Real estate photography business is a difficult, but still worthy job to try. It gives you a chance to travel a lot from one spot to another, create high end property photos, and earn much money, by the way. Photography for real estate is truly demanded nowadays. The home seekers look at properties online and only then decide if they want to see them in real life. Before starting this business, you have to understand clearly what you want to tell the potential buyers by your shoots. Make the pictures not only quality, but thoughtful and catchy.
It is difficult to fulfill this task fast, if you are new to the profession. But we believe that 10 useful real estate photography tips http://fixthephoto.com/business/real-estate-photography-tips.html will help you to become a real prof!
Types of photography for real estate
Your main clients are realtors, and you can get $100-400 per a session depending on the location. The buildings are apartment houses, town or single-family houses, and very expensive properties.
From the title it is clear that you’ll shoot commercial objects such as cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels etc. With a small number of photos, you can get about $300. These photos are used for magazines, advertisement, branding, etc.
According to FixThePhoto http://fixthephoto.com/ research, this real estate photography style is supposed to show your professionalism rather that bring money. Such photos attract realtors or real estate companies who build new apartments or architectures to make the portfolios with their works. Moreover, this type of real estate photography is used to take the photos of local sights and historical buildings.
Though, each type has its peculiarities, according to the USA Labor data real estate photography professions are most well-paid. So, that is the case, why you should master your skill with the 10 tips offered below.
Real estate photography lighting tips
Sunny days are more beneficial for shooting than gloomy and rainy ones. Natural light is of tremendous importance both for indoor and outdoor sessions, but there are some differences in usage.
Exterior lighting tips
1. You can never be sure about lighting conditions on the location, so experiment when you get there.
2. Every photo must have enough light and shadows, so don’t cut out all during photo editing.
3. Adjust curtains and don’t shoot straight into bright windows.
4. Check location using Google Map before shooting.
Interior real estate photography lighting tips
1. Use a tripod not to get blurry photos.
2. Replace objects in the room and adjust the light according to them.
3. Have at least several lenses on hand – a prime and a wide-angled one.
4. Without doubts, natural light is 100% preferable, but combined with LED bulbs and reflectors it makes miracles. Turning off exterior lights may be also useful.
Being at the location, you will clearly understand what to do with light, what should be added or removed. But these basic principles can help make your property pictures eye-catching.
Real estate photography camera settings
In fact, there are no ideal camera settings suitable for every situation, you have to regulate everything by yourself. There are some recommendations that can be followed:
- If you want more light to enter the camera – open the lenses wider. “Play” a little bit with the aperture.
- Don’t raise ISO more than 400.
Real Estate Photography Equipment Tips
Top-quality equipment may seem to be quite expensive, but it will enable you to avoid hundreds of drastic problems you may face.
Can you imagine a photographer without a good camera? Hardly. Actually, camera is the guts of all the kit. It mustn’t be too expensive, but at the same time, do not go too cheap.
Among mirrorless cameras the most well-known, quality and of an average cost are Sony A7S II (around $2200), Fujifilm X-T2 (around $1400) and Sony Alpha A9 (around $2800).
In case you are interested in DSLR products, pay attention to Canon 5D Mark III DSLR (around $1500), Pentax K-1 (around $1800) or Nikon D750 (around $1200). To learn more about each variant, you may search the Internet, read and watch review, or contact the store.
You have to choose lens in accordance with your camera. Both full frame or crop models are needed in many situations. Very popular full frame lenses are Sony SEL1224G 12-24mm f/4-22 (around $1500), Canon 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 EF-S (around $300) and Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM (around $2400).
Specialists give their preference to APS-C lenses as the best for interior architectural photography. You may buy Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 Ex DC HSM (around $420), Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 DX II (around $400) and Nikon Nikkor 12-24mm F/4 G (around $1.200).
Real estate photography flash setup may be a very tricky question. Still you definitely need them to capture a sharp, detailed color and get rich picture. Moreover, it helps to shoot with fewer shadows. Use appropriate real estate photography flash setup and impress your client by high-quality images of properties.
Nowadays, you may purchase really cool stuff: Yongnuo 560 III (around $65), Canon Speedlites (around $260) and Profoto D1 Air 1000W/s (around $1500). Make sure there are some additional items in your professional tool kit.
4. Additional real estate photography equipment
The first in this list is a tripod. There are many variations of this item, but they all serve the same purpose. With the tripod you may not hurry to photograph and choose the appropriate angle, adjust the light and the setting. Nowadays, Manfrotto 161MK2B Mk2 (around $450), Manfrotto MKCOMPACTACN-BK (around $35) are the vest.
Sometimes you have to get a panoramic view of the property, which is impossible using only your camera. That is why drones are so demanded. But before you do anything commercial with a drone, make sure you have a required FAA real estate photography certification.
There are many drones, with different technical characteristics. Take a look at a cheap variant for amateurs – DJI Spark (around $700), and more professional device for taking bird-eye shots – DJI Phantom 4 (around $1000).
Real estate photo editing tips
Photo editing is your last chance to improve the situation and make dull photos really beautiful. That’s why so many photographers rely on it! Nowadays, you can do everything by yourself or use online services and freelance editors. All in all, the work is done in two basic programs – Photoshop and Lightroom. You choose them according to the changes you want to get.
LR is used mainly for:
- quick color correction;
- reduction of blur and noise;
- horizontal/vertical straightening;
- resizing and other fast operations.
Photoshop comes handy if you need deeper photo retouching;
- sky enhancement;
- lawn retouching;
- objects replacement/cutting out;
- changing the color of walls and other parts of a house.
Some photographers leave photos untouched, but 90% use Lightroom presets to achieve what they need fast.
Real Estate Photography Pricing Tips
Your salary depends greatly on the shoot itself. Your professional level and experience also play a role in the amount of money you are going to get. On average, you have to work about three years before you start getting the substantial income. Professionals earn about $50 000 annually. Another important factor is the size and the location of the property you are going to photograph.
Remember, more edits mean more time required – more money. Besides, you are free to offer some additional services:
- Video recording (beginning with $1000)
It is e well-spread service offered by real estate photographers. It has nothing common with a typical slideshow, as it is done with a special program. The beautiful visual result is enforced by proper soundtracks. But be very attentive, not all music can be freely used in commercial real estate videos. Get in touch with sites that give the music for free or pay them for the soundtrack you like.
- Drone shoots ($200 per hour)
It is a very demanded service and a good additional source of money for photographers. But FFA has restrictions on their usage, so check everything beforehand.
- 3D rendering ($500)
It is a rear case, but if you find a house builder, you can also get some money.
Real estate photography pricing varies from state to state, so check the local photographers pricing packages.
Real Estate Photography Classes
You cannot wake up one day and become a cool real estate photographer. You may have some inclinations, talents or even basic understanding of the profession, but some classes are necessary. It is very convenient and easy to find interesting courses on the Internet.
Still all courses are different, with many individual pros and cons. It is advantageous to sort them according to:
YouTube is like an endless source of interesting videos dedicated to many topics. Lots of useful real estate photography classes may be found here. The most well-known are:
- Learn real estate photography with Rich Baum;
- Real estate photography definition by REP 101 and lots of others.
If you are interested in free online courses, check:
- The picture correct team’s architectural photography courses
- Kelby’s property photography courses
- How to take real estate photos with iPhone
For a beginner photographer, who has some spare money there are some paid classes:
- Mastering Photography for Architecture and Real Estate;
- Real Estate and Architectural Photography;
- Real Estate Photography;
- REP Course;
You may also learn something from successful photographers, who want to share their experience either free or for money. So, visit real estate photography classes by Scott Hargis, who is a famous interior and architectural photographer.
Some people need teacher near them to master the profession. It is also possible to find a specialized school and attend classes in Atlanta, NYC and other big cities.
Real Estate Photography Certification Tips
Formally, you are not required to have certificates to be a photographer. You may teach yourself or attend some courses to master your skills. At the same time, your client may want to see some proving documents that you know what to do. Still, they pay money, so they have all rights.
Most of the time, photographer join some classes in the city and then get a certificate. You may do it online. But choose only courses with good reputation.
Your income depends on the number of clients and your reputation. When you are new to the profession, you have problems with both aspects.
You can start your career with special website for photographers:
It is the first in the list. It has a very clear menu, where you can find what you need. All the jobs are divided into groups.
If you are looking for some tips or want to find colleagues/clients from other countries –this site is what you need.
The site is popular all over the world. There are many positions for potential employees.
Here you can show your works and place a resume.
It is also a great idea to create your own website or a photo blog. Invite many people and ask your friends to share the information.
Social networks are very powerful tools in promoting your real estate photography business. Make use of:
In such a way you may advertise your works and pay no money for this.
Real Estate Photography Association
Various photography associations are aimed to promote your professional growth. They also help you to meet interesting people, realtors and agents. Sometimes you may find even potential buyers there. It is a perfect place where you can publicize yourself as a photographer. So don’t neglect a chance to become a member of any.
The truth is, you may become successful very quick, but only if you have a certain plan of your professional growth. These tips may be your guidance at the beginning of the career. In the course of time, you will learn other important features that a professional real estate photographer has to possess.