10 Easy Ways To Improve Your Real Estate Photography

Posted by Sedonia Darling on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 at 2:43pm.

Real Estate Photography Tips

tips for real estate photography

WIth digital cameras and easy to use software available, there are no excuses for bad listing photos. In this internet age, property photos can make or break a potential buyers decision to make an appointment to view a home.  So why are there so many real estate listings in Bend with bad photos?  The listing agents are either lazy, or plain old just don't get it.  If you're a seller, make sure you're listing photos tell the story of your property.  Check to ensure that your listing photos are sharp, in focus, and that the rooms are lit properly.  Below are 10 easy tips to improve your real estate photography.

  1. Learn your cameras settings.   Automatic is not always the best setting.  Most digital cameras come with a variety of different settings.  Read your manual and learn what the different settings do.  Play around with them and find the best setting for indoor lighting.  If you shoot with a DSLR and external flashes, learn to shoot in Manual mode.  Set your ISO (film speed) to 400 for indoor photos. In some cases you can crank it up to 800 to allow more light, but never go over 800 as you'll start picking up noise above 400 (noise is the grainy look, as if your photo was shot in a dust storm).  
  2. Turn on all of the homes lights, lamps, and fireplaces.  The home has lights, use them.  Lamps and lit fireplaces give photos a warm feeling.  Most of the time it's important to open up all window coverings as well.  This allows natural light into the scene.  
  3. Think about the shot before you shoot!  Sounds like a no-brainer, but many agents just fire away without thinking about the composition.  Look at different views of the same room. Pick the best shooting location to showcase the room.  Sometimes the "whole room" shot is not the best option.
  4. Move the clutter!  Don't be afraid to ask the owners if you can rearrange.  Move chairs, dog beds, blankets, etc, to show more floor space (especially in smaller homes).  And close the toilet seat lids!
    how to take better real estate photos
  5. Shoot in the early evening or late afternoon forbest lighting of theexterior.  Think about the orientation of the home and choose your time accordingly.  If the front of the home faces east, you should probably shoot in the morning so that the front of the house is well list. Interiors may require a separate trip, as you don't want harsh light coming through the windows.
  6. Use a tripod.  Many times while shooting interiors, you'll need to shoot with a low shutter speed to get the right exposure for the scene.  If you shoot with a low shutter speed without a tripod, you'll get motion blur.  Most photographers will need a tripod for any shutter speeds slower than 1/60.  At 1/30, it's nearly impossible to hold steady enough to prevent blurring.
  7. Use a gray card.  Neutral gray is what all exposures are based off of.  Purchase a gray card and use it to determine the correct exposure.  Before you shoot the scene, put the gray card in the scene and zoom in to get an exposure reading onthe gray card only.  Then remove the gray card and use these settings to properly expose the room. 
  8. Shoot multiple photos and exposures.  Don'tjust snap a photo and call it good.  After taking the photo, view it in your LCD panel on the camera.  If the photo is too dark or light, adjust the exposure or exposure compensation and take another.  When shooting on a tripod, bracket your photos -1, 0, +1.  Most cameras now days come with a bracketing feature, or some sort of exposure compensation.  With 3 different exposures of the same scene, you can choose the best later on your computer.  (Advanced photographers can layer different exposures on top of each other in a post processing program such as Adobe Photoshop or something similar)
  9. Use a photography based software to edit your photos.  There are hundreds of programs out there that will allow you to adjust your brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, and other settings.  Don't over do it, but add some contrast, saturation, and/or brightness. I suggest Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom for advanced photographers.
  10. Save the file in the proper format and size.  Most MLS's will suggest a certain size photo.  Make sure to adjust your image size before saving.  When using Adobe Photoshop, use the Save For Web feature.  Other programs have different "save as" functions.  This will save the photo optimized for the internet and to be displayed on computer screens.
Bend real estate photography

While I don't consider myself a full on professional photographer, I was a paid real estate photographer at the beginning of my real estate career in Bend Oregon.  I still occasionally take on real estate photography jobs for agents at our Bend Berkshire Hathway HomeServices office, and I keep up with the ever changing technology and equipment.  If you really want to take your photography to the next level, you'll need to break the piggy bank.  To get professional grade photos, you'll need a DSLR camera with multiple lenses, multiple flashes, umbrellas, light stands, remote slave flash triggers, and more.  Most real estate brokers and homeowners should highly consider hiring a pro photographer when putting a property on the market, instead of shooting photos themselves.

Written by Sedonia Darling

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Berkshire Hathaway | The Darling Real Estate Group
404 SW Columbia St #110 | Bend, OR 97702
(541) 541-749-0509 

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