How to take better real estate listing pictures

Real Estate Agent with Virtual Properties - Atlanta Real Estate 255736

real estate photos

If you're listing a home you really should hire a professional (seriously) but there are times where maybe you can't wait for them or perhaps you aren't willing to spend the money.   So what do you do if you're the one taking the real estate photos?  Here are some quick "Do's" and "Don't's of Real Estate Photography.

The "Do's" Of Real Estate Photography


When it comes to the front photo - thankfully you can get a good wide shot without special equipment. It could very well be the most important photo and it needs to capture not just the home but give the home some sort of appeal.  In addition, since it's outdoors the lighting should be good so there's really no excuse for a bad photo.

Wide Angle Real Estate Photos

A quick search in most MLS will reveal who's taking good photos and who isn't. A wide-angle lens is invaluable, particularly for indoor photography.  I'm not talking about fish-eye, those are not what you want. It's an actual wide angle. You're looking for a 10MM -18MM range lens. You can google this relatively easy - just say no to fish-eye. Getting this is crucial as many of the rooms will look small without it. In a day where open floor plans are heralded on TV, you will want to show off the space with a wide angle.

Use A REAL camera

A person only needs to google "bad mls photos" to see the poor quality of photos you get from cell phones. Get a real camera. It doesn't have to be able to handle weddings or anything (DSLR) but it needs to at least have the ability to have attachments or a wide lens.  An older model Canon Rebel should work just fine.   You could even call your photographer and sheepishly ask to buy their old cameras.  Chances are really good that it's more than enough for you to shoot great real estate photos and that only a professional would notice the difference in cameras...

That being said, hire a professional, because it's not the camera that makes the photos pop, it's the person behind it. 

Turn lights on and open blinds in the home.

bad mls photos

The home needs to be lit.  You're not a professional so you'll want as much natural light as you can get. 

Shoot from corners or angles.

If you must do it yourself, research and read about shooting interior shots. Find out how you can shoot a bedroom from a closet for a better shot.

Use Photoshop or Lightroom

I struggle to tell you to do this because you're photos are liable to end up over edited.   Do Not to add something that's not there but to color adjust and brighten.

The "Don't's" Of Real Estate Photography

Use your iPhone or other cell phones for photography of homes.

The lenses on the phones were designed for portraits, not real estate.   Yes, they've come a long way but just say no.

Don't simply drive by a home, roll down your window and shoot.

Yes, there are photos like this all over the Atlanta real estate mls.   I've seen it on BadMlsPhotos as well, so I know it's not just an Atlanta thing. 

Bad Real Estate PhotographyDon't allow people or pets in the photo

You aren't selling the pets, are you?  Pets can be a turn off for some home buyers so why have them in the photo.  Have enough self-respect to take the photo again.

Don't just take photos of the home

Sometimes the seller may need a little help.  Take the time to set up the room before shooting the photo.  It's worth an extra 10 minutes to do this in the long run because the photos can last a long time, even after the home is sold (or expired as a result of bad photos). 

Just because the home might not be considered luxury real estate doesn't mean that you should skimp on the photos.  You could hire a professional for as low as $100 in many areas.  The time savings alone would make that worth it.  However, if you're going to do this yourself, at least learn how to take better real estate listing pictures.

To see more bad mls photos go here.


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Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

this is very good advice for anyone getting a new listing ready for market! 

Feb 17, 2018 06:41 AM #1
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Joshua Jarvis

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