How to Take Real Estate Photos
- What You Need To Do Before Taking a Single Real Estate Photo
- What Makes Real Estate Photos Look Good?
photo by jhorrocks via iStock
There are many you might want to know how to take real estate photos.
Most likely, if you’re reading here, you’re either a real estate agent wanting to get listing photos yourself that are as good as what you get from a professional photographer, a homeowner wanting to do it all yourself, or you’re a photographer hoping to break in to the field.
Either way, we’ve got you covered with real estate photography tips for realtors and a discussion of how to move up from real estate photography for amateurs to producing professional results.
Useful Techniques and Equipment
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Understanding real estate photography for beginners, whether a real estate agent or a beginner photographer, isn’t so much about the art of photography as it is the crafting of a usable image. How to take real estate photos is more about realism than artistic vision.
Instead of looking for interesting compositions such as we do with the Rule of Thirds or the Fibonacci Spiral, we try to use the Three Wall Method. With the Three Wall Method, we try to get parts of 3 walls into each room image.
Instead of using exposure to create interest by means of modeling with shadows, we use exposure methods that optimize balance and some that tame dynamic range issues, having too much light and very dark in the scene.
Equipment that is useful for real estate photography includes a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a bracketing feature, a wide angle or wide angle zoom lens with a much wider view than the kit lens, and a sturdy but easily transportable tripod, and a spirit level.
Wide Angle Lens
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In order to optimize being able to capture as much of a space as possible, especially with indoor areas, we need a lens wider than the 18mm on APS-C or 24mm on Full Frame kit lenses. These are generally great lenses with fantastic performance, but we want a wider field of view.
Shooting with Full Frame format cameras, a focal length range wider than 20mm is preferred, perhaps even as wide as 14mm. Using APS-C format cameras, a lens in the range of 12mm or 10mm is ideal. There are many zoom lenses with these focal lengths that have high levels of optical performance.
A Good Tripod
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With an ultra wide angle lens, a major concern is distortion in straight lines. Our rooms with a three wall view tend to have a large percentage of straight lines within the image. The way to take care of that issue is to level out the camera so that the long straight lines don’t look odd.
A tripod is invaluable for handling this. It doesn’t have to be a super heavy duty tripod but we do want it to be sturdy enough to avoid any camera movement. In addition to carefully leveling out the camera and lens with a shoe mounted spirit level, having a tripod allows us to take advantage of the bracket and merge HDR method.
Bracket and Merge HDR
photo by PC Photography via iStock
Bracket and merge HDR is how real estate photographers get a handle on the issues of dynamic range mentioned earlier. The method uses multiple image files at different exposure settings which is another reason to use a good tripod for real estate photography.
You can see a great explanation of the backet and merge HDR method in this YouTube video tutorial.
Besides the interior views, HDR also works great for exterior views of the property. As an extra part of our real estate photography tips, using the bracket and merge HDR method lets you make amazing looking twilight views of the exterior of the house which makes a perfect beauty shot for listings.
photo by sturti via iStock
An important element of how to take real estate photos is to stay organized. Especially when already working as a realtor or starting with real estate photography for amateurs does one need to keep completely organized.
Creating a basic list of rooms, room views, exterior views, and special features will avoid the problem of not having images of each necessary image for a full listing. It is generally very difficult to go back to a property to capture the missing images, so making sure to capture all of them in one visit is very important.
And that’s basically how to take real estate photos in a nutshell. Obviously, there are details we skimmed over, so check out all of our how to take real estate photos articles for more in depth coverage.