The need for real estate photography is always present, as houses are constantly being put up for sale and taken down from the market all over the globe. All real estate agents are fighting for the attention of homebuyers by having the best real estate photos.
Shooting professional photography for real estate can be improved with a few simple tips. By producing beautiful, consistent property photos, you will have local real estate industry agents returning for your services.
What Is Real Estate Photography?
For those of you who are surprised to hear about professional real estate photography, let me explain. People take photos of houses because they are trying to sell them.
However, there is a lot of demand for real estate photographers because of the current housing market in many parts of the world. This specialized genre may seem simple, but it does require certain skills to take effective and compelling photos of homes for sale.
Is Real Estate Photography Profitable?
Real estate photography is not as popular as landscape or portrait photography, but this means you will have a better chance of getting more clients and earning more money. If you learn how to market your real estate photography business, you will be even more successful!
There are plenty of real estate agents, so we know there won’t be a shortage of houses to photograph. Estate agents usually keep old photos, but they’re more likely to commission new photographs when selling a house. This is because changes might have been made to the building or garden, and they want to be as accurate as possible.
How Much Does A Real Estate Photographer Make?
Pricing for real estate photography can be difficult to determine and depends on several factors.
Location and size are significant factors in determining real estate photography prices. Of course, your experience is also a factor. New photographers usually charge less than those with more experience.
Real estate photographers typically charge between $200 and $500 for their services, with smaller properties requiring less compensation than larger ones.
This could be the perfect photography career if your area is a major city with high real estate value!
What’s Necessary for Real Estate Photography?
You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment for real estate photography– most of it is pretty standard. In the list below, we’ll go over the tools you might already have and the ones you might need to get.
To do real estate photography, you’ll need a camera that can take manual shots. A DSLR or mirrorless camera with a full-frame sensor would work great.
A wide-angle lens will help you if you want to take pictures in a small space. The way the lens is designed will make the room look bigger than it actually is. Some of the best options are the NIKKOR 16-35mm for Nikon and the EF 16-35mm f/4 for Canon. Another option is the Sigma 12-24mm f/4 Art Lens which is known to be a good choice. Sigma makes mounts for both Nikon and Canon, so you should check that out before you make a purchase.
If you’re looking to spend a little extra on your real estate photography, a tilt-shift lens is a great option to consider. These lenses help to eliminate the distortion that wide-angle lenses can cause, making them perfect for capturing those straight lines and level horizons. While they may be pricier than regular lenses, you can always find a used option if you’re willing to look around.
If you’re looking to get into real estate photography, some good lens options to consider are the Rokinon TSL24M-N 24mm, the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L, and the Nikon PC-E FX Nikkor 24mm f/3.5 ED.
Use your tripod when you want the best possible image quality. A tripod prevents your camera from moving around, which makes your pictures clearer and without any blur. It also allows you to keep the same perspective in all your shots, as long as you set it up at five feet. Using a tripod results in better quality pictures.
It is important to be consistent, especially when photographing real estate.
If you’re taking pictures with a low shutter speed, you shouldn’t touch the camera. Pressing the shutter button to take a picture can cause the camera to shake, and it’s better to use a remote trigger that doesn’t require you to touch the camera.
While real estate photography may not seem like it would require strobes or flashes, they can be essential in poorly lit homes to get the best shots possible.
There are two main types of camera flashes- monolights and flashguns. Flashguns are cheaper to start with but as you photograph more spacious properties, monolights would be the best option since they have a brighter light output.
There are many choices available, from the entry-level Godox TT600S to the top-of-the-line Profoto B10.
A flash trigger is a device that is attached to a camera’s hot shoe and used to firing flash units that are not attached to the camera.
Some strobes come with built-in receivers, so you don’t need to buy extra receivers. To use them, connect all the strobes, press the shutter, and the flash will go off at the same time.
If bare flash creates unappealing results, point the flash toward the ceiling to soften the light. If the roof is too high or there’s not enough light bounce, try using a diffuser.
Think about using light modifiers like umbrellas. They’re usually enough, they’re small and easy to carry around, and they won’t get in the way if you’re in a small space.
In addition to flash units, you will also need light stands. A regular light stand will typically work for lighter flash heads, but more durable C-stands may be necessary for larger monolights. Depending on the location, you may need one to four light stands to illuminate an area.
ty-bitty details are important, but if you don’t have those first three things, you’re sunk. If you want to pursue real estate photography, you need to have a camera, lens, and tripod at the very least. All the other small details are important too, but without those first three things, you won’t be able to get started.
Although acquiring all of the mentioned tools will help you get better results and finish at a faster pace, you don’t have to acquire them all at once.
Photography Goals to Keep in Mind
Real estate photography has several key goals that it aims to achieve:
- Increase interest in a listing.
- Showcase and document the listing in its best light.
- Allow potential home buyers or renters to imagine themselves living in the space.
You want the images you produce to increase the chances of a sale!
Now, on to the tips!
Real Estate Photography Tips: On the Shoot
1. Use the Right Camera
Although it is up to the photographer to decide what makes a good photograph, having the right tools will help you be more successful.
A full-frame sensor will give you the most complete image, and make shooting in small spaces much easier. APS-C sensors narrow your field of view if you are not using a designated crop sensor optic.
A high megapixel count is important for a camera.
The more megapixels your camera has, the more detail it can record. The more megapixels an image has, the larger you can print and the more you can crop into the image without losing quality. Twenty-five megapixels is the minimum you need for great real estate photographs, but going up even larger is even better.
This will come in handy when photographing derelict properties or those without power. Next, take advantage of the full-frame sensor’s low light capability. Although real estate photographers often utilize artificial light, you want the camera to be capable of capturing images without it. This will come in handy when photographing derelict properties or those without power.
If you’re looking to get into real estate photography but don’t want to spend a lot of money, a good option would be to get a full-frame camera from one of the major brands. Some examples of these would be any of the Sony Alpha 7 series cameras, the Canon 5D series cameras, the Canon 6D series cameras, or the Nikon D7 series cameras.
2. The Glass Makes All the Difference
To take a picture of an entire room, you will want to use a wide-angle lens. Ultra-wide-angle lenses are 10mm to 24mm long, and wide-angle lenses are 24mm to 35mm.
When choosing a camera lens, you usually don’t want one that is only ultra-wide, because it will cause perspective distortion. For example, objects that are closest to the lens will appear too large (like in a fishbowl), and objects that are farthest away will appear too small. Lens sizes that are often favored are 24mm and 17-40mm.
Related Post: Best Lenses for Interior Photography
The reason that the more expensive lenses tend to be priced higher is because they have wider apertures. This allows you to have more control over how much of the image is in focus. The Sigma Art series is a popular choice because it doesn’t have the same price tag as the original equipment manufacturer.
3. Additional Tools to Carry
If you’re into real estate photography, then you’ll want to get to know tripods. A tripod will stabilize your camera, preventing blurry photos. It’s especially important to use a tripod when taking pictures from a higher vantage point, such as when trying to get both the floor and ceiling in the frame. If you have to choose between the two, go with more floor showing than ceiling.
Make sure that when you set up your camera and tripod, the height is adjusted by the tripod’s legs, not the height of the center column. For maximum camera stability, keep the center column collapsed.
Related Post: Best Tripods for Real Estate Photography
A small, handheld level that can sit on your camera will help to ensure that your images are perfectly straight.
You can use masking tape to mark the location of your tripod for future reference, and it won’t damage the floor when you remove it.
Lens Cleaning Supplies
If you don’t wipe the dust off, it will be visible in the image because you will be using a narrow aperture.
A small lens cleaning kit can help keep your images clean and free of spots!
4. The Right Camera Settings
Start by switching your camera to Manual Mode so that you can have full control over the settings. While you can use semi-manual modes like Aperture Priority, it’s generally best to use Manual so that you don’t leave anything up to the camera’s computer.
A lower aperture number means that less of the image will be in focus, while a higher aperture number means that more of the image will be in focus. A great range of aperture numbers to use is between f/5.6 and f/8. Keep in mind that a higher aperture number means that less light will be let into the sensor, so the image will be darker.
Your camera’s ISO setting controls its sensitivity to light. A low ISO number means your camera isn’t very sensitive to light (producing less digital noise in your photo), while a high ISO setting means it’s more sensitive (and introduces more noise). For the best results, try to keep your ISO below 800.
Shutter speed is more important for moving subjects than for still ones. For example, when you are taking a picture of a room or house, you don’t need a fast shutter speed. A shorter shutter speed will make the picture darker, while a longer shutter speed will make it lighter. After you have set the ISO and aperture, you can adjust the shutter speed to get the right exposure.
5. Get a Flash Unit
If a home you’re walking into is dark, no matter how many windows you open or lights you turn on, using a flash or strobe unit is the way to go! These tools emit a very powerful white light when synchronized to your camera’s shutter button.
Be sure to find a flash unit that has TTL capabilities so that you don’t have to spend a lot of time adjusting the intensity.
Most flash units come without any sort of diffuser or cover. A diffuser is an accessory that you can place on a flash unit to soften and spread out the light.
If a diffuser is not used, the light will be harsh and not look natural. A big softbox diffuser with white fabric is good to use because it helps capture a room without making it look like a flash was used.
Do not aim your flash head directly at your subject when adjusting its direction. Instead, point it towards the ceiling or a wall. This way, the light will bounce around and have a softer impact, rather than cause harsh reflections and glares.
6. Become Acquainted With High Dynamic Range (HDR)
You have to prioritize what to expose for when taking images, as you cannot expose everything at once. HDR, short for high dynamic range, is when you take multiple images at different exposures and then stack them together. Here are the steps for creating an HDR image:
- First, place the camera on a tripod, since all the images need to be taken in the same spot.
- Then you’re going to want to check your light meter (aim for the meter to read 0). When you’re ready, take your photograph.
- Once you’ve done that, adjust your exposure until the meter is showing that the settings are exposing the image to the left of the scale (‘-2’ is a good place to sit). Capture an image here, too.
- Do the same in reverse, for the meter to show to the right (‘+2’).
- Finally, load these images into your editing software and stack them. Programs such as Adobe Photoshop actually have an HDR option already built in, you just select your images and the program will merge them for you.
7. Shoot Straight for Less Distortion
This tip is crucial when shooting real estate photography.
When shooting different angles, be sure to keep the camera straight to avoid distortion that you’d later need to straighten in Lightroom or Photoshop. A sturdy tripod or adjusting your live view settings to display the virtual horizon (or virtual level) will help you achieve this.
The vertical lines in the image will appear to slant if the camera is pointed slightly up or down. The lines will distort in one direction or the other, depending on the direction the camera is pointing.
The best height for taking pictures of homes is approximately 5 feet. Since every house is different, this is the height that will make the photos look most natural and feel the most balanced.
8. Use a Drone for a Bird’s Eye Perspective
Drones are now being used in modern real estate photography to get a unique perspective that was either impossible or very expensive to get just a few years ago. The height that drones can reach allows them to get a view of the entire property, including its borders.
If a property has an selling point that makes it stand out because of its location, then drone photography is often used to show this off. This type of photography allows you to not only include the property in the shot, but also the stunning views that surround it.
As real estate agents begin to use video and photos more frequently to advertise their properties, adding a drone option to your repertoire can help your business stand out and increase your prices.
Editing Real Estate Photos in Lightroom
9. Correct Distortion Using Lens Correction and Transform
If you don’t take this into account, the results won’t be too pleasing. The use of wide-angle lenses in real estate photography can cause distortion, making objects appear warped. If this is not taken into account, the results may not be desirable.
Apply a lens correction and correct your verticals. This will make the photo look more polished.
To activate the Lens Correction module, go to the Detail module and check the box next to “Enable Profile Corrections.” Make sure the lens you used is selected from the drop-down menu under “Lens Profile.”
10. Making the Basic Adjustments
I typically adjust highlights by lowering them, shadows by brightening them, blacks by deepening them, and clarity by increasing it.
It will take a bit of time to develop your style and workflow. So go ahead and experiment with your real estate photography. You might just have the right Lightroom preset for every shot with time.