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REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY: THE COMPLETE GUIDE

Any knowledgeable homeowner or real estate agent will agree that photographs can make or break a property listing. There are no more questions on why real estate photography is essential. However, the importance of real estate photography has been growing, and so have real estate photographers.

If you are trying to become a best in class real estate photographer, you will need more than basic camera use and editing skills. For example, a real estate photographer serves as a stylist, lighting expert, networker, and cameraman. It’s crucial to cultivate connections with realtors and be well-versed in your equipment.

It’s not as straightforward as other types of photography.

But fear not, this guide will help you from the starting of your career to its peak as a professional real estate photographer.

Let’s start from the basics.

WHAT IS REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY?
an example of real estate photography

Real estate photography is a profitable commercial photography field. Commercial real estate photography is the process of taking photographs for a property listing that a real estate agent will sell on the open market.

The real estate photography market is certainly lucrative, and working as a real estate photographer may provide you with a substantial income. It also can assist you in breaking into the photography business and establishing a reputation for yourself. Real estate photography has become a full-time job for many photographers.

HOW TO GET INTO REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY?
As a photographer, specializing in or expanding into real estate photography might offer new opportunities. You may start making a reasonable living from your photography abilities if you follow the appropriate measures. However, like with any high-paying job, there are certain drawbacks.

In the real estate photography market, the competition is tough. To achieve long-term success, it’s necessary to be more efficient than the majority.

A real estate photographer’s job does not begin with taking images of houses. Instead, the house/property preparation, staging, contract discussions, and photo editing are all part of the process.

But knowing this all too well, how do you get into real estate photography?

It’s usually a good idea to shadow another real estate photographer as a starting point to learn the ropes. For example, you may shoot real estate photography for free until you are confident that you are producing professional images.

Check out your local real estate listing site and reach out to agents who can help you. Begin looking at equipment and how much money and time you want to invest in your real estate photography company at the same time.

WHAT EDUCATION AND QUALIFICATION DOES A REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHER REQUIRE?
A college degree is not obligatory to work as a real estate photographer. Training, on the other hand, is a must in the sector. Many real estate photographers have degrees in photography, art, design, or a related creative sector.

It will help if you have a solid portfolio to help you earn more clients and their trust. Even when you are not required a college degree, it is recommended that you do an internship or work under professionals. Practical experience is precious. Some of these credentials require you to do an internship while studying photography theory.

REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT
The fantastic thing about real estate photography is that you don’t have to invest much money in equipment. You’ll need a few basic types of equipment to get started with real estate photography:

REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY CAMERA
You should be able to use a cable release, a flash, multiple lenses, and wireless triggers with your camera. In the real estate sector, full-frame cameras function best. Unfortunately, the lack of a crop factor makes places appear smaller.

Because you will need to modify your settings based on the lighting situation in each home area, you will want a camera that can shoot manually.

REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY LENSES
Professionals recommend wide-angle lenses. They assist in enlarging tiny areas while also emphasizing the feeling of depth. There are no formal criteria, although cropped sensor cameras should be aimed at around 10-22mm and 12-24mm, while full-frame cameras should be geared toward 16-35mm.

REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY LIGHTING
real estate photography lighting

You don’t need to acquire any lighting equipment to get started. However, if you plan to stay competitive, you’ll need it over time. Extra illumination is required when photographing gloomy interiors.

Light stands are another important piece of equipment for real estate photography for positioning your speed lights in various room parts to illuminate them.

Multiple light sources are generally a good idea when photographing real estate. For example, one Speedlight can be attached to your camera while a softbox or another Speedlight is attached to a light stand in another corner.

Make sure your flash is bounced from the wall behind you or the ceiling above you. Experiment with different bounce places until you achieve the desired illumination.

The best lighting for exterior home photography is early and late in the day when the light is warm and golden. The sun’s direction is also significant, so use an app like PhotoPills to figure out where the sun will be during the picture session. In general, shoot with the sun shining on the front of the house.

In the winter, the sun hardly shines on the front of certain south-facing residences.

If you don’t like how the light looks in the morning or afternoon, try shooting on a cloudy day. Cloudy skies can help with sun position issues but talk to your customer first because white sky might detract from an otherwise impressive outside photograph.

You may also use the dusk/dark strategy if you’re having trouble finding a decent moment to photograph during the day.

TRIPODS
Tripods are helpful when photographing long exposures. To avoid fuzzy visuals, the objective is to shoot as much stability as possible. A robust tripod makes lowering your ISO and introducing less digital noise easier.

You’ll also be able to capture photographs with the exact camera positioning and height if you use a tripod.

Remember to select a tripod that is the same height as you when fully extended. Using the right tripod, you won’t have to lean over to see through the viewfinder.

EXTRA ACCESSORIES
REMOTE TRIGGERS
Remote triggers allow you to take a picture without touching the camera. The importance of this may not be immediately apparent, but remote triggers reduce camera vibrations, resulting in blurry photographs or a loss of clarity.

This is especially important to notice in real estate photography, which frequently employs prolonged shutter speeds. Even gently touching the camera to initiate the shot at these rates might result in camera shaking and out-of-focus images.

THE FLASH AND THE FLASH TRIGGER
Natural light isn’t always adequate or better for real estate photography. Keep in mind that, in most circumstances, not all portions of a property are equally brightly lit. For example, the living area may have plenty of natural light, but the bathroom or corridors may be gloomy.

As a result, having a flash handy is usually a smart idea. Using a flash trigger in conjunction with your flash is also a fantastic option since it allows you to place both your flash and your camera in the best possible position and then remotely activate them both without having to deal with any problematic logistical concerns.

STANDS FOR LIGHT
It’s only natural to have light stands if you’re employing a flash. After all, you’ll need a place to put your flash and other lights. While lightweight stands work great for flashguns or strobes, a C-stand will be more stable and dependable if you’re utilizing bigger moonlights.

HOW TO SHOOT REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY?
So, you’ve prepared all of your tools and booked a local job. But how do you photograph a house to get the most outstanding results? What are your plans for your first real estate photography assignment?

Below is the step by step guide about how to take real estate photos.

STEP 1: PLANNING
A real estate photography project, like any other, needs some preparation. With your realtor, work out a flexible timetable. For example, you should schedule your shoot during a time of day when the light is at its best. Because there are so many variables that might affect a shoot, such as weather, lighting, and so on, success may necessitate a second visit.

Prospective purchasers always like to have a look at the exterior images first. So that’ll be your starting point. Make a list of the pictures you’d want to take—plan to photograph the outside from the front to the rear.

Always remember to incorporate needed elements as well as the facade. Pools, garden furniture, patios, and other features are all important to shoot. Make sure you acquire at least five photographs of the exteriors of the properties.

It will take time to shoot a successful shot; larger estates will take longer. To make sure you’re charging enough to cover your time, you’ll need to learn how to price real estate photography.

STEP 2: GETTING READY TO SHOOT
To guarantee a good shoot, you and the realtor will need to take certain measures together. For example, it may be beneficial to visit the site ahead of time to understand what you’ll be working with and what tools you’ll need.

Keep your SD cards clean and have external hard drives. Keep your camera always ready for the next job. Charge your batteries the night before the shoot. Don’t forget to pack extra batteries and memories. Pack up your camera bag, flashlights, tripod, etc. Next morning, you only need to address confirmation and be on time for the shoot.

Additionally, residences must be decluttered and cleaned beforehand to optimum outcomes. If feasible, send the homeowner a list of chores labeled for cleaning, staging, decluttering, and other necessary chores like opening windows and closing bathroom lids.

STEP 3: REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY COMPOSITION
Practice makes you confident when it comes to framing your photographs. Once you’ve been shooting for a while, you’ll notice the angles you’d like to capture very immediately. However, some rules are followed for wide, mid, and detail photos until it comes easily.

The ultimate objective is to utilize all three image styles to market a listing and give a clear and comprehensive picture of the home. Take the time to arrange your images properly to be balanced and well-composed.

EXTERIOR PHOTOS COMPOSITION
When photographing houses, the key is to look for the ideal perspectives and shoot from the corners.

To create depth in real estate exterior photography, avoid snapping shots from straight in front if at all feasible. You’ll be able to highlight external features like driveways, pools, and patios without taking up too much space in the front.

Air conditioning units and garbage cans should not be included in your composition. Remove any possible sources of distraction. In addition, no automobiles or people should be seen in your photograph.

When photographing real estate exteriors, the key guideline is to create photographs that generate a solid first impression.

INTERIOR PHOTOS COMPOSITION
Buyers want to envision themselves in the place before making a purchase. It may seem strange to them to discover photographs or things from the previous family. Make sure everything is spotless, and fresh flowers are always a welcome addition to your interior real estate photography.

After that, take a tour around the property to determine which angles would work best for you in taking real estate photos. If the location is small, use your wide-angle lens to make the area appear more prominent. Pay attention to the minor things.

Then, depending on how much natural light is available in the areas, you’ll need to determine whether to keep the lights on or off. Many people assume that leaving the lights on gives the space a warmer or orange glow, but this can also throw off your color temperatures.

If the property has a lot of natural light and huge windows, it’s a good sign. Then, wherever feasible, draw back the curtains and open the windows. Natural light is always lovely, and potential buyers like seeing the outside from the inside. As a result, wherever possible, expose for the inside and outside.

KEY COMPOSITION TIPS TO GET THE VERTICALS RIGHT
Keeping vertical borders straight is something that both realtors and photographers agree on regarding real estate photo shoots. For example, straight up and down wall lines are required. A level may be put in the hot shoe to level the camera to the room correctly. This approach may cause things like furniture to be cut off, so be cautious about lowering the tripod to avoid this.

You may also use a Tilt-Shift Lens to aid with this problem. For example, in post-production, the Lens Correction Tool in Photoshop and the level settings in Lightroom may be used to fix any converging vertical lines.

5 valuable tips for you to get perfect verticals in real estate photography.

Use a 24-70mm or a 26-35mm lens.
Invest in a good tripod. Get yourself a robust and reliable tripod with quick-release legs with the ball or ratcheted head.
Observe and analyze your composition multiple times. You need your camera up at the highest level with the least distortion possible to the vertical lines.
Use Adobe camera lens profile in Lightroom to fine control verticals and horizontals. You can use the guidelines to ensure you correct verticals and horizontals.
You can use the skew command to bring out the top and bottom corners, allowing you to fine-tune your vertical or horizontal lines to perfection. For example, final tweaks on Adobe could make everything go right, even if you missed a few things during the shoot.
vertical structure lighting

STEP 4: CAMERA SETTINGS FOR REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY
There are a few crucial parameters to keep in mind regarding real estate photography camera settings. As a starting point, make sure your camera is set to RAW. To keep interiors crisp, you’ll need to increase your aperture setting.

An aperture of f/2.8 will let in more light while just focusing on a portion of the scene. For sharper full-room images, adjust your aperture to 5.6 or higher. Because you’ll be losing so much light at these wide apertures, you’ll need to lower your shutter speed. Using a tripod to avoid fuzzy photographs at low shutter speeds is essential.

Finally, keep your ISO low to avoid adding grain to your images. For example, a 400-600 or lower shutter speed is optimal for real estate photography.

STEP 5: LIGHTING
Lighting should be your top focus for providing good real estate photographs. We’ll look at the best lighting techniques for exteriors and interiors in this stage.

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