Real Estate Photography Tips: Top Techniques for the Best Real Estate Photos

About 50% of home buyers find the home of their dreams through the internet. If you want your listings to stand out, you’re going to need better real estate photography than just a basic exterior photo.

Even if you use a professional real estate photographer, with modern real estate marketing and social, you need to know these tips to grow your business.

With these tips, you can draw buyers in, schedule more tours, and start picking up sales.

Whether you are using a Canon, Android, or an iPhone, give potential buyers a reason to click on your listings with these 10 easy and effective real estate photography tricks.

  1. Declutter Beforehand
  2. Stage the Home
  3. Straighten Up
  4. Use a Tripod
  5. Utilize a Wide-Angle Lens
  6. Create a Self-Guided Virtual Tour
  7. Use a Flash Unit
  8. Less is More
  9. Try Drone Photography
  10. Light it Right

1. Declutter Beforehand

Before you start shooting photos of the homes you are listing, complete a full walkthrough of the property, inside and out — don’t forget the garage and storage areas too.

Decluttering seems like a simple tip. However, you might not realize something is out of place until after you’ve taken all of your photos.

Explore each room. Try to determine the best angle to take the photo from while you’re there. Then, look around and determine which items you can remove.

The more objects you remove from each room, the cleaner the room will look.

Decluttering can also make it easier for prospective buyers to imagine their own belongings within the homes they are searching for. Cleaning up before you take photos can also help you avoid removing items during the editing process.

Make sure each surface is clear. That includes countertops, desks, and coffee tables. If you want to make each room look a little more decorative, limit yourself to one to three objects.

Walking through each room beforehand will also help you determine which spaces are ready and which still need tidying.

Coaching tip:

Snap a draft photo on your phone from where you’d like to take the picture and examine it. Our brains function differently when looking at a static image than looking live.

2. Stage the Home

Before you start using the rest of these real estate photography tricks, it’s also important to stage the home. In some cases, that simply means rearranging the furniture and opening the blinds for natural light. Try to adjust the room in a way that allows potential buyers to see that room’s full potential.

A buyer might have a difficult time envisioning their life in that home if the rooms are crowded or the decor is outdated.

You can stage the home without spending much money, too. For example, you can add a few rugs or pillows. Contemporary items will help bring the space to life and encourage buyers to visualize themselves in that space.

Otherwise, think about how you can sell the lifestyle for that home. For example, does the property have a cute breakfast nook? Consider adding some gorgeous china and fresh flowers to the table to set the scene.

Coaching tip:

Many real estate agents fail to stage a home the way they know it should be because of push back from the seller. This is where healthy confrontation, done well, is worth the investment in taking the harder path.

It is also where it can be helpful to take the time to pull average stats on the difference in selling price comparing no staging, to light staging, to heavy staging. It’s easier to discuss $$$ when pointing to a report or analysis because it is less personable than talking about removing their favorite chair or a cluttered mantle.

3. Straighten Up

It’s important that your real estate photography (and video) avoids distortion as much as possible. As you shoot a room from different angles, make sure the camera is straight. Pointing slightly up or down can cause vertical lines to slant. Even a small slant can make a big difference.

Too high and there’s too much ceiling in the photo. Too low and you’re not seeing enough of the actual room.

While each home will have a different height, 5 feet is a good place to start. Make sure your photo feels natural and balanced when shooting so you can alleviate the need for additional editing in Lightroom or Photoshop. 

Coaching tip:

Turn on grid lines in your camera. This setting is available on iPhones, Android devices, and all DSLR cameras. It brings up a 9 quadrant overlay that will let you easily see if things are straight.

4. Use a Tripod

One of the best ways to improve your real estate photos is to take them using a tripod. In addition to helping you maintain decent exposure, your tripod will also help you keep photos at the same height. That way, you don’t have to worry about guessing the balance or keeping your hand steady.

Setting your camera up on a tripod is also ideal if you want to try HDR techniques for your realty photography.

Coaching tip:

You can easily find a good tripod on Amazon for $25 — $75 that will hold your cell phone or DSLR. Here’s one to check out.

5. Utilize a Wide-Angle Lens

Using a wide-angle lens can help improve each photo’s focus. Wide-angle lenses can improve your interior shots by making each room seem more open.

At the same time, a full-frame image will give home buyers a glimpse of the room as a whole. As a result, they can get a sense of what it’s like to stand in the room themselves.

Coaching tip:

You can pick up a cheap add-on for your iPhone/Android to get this effect on Amazon, like this one made by Xenvo . If you use a Canon DSLR (I have the Canon 80D), here is a relatively cheap professional wide angle lens from Altura.

6. Create a Self-Guided Virtual Tour

Did you take more photos than you were expecting too?

More agents are using their excess photos to create self-guided virtual tours for their customers. A self-guided tour is a great way to give home buyers an up close and personal experience and showcase the extra details of the home.

They won’t even need expensive goggles!

Instead, you can use virtual tour technology to give clients a sense of what it’s like to explore the property.

If you’re trying to utilize your website to attract more buyers, virtual tours are a great place to start.

Adding virtual tours to your real estate listing pages will also let you stand out from other real estate agents in the area.

Coaching tip:

Use Rocketium to easily create virtual tours and videos for social media for $49 per month. They have rebuilt templates for real estate that makes it relatively easy to drag-n-drop pictures and video.

Here’s an example of one of their rebuilt templates that you can add photos to, change text, and export in just a few minutes.

7. Use a Flash Unit

Do you need to take numerous photos of a large listing in a short amount of time? Flash units are a helpful tool when it comes to real estate photography. Attaching a flash unit to your camera will help you move from space to space without impacting your photos.

Make sure to bounce the light off the interior walls as you take these photos. That way, the light appears softer. Otherwise, you could cause a bright spot to appear in the center of each photo.

Turn the flash so it bounces against the wall behind you, the sidewalls, or the ceiling above.

Then, you’re diffusing light throughout the space, giving the room a more natural glow.

8. Less Is More

You don’t have to show every little detail in your real estate photos. Instead, focus on your main goal: to get buyers through the door.

For example, you don’t have to show them every single room at every angle. Instead, capture each room from the best point of view. Then, you can entice them to take a tour and make the decision for themselves.

9. Try Drone Photography

By the end of this year, real estate videography will account for 22% of all drone use. Real estate photographers are using drone photography as a great way to get buyers excited about the neighborhood. You can use a drone to show off neighborhood amenities, a nearby beach, or a golf course just a mile away.

Coaching tip:

If you’re a listing agent, put up additional drone photos and video on a featured page on your own website to improve your SEO and rankings.

10. Light It Right

Real estate photography lighting is a key factor in attracting clients to your listing images. Overall, it’s best to show the home in as much natural light as possible. 

First, make sure the sun is positioned at the front of the house for an exterior shot. Make sure the lights throughout the home are working, too. If one of your rooms has large windows, natural lighting from the sun is extremely effective in showcasing the details of any room. Getting the lighting right will help you highlight the best features throughout the property, as well as prevent the need for extra Lightroom or Photoshop editing.

Let Them Love Your Listings: 10 Real Estate Photography Tips for Stunning Success

Help home buyers fall in love with your listings! With these 10 real estate photography tips, you can take photos that help your properties shine. Start shooting your real estate photos using these 10 tips today. 

Start driving results with your real estate website. Discover the most advanced IDX property search tools available today!

Author Details
Chief Marketing Officer
Entrepreneurial marketing leader that’s built and run organizations from start-up to over $500M annual revenue. He brings a unique combination of storytelling and innovation to the team, having led marketing for many brands. Kurt’s a regular conference speaker and workshop leader around modern marketing tactics that actually drive sales. In addition, he has been asked to coach and advise thousands of leaders, from startup founders to the President of the United States.
  • Decluttering and staging your house before taking photos is so so so important. I do real estate marketing and speaking from personal experience. Staged houses with good professional photographs gets way better response on their listing. Anyways.. Thank you so much for sharing such an interesting article Kurt.

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