In real estate photography, the goal is to have your photos make a home stand out from others while appealing to as many people as possible. While there are certainly many different styles and techniques for taking real estate photos, there are general principles that any good real estate photo follows that allow it to reach the previously stated goals. So whether you’re taking photos yourself or looking for a to hire someone to, here’s how to determine if the photos will help or hurt how your home looks.
One of the simplest and most important rules in a good real estate photo is having straight verticals. What does that mean? Look at the door frames, pillars, and house frames in the photos above. Notice how the tops or bottoms of those lines aren’t bending in or out? That’s important because whether the viewer consciously or unconsciously observes, bent verticals, it will make the image more displeasing. To get straight verticals, make sure the camera is level. If it isn’t level, you’ll have to correct it in a program such as Lightroom.
2. Choosing An Angle and camera level
What position and what camera height you choose to photograph from is perhaps the most important part of real estate photography. Poor lighting and colors can be fixed in Lightroom and Photoshop, but you can’t really change what you’ve photographed. In choosing a camera angle, you are trying to show as much of the space in as pleasing of a way possible. Shooting straight across the room, perpendicular to the wall (called a one-point perspective) or shooting from a corner with two walls for example converging in roughly the middle (a two-point perspective) are the most common ways to shoot real estate photos. The first photo above is an example of a two-point perspective, and images 2 and 3 are examples of a one-point perspective. Along with the angle, the height of your camera is important too. As a general rule, you want to be about 1-1.5 feet above the dominant surface of the room (if the room is empty, this rule does not apply to the floor. In the images above, the camera is well above the bed, bathroom countertop, and kitchen countertop. With camera height, if you have it too high, you’ll get too much ceiling in the picture. If you shoot too low, you’ll get too much floor along with making large objects like furniture look unpleasant. For a lot of rooms, a good starting point is around 4.5-5 ft off the ground.
3. choosing what to shoot
So now you know how to position your camera, but how do you choose what to photograph? Some people take one poor photo of their kitchen, and three of their overpacked storage room, and that just isn’t going to appeal to a potential buyer. The photos you need to focus on getting right are at least one excellent exterior, two kitchen, two living room, and two (or sometimes one) master bedroom photos. These are the most aspects of house that every potential buyer is looking at most critically. Every home is different, but if you have 15 good photos of the kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms, then you’re set. Adding photos of spaces like storage rooms aren’t necessary unless: A) it’s a small house and you only have 10 or 12 photos, or B) the space has been cleaned and/or is extra large or special. Get the important shots right, and a potential buyer will be more forgiving of the less important aspects.
4. Proper lighting and color
Proper lighting is essential for any photograph, and it’s where amateur and phone photos meet their limitations. However, whether you are shooting with a phone or a camera, getting as much natural light as you can in a room is important. Natural light brings in the best colors and natural contrast to your photo that will make the image pleasing. The more you rely on lights in the house, the more you open yourself up to “color cast,” which is when lights like a yellow-orange incandescent bulb hits an object and lights it up, but gives it an unnatural color. Any professional photographer uses flashes to help light under-lit areas and give accurate colors. In my style of photography, I take one natural, ambient shot, and two shots with flashes, and blend them together to get the best of accurate light and coloration. With this style, I also go over an image in Photoshop and manually correct any spots of incorrect coloration. So no matter who you are, making sure all areas of your photo have adequate lighting is a high priority.
Lastly, another element to a good real estate photo is how the windows look. Again, this can only be achieved through someone doing professional real estate photography. With homes like the ones above, it’s important to make the outside view visible and pleasant because it’s a selling point of the home. This can be achieved through different photography and editing styles, but it can be one of the most important tasks to do successfully in a home. For homes that have nothing particularly interesting to see outside, editing it to have some light fading and making it look natural should be the goal.
I hope these tips have helped you take photos for yourself, or also know what to look for when seeking to hire a quality real estate photographer. These are the standards we hold ourselves to here at Grand Showing, and we want everyone to be able to get the quality photos their homes deserve!
Post Written By: Jackson Erb, Real Estate Photographer
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