real estate photography guide

The Ultimate Real Estate Photography Guide

Real Estate Photography Guide

This is a guest post and a great real estate photography guide by Steven Magner

While not all photographers may automatically think of real estate photography when it comes to their desired career path—it is a very specific and often times very profitable for of picture-taking.

There are many photographers who have substantial, full-time careers out of real estate photography, and many people who use this skill as a means of part-time supplemental income as well.

No matter what your reason for taking real estate photos, it can take some time to get used to this type of photography. This is not a style of photography that relies on creativity or innovation, but instead on clarity and on maximizing the property in front of you to make it look its best.

If you are interested in getting started with this type of photography, this guide will help you get started.

Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Real Estate Photos

Shooting real estate photos is different than shooting most other types of photos, so there are a few tips you will want to keep in mind when you take these types of images.

Remember What Your Goal Is

As a real estate photographer, you need to leave some of your standby photography philosophies behind and embrace a new mindset. You aren’t looking to be creative with these shots (in most situations) but instead you should think of your job as marketing or selling the home your are photographing.

Your goal should be to help make the house look as big and as beautiful as possible. You want to showcase the best parts of the home, highlight the best features and do your best to make everything seem bigger.

wide angle real estate

The number tool any any real estate photographer’s arsenal is a wide angle lens. Don’t leave home without it!

Finding the Right Gear for Your Real Estate Photos

Here are some of the pieces of equipment you should consider that can help maximize your photos.


  • A Wide-angle Lens- This is a great way to capture wider shots and get more of the home into your photos. It also gives more depth and detail to a shot. After all, you want to make the spaces of the homes you are promoting to seem bigger and more grand. Do not use a fisheye.


  • A Tripod- A tripod can be your best friend when it comes to getting sharp, detailed photos in natural light. After all, most homes look their best when they are shot in natural light. Your tripod will help you shoot at slower shutter speeds and take advantage of natural light, all while delivering sharp images.


  • A great camera. No matter how great of a cell-phone you have, you should always shoot your photos on a professional-grade DSLR.


  • Light Stands- This can really help light up a room and make sure you have the right flash and lighting—no matter what is in the space and what you are trying to highlight.


Setting the Scene

As a real estate photographer, you are going to need to set the stage a bit to make sure you are making the most of your photos. While the realtor or homeowner should do most of this for you, there are a few things you should remember when setting the scene for your images.


First of all, clutter is bad. Plain and simple, if you see things cluttering up your shot, then you will want to carefully remove them. Do your best to crop out areas of a room that look distracting or cluttered, and do your best to keep everything looking balanced, clean and tidy.


It can be a tough job for some homes, but remember, as a photographer, it is your job to pay attention to these details and get the best shot possible.

real estate photography

Keeping things simple is important when framing your shot. Focus on lighting and minimizing distractions.

This includes paying attention to little things such as:

  • Cleaning off the counters
  • Removing clutter from the fridge
  • Hiding paper towels, sponges and soaps around the sink
  • Putting the toilet seats down
  • Cleaning off and dusting mirrors
  • Clean the windows and remove distracting screens
  • Hiding toiletries in the shower
  • Making sure all of the lightbulbs work and that they are consistent with the light fixture
  • Removing old towels from the bathroom
  • Picking up clothes off the floor


Look at what is in your windows. Taking pictures with the windows wide open is a great way to make a space look open and beautiful. However, make sure that you are looking out those windows and think about what is there. You don’t want to take a photo with the window open and a large bush blocking your view.


If your photos are looking dull, then you may want to add a pop of color to really make them attention-grabbers. This can be something as simple as a decorative blanket or a vase of flowers.


A great way to make sure you are really taking an appeasing shot, is to look for the best feature in every room. Perhaps it is a shower, or a built-in bookshelf or a fireplace, and use that as your focal point. Emphasize that one thing and the rest of the photo will come together.

real estate photos

Create depth in your images by framing your photos with a wide angle lens.

Tips On Taking The Shot

There are so many different tips and strategies that come into play with any real estate photography guide , but these general tips and rules of thumb will help you get started.

  • Use landscape orientation. These photos always end up looking bigger and more pleasing. There is a recent trend of trying to shoot vertically for cell phone viewers, but you should always try to shoot in landscape when possible.
  • Shooting at dusk is the best time to get dramatic results for your photos—especially with exterior shots.
  • Always take exterior shots—unless it is of an apartment.
  • Stand in the corners so that you can get as much as possible in the shot, but make sure that it is actually making small spaces, like small bedrooms look bigger.
  • Think about your lead photo, this needs to be the one photo that is going to stand out from a crowd and really get a potential buyer’s attention—remember, you are trying to think like the seller.
  • Set up your lines. Crooked lines will make your real estate photos look unprofessional. Your vertical lines should be vertical and your horizontal should be horizontal.
  • Use exposure bracketing when shooting exteriors of a home. This gives you a range of options to choose from so that you can find an exterior shot that really works.


Little tips like this can help improve the overall quality of your photos and help your images look professional, so you can book even more gigs. Start by practicing in your own home, so that you can perfect the skill and tweak your efforts to make sure you are creating marketable, professional, clear and clean photos that every agent you work with will love.

Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Real Estate Photography


It is so important to be aware of these common mistakes and pitfalls when reading this real estate photography guide .

The real estate field is typically quite small, and a lot of brokers, agents and professionals talk to each other on a frequent basis. If you mess up one set of photos, it can be difficult to get more jobs in your area.

Most people don’t notice really good real estate photos, but they will notice really bad ones.

These are some of the most common mistakes that novice real estate photographers make, and how you can avoid these mistakes with your next real estate shoot.


  • Make sure that you check the background, so you aren’t appearing in the photo. This is especially true when shooting in bathrooms. You don’t want to give your client photos where they can see you taking a picture in the bathroom mirror.
  • Do not over edit. Over editing and adding filters and coloration can be great with certain photos, but if the images don’t look natural, they aren’t going to translate well for realtors.
  • Don’t take too few of photos. Nothing will irritate a client or a realtor more than finding out you didn’t take enough photos and that you need to get back into the house to reshoot. Chances are they set up the house for this photoshoot and no client, is going to want to go through that again.
  • Don’t keep the blinds closed. Most photographers know that great shots are all about lighting. However, when it comes to shooting real estate photography—there is one major lighting rule to keep in mind: you should always keep the blinds open. Closed curtains or blinds will only make the space feel cold and dark. Let natural light in, it will make the space look better.
real estate photographers

Create a mood that invites the viewer into the frame.

Keep these tips, and mistakes, in mind when you are shooting real estate photos and you will end up with great pictures every seller and every realtor will love—and you will increase your chances of getting hired again for the next job.

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