Tips to Improve Your Listing Photos, Part 1

Real Estate Agent with Georgia Elite Realty

It has been awhile since I've blogged here so I thought I would ease back into it.  Over the next few months I will be posting a 10 part series (that's right, 10!) on how to improve your listing photos.  My goal as an Atlanta Real Estate Photographer is to give amateur photographers some practical ideas that will not only make taking listing photos less of a chore but improve the final result as well. 

As a Marietta, GA Real Estate Agent that does his own real estate photography, I had to learn quite a few lessons on my way to competence.  Even though I was a decent photographer, or so i thought, it didn't take long to realize that taking pictures of homes came with its own set of unique challenges.  This blog series is written with the amateur photographer in mind.  Whether you are a real estate agenthome stagerseller or just interested in taking better pictures of homes, this blog is for you. 

Part 1,  Learn what makes a good real estate image.- It doesn't matter what kind of camera and equipment you use, if you do not understand the basics of what makes a good real estate image (or a good photo in general for that matter), chances are you will struggle to capture the image that you really want.  Of course what looks 'good' is subjective; there are still several guidelines that are widely accepted as being the standard for quality.  Some of these I will cover in future installments but in order to really get a handle on these ideas its important to study other photographers work.  I recommend visiting forums like or where not only do the photogs post exceptional real estate related photos but often discuss how they achieved their result.  There are also countless books and articles on this subject but it is up to you to take the initative. 

Photography is as much an art as it is a science.  There are several aspects that are technical and can be taught much the same way as say, a subject like mathematics.  There are formulas and equations and you will get the same result every time as long as you work the equation correctly.  On the other hand, there are many more aspects that can be taught, but must be truly learned through internalizing and seemingly random epiphanies.  I liken this aspect of photography to learning to play a musical instrument.  Someone can show you how to play a song note for note but that doesn't mean you will be able to instantly recreate the original music.  There are guidelines here but the real beauty will lie in your interpretation and execution.

Study carefully the work of those that are producing photos you find appealing.  Make notes on what catches your eye and try to reproduce those elements in your own work.  Don't try to simply mimic them, rather try to use your trials and errors as stepping stones to a better understanding of what it takes to reproduce those elements on a regular basis.  It won't happen overnight, but if you have a talented muscle in your body this exercise is sure to make it grow.

Atlanta Real Estate Photographer Iran Watson Before Image

We all have to start somewhere... (this is a photo from my first listing)

Atlanta Real Estate Photographer Iran Watson Luxury Homes

Thankfully, hard work pays off. (and a more recent example)

Be sure to check out the other blogs on the Tips to Improve Your Listing Photos series:

Part 1: Learn What Makes a Good Real Estate Photo 

Part 2: How to get the Most out of your Flash 

Part 3: The Most Important Camera Accessory The Tripod 

Part 4: The Digital Darkroom, Photo Editing and Post Processing 

Part 5: White Balance and Color Control 

Part 6: Understanding Focal Length



Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Barbara Kornegay 06/17/2010 10:46 PM
Real Estate Best Practices
Out Of The Box!
Georgia Real Estate
photography for real estate
atlanta real estate photographer

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Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

Beautiful example of great real estate photography!  I use that Canon EFS lens too .... and love how it can fully capture an entire room.

Jun 18, 2010 04:27 AM #9
Frank Beckendorf
Beckendorf Realty Group - Abilene, TX

Definitely interested in Part 2...

Jun 18, 2010 04:37 AM #10
Frank Beckendorf
Beckendorf Realty Group - Abilene, TX

I use a Sony DSC-P200 and I think mine are good...

Jun 18, 2010 04:38 AM #11
Julissa Jumper
Select Properties of Fayetteville, LLC - Fayetteville, NC
Fayetteville, NC Real Estate

Iran:  Great photos.  Thanks for the info, looking forward to more.  Clicked thru to your website--very clean, very impressive!

Jun 18, 2010 04:44 AM #12
Lee Ann Obenauer
Metro Roberts Realty - Buffalo, NY

I hate nothing worse than an agent that has bad photos.  If they are bad, do not use them. Photos that are too dark  are no good.  And why do agents take photos of corners or of beds.  Are you selling corners or houses.

Jun 18, 2010 04:45 AM #13
Bill Wilson
Paradigm AdvantEdge - Edmond, OK

I did a Photography for Real Estate workshop with Scott Hargis and Thomas Grubba  last summer to improve my skills as I also shoot my own photos. I found it very beneficial.

A favorite from my latest listing...

Jun 18, 2010 04:49 AM #14
Bill Travis
Captain Bill Realty, LLC - Gilbert, AZ

Thanks  Iran. I have a Nikon D100 but only a 24mm lens. I've been debating with myself over getting the wider zoom, and have just about convinced myself to spend the money.l

Jun 18, 2010 04:51 AM #15
Tom Branch
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs - Plano, TX
Broker, CDPE, SFR, ACRE, Plano TX Ambassador


Nice post.  I also use a 10-20mm for all my real estate work.  I tend to use a strobe with diffuser most of the time.  I have extra strobes with umbrellas but I can count the number of times I've used them on one hand.  I need to spend some time learning to shoot HDR.


Jun 18, 2010 05:14 AM #16
Sharon Paxson
Compass - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate

Iran - nice post and I am always trying to improve my photography by reading and practicing.

Jun 18, 2010 05:48 AM #17
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

I've learned a few tips from being in the Photograph Group. Get the wider lens if you have too!

Jun 18, 2010 06:22 AM #18
Lori Bowers
La Quinta, CA
The Lori Bowers Group

Great photo- thanks for the tips- we keep working on this too. Practice seems to help

Jun 18, 2010 07:08 AM #19
Iran Watson
Georgia Elite Realty - Marietta, GA
Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer

Thanks again for the comments and keep them coming.  I will be covering lens and different focal lengths in a future installment of this series.

@Bill Wilson- Scott and Thomas are like the twin Yodas of real estate photography.  Even though I have never attended any of their workshops, I have learned a lot from their contributions in the flickr group and elsewhere.  I highly recommend everyone study the work of pros like Scott Hargis and Thomas Grubba.

Jun 18, 2010 08:25 AM #21
Jewel Swinton
Wilkinson & Associates, ERA Greenville - Greenville, SC

Iran, great pics.   I'm looking forward to more tips from you.

Jun 18, 2010 09:35 AM #22
Pippa Mac
Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring - The Woodlands, TX
The Woodlands TX Real Estate

Iran ... beautiful picture!   I just got a new camera and I am in the process of doing video's ... having fun and look forward to your next post!

Jun 18, 2010 09:58 AM #23
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

Thanks so much for the post today.  Love the pics.

Patricia/ Seacoast NH

Jun 18, 2010 01:17 PM #24
Don Corson
Coldwell Banker King Thompson - Columbus, OH


Thanks for the post.  Basic photography training should be mandatory for all agents.  We have all seen TOO many terrible listing photos to even begin to mention. 

Jun 21, 2010 08:27 AM #25
Lee Jinks
Jinks Realty - McAllen, TX

Part 2?

Keep'em coming!  This is good.

Jun 21, 2010 09:15 AM #26
Don Stern
Realty Executives South Louisiana - Baton Rouge, LA
Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate

Looking forward to all 10 posts... and extraordinary improvement from your first listing photo.

Jun 22, 2010 08:24 AM #27
Beth Lester
Beth Lester Designs - Torrance, CA
Home Staging & Interior Decorating

What a huge improvement!  There is such a huge learning curve in taking great pictures.  I'm making progress, but still have a ways to go....

Jun 24, 2010 05:26 PM #28
Barbara Heil-Sonneck
Design2Sell - Atlanta, GA
Home Staging Atlanta

Hi Iran, great pictures, just subscribed to your blog, since I am in the process to learn more about great pictures and looking for buying a new camera....

Sep 11, 2010 11:49 AM #29
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Iran Watson

Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer
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