photo by Feverpitched via iStock
Real estate photography is big business all around the world. If you want to try providing it in your business model, you should know the most common types of real estate photography. What are they? Should you offer one or more of these types?
In its most common types, real estate photography includes residential real estate photography, commercial real estate photography, drone-based real estate photography, architectural photography, interior photography, and interactive spherical video tours. There is some overlap among the common types, real estate photography businesses can cover several at once.
Residential Real Estate Photography
photo by ake1150sb via iStock
Residential real estate photography is the most common type of real estate photography, making up more than half of all real estate images. Most of these images will go on the internet in listings run by co-ops of realty brokers known as MLS or Multiple Listing Services.
Depending on your location, location, location, an MLS may have dozens or hundreds of listings of homes for sale at any given time. One of the things that makes a property stand out in an MLS is high quality photography.
While some photographers may use flash units or video lights, a natural view with detail in highlights, midtones, and shadows can be achieved by bracketing and merging exposures, also known as HDR or high dynamic range photography. Some of the methods for this and why HDR works so well in residential real estate photography are explained in this YouTube video about merging exposures.
Commercial Real Estate Photography
photo by pastorscott via iStock
Commercial real estate photography is very similar to residential real estate photography, but the properties for sale or lease are business oriented. They could include office parks, strip malls, factories, or individual stores and other types of businesses within a larger structure, such as office space on a floor of a skyscraper.
Most of the same principles and techniques used for residential listings apply to commercial real estate photography, including the techniques of bracketing and merging exposures for natural looking HDR images. Follow this tutorial for merging exposures to learn how much this technique can improve your real estate photography images and simplify your processing workflow.
Drone-Based Real Estate Photography
photo by jhorrocks via iStock
Some of the best new technologies of electronics have been blended together to create easy to control flying drones with digital still and video cameras at reasonable prices. Aerial photography has long been an option for realtors but drones are able to provide lower level intimate property portraits.
A typical drone for advanced photography and videography has wireless control, gimbal mounts, and professional level optics and sensors. All of this together means that a real estate photographer can provide great images of a property from an above ground level point of view.
While many drones are capable of flying multiple hundreds of feet above the ground, a typical drone real estate image or video will be from 20 to 100 feet up. Without a drone, you could mount a remote controlled camera to the top of a long pole, but a drone gives you many more great options of the types of images and video you can capture.
photo by xiaoke chen via iStock
This type of real estate photography is more geared towards those who design and build the structures as opposed to owners attempting to sell or lease a property. An architect seeking new clients or a builder doing the same can use these images to show the scope of their qualifications.
With this style of photography, the details are often as important as the overall view of the property, so the HDR bracket and merge techniques also work well. While we want to portray a realistic picture of what was designed or built, a little bit of an artistic flair can create a positive impact, making their work stand out for someone to investigate their services deeper.
That’s the main difference in this style compared to standard real estate images used to sell a house or commercial property. Instead of focusing on the property, the photographer will highlight the work done by the design and construction teams.
Interior Real Estate Photography
photo by alvarez via iStock
Similar to architectural photography, interior real estate photography deals more with what’s been done to the space rather than to the space itself. Interior designers desire good images to show off what they do to whatever space is provided to them.
HDR merging will benefit the images greatly, since adding furniture and decorations will cause a lot more areas of light and shadow than an empty space will have. Again, we can make use of a bit more artistic flair with this common type of real estate photography, as long as we aren’t being so “artistic” that the images are unrealistic. The tutorial for merging exposures mentioned earlier will help us see the proper balance.
Another major difference with architectural photography and interior real estate photography as compared to the other common types of real estate photography is that these spaces may not be owned by the person seeking the images. So as a photographer, we should make sure we and our clients have permission to make the images and use them.
Interactive Spherical Video Tours
photo by miodrag ignjatovic via iStock
This is a very specialty niche of real estate photography. It’s most often used by the business occupying the space or the building being imaged. It is generally made with wide angle or fisheye lenses, nodal point panorama mounts, and GUI or other specially designed software.
A prime potential client for this type of real estate photography could be a hotel, restaurant, healthcare facility, or an entertainment venue. There is a growing market for this type of real estate photography. In essence, you’re providing an in person remote visit of the business.
Though these are referred to as videos, they are actually pieced together from scores or hundreds of images and blended together into a short video or a series of images. The images are interactive in that a viewer can drag their mouse pointer to move the point of view of the panoramic image.
What Real Estate Photography Should You Offer to Clients?
photo by PeopleImages via iStock
The most common types of real estate photography are residential and commercial real estate photography. You might find it more rewarding to offer some of the other types, either as an extra service you can provide or as a specialty niche for your own real estate photography business.