How To Take Real Estate Photos that will Sell Your Property Faster

I can not stress the power of quality real estate photos enough. Properties that have strong photography supporting it can sell up to 32% faster and can sell for up to $11,000 more because of that addition.

Whether you are selling a property in a price range that requires you to take your own photos or you outsource your listing photos to a professional photographer, you need these tips! Knowing how to take exceptional real estate photos will help you make sure your next listing sells faster and for more than it would with the photos the average agent has for comparable listings.

So how do you go from a photo with merely a passing grade to some amazing real estate photography? The type that is going to take your listings to the next level? This collection of tips will get you there!

Real Estate Photo do's and don'ts infographic

1. Power of Lighting in Real Estate Photos

Lighting can make or break how potential buyers see your property. The mood, the look, and the appeal (or lack thereof) of the property can all bank on the lighting. 

Need for Consistency

Once you develop a lighting system, it must remain consistent throughout the property. Through a variety of tests, you can decide what works best in the conditions of the home. 

For example, do rooms look better with lights on or off? What color temperature and wattage bulbs are being used if so? Ensure that, whichever method you use, it’s the same throughout the home. Visitors are more likely to scroll through all the photos of the home and inquire about the property if the photos are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. 

real estate photo light diagram

Flash Photography

You should rarely use direct flash photography. You should only use flash when absolutely necessary to get a proper shot. The lighting from a flash will create glare, which may present a poor representation of the space. If you must use a flash, be sure to understand how to soften the lighting or bounce it off of the wall or the ceiling.

Natural Lighting

Using natural light is a very useful tool. It is usually more effective than artificial lighting, and it often creates a more inviting feel to a space. 

There are a few tips that you can try when attempting to best use natural lighting from doors and windows:

  • Place the sun behind the camera when shooting. This brightens the home and avoids producing shadows.
  • It is wise to shoot on overcast days because it can remove shadows and prevent glare.
  • Never shoot directly at windows, this will create glare and make the room look boxed in.
  • Choose “wide-aperture” settings on your camera. This will allow as much light into the photo as possible.

Natural lighting is best captured with a slow shutter speed. If the camera is not steady, this can cause blurry pictures. So having a tripod is another important item you’ll need for real estate photos that stand out.

2. Presenting a Room to Create Great Listing Photos

Depending on the season that you are selling the property during, you will want to prep the various rooms to match the season. It will create a more lived-in appearance.

For example, in the winter, take a photo of the home right after a snowfall. Make sure that the fireplace is lit with new logs. In the summer, have plenty of natural light shining in and decorate areas with pleasant floral arrangements.

When doing real estate photography, be careful of being too heavy-handed and detracting from the home itself. Shy away from holiday decor and do your best to remain neutral. This will help you avoid having to pay for a reshoot if the property does not sell during the current holiday season.

proper positioning for real estate photos

Proper Positioning

Capturing the best angle applies here as well as it does for headshots and family photography. It would be wise to invest in a wide-angle lens to allow shooting from a larger choice of shooting directions. A respectable wide-angle lens can be found for $75 – $250 new and even less if you’re looking at used models.

The best choices for positioning your camera to take photos are from corners and doorways as they allow for the largest amount of coverage in any given room.

3. Aerial Photography and Drone Use in Modern Real Estate Photography

Using a drone can give some unique views of the home as a complete unit and the property that it sits on. More and more professional real estate photographers are using drones for real estate photography.

real estate drone photo

An added benefit of using a drone for real estate photography is the ability to take many photos, even interior shots, that you otherwise could not. 

Because photos taken by a drone are not handheld, they can meet very interesting angles. Drones allow you to get an interesting shot that you normally would be unable to.

I recently sold a lakefront property in Guntersville, AL that simply would not have sold for anywhere near the sale price without the drone footage 1) facing the lake 2) from the lake back towards the boathouse and property and 3) highlighting the “feel” of the pool. The photos not only increased the excitement of potential buyers, they also helped tell the “story” of what life in the house would be like.

Kurt Uhlir – Showcase idx cmo

4. The ‘Five Star Resort’ Feel in Your Listing Photos

You want to bring out the best of the best in a property you are presenting. Who wouldn’t want their potential home to feel like a five-star resort? When staging the home, you need to create that environment. 

Kitchen

When considering where to start after coming inside, the kitchen is a good choice. It is a place that will take a lot of time to prep and is a place that buyers will spend a lot of their time. 

Making sure that it is clean and clutter-free is essential. A dirty kitchen will send any potential buyer packing. You need to attend to all areas; floors, counters, appliances, and especially the sink. I’ve seen numerous agents carry steel wool with them just in case the sink needs that extra polish before photos. The details matter more than you might expect.

real estate photo of a bedroom

Bedroom

If there are many bedrooms in the house, the master bedroom is most often the one that gets the most attention. Because of that, start there, and spend the most time in that room.

Make sure that you organize all personal items and that items are put away properly. Things like phone chargers, laundry hampers, various knickknacks, and photo frames. Make sure that the floors, tables, and any other furniture are spotless.

Finally, make sure that the bed is perfectly made with the best sheets possible. After you finish this, you can take the photos needed. 

Bathroom

Just as with the kitchen, make sure that the bathroom is also spotless. The buyer must not notice any personal items in the photo. That means, toothbrushes, blow dryers, and toiletries are out.

When viewing the listing photos, you want the buyer to be stepping into a five-star hotel that will eventually belong to them.

5. Remember That People Will Judge a Book By its Cover (and the Listing Photos)

It makes sense to spend a good deal of time on the exterior of the property and, with that, getting quality photos of the exterior. It is the first thing the buyer will see, and it is the first thing others will see once they buy it.

Simple touches can make a huge difference. You can prune existing flowers or plant new ones. Take time to clean out toys or gardening supplies. 

Much of this is more work than can be done while on site to take photos, so please make a list of what needs attention and give it to the seller at least a week prior to your planned photoshoot.

6. Touching Up

It is never a bad idea to do a few touch ups to your real estate photos. This can add that little extra bit that takes a good picture and makes it a great picture. But you never want to edit anything to the point of it being misleading. 

Simple changes like contrast or lighting on a photo can help bring out details in a room or property. They can help create a more inviting vibe to an image, without blatantly changing any of the content within. 

Stay away from any effects that distort your images to make spaces seem larger or any attempt to cover bad views or layout. This will ultimately lead to a disappointed buyer and a waste of time on both sides.

7. Highlight The Top Contenders

You want to keep your choice to about 20 photos, highlighting the best points of the home. If it is a smaller property, under 1,900 square feet, you can get away with ten. 

You need to hit a sweet spot. If there are too few images a potential buyer will be left wondering why? Is there some element being hidden? Details about the property will be unclear and problematic.

If there are far too many photos a buyer can easily lose interest and move on to a different listing, if these instances pile up you might ruin an entire campaign.

A good collection comprises;

  • One or two photos out front of the home
  • Up to three photos of the backyard of the home
  • One shot in the bathrooms
  • Two wide-angle shots of each, the kitchen, living room, and all bedrooms
  • Single shots of any other rooms (ex. Office room, garage)

couple sold first home real estate photo

Examples of Great Real Estate Photos

We’ve given you plenty of tips so far, but what does all of it look like in action? Here are some great examples of real estate photos to get you inspired for your next property listing.

For a few examples of what NOT to do with your property photos (or even if you just want a quick laugh), check out 57 Hilariously Terrible Real Estate Photos

Drive Sales With Real Estate Photos 

Now you know what it takes for you to take the best set of real estate pictures around. 

Pair that real estate photography with Showcase IDX to create stunning pages for all your listings, gain site traffic, and stand out from other real estate agents!

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.

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