Brief Intro to Real Estate Photography

Real estate photography or also known as architectural photography is an important part of the commercial photography niche. Those operating in the real estate photography business are aware of how challenging and attractive this job is. If you have just began or consider beginning to work in the field, here are some useful tips and information to help you keep up with clients’ demands.

What is Real Estate Photography?

To put it simple, real estate photography reduces to images showcasing properties for sale. This doesn’t mean that this type of photography is less creative than others. It is true that real estate photography limits your artistic freedom and it is driven by marketing purposes more than any other niche. What is the advantage than of pursuing a career in this sector?

Is real estate photography profitable? As in the US today, real estate is one of the most competitive industries, we can clearly say that yes, now is a good time to start a business in this area. Even if you love performing in other areas as a freelance photographer, real estate photography can be a great opportunity not only to earn some extra cash, but also to improve and diversify your skills.

Basic Equipment Needed

What you need to get started is a digital camera, lenses, tripod, and a computer which will allow you managing the post-processing phase.

  • Camera and Lenses

Real estate photography is a competitive area for professionals like you. That is why a good DSLR is your best bet. Choose one with high ISO performance for indoors shooting, and the possibility of using off-camera flash.

As regards the type of lenses you should use, wide angle lenses and tilt-shift lenses are a must for this type of photography.

While wide angle lenses are meant to help you shoot narrow spaces like bathrooms, tilt-shift lenses increase the depth of filed and enable sharper, high quality images taken outdoors. Tilt-shits lenses are required when shooting wider spaces, mainly correcting converging verticals.

The only thing you need to be super careful with is not to distort images by getting too enthusiastic with the use of lenses.

  • Tripod

Tripods are the key to a professional outcome, among others. We advise you to choose a sturdy duty one used for studio purposes. If you are at the start of your career and wonder what type of tripod would fit your needs best, check our post on top considerations when buying one.

  • Photo Editing Software


Not all images will turn out the way you or the client want. That is why a good knowledge of either Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop can save your life.

The Importance and Specificity of Lighting

It is never enough to emphasise the importance of lighting in photography. Needless to say that natural light sources are desirable in comparison to artificial lighting techniques. Let’s have a look at what you need to keep in mind depending on whether you shoot outdoors or indoors.

  • Exterior Real Estate Photography


Once you have been contracted for a real estate photo job, first thing to do is check the weather forecast. Also, planning is really important prior to the photo shooting. Ensure you are there early in the morning, take the equipment you need and get ready to spend a few hours working. Leave some time for post-processing too.

While on the scene, avoid shooting in the sun and search the angles that enable a broader perspective over the property. If there’s a yard, patio or garden, take advantage and capture a wider area.

exterior real estate photography

Great exterior images also benefit from an overcast sky. Don’t forget to take it into account.

  • Interior Real Estate Photography

First thing to consider is profiting from window light. Apart from that, you will need to work with interior light sources and even turn to supplemental light for dark corners.

interior real estate photography

Using flash is common for real estate photography as the time of shooting is too short for mastering sophisticated lighting techniques. In this case, be careful with the exposure of the image. Using a flash requires adjusting camera settings, like ISO, shutter speed and aperture.  We have already discussed about ISO settings in low light conditions. Have a look at our post on ISO and learn more about how to capture high quality interior images.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Post-Processing in Real Estate Photography

Editing tools such as post-processing software are essential in improving images of the property you were assigned to shoot.

The main advantage of post-processing real estate photos is pricing. Special editing will result in some extra cash for you as edited photos are charged more as compared to unprocessed ones.

However, real estate agencies demand accurate images. The key to a successful real estate photo editing process is thus making properties look amazing without distorting reality.

Real Estate Photo Format and Aspect Ratio

If you are new to real estate photography, inform about the marketing media format and aspect ratio preferred by real estate clients and use your equipment and tools accordingly.

Normally, each real estate agency decides on what photo dimensions and format are required for their websites. As a tip, try to get familiar with MLS sites and requirements in your area. These sites usually process and send images to regional and national real estate sites.

If you found this post useful or have any questions and suggestions, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

Image Sources: 1,2

How To Make Money As A Real Estate Photographer

What’s the one industry that relies on images now more than ever?

Real estate.

People have changed the way they buy real estate. When they are ready to buy, they don’t drive around or spend days going through house after house. Instead, they use technology to their advantage. They zone in on neighborhoods. They look through listings on real estate sites. They watch and look through virtual tours. They find what they think they like online before going with their realtor and physically viewing the place.

In some cases the photography can sell the property. People can be sold before they step one foot into the home, simply by what the photographer showcases in his work.

Yes, you’ll see “amateur” agents who try and do it themselves with their iPhones. But these are the bottom feeders – the realtors that are at the bottom of the industry just getting by.

The true professional knows today’s real estate market is controlled by the photography.

And the bigger the house, the more they are willing to pay for quality work.

Which is where you come in. Can you make money as a real estate photographer? Definitely. Houses go on and off the market every day. People need real estate photography for all sorts of things:

  • A new homebuilder needs promotional images.
  • A custom builder needs to showcase his style.
  • A realtor needs to showcase her current listings – residential and commercial.
  • Interior designers need to showcase the work they do in a room.
  • Home vendors need professional images for their marketing – think custom stair builders, fireplace mantels, mural painters, custom cabinetry, and more

With so much potential, where do you start?

Design your packages

There are many ways to go about creating your pricing structure. Start by surfing. See what other real estate photographers are doing. Think about what will benefit an agent most. Agents are busy people … if they are good at what they do. They understand the importance of paying someone to do it the right way the first time. They will pay for a lot more than just a few images. They’ll pay for:

  • Virtual tours
  • Panoramic images
  • Website creation
  • Individual domains per property
  • Twilight shoots
  • Neighborhood images
  • Craigslist postings
  • Links to other real estate sites online
  • Custom flyers and DVDs – marketing pieces

Make it easy for your customers to do business with you. And as always, don’t overwhelm. Make it easy for them to choose the right package – the one that ultimately will make your business profitable.

Teach realtors about photography

Just like every other photography niche out there today, many people think their iPhone images are good enough. You have to teach realtors why photography matters and how they can increase their listings and bump up their profits just by spending a little more on their images. You can teach them on your website, your blog, your social sites, by hosting seminars and training sessions, and even though quick infographics that can go viral online. Check out this great one I found:

Professional Photos Net More For Your Home

by Ruxta Realty


Education always makes my lists of “must have”, and this industry is no exception. Head over to sites life Photography For Real Estate or Real Estate Photographers of America and International, and learn all you can. They provide resources, tips and links to everything real estate – improve a little every day and you’ll quickly learn how to make it big within this industry.

Go to where the agents are

Agents are everywhere – its one field in which you can find them just about anywhere. Head to a networking meeting at your local chamber and you can quickly come away with half dozen realtor cards. Stop by and visit broker offices. Join and/or visit real estate associations – Association of Realtors, National Association of Real Estate Brokers, or simply Google your local community – you’ll find them in most cities and counties. Network with them regularly and start up your own mailing list to bring people on board with your packages.