- Get to know the client so you’re aware of their specific needs and wants regarding property photos.
- Tour the property to get a feel for the features that should be highlighted in your images.
- Work with the property owner and other stakeholders to create a shot list. This should be done for interior as well as exterior spaces. The shot list should address the property owner’s goals. For example, if the goal is to promote the property as being fully leased, photos of busy office spaces might be in order. If the goal is to highlight the location of the building, photos of the building showing its relation to downtown, mass transit, parking, and so forth would be warranted.
- Examine how natural light interacts with different spaces in the property. For example, the exterior of the property might look best if photographed in the morning as opposed to the afternoon.
- Prep your gear beforehand, including cleaning your camera and lenses. Also clean your tripod to avoid leaving dirt or other marks on the floor.
- Basic Camera Settings for Real Estate Photography Exteriors
- Best Camera Settings for Real Estate Photography Interiors
- Exterior spaces should be clear of trash and other debris.
- Doors and windows should be free of fingerprints and smudges.
- Common areas, like lobbies, should be staged appropriately. For example, seating areas can be staged to be more inviting by adding pillows to chairs and sofas.
- Office areas, like reception desks, should be organized and clutter-free.
- Warehouse areas should be as organized as possible to show the size of the space and storage possibilities.
- Composition Tips for Photographing Real Estate Exteriors
- Composition Tips for Photographing Real Estate Interiors
photo by buzbuzzer via iStock
If you’re a Realtor or a professional real estate photographer, the approach you use to photograph commercial properties is not dissimilar from the approach used for residential properties.
In fact, there are just a few minor differences between the two.
As with any property, it is essential that you maximize the quality of your photos of commercial listings to make it more attractive to potential buyers. With the tips outlined below, you’ll be able to do just that.
How to Photograph Commercial Properties: Plan and Prepare
photo by AzmanL via iStock
As I expound on in this article, the first step to getting the highest-quality real estate photos is to plan and prepare.
Specifically, you should:
As with any photographic assignment, the more you plan and prepare beforehand, the more likely you are to capture successful images.
Commercial Real Estate Photography Gear
photo by ArisSu via iStock
Though shooting with a DSLR or mirrorless camera isn’t required to capture high-quality commercial real estate photos, they do offer improved image quality and more customization options than a mobile phone, and as such, are recommended for this type of work.
Likewise, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have interchangeable lenses, which is advantageous for large properties because some spaces might require a wide-angle view, like a small office area, while others might require a narrower view, like the entrance to the building.
Additionally, you’ll want to invest in other gear, like a solid tripod, as that will give your camera the stable base it needs to capture tack-sharp images. A remote shutter release is a good investment as well, as that enables you to trigger the shutter without touching the camera, which, again, helps improve image sharpness.
photo by Onfokus via iStock
What you don’t need to invest in is artificial lighting gear. There are multiple reasons for this.
Firstly, the last thing you want to do is drag heavy lighting gear from one space to the next at a large commercial property. It can be cumbersome and time-consuming to do so.
Second, lighting gear is expensive. By the time you have a couple of light stands, umbrellas, flash guns, and other necessities, you can easily be into it for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Third, and most importantly, you simply do not need lighting gear to take quality real estate photos. By bracketing exposures and merging them, you can get beautifully-exposed images using nothing but natural light.
In other words, this merge technique is easier, faster, and less expensive than using artificial lighting.
How to Prepare Commercial Properties for Photos
photo by Ross Tomei via iStock
Preparing commercial properties for photos will require that you work closely with the owner of the building and the janitorial staff. To ensure this process runs smoothly, it’s prudent to put in the contract that the responsibility for the cleanliness of the property and its presentability for photographs falls on the building ownership.
When you meet with the property owner prior to shooting photos, it’s important to stress the following:
These are just a few suggestions that will help you create images that showcase the property in the best light.
photo by onlyyouqj via iStock
Note that you will have to make adjustments when you take certain photos to capitalize on some of the features above.
For example, photographing the front entrance in the early morning will increase the chances that the doors and windows are clean and free of fingerprints.
Likewise, photographing office spaces during the middle of a workday requires pre-planning to ensure that each space is photo-ready, including having models in place, if so desired.
Commercial Real Estate Photography Tip: Get Model Releases
photo by Morsa Images via iStock
When you photograph a private residence, you don’t have to worry about people being in the photos. This is not the case when you photograph commercial spaces, though.
As part of the planning and preparation phase, workers in the building should be informed that their likeness might appear in your photos.
Provide model releases to the property owner so they can be distributed, signed, and returned back to you before work is to begin. You should have additional model releases on hand with you so if a customer or patron is in a shot, you can have them sign a model release as well.
This is perhaps the most significant difference between residential photography and commercial photography. Otherwise, as noted above, the process for photographing commercial spaces is quite similar to residential real estate photography.