photo by PeopleImages via iStock
For a photography niche that is more science than art, real estate photography changes a lot and it can be hard to keep up with trends in real estate photography, especially if you haven’t been working in the industry for very long or if you only work in it part-time.
Real estate photography trends can also be quite stressful, because if you show up for a meeting with your client and you don’t offer some niche type of photo or if you don’t have some odd credential, you might not get the job.
Of course, that’s why you have to play the game and keep up with new real estate photography trends...
So, we decided to look ahead to 2021 and pinpoint upcoming real estate photography trends so that you can get any needed equipment now.
Some of these real estate photography trends have been gaining popularity slowly over the last couple of years, which means you’ve likely heard of them, and some of them seemingly popped up overnight. We will walk you through all of them.
Partnering with Real Estate Databases
photo byanyaberkut via iStock
This is one of those real estate photography trends that seemingly popped up overnight: partnering with real estate databases.
As far as we can tell, Zillow, one of the most popular real estate databases in the United States, started this trend by offering photographers the chance to become a Zillow-certified photographer.
In order to become a Zillow-certified photographer, you have to fill out a form on the Zillow website. The form asks some really basic questions about you and a Zillow representative will call you to walk you through how you can create a portfolio through Zillow.
Once you get into this Zillow portfolio, real estate agents can contact you directly off of Zillow.
Since this is one of the newer real estate photography trends on our list, you can likely be one of the first photographers in your area to be Zillow-certified. We are also expecting more and more real estate databases to begin doing the same thing, so be on the lookout for it.
Creating Virtual Tours
photo by damircudic via iStock
While your average real estate buyer isn’t using a VR headset to walk through a property they’re looking at, they are expecting to be able to virtually walk through it on real estate databases like Zillow.
In order to create a 3D tour of a home, you will need to buy a 360-degree camera, which can get pricey depending upon the brand you choose. However, since virtual tours are so popular right now, real estate agents and sellers are willing to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get one created for their home. So, you’ll likely make up any money you spend quickly.
Once you have your camera, you will also need to get a software that can host virtual tours for you. I recommend Cupix, mainly because it's free.
You’ll then connect to an app on your phone so that you can see a preview of each shot you take of the home.
It’s really quite simple and I don’t know why it wasn’t one of the more popular real estate photography trends before this year.
Taking Aerial Photos
photo by djedzura via iStock
I did mention that some of these real estate photography trends started way before 2021. This is one of them.
But, people love drones. I’ve actually seen inspectors using drones to make sure that roofs are in good shape. If an inspector can use a drone, then so can you.
Aerial photography is definitely more popular with higher priced properties, so properties with a lot of acreage or outdoor features like pools, but it's also becoming one of the most popular real estate photography trends for averagely priced housing as well.
I have written quite extensively about real estate photography tips, especially tips for using drones, and you can read some of that work here.
The number one complaint I get about drones for photographers is that they are expensive and overrated. But, you can make up the cost of a drone in a month shooting real estate if you really want to and whether you think aerial photography is overrated as a trend or not doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. If it’s what real estate agents want, then it’s what real estate agents get.
Using HDR Techniques
photo by PC Photography via iStock
This is another real estate photography trend that isn’t new, but it also isn’t as popular as it should be…
One of the primary impediments to a great real estate photo is having a dynamic range that’s too much for your camera to handle. This often occurs when photographing interior rooms with small windows. Either the view out the window is well-exposed (thus leaving the room itself underexposed) or the view out the window is completely blown out and the room is well-exposed.
Creating bracketed exposures and merging them together in post-processing overcomes this issue. And best of all, there’s no expensive equipment to buy to make it happen! You just need a good processing program that makes merging exposures quick and easy.
An additional benefit of using this technique is that it’s fast. You’ll spend less time setting up your gear (your camera and a tripod is all you need!) and as shown in the video above, there’s very little processing time needed. It’s a win-win situation!
photo by jacoblund via iStock
My least favorite part about real estate photography is the editing. This should come as no shock to myself, though, because my least favorite part about all photography is the editing. I’ve learned how to deal with computers, but technology was never the reason why I got into this industry. I did it so that I could work with people.
That’s why I love real estate photography trends that have to do with outsourcing anything technical, but particularly this one that has to do with outsourcing editing.
Other people are already excellent at working Photoshop and Lightroom and if I can pay them to do that for me, then I can spend my time bringing in more money working directly with clients.
Where else do you think real estate photography 2021 will take us?