The Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Photography In 2023

Believe it or not, 99% of real estate houses get purchased or rented because of their photos. Even those who buy or rent the places agree to this. This is why real estate photography stands to be one of the best professional photography careers.

However, you cannot become a real estate photographer and take professional photos overnight. To do that, you will need the right tools and gear, photography knowledge, understanding of the client’s perspective, and also making the photos presentable.

I know it’s a lot to do, and it can be hectic and a waste of time to run here and there for proper information. That’s why I have prepared this real estate photography guide for you. You can see more real estate image clipping path service.

What Is A Real Estate Photographer?

Some people simply get confused between real estate photographers and other professional photographers. Well, while both terms refer to professional photographers, there is a small difference.

A real estate photographer is someone who takes eye-catching photographs and knows how to make a house or estate look appealing to anyone. They also might have the skill to do various editing and photo manipulation techniques to make changes in the images. And many real estate photographers also take photos at various events, model photographs, and more.

On the other hand, any professional photographer might not have the skill and quality required for real estate photography. Because such photography requires a different set of skills and more creative visuals.

Realtors use these photographs to sell and rent properties. This is exceptionally useful for online services. Real estate companies upload these images online where potential buyers and tenants can see them. In most cases, perfectly-captured and well-edited real estate photos are the reason the process moves to the next step.

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How To Be A Professional Real Estate Photographer?

This real estate photography guide will not train you to be such a photographer instantly. But this guideline will give you a basic idea of what it requires to be a real estate photographer and what you need to prepare for.

Study Photography

It’s not as if you wake up one morning and decide to be a photographer. And even if you did that, you can not take professional or commercial photography without adequate knowledge of the subject. Why?

Because becoming a real estate photographer requires a set of skills, such as vision, artistic visuals, knowledge regarding lighting and compositions, the ability to improvise instantly if needed, etc. And to acquire all these skills, you must study photography.

The good thing is, if you want to do professional photography, you can attend classes and do courses for that. Many universities offer the finest art degree that mainly focuses on photography skills and improves one’s visual. Also read Best Real Estate Photo Retouching Service Providers.

But it’s also true that the same rule is not applied to everyone. Many professional photographers develop this skill without an academic degree or training. They are self-taught and have been doing excellent in this field.

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Get Necessary Photography Equipment

Unlike model or studio photography, real estate photos do not require many tools and equipment. Studio and such photography need the light set up, background setup, props, and many more. 

On the other hand, real estate photos are taken by being present in the property and taking tidy photos with the natural view outside and furniture photos inside. So you only need the basic photography equipment, such as the camera, tripod, various lenses, and, sometimes, light.

You can start with some of the budget-friendly models for learning and practicing. But as you gain more skill and experience, you can move to better and more expensive options.

Gather Knowledge Regarding The Equipment & Do Photography

Again, buying a camera does not mean you will instantly know all about it. Depending on the camera’s type and brand, it will have different features, settings, and adjustment options. You must take your time and learn all about it. Doing professional photography requires being quick in your job. So you must learn the A to Z of the camera so that you can make any changes instantly.

You also need to explore a lot with the camera angle and see which angle offers the best outcome. However, as a real estate photographer, it will be your job to make any angle the right angle. So you must practice photography.

And then comes another crucial part: lighting. Finding the right light source is as challenging as finding the right angle. But if it is interior photography, you have the advantage of using artificial lighting sources to modify everything. Still, you must learn how you should do that.

Learn Editing

Not all your captured photos will show the most realistic version or color of the property and its interior. So sometimes, you must make some adjustments and edit the photos.

For that, you must learn how to use photo editing software. There, you will have to crop and resize the photo, change the background foreground, subject, and other elements’ colors, remove unnecessary objects and items, add various things and even furnish the property, etc.

Post-production editing and corrections make the photographs more attractive to the viewers. That is why such editing services are often used in commercial photography.

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Create Your Portfolio

If you have followed everything mentioned so far already, you are ready for a good start. So I suggest starting working on some small projects for others. If not, do them for yourself. Why?

Because it will help you create your portfolio. And since a portfolio contains the best of your work, it allows your future clients to explore your work and skill and judge your potential.

If you want to create a portfolio that is more accessible, it is best to create one online. Many websites allow you to do that for free. And they are easy to work on. But if you want something that you can personalize, you can build paid ones.

Get Clients And Gain Experience

A well-built portfolio always attracts clients and helps you get more work. So keep on doing that to gain more experience. Make sure to add those experiences to your portfolio.

And once you finish a job, you can ask the clients to leave feedback and references, which can help you get further work and better opportunities.

Some newbie real estate photographers offer discounts to their clients for various work, and it is helpful to create a client-photographer bond and shows reliability.

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What Are The Best Tools For Real Estate Photography?

Though real estate photography does not require many, many tools like regular commercial photography, one still needs to have the most essential tools for that. Moreover, as a professional photographer, you must choose the best tools. 

So here is the list of the best tools and equipment that you will need for real estate photographs.

A High-End DSLR Camera

Of course, you will need a high-end DSLR camera to capture the best real estate photos. As a starter, it might not be necessary to go for high-priced models.

But as you advance as a photographer and work with more clients, you must have one such camera to offer the best outcomes. Go for cameras that offer a larger aspect ratio, as the smaller ones will not offer enough image space, especially when you are taking shots with a wider lens.

Camera Lenses

While wide-angle lenses are not always the best choice for real estate photography, they have certain advantages if you are trying to capture a certain view, working from a particular angle, or taking shots of the surrounding landscape.

But whatever you do, never go for the fish-eye lens for a property or interior images. They make the photos look very unnatural, and they look unattractive to the viewers.

A Robust Tripod

The perfect shot requires a lot of stability. But often, it becomes challenging to hold the camera steady while focusing on other elements.

So the best thing to do is to get yourself a high-quality and durable tripod that can take a good amount of handling pressure and load. Make sure the tripod has an adjustable height feature with a rotatable head.

External Flashes Or Light Sources

Even when taking real estate photographs, you cannot expect to get natural light everywhere and all the time.

If you are taking indoor shots or shots after dusk, you may need extra light sources. That is why it is necessary for all real estate photographers to have extra flashes or artificial light sources. Also read 17 Best Action Camera Flashlights.

Extra Batteries

You may want to have extra batteries for your DSLR camera, as shooting for long hours can make it run out of charge soon. And as a professional photographer, you cannot waste your time waiting to recharge it. So the best solution is to have at least one extra interchangeable battery for uninterrupted workflow.

Drone

If you have reached an advanced level as a professional real estate photographer and are exploring new things, it is mandatory to have a drone camera.

Drone images can offer an entirely different view of the property and make it more stunning to the clients. In fact, drone images are very high in demand in the real estate business and marketplace.

Light Meter

If you want to ensure the best photo aperture and know the right shutter speed, you will need a light meter. It helps you gain more accurate exposure for all the photos you take. While built-in light meters can do an okay job, photography experts often suggest using an external meter for more accuracy.

Gear Carry Bag

Since you will be working in various locations, your tools and gear must go through various things. So no matter whether you are a beginner or a professional photographer, always make sure to have a tool-safe carry bag. These bags come with compartments and padded sides that keep the tools safe from damage.

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Why Choose A Drone Or UAV When Taking Real Estate Photos?

In real estate photos, buyers or tenants don’t just want to see the inside and outside landscape views. They also want to see what the property looks like from the aerial view because it offers more details and gives them a better idea regarding the surroundings. 

But that’s just not all! Here are the main reasons why you should choose a drone or UAV for real estate shooting.

Highlights Property Details

You can get a shot of the front door or the property’s entrance and capture more images to show the clients the front and back of the house. But with a drone, you don’t need to capture that many photos. Use the right angle to take a couple of shots, and you will be good to go. These photos will highlight the property’s details more clearly.

Location Accuracy

It is not uncommon for buyers or tenants to figure out the exact location of the estate. But when you provide an aerial image, the location becomes more clear as the clients can figure it out from the surrounding. And when you offer images that make finding the property less hassle for our clients, it plays a positive part in your reputation.

Better Listing

Aerial images are all about offering an excellent visual. And as part of that, your photographs become more popular, and it works as a great marketing tool for your business as a realtor. And if you are a photographer, it can be a boost for your career as well.

Clear Property Dimension

Buyers or tenants like to know the dimension detail of the property inside out. Though 2D or 3D images can do that, real drone shots can help more for your business’s sake. You can mark out the details more clearly, and it makes the whole thing more realistic. Besides, it also helps build trust between both parties.

Saves Time And Cost

Photography is not exactly a fun profession all the time, and neither is being a realtor. So instead of shooting around the property all day long or spending hours choosing from many photos to put on your website, you can just use some drone shots with other important photos. It saves your time, energy, and even extra costs.

Looks More Professional

The real estate business is getting more and more competitive day by day. So to stand out among others, you must think uniquely. That is why drone or UAV images are one of the best ways to make your approach more professional.

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Why Buy A DSLR Camera For Real Estate Photography?

Real estate photography is mainly done for business and commercial purposes. So when it comes to taking these photos, you should not compromise the image quality for your profession or career’s sake! So if you don’t already know why you should buy a DSLR camera for real estate photography, here are some reasons.

High-Quality Photographs

DSLR cameras are known for taking high-quality images and capturing more details than phones or other digital cameras. Even if you print out the images in a giant size, the subject and every single detail will still be perfectly intact. And even in low-light situations, DSLRs can offer noise and grainless captures.

Interchangeable Lenses

Mobile or digital cameras do not come with interchangeable lenses. You only get some focal lengths which are most often not enough when it comes to shooting real estate photos. Unlike them, DSLR cameras come with interchangeable lenses or various ranges. And many of them are quite affordable for every photographer.

Offers More Control & Comfort

Another main advantage of using DSLR cameras for property photography is the functions or control level they offer. You get many functions, from focus level to Zooming images, and they make it easier to capture various types of shots. And these cameras are more ergonomic, which offers users comfort despite their heavy weight.

Longer Battery Life

If you are looking for a more convenient camera as a real estate photographer, you will need a DSLR camera because it offers a longer battery life. This quality comes in exceptionally handy during long hours of shoots. In most cases, you can cover an entire day with a single charge.

Water-Resistant & Durable

DSLR cameras are built to withstand any weather conditions and even shocks. They are also waterproof, making them reliable for shooting in rough weather. Besides, the camera cover prevents dust and particles from going in and damaging it.

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The Best DSLR Cameras For Real Estate Photography

1. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Specifications:

  • Full-frame sensor format
  • 30.4 MP camera
  • 4k video quality
  • 3.2-inch monitor
  • ISO level up to 32,000
  • Up to 900 shorts at a single charge

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is one of the most recommended DSLR cameras for real estate photography, even though it’s expensive. Its 3.2-inch monitor does offer ease of using the camera, and its build quality is up to the mark.

Since the camera is built to withstand various weather conditions, you can easily grip it. And if you are doing interior shots or shooting in low-light conditions, you can use the Auto Lighting Optimizer mode to capture photos with the right amount of light and exposure.

2. Canon EOS 6D Mark II

Specifications:

  • Full-frame sensor 
  • 26.2 MP camera
  • 3-inch display
  • 1080p video
  • ISO level up to 40,000

If you would rather go for something that won’t cost you an arm and a leg and yet offer the best photography outcome, you should check out this DSLR camera from Canon. It is a mid-level camera and highly suitable for starters and progressing real estate photographers.

With a 26.2MP camera and 1080p video quality, you can do both photography and videography without having to compromise the quality. It has a built-in Wi-Fi connection feature, making it more user-friendly. 

3. Nikon D850

Specifications:

  • Full-frame sensor
  • 45.7 MP camera
  • 4k video quality
  • 3.2 touchscreen display
  • ISO level up to 25,600 
  • Takes up to 1,840 photos on a single charge

Nikon D850 is considered to be the all-rounder of DSLR cameras, and it is very popular, despite its very high price. It has professional-level features and a super cool 45.7 MP camera that offers the highest-quality images.

Its high-to-low-light feature helps capture darker shots and create an aesthetic atmosphere for interior photos. You can also turn any low-light condition scenario brighter with its high-end features. And you can expect the perfect shorts even at a high shutter speed.

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What Are The Best Places To Take Real Estate Photos?

Don’t get confused. Here, place refers to the area of the property where you can take a better picture and make them more presentable. While the best places to take real estate photos depend on property type, interior type, design, and furniture setup, here are some real estate photography tips that can help you get better and more eye-catching shots.

Two-Wall Shot

Standing in a room’s doorway and taking a shot with 3 visible walls makes the room appear smaller. If you want to make it look wider with more views, you should follow the 2-wall rule. Here, you place the camera and tripod at an angle where it only shows two walls of the room.

Height Variety

Not all real estate photographers pay attention to this, but you must not ignore the height level of your tripod or camera angle. To ensure you have captured essential details, make sure to use the right camera height when taking shots.

For example, for the bedroom and living room, waist-high shots are perfectly fine. On the other hand, you must increase the height when taking shots of the kitchen so that the top counters remain visible. As for the bathroom, that also requires a waist-high camera level so that the countertops become visible.

An Angle With Outside View

What view will the new owner or tenant get from each room? You can make that more obvious by taking pictures of various rooms with an outside view. Usually, two-wall shots work fine in this regard.

House View With Outside Pool/Patio

If there is a patio or pool outside, take some shots with the view. Whether they are at the front or back of the house, set up your camera a little higher on the other side of the pool or patio. In this way, the viewers will get a full view of the house with the pool and patio.

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How Much Do A Professional Real Estate Photographer Charge?

The cost of real estate photography depends on various factors, such as the photographer’s experience level, the property’s location, and size. And it also depends on how long the work takes if there is any post-production editing required, etc.

Nevertheless, in most cases, real estate photographers charge around $100 to $300 for each session. The cost can increase if the client has additional demands and working complexity.

 Here is more on the factors that affect the photography cost.

Photographer’s Experience

The first thing that affects the cost is the photographer’s experience. In most cases, newbies charge less than experienced photographers. But on the downside, you may not get high-end results from them.

Estate Location Or Distance

How far is the location? If it takes the photographer hours to drive, the travel cost will be a part of the charge. Besides, depending on the state, the cost varies. For example, real estate photography is in New York, and Los Angeles is more expensive than Denver or Chicago.

Property Size & Complexity

Photographers fix the cost based on how big the property is and how complex the project seems. A larger property has many areas to cover, making it more costly.

Shooting Duration

Another thing that affects the cost is shooting durability, especially for larger properties. If the shots cannot be done in a day, you have to pay the photographer for more sessions.

Amount Of Photos

You must let the photographer know how many photos you want from the projects. In the case of real estate photography, taking too many photos from the same location makes the images repetitive. So you both can settle on a number.

Post-Production Editing

Last but not least, if you want high-end edited photos, it will be an additional cost. If the photographer or photographer’s team does it, they will charge you extra. Or, you can hire outsourcing companies to do the post-production editing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Not really. Real estate photography does not require rocket science, making it one of the easiest professions for many. However, it still has some challenges that one can overcome with lots of practice and learning more.

These real estate photography tips can help you get better photos:

  • Visualize how you want to take the photos. Knowing the property can help you do that well.
  • Make sure to adjust your camera settings, such as camera mode, focus mode, shutter speed, ISO settings, etc. 
  • Make sure to get an angle where you can get good lighting. Try to plan it before setting up your gear.
  • Tidy up the interior and exterior by removing unnecessary items and objects.
  • Take multiple photos from each angle.
  • Do post-production editing or hire someone to do that.

For professional photography, a real estate photographer should avoid the following:

  • As a real estate photographer, your first job is to know what the market demand is. Not listening to what others want is a big mistake.
  • Never close the blinds when doing real estate photography. If it’s an interior photo, the daylight helps take better photos and add a natural vibe.
  • If you are using an artificial light source or flash, do not direct it to the entire room. Instead, focus it on the wall or ceiling and let it bounce off.
  • Do not use a camera lens larger than 10mm. Because a much wider lens often fails to capture every detail clearly.

Conclusion & The Future Of Real Estate Photography

Real estate photography has taken a realtor business or commercial photography career to a whole new level. Everything has become virtually accessible to people, which saves time and cost, making the company that offers such photos more popular.

Nevertheless, you must ensure taking the best photos using the right tools and gear. And don’t forget to have a property release before everything because you are taking pictures of someone’s private spaces and putting them out for public view.

Moreover, real estate photography seems to have a brighter and more advanced future. This photography business is becoming increasingly affordable, thanks to drone photography helping reduce the cost and making the location or neighborhood known easily.

I also believe in the near future, people will be able to enjoy virtual 3D tours with the help of advanced technology. So if someone is considering taking up real estate photography or the realtor business, they should step right ahead and be a part of such evolution.

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