This is your five minute guide to mastering real estate photography basics so that you can polish your skills whether you are starting a photography business or helping a friend sell their home.
Some real estate photographers are blessed with modern homes with beautiful designs, tidy interiors, and fantastic natural light.
For the bulk of us, however, we are often faced with obsolete features and tiny windows. Regardless of the project we have been presented with, we must make even the ugliest buildings look amazing.
Whether you are simply helping a friend list their house or thinking about entering the professional world of real estate photography, this guide will cover the basics of the craft. You will learn what equipment you need, how to handle lighting, how to prepare a home for a shoot, and plenty more.
Real Estate Photography Equipment
The home itself will often tell you which pieces of equipment you will need. Many modern architects build houses with natural light in mind, which might negate the need for excessive lighting equipment.
In addition, always bring your favorite wide angle lens. Spaciousness is a vital facet of real estate photography, so your shots should generally have an opened-up feel. I recommend the Nikon 10-24mm DX for Nikon-users and the Canon 10-22mm EF-S for those on the other side of the sand.
Contrary to popular belief, you should NEVER use fisheye lenses in real estate photography. The resulting images will appear distorted and strange. Furthermore, you will have no chance of maintaining straight lines and angles, which I will highlight the importance of further into the guide.
Lenses across the board should be fast, as indoor shots will have much less available light.
As noted before, if you are capturing the work of a top-notch architect, you might be able to get away with using available light.
Before you even consider the lighting of the house, turn all the lights on. Taking advantage of indoor light will add color variance because objects within the house will reflect hues more powerfully. You will also notice an improvement in depth, which is important for the reasons described above.
Always ensure that lighting fixtures don’t show up as reflections in mirrors, picture frames, windows, or any other reflective surface.
You will often need to use external lighting to balance the natural and artificial light. Flashes will do the trick, and specialized strobes will also give
your photos a smoother appearance.
If you are unsatisfied with the lighting of the home, try replacing incandescent bulbs with tungsten bulbs. The latter option will provide a stronger output and more consistency with color temperature.
Diffusing the external light evenly through the room is an essential step. Instead of pointing the light directly at your scene, try aiming your light source toward a wall or ceiling. The lighting should be smoother, warmer, and bring the space together.
Be careful reflecting off colored walls; your light source will inevitable pick up that hue and disperse it throughout the room.
Now we’re ready to take some photos!
Your underlying mission here is to make rooms appear as spacious as possible. First, avoid shooting straight at walls. The vantage point necessary to maintain the correct perspective will be nearly impossible, and the photo will appear nauseatingly flat.
Instead, shoot into the corners of rooms. Since the lines created by the walls will run toward the camera, the room will appear spacious and you can worry less about maintaining perfect angles.
When deciding which aspects of a given room you want to capture, focus on attention-grabbing areas. Identify interesting parts of the room with unique, attractive architecture that seems to define the space.
Most clearly and importantly: Keep Your Lines Straight! Crooked lines will tilt the heads of your viewers and cause them to lose focus on the home itself.
Whether you compose the image using your tripod or resort to post-processing tools, please maintain your straight lines and angles.
Before you prepare a given room, identify your goal. Are you photographing the house to feature the architectural design or the ambience? Is the space a studio apartment meant to satisfy a business professional or a four- bedroom detached home calling for a loving family?
Ask yourself these questions before preparing the room and deciding which features to concentrate on. After you identify your goal, the next step is to present an attractive, beautiful space. You will most likely want to rearrange the furniture and tidy up the room.
Although you want to use the objects within the room to define the space, you want to avoid clutter. Let your audience know what the home is meant for, but leave some open room for your viewers to imagine what personal touches they could fill it with.
There you have it! Congratulations for finishing this guide, and best of luck on your shoot. Keep these ideas in mind and your results will provide your
audience with dreams of a fantastic home.