Real Estate Photography: 7 Basic Tips

First of all, let’s admit that impressive pictures do help to sell a home faster. Listing images are really very-very important components you should take care of before putting your house on the market. A picture is worth a thousand words and in real estate, it’s sometimes worth thousands of dollars. Well, if you’re a beginner, who wants to get awesome shoots for real estate, you should consider these tips. Some points in this article are also for sellers and/or agents, who don’t want to hire a professional photographer for this job. Of course, this is not an easy task, and you should be ready to show your property, not in its best way. But if you’re really on a budget and can’t pay a professional, these tips will help you get some acceptable images for your listing. Remember how important it is to show great images to make your house look large, sunny and cozy. In addition to some cleaning and staging tips, photography tips will do all the job for you and sell your home fast for more money.  Today, with so many online listings and virtual home tours, prospective buyers will never visit home with poorly taken photos. Make sure to show the best of your property in your photos and not to miss any important detail. You can include 2 or 3 images of each room. Oh, I was almost about to miss one more thing: NEVER take photos of a room with unmade beds, a dirty garage or rooms with clutter everywhere. This will kill any kind of real estate transaction before it even starts. Okay, let’s see:

Use a wide angle camera lens

Firstly, this will give a true sense of depth. Secondly, wide lenses are great to show the whole room or exterior, so that one can clearly see how it looks in details. Do not use a fisheye lens for real estate photography. Wide angle lenses let you avoid unrealistic images, and at the same time, allow to zoom out and make space look larger and more spacious. Pay attention to other equipment as well. When photographing real estate you should use a tripod, as hand-holding images look unprofessional, and you’ll get blurred shots. Have at least one high-quality flash. Believe it or not, many photographers say, that flash is the most important tool for real estate photography. Consider having more than one flash for some rooms for different hours of the day.

Take your time

Are you one of those photographers who think real estate photography is an easy task and could be completed in half an hour? Nope. You should be ready to spend some more hours taking pictures of a 4-5 room home. Even more, depending on the time, season and the home location, you may need to come back again to have better (more or less) natural light to shoot exterior or some rooms with large windows. Let me add here that for interior photos, it’s better to close down shades, turn on the lights and use your super flash, as it’s easier to edit darker pictures than photos washed in a glare.


Before you go to the house to take photos, make sure to ask the owner to clean and de-clutter the home. At least they should have the rooms cleaned. Imagine, one of our photographers had to wait for 3 hours until the owner cleaned the living room. Not to get into such unpleasant situations, make appointments and have the home ready for the shooting. Before you start your job, do not forget to take away personal items. If the house is not staged by a professional, try to minimize the decorations and items in the room. Let there be only the most necessary things. Remember, flowers and books are always a good idea. If you’re going to take pictures of closets, make sure everything is hung tightly and not overcrowded. Turn on all the lights to make rooms warm and inviting. If there are bedside lights or small nightlights, turn them on as well. As we mentioned above, no unmade beds! So, straighten bed covers and don’t forget about curtains and blinds. All this will make your pictures look really gorgeous and help your seller to have amazing listing photos.

Landscape orientation instead of vertical

John B Thomas (Jr., Realtor and Associate Broker, RE/MAX & World Ventures) points out, that real estate pictures should be horizontal or landscape orientation when it’s possible.

“The human eye sees the world in a roughly a 4:3 aspect ratio, though the standard ratio is moving to 16:9.”

With more and more smartphones and their better cameras, sellers take vertical listing photos directly on their smartphones, which is not a pleasing view for our brain.

Find the selling feature in each room

As a real estate photographer or a home seller yourself, you should have a deep professional look at each room and find the selling feature. It may be the natural light, the spaciousness or an old small lamp in the corner which will make the buyer smile and fall in love with the home. In real estate photography details really matter. A small detail can sell and a little thing on the floor or a sweater lying on the chair will break the deal.

Do some editing

As soon as the pictures are taken, go for more and have them edited as needed. Some small improvements can make a huge difference. There are very simple editing programs online and basic editing software on your PC. Try your best to get a better view. Do not be afraid to experiment with brightness and contrasts. Have a lot of photos, so that you can easily find the best of them and edit them or use as they are. Take advantages of today’s technology to get many pictures from different points, you don’t have to spend extra money on printing, just one click to delete images you don’t need anymore.

Photos to include

Did you know more than 90% of buyers use internet search to find their dream home? John Bodrozic (Co-Founder, HomeZada) gives some kitchen photo ideas, you should definitely include in your listing:

  1. Kitchen appliances,
  2. The countertop,
  3. Flooring – wood, carpet, tile,
  4. Cabinets and storage spaces,
  5. Windows and the view one can see,
  6. Furnace, air conditioning unit, water heater.


By: Hermine Aslanyan

Additional Resources: 

How to Make Your Real Estate Photos Shine from photoworkout .com

Photo Editing Trick: Fixing Blown Out Windows by Kate Riley / @CentsationalGrl

6 thoughts on “Real Estate Photography: 7 Basic Tips

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