Updated: Feb 6, 2019
Real estate photography can seem very intimidating when first starting out. However, once you learn the tricks of the trade you can easily dive into a thriving marketplace and pilot yourself toward financial freedom in this exquisite niche of photography. Here's 5 simple yet effective real estate photography tips that will help produce a smooth shooting experience and ultimately yield beautiful photos that will have your local realtors calling you back time and time again!
Practice, Practice, Practice….. then Practice some more!
Practice your craft as much as you can, even if you've shot multiple homes before for clients. We can always improve somewhere, whether it be on composing shots at better angles, nailing your in camera settings for more efficient flow throughout the different interior environments or simply better post production editing techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop. These are all things that can wear off if you haven't done them in a little while. If you're feeling anxious before the day of your real estate shoot the best thing you can do is practice shooting your own home. Not to mention you can use all the beautiful photos of your home on your portfolio to show clients. Just make sure your home is looking clean and try to leave out as many personal items in the shoot as possible.
I know I shouldn’t have to say much on this topic but I believe the greatest quality you can present to your clients is professionalism. Think about all of the photographers in your town that your client could’ve called for the job and they decided to chose you. Own that title by being the most hard working and professional photographer they have ever seen and I guarantee you they will choose you over someone who does not display professionalism. Being professional includes dressing the part. Look as if you are actually qualified to be there. If you are communicating through text messaging or email I suggest prompt responses in a timely manner for your client. Nobody likes being left on “read two hours ago”. I suggest you carry yourself in a manner online and in person that shows your best character. This is your time to show your clients your personality outside of all the beautiful images you’ll be delivering to them.
Walkthrough the Home First
Take a brief walkthrough of the home with the client. Make sure all lights are turned on and be sure to keep a clear line of communication with the client for any questions or concerns you might have with the property in general. You’ll generate an idea for how you are going to to start composing these shots as you walk through the house and during this time you can address your client with the phrase, “Is there anything in specific you’d like me to capture of the home?” being on site they might insist you focus on the fireplace in the living room or a few extra pictures showing off the gorgeous chandelier for example. We can’t always read our clients minds so it helps to get an idea of exactly what they are looking for in these images so we can go above and beyond by delivering that product to them.
A fundamental skill needed of real estate photography is shooting your verticals “straight”. We have to remember that these lines in our rooms whether they are a bed frame, window frame or drawer all have to line up vertically. A handy tool to bring along and mount on your camera is a leveler. It will tell you if you are tilted even the slightest bit on your tripod. It is a common issue in some wide angle lenses to have “barrel distortion”, which bends some objects in the frame typically around the edges in a barrel shape, however most of the time you can easily correct the distortion in post production.
Here is a before and after showing the difference in vertical correction:
Always Overshoot vs. Undershoot
These days an MLS can upload upwards of 25 to 30 images of a home. Although most realtors will probably feel satisfied with receiving 30 images why not give them the satisfaction of knowing you over delivered and gift them with 40 lovely images to choose from with different angles in each room really showing off the home in its entirety. You never know, sometimes you’ll deliver the images and your client doesn’t use a few exterior images that show off a particular side of the house. Maybe it just so happens that a few shingles are miss placed on that side of the roof you shot and they never end up posting those few images to the MLS. This is something they didn’t notify you about so its nothing you can control, however, if you over shoot the home then you are giving your client more images to choose from that will be accepted for the MLS.
Real estate photography can be a very exciting option for those who enjoy photographing homes and bringing the best out of them in post production. The good thing is there’s always a need for shooting real estate in any part of the world. If you want to improve your presentation as a professional photographer in this field, consider these 5 tips we discussed above and you’ll be on your way to making real estate photography a reliable income stream for yourself!