older homes, so proceed with caution less you break one.
4. Turn On All Lights (Well, Not Always)
This is a tricky one. Lightbulbs are great, but they vary in color temperature wildly across the spectrum. These light sources are usually orange or yellow and will throw off your camera’s color balance making interiors look dingy and old.
Even though you can for the most part correct color balance in software like Lightroom, if your room has a window, this color correction will make your outside views look blue.
In these situations, where you have competing light sources, techniques like Nathan Cool’s Window Pulls allow you to get the perfect shot by combining two or more photos into one with the aid of a flash.
5. Set Your Camera To Aperture Priority
Real estate photography is best shot at F9 to F11, it keeps everything looking sharp. By setting your camera to aperture priority mode you are letting the camera do all the calculations for the photo by automatically adjusting your shutter speed.
6. Set Your ISO To No More Than 400
High ISO’s have a lot of noise, especially on lower-end or prosumer cameras. By setting your ISO low you are ensuring your image will have the least noise possible.
This comes at a price of longer shutter speeds which means that handheld photos are out of the question, which brings us our next step.
7. Use a Good Tripod!
When I started in real estate photography, I used the cheapest Amazon special I could find, after all it’s just a tripod right? Who in their right mind would spend hundreds of dollars on a tripod?
Boy was I wrong!
When photographing at low ISO’s with a high F stop your exposure times go up a lot, especially in low light situations. This makes using a tripod a necessity, it is very hard if not impossible to shoot by hand.
Cheap tripods are flimsy, don’t stay still, and move with the slightest touch.
Personally, I can say that when I invested in my Manfrotto with a geared head I saved on average 30 minutes from a photoshoot, making every cent I spent on it worth it.
8. Always Shoot In Raw Mode
This is possibly the most important step. Never ever use JPG mode for your photos.
Raw mode produces images that are unprocessed by your camera, and unlike JPG images, they can be processed and corrected after they are taken.
I cannot stress the use of Raw mode enough, the number of times I have saved a bad photo and managed to produce an image I could give the customer where countless.
When taking photos it is not if you will screwup, it is when, and Raw mode will save you from having to go back and reshoot more than once.
I could write many more tips, but this is supposed to be a short guide, and I do think these are the most important and useful tips that I use daily when doing my work.
I hope that you can find them useful too.
“What can I say? I love taking photos of houses.”
Based in Orlando Florida, Jose is a real estate photographer specializing in vacation homes, working for realtors and property managers to make their properties look great.