The Best Real Estate Photography Tips On The Web

Reblogger Mirela Monte
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Buyers' Choice Realty

I live and sell Real Estate in Myrtle Beach.  Do you know how many of our Oceanfront Condos are presented in the MLS without any views of the Ocean?  Sadly, plenty.  As in curtains drawn and not even a glimpse of the beautiful Atlantic appearing anywhere in the marketing of the OCEANFRONT Condo! 

When marketing an Oceanfront Condo, please, please, please show me the views!!!

For more photography tips, please see the post below:

Original content by Rich Staats

Photography Tips From The 2012 Real Estate Photographer Of The Year Award Winner, Iran Watson

Real Estate Photography Dining Room

Upon researching "top real estate photography tips" for a killer article I was planning to write, I stopped dead in my tracks after stumbling upon Iran's Atlanta Real Estate Photography site. Iran's photos truly speak for themselves, every room and shot tells a unique story and I quickly realized how little I know about real estate photography.

So, instead of scavenging up helpful tips and tricks I went directly to the expert. Iran is a professional photographer specializing specifically in real estate. While being an Atlanta, GA Photographer member REPAI, the April 2012 Real Estate Photographer of the Month and the 2012 PFRE Real Estate Photographer of the Year Award he’s also a highly accredited Real Estate Agent.

Atlanta Real Estate Photography of Office

Something Active Rain’s Bob Stewart told me a long time ago that’s stuck with me ever since was that, ‘As a Realtor, you have to paint a picture of what it would be like to live in that home and area. Think about that…that’s a huge commitment and buyers need to know they’ll love it.’ (not word for word, but something like that). This is something I talk a lot about with my Vail Real Estate Pros at High Life Properties; how can we encapsulate the Vail, CO experience?

But, nothing has rung truer to Bob’s advice than seeing Iran’s work. His photos depict exactly what it would feel like to live in each particular home. This is exactly what buyers need and from a seller’s perspective that’s…priceless.

It was an honor to pick his brain on real estate photography and without further ado I give you the BEST Real Estate Photography Tips on the web!

1. How did you get involved with Real Estate photography?

It was quite by accident really. I started researching "real estate photography" as an effort to improve my own listings' presentations. As I got more and more into, I discovered that I really enjoyed it and as my skills improved it motivated me to take it even further. Then one day, an agent calls me and asks for the number of my photographer. When I mentioned that I did it myself, they offered to pay me to shoot a couple of listings for them. So I did, eventually they told their friends, and then they told their friends and before I knew it, it just took on a life of its own. A couple of years later, I started receiving inquires for commercial work and that’s when I decided to set it up as a bonfide business.

2. If you could go back to your first interior photography shoot, what would you tell yourself, knowing what you know now?

"Hire a professional!" LOL! Seriously though, there were so many aspects of interior photography that I was simply oblivious too. It really is a very challenging type of photography to learn to do well. Nowadays there are some very good resources created by working pros in this field that are invaluable for someone just starting out. I wish these ebooks and videos were available when I was starting.

Atlanta Real Estate Photography

3. Photos are so crucial in Real Estate, what advice do you have for realtors trying to take photos on a budget (with a point and shoot or cell phones)?

First and foremost, educate yourself on what makes a good interior photograph and learn how to overcome the more common issues one faces when photographing interiors. Study the images of other successful photographers and make notes on what aspects you like and then try to mimic them in your own work. Share your work with your peers, or better yet, a group of professionals like the Flickr PFRE group, and let them critique it and offer you feedback, the more honest, the better.

Looking at a scene and being about to visualize what the finished product will look like is crucial in my opinion. If you can't see what you are after in your mind's eye, it will be difficult to formulate an approach to get you there. Thankfully technology does a lot of the heavy lifting so a good DSLR, Wide Angle lens, Tripod and external flash will go a long way. Finally, if you really want to reach the upper tiers of this kind of photography be prepared to spend a lot of time and money, as there are large investments required for both. Having said that, it’s not an impossible goal to reach.

4. How do you determine what angle to shoot from in a room?

Composition is really my number one concern when shooting interiors, so in a manner of speaking where you (or your tripod) stand in the room is paramount. If you don’t get that right, you really have to work overtime to introduce enough redeeming qualities into the image to make up for a poor composition. For the important rooms of a home, the kitchen, master bedroom, master bath, etc. I will typically shoot multiple angles of these spaces. So what determines my angle, it can be any number of things actually, every scene is different.

Generally speaking I start with the camera at about the eye level of a person sitting in the room, which is about 4ft. I usually go for a straight-on, one point perspective or shoot at a 90 degree angle toward a corner of the room. Wide Angle lenses often introduce a kind of distortion that stretches the corners of the frame. Composing around one of these two perspectives helps to minimize the impact of that. Ultimately, the angle is determined by what I feel is most aesthetically pleasing through the viewfinder of the camera after considering what I mentioned above.

Real Estate Photography at it's finest

5. Do you ever get behind the lens and have to alter a room's staging for a shot?

All the time. As I mentioned above, using Wide Angle lenses have the propensity of "seeing" the scene differently than the human eye. I will often slide furniture to the side or remove large decor pieces that distract from the image. These things can look great in the room when physically standing there, but wide angle focal lengths produce a different result than what you see in person. I also work with a Stager on the good majority of the homes I shoot. Issues like de-cluttering, furniture arrangement and decor are handled by her. Of course if there is something that is obviously ruining an otherwise good shot I will take the time to remove or rearrange it.

6. What's the best time of day to take interior photos?

One of the biggest challenges with photographing interiors is the dynamic range, or the range form the darkest area of the scene to the brightest. This is especially true for scenes that have windows in them. With this in mind, you want to shoot the room at a time when the light outside is close to the light inside. This usually means dusk, or dawn, or an overcast day. My personal approach is to use multiple off camera lights, or strobes. This way I can bring up the interior luminosity to more closely match that of the exterior. Using strobes has a steep learning curve, but in the end it is easier to use lights to brighten the interior than controlling the light from the sun...

Real Estate Photography

7. What's the best time of day to take exterior photos?

This largely depends on the direction the home faces, but as a general rule of thumb I try to find a time where the sun is at my back and shining on the front of the home. This usually means mid morning or late afternoon. If you have a north facing home to photograph, I suggest trying to do a twilight shot where you photograph the house immediately after sunset. This can give a very pleasing effect of the home glowing from within and you get a nice gradient in the sky from one side to another.

8. If you could shoot the inside of anyone's home, dead or alive, who would it be?

This might be a little anticlimactic, but I would give anything to be able to go back and photograph my grandparent's house in which I spent most of my childhood. One of the greatest compliments I receive is when a homeowner expresses how much it means to them to be able to look back on these images and recall where their family had once called home. Sure, they are marketing images, but to the family they will also one day serve as a crystal clear view into the past. This is something I really wish I had...

Thank you so much Iran! I greatly appreciated your hustle and incredible responses.


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Carol Lee
Dilbeck Real Estate - Oak Park, CA
Realtor - Agoura, Oak Park, Westlake CA Homes

Those are beautiful photos, Mirella!  What cracks me up is when agents take their own terrible shots, and do things like post a shot of a toilet sideways, or you see their reflection in the mirror.  If that is the best they can do, they should hire someone!

Mar 17, 2013 11:08 AM #1
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Mirela Monte

Myrtle Beach Real Estate
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