A Beginner’s Guide to Taking Real Estate Photos

How do you get people interested in your real estate listing? 

It’s simple. You take amazing photos of the property that shows off its strengths. 

Homes with high-quality real estate photos sell approximately 32% faster on average. Does that mean you absolutely have to hire a professional photographer to photograph your property?

Not necessarily, smartphones these days turn out some great quality photos. However, you will need to have an idea of what you’re doing. There are a few tricks that will take smartphone snaps from mediocre images to beautiful real estate photos that will help sell your home. 

Read on, because we’re going to share some great secrets of real estate photography here!

Prepare the Space

First thing is to prepare the space to be photographed. Dirty, cluttered spaces are the enemy of good real estate photos. Just look at a photo of a crowded space where your eyes have nowhere to rest. It feels stressful, doesn’t it? The same thing happens to buyers browsing through listings online. They’ll see a cluttered photo and quickly scroll past because it does not convey warm fuzzy feelings of a lovely space to come home to.

So, clean out all the clutter. If you won’t need it for right now, rent a storage space and pack it away. If you really don’t need it at all, consider selling it, donating it, or throwing it away if it really isn’t useful anymore.

You should also remove any personal touches like photographs or children’s artwork. You want buyers to see the space and imagine themselves living in it. It’s hard to do that when it looks too much like someone else’s home.

You don’t want the space to look barren, so redecorate with just a few tasteful, neutral decorations. 

When it’s time to photograph, make sure that cluttered looking things like lamp cords are hidden, pillows are straight, and bedspreads are smooth. Little details show up in a big way in home pictures so you need  

Set Up Props

For the photos, you might consider setting up a few tasteful props. For example, if you have some nice china or at least dinner plates that match, consider setting the table when you take photos of the dining room. Put a colorful bouquet of flowers on the coffee table in the living room, or set out a bowl of colorful fruit in the kitchen. Keep it simple, but the idea is to make the space look homey and inviting.

Light It Up

Dark, closed-in spaces look absolutely awful in interior photography. Open up all the blinds or window shades and photograph during the day to allow in as much natural light as possible. If you have windows that receive strong sun, choose to photograph at a time of day during which the sun won’t be streaming it and blowing out parts of your photos. You want nice, even light coming from the windows instead. 

Also, turn on all the lights, even when you’re photographing the exterior of the home. A house with all the lights on seems far more inviting than one whose windows are dark. 

Camera Equipment

Now that you know how to prepare the space, it’s time to talk about the equipment you’ll need. While technically it’s possible to get nice photos with a smartphone, if you really want photos that amaze buyers, you’re going to want to use a camera.

A high-end full frame DSLR or mirrorless camera will take the best images for you, but you may not have $1,000 or more to spend on one. You can make do with a less expensive camera, just be aware that most consumer cameras are crop sensors, which means you’ll need an even wider angle lens to make your space look expansive.  

Wide-Angle Lens

What are we talking about? Camera lenses have different focal lengths which, without getting too technical, control how much of the scene fits in the image. A longer focal length zooms in on the image while a shorter one is more expansive and takes in a wider range of the scene.

That’s what you want in real estate photography. A wide-angle lens will capture more of the scene and make even small spaces appear more spacious. 

Smartphones by default have a pretty wide angle and some smartphone cameras offer a special wide-angle setting that will work great. For a DSLR camera, a 50mm focal length is approximate to the normal range of human vision. When choosing a focal length, though, the smaller the better. Aim for somewhere in the 16-24mm range if possible. Too small and it turns into a fish-eye effect, which isn’t attractive in real estate photos.  

Tripod

To keep the scene evenly lighted, don’t use a flash. Instead use a tripod and slow down the shutter speed. The camera will take longer to take the picture which will allow more light to enter the camera. Using this technique, you can take seemingly bright photos even in a dark space.

However, you need a tripod to do it because you can’t take a 10 second picture and expect that you’ll hold it perfectly still the whole time. A remote or timer is also good so you don’t have to touch the camera at all to take the photo.

Basic Camera Settings

If you use a camera to take your photos, here are the basic settings you should shoot for. A smaller aperture makes more of the scene in focus, which is what you want in this case. Aperture is written f/5.6 for example and bigger numbers mean smaller aperture. Choose something around f/8-f/16 for real estate photos.

Set your ISO to 100 (or whatever the smallest number is on your camera). Then, slow the shutter speed down until the scene is properly lit. 

The Best Real Estate Photos

We hope these photography tips have help you get a good idea of how to take pictures of your property to sell. The quality of real estate photos can vary drastically with a few simple tips and the right equipment. 

Looking to sell your house fast without going to all this hassle? Sell your home fast to Raleigh cash home buyers instead. Reach out to us today to get your no-obligation offer!

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