Real estate photography tips – How to make better real estate photos by yourself
In this article I would like to help you to understand the main rules of the real estate photography a bit and to be able to make much better photos by yourself. Keeping the below real estate photography tips you will get amazing results. Have a look!
You can make really acceptable quality photos with a smartphone or almost any kind of camera as well. Whatever you make the photos with these real estate photography tips will be useful for you and I am sure you will see a huge improvement if you keep them.
It is just a photo
To understand the whole real estate photography at all you have to keep in mind that when you step into a room your brain makes a lot of work to see and understand shapes and everything all around. Our eyes with our brain are much better than any camera on this planet yet and can handle everything perfectly. You are willing to take photos which are just a given part of reality and our brain gets no other information to fulfil the scene. This is the reason we have to work hard to make the photos to look really as good as it would be standing there and looking around.
Avoid the mess
The more thing you remove before the photos are taken the better results you will get. Remote controllers, waste bins, garden hoses, clothes, unwashed cutlery and plates, unnecessary chairs, family photos, etc should be all removed before making any photo.
Also it always gives a much better feeling to see your wished home without any personal belonging. Ask yourself – Is it easier to feel myself in my new desired home without other’s personal stuff or not? Yes it is. So remove everything personal and your clients can have a much better first impression on the first sight already as they can see it as their home, not a place where someone else already lives in.
In professional architecture photography, mostly when we are shooting interior designers’ and architectures’ work portfolios, we often shoot without interior lights turned on. It is a kind of style. But usually I suggest you to turn everything on. Before the shooting would start at all, go around the property and turn on all the lights so that you will surely not forget about them as you go through it.
Lights will not just help you to handle the dynamic range problem (as the interior will be brighter) but will also make a warmer, better feel on the photos.
Help to see
A real estate of course contains rooms and spaces which connect to each other. It is really very important to show their connection. You should not only make photos of the rooms but having some lookout from them through a door, a corridor or patio is also very important.
When composing a shot you should always keep in mind to show a bit more than a room itself.
Arrange everything well
Open all curtains, adjust the carpets, help the bedsheets a bit to look better, shake and soften up the pillows. Organise the chairs and tables to be parallel and symmetric and be sure that every drawer and all wardrobe doors are closed.
Opening the windows can also look much better on photos but you have to be aware of the crosswind through the property.
You would never believe the difference you can achieve by spending 10 minutes with it before starting to click.
With or without?
I used to say “The more I can leave out the scene without loosing anything is the best”.
You do not have to include everything into your shot. Make a judgement, have a look on the scene and decide which is the really important thing on this frame. It shall be highlighted.
Add some colour
You do not have to take anything with you for the shooting, each home has something to make it more friendly with. Think a little bit when you are composing and try to make the home to be more appealing. But do not overdo it! Keep it simple and you will get much better results.
Angle of view
It is important to understand that each lens (smartphones also have lenses but tiny and built-in ones) has got an angle of view. Zoom lenses can change their view angle by zooming of course.
Everybody thinks that a fisheye or an ultra wide angle is a must for real estate photography but actually it is not true. The wider angle you have the more part of a room you can include into one shot and also it will seem more spacious. But do you really need to make it to seem more spacious than it is?
Many of my clients say that they like to work with a professional photographer and not to make the photos by themselves because they want to avoid the mass of unwanted visits. You should not cheat with space on your photos, otherwise you will see lots of disappointed clients.
The wider angle you use the more distortion you will get. Distortion is when the further you go from the center of an image the more curve a straight line will catch up. And to have really nice photos want to have very straight lines.
Verticals should be verticals
This is one of the most important of all the real estate photography tips. The main rule in architecture photography is to level your camera (or smartphone) horizontally as much as it is possible. To understand the reason, point your camera to the other end of your room to have an edge of a wall in the right or left part of your frame. The wall should be totally vertical. Now tilt your camera up and down and you will see how this movement effects the verticals (walls) on your image. If you move your camera UP, the walls will open upwards. If you tilt it down, the walls will open downwards. They are not verticals anymore.
So you should compose your frame without any tilting, only raising or lowering it. Make some photos testing this and that way and have a look on them for the difference afterwards.
To understand this problem a bit better and to see how professional photography can solve this problem using tilt-shift lenses, have a look on this article.
Just like before, horizon must be kept as well or verticals will not be verticals anymore. So keep your camera in a perfect horizon.
Dynamic range problem
We, the architecture photographers are also not wizards. There is something which is a challenge for us as well. It is called to be the dynamic range. We handle it with post-production so that we can make fantastic photos any time of the day but you will have no post-processing option available so you have to plan your shooting before.
On a sunny day make a test shot inside and have a window also in the frame. You will see that if the interior will be well lightened the windows will be “blown out”, or you will see outside the window perfectly but your interior will be very dark. The more the brightness difference is between the outside and the inside, the harder it will be for you to include the ocean view with the same shot with the interior.
To find the good balance I suggest you to make your photos on the early morning or in the evening time before sunset. At this time a certain square meter is hit by much less sunbeam due to it is coming from a lower angle which means the sky is not so bright and it will be easier to handle the dynamic range problem.
(In professional real estate photography we can achieve perfect dynamic range coverage. It means we can have the photo to look like your eyes see on the spot)
Find the best time to shoot
Have a look on the property and plan your shooting time by the position of the sun as well. In case the house you are willing to make photos of faces to the East, having a big terrace on the Eastern side you should avoid shooting in the afternoon. The nice and cosy terrace can look dull and boring because of the shadows. If you want to sell the feeling of the terrace, you have to show its best – when sun shines everywhere on it.
Making photos of an uninhabited (no personal belonging removal is needed at all) 2 bedroom apartment takes around 1 hour for me and I know what I do, believe me. If you are finished within 10 minutes you are doing it wrong.
The more time you spend on the spot the better result you will get.
Take a test
Make some photos of your home before using my tips and make it with them afterwards. Check out the difference – and do it on large screen, avoid the phone to check your photos.
Now go through each point and try to do it better. And reshoot your home again. It will be much better for the second time, you will see.
Call me. I live in the Canary Islands, Spain. Working on all the Canaries and also in whole Spain. Are you interested in my work? Have a look on my Gallery which shows my quality. Even if you like my real estate photography tips you might need assistance to achieve the best results.