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The Complete Guide to Real Estate Photography

Estimated reading time: 15 minutes

Real estate photography has become a highly sought-after photographic genre. People are buying real estate in greater numbers than ever before, and great photos help real estate agents bring clients on location while also helping potential buyers build excitement because of the beautiful professional real estate photos they saw online.

This article will teach you everything you need to know about real estate photography, including what a professional photographer would use, as well as post-production, off-camera flash, and what photography skills you should bring to your next real estate photo shoot.

What is Real Estate Photography?

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So, exactly what is real estate photography? The truth is that it is much more than just taking pictures of houses. A real estate photographer serves as a stylist, lighting expert, and networker in addition to being a cameraman. Building relationships with realtors and knowing your equipment are essential here. It’s not as straightforward as some other types of photography.

The size of the house and yard influence how real estate photographer sets up their equipment. A real estate photographer must also inspect the lighting in each room, including those pesky basements and sometimes narrow hallways. However, it does not end there. They should include multiple exterior shots, including the garden and pool area, as well as a simple shot of the building itself from the outside.

A real estate photographer must use a variety of lenses to present the home in an appealing manner while not misleading potential buyers. It can be a difficult balancing act, but it is not impossible!

How to Become a Real Estate Photographer

As a starting point, it’s always a good idea to shadow another real estate photographer to learn the ins and outs of the business. You can volunteer to shoot real estate photography for free until you feel confident that you are producing professional results. Examine your local real estate listing site and contact agents who offer your services. Simultaneously, start thinking about equipment and how much money and time you want to invest in your real estate photography business.

How Much Money Does a Real Estate Photographer Make?

Real estate photography can be very profitable depending on where you live. Many real estate photographers charge well over $200 per household. Larger properties with more than 4,000 square feet can cost as much as $400 or more. At the end of the day, the cost of real estate photography is determined by your location. Because of their high demand, cities such as New York and San Francisco can command higher real estate photography rates. Real estate agents are willing to spend more in order to make more money.

Note: If you want to make some adjustments to the photo just let me know. I can do it for you at a very low cost. You can hire me to edit your photo.

What Education Does a Real Estate Photographer Require?

Real estate photography, like most businesses, can be self-taught. Most states do not require any kind of licensing to work as a real estate photographer. You should, however, consider purchasing insurance.

Many real estate agents will inquire if you have this in case you are injured or if your real estate photography equipment injures someone else inside the home. The most important thing is that you master real estate photography before charging higher fees. As a result, you have a portfolio to back up your high prices.


Before you set up any of your lighting equipment or camera settings, you should have a plan in place. Many real estate photographers will visit the property prior to the shoot to determine which lights they will need to bring.

They will also look at natural light sources and determine whether they need to bring wide-angle lenses or other lenses. Look at Google Maps’ street view to get a better idea of how big the property is and how much garden or landscape is in the surrounding areas. Finally, before your photoshoot, carefully examine the listing to determine the square footage of the property.

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Remember to make a shot list so you don’t forget anything. You should make a list of every bathroom, bedroom, living room area, and exterior you find appealing.

The night before, I always prepare my real estate photography camera bag. That way, I can be certain that I did not overlook any lighting or lenses.

Shooting Interiors

When you arrive to photograph the interior, the first thing you should do is declutter the space. Many people are unaware of how many possessions they have and frequently struggle to get rid of them. That’s why, as the photographer, it’s your job to use your artistic eye to get rid of as much as possible. Buyers want to envision themselves in the space. If they discover photos or special items from the original family, it may feel strange to them. Maintain as much cleanliness as possible, and fresh flowers are always a good idea.

Next, walk through the property to determine which angles will work best for your real estate photography. If the space is small, I frequently find myself climbing inside closets or small doorways to backup as much as possible in order to make space appear larger in my wide-angle lens. Look for minor details.

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Then, depending on how much natural light you find in the spaces, you’ll want to decide whether to keep the lights on or off. Real estate shooters are divided on this issue. Many people believe that leaving the lights on gives the rooms a warmer or orange glow, but this can also throw off your color temperatures.

If you discover that the property has a lot of natural light and large windows. Then, whenever possible, pull back the curtains and open the windows. Natural light is always lovely, and prospective buyers appreciate seeing the exteriors from the inside. So, whenever possible, expose for the inside and outside.

Finally, if the property is mostly dark, set up your external flash units to fill the rooms with light and bring out the details. Of course, you’ll want to photograph the entire room, but don’t forget to include close-ups of nice appliances and styled details.

Styling Rooms

  1. Rearrange furniture if it improves the appearance of the room or the furniture.
  2. In general, you should turn on the lights and open the curtains.
  3. Keep the doors to the next room open to create an inviting atmosphere.
  4. Keep an eye out for mirrors to avoid photographing yourself or having your flash bounce off of one.
  5. Maintain consistency in your lighting and angles.
  6. When using a toilet, place the toilet seat down.
  7. When it comes to carpets, make sure they are completely flat.
  8. Look around the sink for any dirty sponges or soap strewn about.
  9. Store cleaning supplies and shampoo in the bathroom.
  10. Make sure the beds are made and the cushions are neatly arranged.
  11. Hideaway toys and accessories for pets and childreN
  12. Hide any visible wiring from computer or phone setups.

Shooting Exteriors

Exterior shots are typically easier to capture than interior shots. This is due to the fact that the outdoors is usually flooded with natural light. When shooting outside, you can use a tripod or a handheld camera because you won’t need to use slow shutter speeds. Consider hiring a drone to capture various angles of the exterior. This is especially beneficial if the property is located near a body of water.

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Although the equipment does not define your skill set, having the proper equipment makes your job much easier. This is especially important when working in real estate photography because making a space look appealing necessitates the use of the appropriate lenses and lighting. Let’s go over some of the most important materials.


In the real estate industry, full-frame cameras work best. This is due to the lack of a crop factor, which could make spaces appear smaller. You’ll also want a camera that can shoot manually because you’ll need to constantly adjust your settings based on the lighting situation in each room of the house.

Canon 5D Mark IV
Nikon D850


Bring a variety of wide focal length lenses if possible. A wide-angle lens will make any room appear larger. The 16-35mm or 17-40mm lens is preferred by the majority of real estate photographers. If you’re on a tight budget, consider a tilt-shift lens, which eliminates distortion while also making spaces look nice. Any of these lenses can be purchased, rented, or used.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED


A tripod is required when shooting at slow shutter speeds. Also, for real estate photos, the horizon line should be straight. Any degree of tilt will make you appear unprofessional. Using a tripod, you can avoid blurry photos while also achieving the best possible lighting in any situation. Finally, they ensure that the look and height of your images are consistent.

Light Stands

Light stands are another essential piece of equipment for real estate photography. These tripod-style stands are ideal for positioning your Speedlights in different corners of the room to illuminate it.

Polarized Filters

Check to make sure you’re getting the right size filter for your lens, that it’s circular, and that it says polarising on it. These are useful when shooting outside because they help to block light. This reduces the likelihood of losing the sky and sun color elements in your outdoor shots.


When shooting real estate photography, you will almost certainly need to use flash. If you are unsure about which flash units to purchase, read our article on the most popular camera flashes for more information. Let’s look at some of the light sources and flash equipment you might want to consider purchasing.

Multiple Light Sources

Multiple light sources are always a good idea when photographing real estate. You can have one Speedlight mounted to your camera while another Speedlight or softbox is mounted to a light stand in another corner. Also, make sure your flash bounces off the wall behind you or the ceiling above you. Experiment with different bounce locations until you achieve the desired light.

Interior Lighting

Consider turning on the interior lights or lamps in each room if the interiors are dark. Take a few shots with a slow shutter speed and the interior lighting. If you believe the lights are turning the room too orange, try turning off the lights and opening the window curtains while still using your flash units.

Bright Windows

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As previously stated, most buyers will want to be able to see the views from outside while sitting inside. As a result, it’s usually a good idea to leave curtains and windows open whenever possible. Experiment with exposing the outside of the window and then boosting your flash to fill the room with light. Using photo editing software can also help with this. If the outside appears overexposed, you can adjust the highlights and exposure in post-production.

Camera Settings

There are a few important settings to consider when shooting real estate photography. Remember to always start with your camera in RAW mode. To keep interiors sharp, generally, increase your aperture setting. Shooting at an aperture of f/2.8 will give you more light but will only keep a portion of your scene in focus. For sharper full-room photos, set your aperture to 5.6 or higher.

Because you will lose so much light at these large apertures, your shutter will have to be set to a low setting. Using a tripod to avoid blurry images at low shutter speed rates is essential. Finally, try to keep your ISO low in order to avoid adding grain to your photos. If you can keep the ISO at 400-600 or lower, that is ideal for real estate photography.

Editing Real Estate Photos

Post-processing and advanced editing will help your photos become razor-sharp. No matter how good you think your in-camera shots are, it’s critical that you take the time to post-process your images if you want to have high-quality photos. Here are some key adjustments for Lightroom and Photoshop. To begin, reduce digital noise, adjust the light temperature, and use color correction. You might also want to use saturated shadows. Here are some more photo editing ideas.

White Balance

Cool tones are often used in real estate photography. Keep this in mind when adjusting your white balance. Because you shot in RAW, adjusting all of your settings, including coloring, will be simple. To cool down the color of your image, switch your white balance to the blue section in Lightroom or Photoshop.

Highights and Exposure

I like to start with the highlights when editing real estate photography. I bring them up to add more details to the room and to make my photos more clear. You can also reduce the contrast by lowering the shadows and blacks while increasing the highlights.

Adjustment Brush

You can improve the clarity, exposure, and highlights on specific parts of your photo by using the adjustments brush. I frequently use the adjustment brush to adjust the exposure of the outside window. I simply paint over the outside window and reduce the exposure so that you can see what’s going on outside.

Lens Correction

When using wide-angle lenses, some of your images may become distorted. This is due to your lens’s wide-angle effect, which can be corrected in post-processing. In Lightroom, there will be a separate panel for lens corrections. To see the difference, move this panel up and down.

Using Lightroom Presets

These real estate Lightroom presets can add clarity, color, and other beautiful effects to your photographs with the click of a button. Many real estate photography professionals prefer to be out shooting rather than sitting behind a computer for hours on end editing. Using presets is the quickest way to edit your photos.

Real Estate Photography Tips

There are a few essential tips we recommend you follow if you want to become one of the top real estate photography shooters on the market. These real estate photography tips will help you generate more leads faster

Drone Photography

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Invest in a drone to provide aerial photography to your clients. Clients have come to expect multiple perspectives and angles on properties. Using a drone will provide them with a birds-eye view of the property, which will pique their interest in visiting it. Drone photography is the next big thing in real estate photography to help you get more clients.

Offer Virtual Tour Videos

I am frequently asked if I offer virtual video tours of properties. You should start learning how to create a real estate photography package that includes virtual online tours right away. Many businesses offer virtual layout hosting services. You can try any of the following:

3DVista Virtual Tour Pro

Avoid Including too much Ceiling

When it comes to real estate photography, avoid including too much ceiling in your shots. Instead, emphasize a small portion of the ceiling and more of the room itself. Remember that you can only work with a certain amount of focal length at any given time. That is why, rather than wasting valuable space on a white ceiling, it is important to concentrate on the room itself.

Detail Shots

Real estate photographers are frequently so focused on photographing entire rooms that they overlook the importance of photographing details. Take a few photos of beautiful details like wood flooring, ceiling fans, flower gardens, or nice furniture with a wide lens or prime lens.

Blurred Images

Avoiding blurry images should be at the top of your list of real estate photography tips. Nothing says “unprofessional” like a blurry property photo. As previously stated, using a tripod is the best way to avoid this. You can also invest in a remote trigger if you want to take it a step further.

 Avoid a Shallow Depth of Field

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When photographing real estate, you want everything in the image to be as clear as possible. As a result, try to set your aperture to f/5.6 or higher. Otherwise, perhaps only the couch or whatever is closest will be in focus, with the rest in beautiful bokeh but not ideal for showing the entire property.

Use Different Angles

Remember to move around every corner of every room and to follow the vertical lines of the room. Set the camera tripod to about your waist and then shoot as close to every corner as possible to make the room appear larger and wider. If there are closets, you can even try backing into them to increase the amount of space available for your lens views. Different perspectives will give buyers a better idea of what the space will look like.


We hope you found this comprehensive guide to real estate photography tips useful. Real estate photography can be a profitable and rewarding profession. It’s also enjoyable to see so many different properties on a daily basis and to experiment with styling them. You should be off to a good start with this guide. If we missed anything, or if you have something to share with us, please leave a comment below.

Note: If you want to make some adjustments to the photo just let me know. I can do it for you at a very low cost. You can hire me to edit your photo.


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