21 Real Estate Photography Tips for Your Next Photoshoot
by McKenna Hogan, on Apr 27, 2021 11:00:20 AM
In need of some tips or quick wins before your next property shoot? Say no more, we’ve compiled 21 real estate photography tips for your next photoshoot that will make your photos shine.
1. Get quality shots of the exterior
This seems pretty obvious, but it’s super important that it’s included for every real estate photoshoot.
Exterior photography is not only needed to showcase a property’s “virtual front door,” but it’s also essential to real estate marketers when it comes to showcasing their property.
Not to mention, it’ll help prospects identify a property better.
So, ensure the exterior is all tidied up and photoshoot ready beforehand to get those high-quality shots!
2. Take dusk shots
Why, you ask? Because people love dusk shots. And they help a property stand out among competitors.
Take a look at these examples:
Not only do they add some life to real estate photos, but they can also be so unique when you’re blessed with a good sunset.
These are especially beneficial to properties that have great exterior amenities to show off, such as a bonfire pit or patio area.
3. Use exterior lighting to your advantage
When staging lighting for a real estate photo shoot, it’s best practice to leverage both artificial and natural light sources.
This will allow a clearer, and more appealing finish to all images, especially if the weather isn’t cooperating to your liking.
By opening blinds and drapes to compliment a space (but not too much that the light drowns out the interior) rooms will look more alive and can provide more detail than just using artificial lighting.
4. Try to avoid capturing cars or trucks in exterior shots
If the property you’re shooting is on a busy street or surrounded by a parking lot, try your best to not get any vehicles - especially branded ones - in any shots.
This can not only distract from the actual image you’re trying to capture, but it also results in more work on your end when you have to blur logos and license plates.
So, if possible, try checking a few times a day during a shoot to ensure there aren’t any obstructions, or start a shoot early to try and avoid this from happening.
This also goes for any construction or unfinished areas—do not get any of this in your photos. It can be distracting and can date images.
5. Send clients a cleanup checklist beforehand
Cleaning up a property is not a photographer's job.
It’s fine to make recommendations or adjust things here and there, but for a successful and seamless real estate photoshoot, it would bode in your favor to send clients a cleanup checklist before the scheduled date.
Additionally, it will help them if they are new to using a professional photographer and don’t yet know how to prep effectively.
Download our free photo shoot prep checklist to send to clients before a shoot.
6. Conduct a walkthrough of the property with the shot list
The best way to understand a property is to conduct a walkthrough beforehand to get a better feel for the space.
Taking a look at what you’re working with before a real estate photoshoot can help ensure the cleanup is complete, staging and props are set, lighting is set, and it can help identify which rooms to shoot first based on what time of day it is.
In addition, if there’s an onsite team, have them conduct a walkthrough with you so you can ask any questions or clarify anything before the shoot starts.
7. Be prepared to improvise if the weather doesn't cooperate
Definitely try to plan around bad weather—but if you can’t, be sure you can improvise.
Bringing along the right equipment to every real estate photoshoot will be essential to a seamless outcome. We recommend bringing one or two backup flashes in the event that the lighting isn't giving you the results you’d like due to gloomy or bad weather.
Also, don’t try to shoot the exterior just to do it—if the weather is bad, clients probably won’t want photos that show it, so consider coming back out another day or waiting until it shapes up a bit.
8. Make sure window decor is consistent
It may not seem like much, but ensuring blinds and drapes are consistently organized for any windows visible will make a world of a difference.
For both interior and exterior shots, arrange window decor in the same manner - or similar manner - which should be slightly open and folded nicely to not distract from the full picture.
Just be sure that no reflections or harsh shadows can be seen in or around any windows.
9. Use the light bouncing technique with your flash
No matter how much light you have in a room, sometimes it just doesn’t give you the picture you’re looking for.
A good real estate photography trick to try out is leveraging your flash - either from your camera or other sources - to bounce it off a wall or flat surface so that it highlights the room better.
This works because you’re not focusing on one single element of a space, but instead using empty space to light up the important parts of a room.
10. Spend extra time on the amenities
We are currently in an era of renting where amenities and “extras” are essential selling points.
Because of this, any real estate photography should really try to highlight these areas and ensure the right angles/lighting is used, considering they will probably be the most viewed.
However, this doesn’t mean all of your energy should be spent here. The entire property should have valuable time spent on being photographed, just make sure the amenities are high-quality, too.
11. Use a variety of angles and heights
High-quality real estate photography is sure to catch the eyes of prospects, but switching up the height or angles for different shots can make photos more appealing.
You don’t want clients to have a portfolio filled with similarly angled shots—show off your skills by adding a few unique angles that will really make a space pop.
Just be sure to not shoot too high or too low so that the focus of the picture is off or incomplete.
12. Assess any decorations or props
Although you sent clients a photoshoot prep checklist, there might be some things you notice are out of place or need some arranging while shooting.
It’s good to keep an eye out for this - especially if you can improve the outcome of a photo - and get approval from the onsite team to help adjust anything out of place.
This could be furniture, decor, or even a lack thereof. If you think a room needs some more plants or staging, don’t hesitate to speak up—the property management team will probably appreciate it!
13. Try using a wireless remote trigger to avoid shadows or reflections
This one can really help you save time—invest in a wireless remote trigger so no shadows or obstructions are seen within a shot.
Wireless remotes are excellent for rooms with mirrors, a lot of windows, exterior shots, etc. that could potentially show some sort of reflection or shadow in a photo.
And, depending on what kind of camera you have, wireless triggers can be pretty cheap so it’s definitely worth the investment.
14. Try using Aperture Priority shooting mode
For those that don’t know, aperture priority is a mode where you select your aperture manually, and the camera sets the shutter speed automatically.
The reason this is suggested is because not only does it save time when adjusting camera settings, but it also gives the photographer control over the most important setting.
Overall, it just helps with efficiency as well as quality when it comes to real estate photography.
15. Set white balance to Auto
No one wants their real estate photography to come off too yellow or blue.
Avoid any weird hues or tones by setting the white balance on your camera to auto so that it can manually adjust to the temperature of the room.
What this does is automatically focuses on the lightest part of an image and uses it as the white point. Just be careful because this changes between shots and will need to be adjusted for each one.
16. Make sure ISO is as low as possible
Low ISO - for example, 100-200 - should be common practice for real estate photography.
This is because you don’t want images to be overly sensitive to light, making them appear over-exposed. Low ISO and quality natural and artificial lighting will ensure photos are the highest quality.
17. Ensure exposure is consistent throughout the shoot
As stated before, real estate photos should be mostly consistent in regards to the focus, temperature, exposure, format, etc. so that it doesn’t distract the viewer.
For marketing and sales purposes, make sure everything looks cohesive so that real estate portfolios and web content is branded and high-quality.
18. Don't use selective focus
In real estate photography, you really shouldn't be focusing on just one area in a room.
The point of these images is to show the entire space, so selective focus should never be used unless requested by the client.
Not to mention, clients will most likely want the most space possible included in photos to capture the entire property, and focusing on just one area kind of defeats the purpose.
19. Save images as RAW files
RAW file format is pretty standard for photographers, and for good reason.
Shooting in RAW ensures that no quality is lost on any images because data is minimally processed and the format is generally large in size.
This is best for real estate photography because you’ll want the highest quality photos, especially when it comes to post-production.
20. Send clients POIs before editing
It goes without saying that your goal is to provide real estate photography clients are happy with. A foolproof way to do this? Send them their POIs, or points of interest shots, after the shoot for their approval.
Photographers should be getting at least 2-3 shots of each area on the shot list to provide a variety of differently angled photographs—all of these POIs should be sent to the client before edits so that they can choose which ones they like best.
21. Choose the right post-production tools
There are so many photography editing tools out there, it’s important that if you are editing real estate photos yourself you choose the best one for both your experience, and your budget.
Need help deciding? Here are the 5 best photography editing tools ranked.
LCP360 is a National Digital Marketing company located in Chicago specializing in photography, virtual tours, 3D renderings, video animations, virtual staging and floor plans. LCP360 offers multifamily, senior living and many other real estate industries a creative and innovative way to showcase space. By combining the best technologies from web marketing and panoramic photography, LCP360 has developed a best-in-class virtual tour web application that lets renters virtually tour a property from any location.