First Things First
If you have not already read DIY Real Estate Photography, The Basics, do it now. In that guide I tell you exactly what to buy if you want to take great real estate photos. In this article I will tell you what to do to take great real estate photos.
As I said in DIY Real Estate Photography, The Basics, very few marketing elements make the impact of great pictures. Great pictures sell houses, BAD PICTURES KEEP BUYERS AWAY! While I would love to get paid to take pictures of every listing in our market, I know that that isn’t feasible for many reasons. Some listings just aren’t going to support the extra cost of professional photos and some agents really want to do it themselves. In those cases, the listing photos still need to be good. They need to draw buyers in and accurately represent the house (without accentuating the flaws). I have been licensed to sell real estate since 2006 and in that time I have seen so many bad house photos I can’t even count them. Sadly, it seems like there are 100 bad photos for every one good one – and this matters. Buyers care what the pictures look like.
If you follow our guidelines your real estate photography will make a huge jump from amateur (or worse) to very good (and eventually great). Remember, it takes time to learn these skills, but you can do it. If you take your time and think like a home buyer you will be in great shape.
Remember, great real estate photography takes time. A typical professional photo shoot takes a few hours. There are several steps that you need to take to make sure your pictures are the best they can be.
Shoot it Wide
A good wide-angle lens is irreplaceable in real estate photography. Wide-angle lenses allow you to capture the widest view of a room. This means that you will see more of the room (or the landscape) in every shot. while this is helpful in medium to large rooms, it is absolutely necessary for small rooms. There is no way to capture small bathrooms, laundry rooms, mud rooms, or similar spaces without a wide-angle lens. I personally use a Canon 10-18mm lens (which on my APS-C camera equates to 16-28mm on a full-frame camera). This lens allows me to stand in the doorway of a bathroom or laundry room and capture almost the whole room.
Another benefit of wide-angle lenses is that they exaggerate distance. This can make small spaces look larger than they actually are. While the aim of your photography shouldn’t be to falsely represent a home, these lenses prevent homes and yards from feeling cramped or claustrophobic in photos.
With a DSLR
It is because you need to shoot wide that I recommend a DSLR camera for real estate photography. While camera manufacturers have made incredible advancements in point-and-shoot, mirrorless, and even smartphone cameras, none of these options give you the ability to shoot with a wide enough lens to effectively capture real estate photos. Because of the smaller sensors these cameras offer, even with very short focal-length lenses, these camera offer a narrower field of view that a DSLR with a wide angle lens. Crop-factor can be deceiving. There are plenty of 7mm lenses available for Micro 4/3 format cameras, but because of crop factor these are actually capture a narrower field of view than a 10mm lens on an APS-C DSLR or a 16mm lens on a full-frame camera.