Real Estate Photography: Tips for Taking Better Photographs of Houses and Apartments

Real Estate Photography: Tips for Taking Better Photographs of Houses and Apartments

The global pandemic has caused a significant toll on the photography industry. A staggering 99% of photographers reported that their business was affected by the pandemic. Due to lengthy lockdowns and people averse to socializing, job commissions have dried up. Most have to give up the profession and look for other jobs that could sustain their lives.

But fear not, with the recent reports, the industry seems to be recovering. In 2023, the global photographic services market will see a growth of 4.4%. From $41.71 billion in 2022 to $43.54 billion in 2023, the increase in investment returns is very encouraging to those who are in the industry. It is also reassuring to those who are just starting their photography business or profession.

The increase of people sharing photos on various websites and social platforms is also a positive outcome of the pandemic. Facebook saw an increased rate of 8.7% in 2020. Instagram users reached 1.04 billion.Tiktok was the biggest winner that year since it increased 85.3% in 2020. Though the numbers and statistics refer to mostly amateur photos, it paved a new avenue for which professional photographers could expand and develop their consumer market.

Websites like Getty and Shutterfly offer a means for photographers to sell their own portfolio of stock photos. It proves a profitable exchange. People are always looking for high-quality photos.  You are not going to earn a lot of money but it is a good passive income.

Commission jobs are also coming back. According to U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is projected that from 2021 to 2031 that there would be a growth of 9%. So, finding more commission jobs will no longer be a problem for photographers to get.

The data and statistics we are getting are all well and good, but we have to keep in mind that these are not absolutes. Other factors such as location, number of competitors and the quality of the services provided can also affect the profitability of your photography business. If you are serious about making it a business. You need a lot of research and knowledge about the industry.

One of the first things that you need to figure out is what photography niche would you be focused in. There are a lot of niches available and it is still growing. The topmost are street photography, portrait photography, wedding photography, baby photography, pet photography, wildlife photography, travel photography and real estate photography. It is discouraged to have a photography business that takes all kinds of commissions. It would be detrimental in the long run if you are all over the place. Having a chosen niche will help you focus. You will be investing time, energy and equipment in one niche. As you do it over and over again, you will gain experience that will ultimately make you an expert. This will increase your credibility and will make you a sought-after photographer.

Have you considered real estate photography?

real estate photography

What is Real Estate Photography?

Real Estate Photography is all about taking beautiful and aesthetic pictures of homes, buildings or any structure to be used as marketing material to sell or rent the property. You’ll be working closely with either the property owners or real estate agents in executing the shoots. The aim is to take pictures that would appeal to potential buyers. The services could include video and photo editing, home staging, virtual tours, aerial shots and digital floor plans.

Real Estate photography has consistently been one of the most profitable niches in the photography industry. Though the summer seasons are the busiest and the most lucrative, it is still an all-year-round business. 

A full-time real estate photographer can relatively earn around $50,000 to $150,000 as a solo photographer. Your profit could go higher if your business could increase its manpower to take in more jobs. The summer months are when you’ll be earning more since it coincides with the home selling season.

Though for those starting, the profit could be lower since it is expected that you are still building your brand and clientele. There is also the cost of the gear that you’ll have to buy. Camera equipment is very expensive. You have to be very strategic in acquiring your gear. Since your budget is limited, choose those that are crucial and the most ROI (return on investment) you get from it. Having the most advanced and decked-out camera setup doesn’t always mean you’ll get the most outstanding photographs.

An average full-time real estate photographer would have 2-4 homes a day during the busy summer season and about half of that number in the winter season. According to photoup.net, it takes 60-90 minutes to shoot an average residential home. But, it could take longer if the house is bigger or various add-ons are requested by the client such as aerials, video, virtual tours, etc.

On average, income per home could be from $200 to $500 per shoot. It depends on location, home size, client type and offerings. Seasons could also affect your earnings so be mindful of those times when your commission jobs go sparse.You could increase your profits by increasing your commissions. You can do this by marketing and networking.

Building a website is a good way to advertise your services. Not only would you be able to feature your works for everyone to see, but it is also a great way for your potential clients to reach you. Social media is also an amazing  channel to get your name out there. Almost everyone is on one social media platform. Join Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. The trick to being relative in these platforms is consistency and creativity. Post your beautiful photographs regularly and you’ll be gaining followers.

There is also the old proven path of “knowing people in the business”. Get to know the real estate agents in your area. Send them an email to introduce yourself and your business. Do a lot of networking. Get to know people who are in the real estate business. It would be great if you can attend their events or seminars. That is a great way for you to meet a lot of people and advertise your expertise or your business.

Tips for Taking Better Photographs of Houses and Apartments

If you have decided to make Real Estate Photography a go, here are some pointers to help you in improving your craft.

1. Invest in a good camera lens

real estate photography

In photography, you are as good as your gear.You need to have the appropriate camera equipment for the type of photography that you will shoot. This is to produce the best quality photos that you could offer your clients.

In real estate photos, high-quality photos are the norm.High quality photographs attract potential buyers who want to see clear and detailed aspects of the house. They need to have a “feel of the space” in order to be enticed in actual viewing of the property.

This is the reason why most use wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lenses for their shoots. You can also consider getting prime or zoom lenses as it could give you a range of focal lengths. Buy lenses that you would be using most frequently.

2. Use natural light whenever possible

You need to use natural light when you take photographs of properties, especially houses. It creates a bright natural look to the property. It offers an excellent view that is optimal for highlighting the good features of the house.

Schedule the shoots during the daytime. Exterior shoots mostly benefit from this time but be sure to always check your exposure and have the option to use filters. Interior shoots would need further illumination. To attain this, you can turn on the house lights, open the shades or blinds of the windows. Built-in light like in kitchen cabinets can also add brightness to the room. There is also the option of bringing artificial lighting. But, the setup could be time-consuming and tedious.

We can also achieve natural lighting through real estate photo editing. There is a wide range of editing software that is available that could help you achieve this look.

3. Scout out the best angles for each room

Scout out the best angles for each room

As discussed previously, lighting is very important in capturing the best photograph of a property. Find the best way to light up the room if you are shooting the interiors of the property. Use a wide-angle lens to create depth and emphasize the space of the room.

You can also use the three-wall technique. This is where you’ll place the camera in view of the three walls of the room. One of the walls could be partially seen. Windows in one of the walls should be shown. This creates an ideal perspective of showing the majority of the space.

4. Take Photos from different perspective – high, low and straight on

When potential real estate buyers look at property listings, they are often attracted by the photos included in the listings. That is why real estate photos should take photos from different perspectives, This gives the potential buyers a feel for the space of the property. There would be some details that they‘d want to see that a different angle or perspective would show.

Taking real estate photos from different perspectives will also reflect the artistry of the photographer. Different angles and varied compositions show his/her creativity and expertise in catching the best possible look of the property.

5. Use a tripod to keep the camera steady and avoid blurriness.

Use a tripod to keep the camera steady and avoid blurriness

You’ll encounter times when your hands would shake, especially on long shoots. Ultimately because of these your photos would suffer distortions or blurriness. Using a tripod will avoid this from happening.

Using a tripod will help you focus on your framing and composition. Since you need to set up your shots with a tripod, you’ll be more attentive when it comes to adjusting all the aspects of your composition. Adjusting is also easier since you’ll have the camera in a stationary position with both of your hands available.

6. Utilize wide-angle lenses to capture more of the space in one shot

Photographers would often use wide-angle lenses in taking real estate photos. A wide-angle lens will give you a wider field of view, giving you more of the scene that you’ll be able to see in the frame. This is great to use when you want to include as much detail of the room in one photo frame. In some instances some of the rooms would be too small, and taking a picture would be difficult or too limiting. Using a wide-angle lens would solve this.

But be sure to be careful in using this lens. Using this lens creates a perspective that appears quite exaggerated. Nearby objects will appear much bigger and too near. While faraway objects will appear too small and much farther. 

7. Find ways to incorporate interesting elements into your shots – like plants or furniture pieces.

Find ways to incorporate interesting elements into your shots

Home staging is beneficial if you want to get more money for the house, says 67% of top real estate agents. And, 82% of agents say that a staged house will sell faster than a bare unstaged one. So, it’d be best that your photos must include elements that make the space more lived-in and homey. A photo of a bare room may appear too cold and inhospitable.

8. Pay attention to details like carpets, curtains or artwork that can be used as accents in your photos

To make your photos a bit more interesting, accentuate certain details of the room to make it more fascinating or intriguing to viewers. You are trying to make an impression that the property you are selling is of high quality. If you feature certain furnishings or home accessories that are currently on-trend, buyers could easily visualize how they’d decorate the space themselves.

You can also include in the staging of the rooms some expensive artworks or paintings. This increases the perceived value of the property.

9. Make sure everything is clean before taking pictures – no clutter or dust allowed!

Make sure everything is clean before taking pictures

A messy home increases the levels of anxiety. And, these feelings are not the ones you’d want your potential buyers to feel when they see your real estate photos. A cluttered room could feel suffocating and would make the space limited. A dirty room is distasteful. It tells that the property is not well taken care of and might need extensive repairs. All the reasons that buyers would opt not to buy the property.

Clean and dust off the rooms you are going to shoot. De-clutter the room. Remove unnecessary items that could be a distraction. Limit the number of colors you are going to use to 2 or 3. Neutral colors for floors and walls are encouraged.  

10. Edit your photos with software programs such as Photoshop or Lightroom for professional results.

Edit your photos with software programs

Your job as a real estate photographer doesn’t end after you’ve taken the photo. There is still post-production work or real estate photo editing that needs to be done to ensure that the quality of the photos is at its optimum.

There are various software programs available for professional work. Photoshop and Lightroom are the most popular for pc and mac users. The software can have a learning curve but there are various tutorials and demos available online. There are also a lot of plug-ins that you can use with both software if you want more detailed editing tools.

You can also use a real estate background remover to help you in your editing projects.

background remover

Conclusion

The aim of a real estate photographer is to show a house that people would want to live in.

It is not just limited to a house. But, it also applies to all kinds of property. You take photos highlighting their best features and minimizing the not-so-best sides. You’d want to capture a space that is inviting and captivating. Your photos might only have inanimate objects in it. But it shouldn’t appear distant and cold.

Create an enticing atmosphere in your photos. Pull them in. Make them see themselves living in that space. Help them visualize placing their furniture and furnishings. Maybe they’d want to change the wall colors? Add a painting on the wall of the dining room. Achieve this and you’ve successfully done your job.

Maria Colombo
Maria Colombo
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