Thinking about doing something new in photography? Something that will enhance your photography skills but also skyrocket your status as a photographer? Well, think no more, as one of the best ways to enhance your photography skills and skyrocket your status as a photographer is Real Estate Photography.
This is our Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Photography for Beginners
Why Real Estate Photography?
Out of all the other options available in the world of photography. Why did I consider Real Estate Photography as one of the best photography jobs in the world or the best photography job? Well because
- At first, the Real Estate Business will never go out of business, its like school in which children will keep coming in and going out. This applies to Real Estate, as families will come and go.
- Secondly Real Estate Business or anything related to Real Estate, like Real Estate Photography is highly profitable.
The Real Estate Industry and Its Relation to Real Estate Photography
The Real Estate Industry is one of the most profit-producing business in the world, attracting people to corporate investors. Taking on Real Estate Photography can give you a big jump in earning money.
It can help you enter the Photography market and will give you ample air time in the photography world. Many photographers and even you could end up deciding to opt for Real Estate Photography as a full-time career.
This Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Photography for Beginners will give you a detailed overview of what you need to know to become a Real Estate Photographer.
What Exactly is Real Estate Photography?
Well, Real Estate Photography demands photographing or capturing the insides(interiors) and outsides(exteriors) of different houses or properties. It requires you to have a good wide-angle lens that will provide wide-angle views of the house or property, for showcasing it to potential clients.
Wide-Angled and Detailed photos are the most important and common techniques used in Real Estate Photography. Your photos must deliver and provide clear views of the aspects of the house or property.
It isn’t just about taking good pictures, it’s also about setting up your scene, this involves getting the right lighting, setting the furniture, making it look like someone lives there and also signing contracts.
Most Real Estate Photographers work on their own, meaning freelance. Others earn money through selling their photos to people or posting on social media apps to promote themselves.
Apart from the usual posting on social media and clients buying from you, other potential customers may include:
- Interior and landscape designers,
- Magazine publishers
- Most Importantly IKEA (It is the best)
How Does Someone Become A Real Estate Photographer?
The Idea of Real Estate Photographer revolves around other types of photography. So, to venture into this genre, this new chapter, one must have the basic knowledge of photography, cameras, techniques and settings.
Required gear includes:
Other than this one will need a creative mind and know how to use different editing software.
Ideas and Inspiration for Real Estate Photography
Before starting a new chapter in your photography journey into Real Estate Photography, one must look at already existing Real Estate Photographers, Websites, Magazines and Social Media Apps for Inspiration and Ideas. Here are some good examples:
- Brandon Beechler – United States
- Jonathan Kissock – Australia
- Aubrey Antis – United States
- Bree Hunter – United States
- Richard Caplan – United States
- Michael Kelley – United States
- Scott Basile – United States
You can check out their Instagram Profiles.
Then there are some companies you could opt or work for:
- CB Richard Ellis
- Cushman and Wakefield
- Knight Frank/Grubb and Ellis
- Jones Lang La Salle
- Oncor International
- Coldwell Banker Commercial
- NAI Global
You could check out their websites for ideas and hiring.
By looking at these websites and Instagram Feeds you can:
- Train Your Eye
- See Common Angles
- General Trends
- Different Ways of Shooting Different Properties
After learning the outlines about Real Estate Photography, you should take out your camera and start shooting different houses or properties, to get the feel of it. You will soon realize your mistakes and shortcomings, and identify what you lack in your skills.
One of the best things about Real Estate Photography is that you can find subjects everywhere, and they are also easily accessible. You can add to your Real Estate Photography Skills because most of these sites or properties are free to capture.
But you got to keep in mind that you have to obey the rules and regulations of your area and try not to bring harm to others. Also, be respectful to others and respect their privacy.
You should always check your photos for errors and improve on them. Try to match the angles, lighting, and overall quality of the photos you see online.
With time and practice – and by maybe by following the tips discussed below, you will notice huge progress in your work.
General Parameters for a Good Real Estate Photo
Before I discuss the specifics, you should keep in mind these Real Estate Photography Tips before going out on a shoot.
- You must have a tripod, even if you think you would not need it. Because they can come in really handy during low-light environments or when shooting scenes in HDR mode.
- The perfect time to shoot the outside or the exteriors of the property is during the golden hour, at sunset, or sunrise. You need to shoot when the sun is not that bright so that It does not disturb your camera settings.
- You will need flash for indoor photos.
- Ensure that your photos fulfil all the requirements for the given property and avoid unnecessary objects in your photos.
Good Camera Settings and Equipment for Real Estate Photography
Well, one good thing about Real Estate Photography is that you don’t need to spend a fortune on equipment.
An overview of the gear you need for Real Estate Photography:
In Real Estate Photography, the subjects that you need to capture are static and still, they are under the control of the photographer to an unlimited extent. This is helpful because, in motion picture photography, or photography in which objects move, you need expensive equipment but in Real Estate Photography you don’t need all that fancy equipment.
A Basic DSLR Camera is enough with an ultra-wide lens and a flash, maybe a tripod too. Don’t waste your money on fancy equipment that you don’t need.
Top 3 Best Real Estate Photography Cameras for Beginners
Before going for a camera, these are some things that you should check out in a camera before buying it:
- It should be a Full-Frame Sensor, cropped can work but Full-Frame is the best
- Easily Available Lenses, meaning try to buy a Nikon, Canon or Sony which have many lens options
- It should be able to do 1080p at 120 or 60 fps if by chance your client asks videos from you
- It should have a higher MP ( Mega Pixel ) count for those high detailed shots
Let’s begin with:
An All-Rounder Camera (Canon 5D Mark IV)
Out of all the DSLR cameras the Canon 5D Mark IV is the best all-rounder camera for you to start Real Estate Photography.
- It has a very good image quality and excellent RAW files
- Excellent High ISO Performance for Low-Light
- Good Dynamic Range
- Excellent Colour Accuracy
- Swift Autofocus
- Full Frame
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Good Battery Life
- Rugged and Weather Sealed
- Low-Light AF is a bit disappointing
- Flash Speed is low (that doesn’t matter)
- It is a bit pricey
Mirrorless Option (Sony a7 III or a7 II or a7R III )
Out of all the cameras in the market the Sony Alpha line up is the best, in that line up the Sony a7III, a7II or a7IIIR are the best. I will recommend the a7III as it has a better price gap than the more expensive a7 IV and it is newer than the a7II.
- Image Stabilization
- Great Auto Focus
- It has a small form factor
- Image Quality
- Low-Light Performance
- Battery Life is not that great
- Only 1 Card Slot (Few Photos)
- Low-Light Auto Focus
- Lack of Budget Lens
Best Camera for Its Price (Nikon D750)
The Nikon D750 is an excellent option for those looking for a camera at a lower price point. At the same time, it is still fulfilling all your needs for Real Estate Photography.
- It has a Good Grip
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Tilting Screen
- Great ISO Performance
- Usable Photos at High ISO
- Autofocus is not that good
- Low-Light Autofocus is not that good
- Plastic Build
- Not so Good Quality
- Plastic Front Plate
That wraps it up for the cameras, you don’t need to buy a camera if you already have a good professional camera than you can go right ahead and start Real Estate Photography.
Top 3 Best Real Estate Photography Lenses for Beginners
A wide-angle lens can make a small room appear even larger and spacious, making it an ideal lens for Real Estate Photography.
Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
Tokina 11-18 mm f2.8 Lens for Nikon and Canon
This allows you to fit more features into the frame, at one time without moving backwards, which is particularly important when doing, indoor and outdoor shots. The ideal focal length is between 10 to 24mm.
So, let’s begin with the best lens for you:
Out of all of Nikon Wide-Angle Lenses, this is indeed the best lens.
This offers the user the perfect focal length for Real Estate Photography.
- Extremely Sharp
- Amazing Zoom Range
- Quick Auto-Focus
- Great Contrast
- Good Build Quality
- Low Distortion
- Good Coating to Reduce Ghosting and Flare
- Lens Hood
- No Filter Ring
- No Image Stabilization
By my recommendation, this is a MUST HAVE lens even though it is expensive. And its Nikon to Nikon so no problems should come up.
Out of all of Canon Wide-Angle Lenses, this is indeed the best lens.
This Lens also offers the user the perfect focal length, for Real Estate Photography.
- Sharp throughout range
- Affordably Priced
- Optically Stabilized
- STM Focus Motor
- Plastic Lens Mount
- Lots of Barrel Distortion at 10mm
- Some Colour Fringing
- Lens Hood not Included
- Narrow Aperture
For my Canon users, this is a must-have lens because it goes Canon to Canon so no problems should come up.
The Tokina is like the mid-range for wide-angle lenses, not too cheap or expensive.
It’s the best wide-angle lens in Tokina’s line up.
- Very good sharpness performance
- Excellent build quality
- Lens Hood
- Coating to prevent Flare and Ghosting
- No Image Stabilization
- Barrel Distortion
- Levels of chromatic aberrations towards the edges of the frame
- No Silent Focusing Motor
- No Weather Seal
That wraps it up for the lenses, but if you have a kit lens, the that 18mm focal length will also be okay for Real Estate Photography. Don’t waste money until you start earning from it.
Best Tripods for Real Estate Photography:
Tripods come in handy when making slow-speed exposures, or when using telephoto lenses, where maximum stability is needed.
Lets check out some Tripods:
That wraps it up for Tripods for Real Estate Photography, but then again don’t go for these tripods, if you want to make an impression then go for it, but for functionality, even tripods on Amazon go for like 10 to 50 USD which is enough.
Let’s get down to the real reason why we all came here, which is The Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Photography for Beginners.
Best Settings for Real Estate Photography:
When it comes to camera settings, your main concern should be the lighting. For starters, invest in a good flash with good coverage, that connects to your camera, not necessarily that the flash should be on your camera, it could be portable flash on a stand. But it allows you to:
- Assume different Spots
- Assume different Angles without hassle
To get the maximum out of your flash, set it to the manual, and start at the lowest power (1/16th) then adjust as per your needs.
When taking photos, you need to keep the camera straight and still (tripod could come in handy), and at an approximate height of 5 feet off the ground.
This helps you avoid or prevent image blur, in low-light conditions and also it helps you to keep your photos more natural and real. Other things that you could change are:
- Increasing Image Clarity
- Reducing Highlights
- Brightening Up Shadows
How to Shoot Real Estate Photos for Beginners:
Most of you reading this already know how to use your cameras but Real Estate Photography is kinda tricky.
To ensure that the photos you are taking are usable:
- Nail the basics
- Avoid to overexpose or underexpose your images
- Use a small aperture such as f/5.6 (or a higher f-number)
To get all the elements in the scene sharply
As a Real Estate Photography, you don’t need fancy effects, your photos just need to be sharp.
And also avoid:
- Vignetting (Dark Corners in a photograph)
- Too much exposure
- Too much darkness
- Too much HDR
- Too less detail
- Do not go against everything I have told you in here
Best Tips for Real Estate Photography for Beginners:
When taking pictures of Real Estate Photography, there are some important things you need to know as a beginner to produce great photos.
1. Highlight on The Best Features of The Property:
When shooting a room or house, determine its key feature (it could be a window or wall painting) then centre your photo around it. The idea is to magnify the room’s special feature to attract the viewer.
Avoid irregular or awkward framing such walls shot unevenly, doors cut off mid-frame and the lack of a focal point. In Real Estate Photography, it is easy to choose a focal point for your photos, like a cosy fireplace or mahogany living room or the furniture.
2. External Beauty or Surrounding Beauty:
When someone looks at a property, they usually look at the location, the surroundings of the property, will the sunset or sunrise look good from the window, will this look good or that look good. So as a Real Estate Photographer, emphasize the features of the buildings with a bit of the surrounding.
This will add flair to your photos.
When shooting under harsh light, be careful about overexposing your photos. To avoid overexposures, you may want to shoot real estate exteriors in the early morning or late afternoon when natural light is most evenly distributed.
3. Scout or Pre-Shoot:
Before starting with your shoot, check for the downsides of the property because not every property is perfect and it is your job to attract the buyer not make him avoid it.
The trick is that find out what is special about the house and focus on that.
It is also important to know how to deal with natural light when taking photos of the property from the outside.
4. Make Use of Natural Light (Sun Light):
While artificial light is simpler to control, normal light remains the best at delivering immerses shadows and a characteristic look. Along these lines, when shooting, ensure you open all the windows and ways to boost the measure of daylight that comes in.
You can likewise utilise reflectors and LEDs to amplify the normal light, which is fundamental on the off chance that you need to feature more modest subtleties, like, metal or wooden components on floors or furniture.
Other than these tips and tricks, here are some more tips that are summed up into a few words:
- Choose the Right Time
- Examine the Property Beforehand
- Open Blinds and Window’s
- Don’t Turn on All the Lights
- Set the prices of your photos right
- Use a tripod in low light
- Buy Wide-Angle Lenses
- Use flashes
- Use Polarising Filters
- Buy Umbrella Brackets
- Gather Essential Accessories
- Find Creative Angles of Shooting
- Use Props
- Set Proper Camera Settings
- Fix Colour Temperature
- Lighting for Exteriors and Interiors
- Correct Lens Distortion
- Outsource Photo Editing (If you do not have time)
- Shoot In RAW
Learn How to Edit Your Real Estate Photos:
The most important feature you need to have in a photo editor is the ability to edit RAW files.
The main objective for you in editing your photos is to bring out the most accurate representation of the house in its best light.
A basic edit can easily adjust the:
- Cropping can do the job well too
The one thing that is different about Real Estate Photography is that you will need to produce or give those photos to your client in less than 24 or 48 hours. There are a lot of photos and editing each one of them can take a lot of time. So, you have to use software which can do batch editing or edit multiple photos at once.
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
- Affinity Photo 1.8
- Phase One Capture One Pro 20
- DxO Nik Collection 3
- DxO Photo Lab 3
- Luminar 4
- Exposure Software Exposure X5
- ON1 Photo RAW 2020
- Adobe Photoshop Elements 2020
But out of all the options, Adobe Lightroom is the best, because of its endless features and infinite tutorial videos on how to use it and you can easily
With this culling software, you’ll be able to go through hundreds of files and choose the right ones in no time.
How to Start as a Real Estate Photographer: Build Your Portfolio
If your new to this type of photography which you are and you’re very serious about starting as a Real Estate Photographer, the most important and the best thing you can do is build a portfolio.
You can use the Online Portfolio Builder like Adobe Portfolio which comes free with Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription
This way you can attract more and better clients.
- Start with practise shots of your own house, your friend’s house or the houses in your surroundings. By doing this you have more freedom to shoot. You can also collaborate with real estate agents who may want your shots for a discounted price.
- Another good way, which I would not recommend as it limits your freedom is to work as a photographers assistant where you can learn a lot from him/her. This can help you get the feel and put you on the right track for Real Estate Photography if you are a beginner.
How Much to Charge in The Real Estate Photography Market:
If you have a good enough portfolio and you are a little known in the market, then getting your first client won’t be hard.
But you must know the right price at which your photos are worth. Don’t overprice or under-price your work.
Pricing involves multiple factors:
- The time it takes for you to edit and deliver the photos
- Size of the home
- Local Real Estate Agent
- Big Real Estate Company
So, here are some nice Real Estate Photography Tips for Beginners for Pricing that are worth noting:
- If you are doubting your skills and still need some practice, maybe try to do some projects for free to get the feel for it. Just be careful you do not get exploited by many dishonest clients.
- If you want to earn money than only accept reasonable payment, there is no exact chart made for payments but you will know how much to demand considering the size of your work.
- To determine the price, check out the following parameters on which you can base your price:
- Time Spent on Project
- Cost of Gear and Equipment
- Time to prepare scenes
- Shooting and editing photos
Once you tick all of the parameters, you can now determine your price accordingly.
- Always sign a contract but read it beforehand
Real Estate Photography can be a rewarding endeavour for individuals with an enthusiasm for taking photos of Interiors and Exteriors. The beneficial thing is, with the number of Real Estate Projects going on around the world, and the constant increase in demand for houses, the demand for Real Estate Photography is only set to increase. To earn from this, you need to constantly aspire, learn new things, practise as much as possible, and be consistent in your job.
By now you should have an overview of what is required to Become a Real Estate Photographer, and by read my Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Photography for Beginners, say Good Luck to you.