Name Your Poison- Photography Choices for Listings

By
Real Estate Agent with EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales

The following photos are a series of photographs and various techniques to photograph real estate.  From a simple point and shoot style shot to a more complex multipflash/blended shot.... and everything in between.  In fairness to the process all shots were post processed (but one) in Photoshop so they all had a fair shake.  

Whether you use a point and shoot camera or a DSLR, there is something for everyone to learn in this post.

This scenes difficulty was the mixed lighting source between florurescent and daylight.  The front of the shot is lit by two large windows the middle is lit by flourescent and we had a window in the back that was daylight balanced.

As I write this post and start looking at the pictures, the biggest take away, is you need a tripod.  Plain and simple a tripod is very small investment to really improve your real estate photography. Second consider a photo manipulation program.  A tripod will:

  1. Get your camera at the right height.  I find most real estate interiors are best shot at about 4 to 4 1/2 feet off the ground.  It very awkward to get that height with a point and shoot.
  2. The tripod will allow you to "drag your shutter speed" to get the proper exposure.  With out it the shutter speed would be to slow and you would get camera shake.
  3. It allows you to get your verticals vertical!

Complete Auto, Built in Flash, No tripod (unprocessed)

While this was taken with a DSLR it was set up just like a point and shoot camera. It was also hand held. The camera could not expose for it properly and the flash was not powerful enough.  Lets face it our MLS,s are filled with shots like this, underexposed and crooked.

Real Estate Photography- Complete Auto, Built in Flash, No tripod (unprocessed)

 

Complete Auto, Built in Flash, No tripod (processed)

This is the exact same shot as above except I used Photoshop to help correct exposure shadow and highlights.  With Photoshop we actually were able to edit to a fairly decent shot.  This shot did have to have much heavier adjustment then any of the other shots.

Basic Point and Shoot Mode

Exposure Fusion

This was a tough scene for exposure fusion.  I have been getting away from exposure fusion because of color problems that I have.  I find one available light exposure can be manipulated in Photoshop for what I usually need with out the color problems, though the exposure fusion will give a good overall scene usually.

Real Estate Photography- Exposure Fusion

 

Avaible Light Only-  On tripod

Taken on a tripod and the only exposure is for the available light.  Not bad either.  Why do we need to use a tripod?  The shutter speed is so low that you could not hand hold with out camera shake.  This was taken at 1/6th of a second.  When I do available light shots I expose for the general interior, but the highlights do blow out, as in the back window and flourescent lights. 

Quite frankly this is a pretty acceptable shot and far better then the snap and grab many agents will use, and....

This shot can be taken with a point and shoot or a DSLR.  With a point and shoot you may have to trick the scene with exposure lock.  Every point and shoot has that capability.  Controlling the exposure is definitely easier with a DSLR camera.

Real Estate Photography- Avaible Light Only-  On tripod

Available Light with Fill From Built in Flash

This is available light with the built in flash turned on to help fill.  In this case this could have used a little more post processing to tone down the front counter.  The problem being that corner was the closest point in the scene to the flash.  While it was processed in Photoshop,  I really would have had to work hard to get the exposure down on that front corner.  It would have required making a duplicate layer and then correcting the exposure for that corner.  I really wanted to keep the photo processing to a minimum.  But It definitely could be fixed in post processing.

Real Estate Photography- Available Light with Fill From Built in Flash

One Flash off Camera

So with this I set the exposure for where I want the window detail to be, then bring up the exposure of the room with the flash.  Also note the flouresent lights are not blown out, you see detail.  The light is bounced in the corner of the room just to the left and behind the camera.  Having the flash off camera allows me toposition the light so I don't blast that front corner of the counter and I can control where shadows fall. 

I did try the flash bounced camera right but then I did not like the shadow created by the front counter on the red wall and floor.

Real Estate Photography

3 Flash Shot

I added two more falshes- one behind the counter bouncing straight up, just adding a kiss of light and one in the hall way pointing straight up.  (the light and stand were coned out) The multiple flashes give more dimension to the scene.  I actually could have added one more flash to this shot at the end of the hallway and the hallway to the left to get rid of the harsh shadow from the hallway flash.  Heresa recent article completely going through a 3 flash set up.

Real Estate Photography- Multiple Flash

3 Flash Shot Blended with Available Light

This is my typical scenario these days.  I either use a multiple flash shot or a multiple flash shot blended with an available light or exposure fusion shot. I did not love the hallway on this one so I blended that part of the scene with an available light shot to get a final result.

Improve your Real Estate Photography

So no matter where you are at in your listing photography there is something here to be learned.  I have listed in order of importance.

  1. A tripod is a must! whether you have a point and shoot or a DSLR.... Get a Tripod!  Every point and shoot camera has a nightime mode where you can tell the camera to do longer exposures.  You can also do night time with flash.
  2. If you do not have photo processing software get one.  Adobe Elements is only $100.  You can see waht a little post processing can do even in the worst shot of the series.
  3. If you are thinking of a new camera upgrade from a point and shoot to a DSLR.  In most point and shoots it is hard to manually set the exposure.
  4. If you own a DSLR think of buying a flash to get off your camera and bounce!!
  5. If you own a DSLR and a flash, think about getting a 2nd and third flash.

Good Luck!

Point and Shot Mode                           Point and Shoot Processed                   Exposure Fusion

Available Light                                    Available Light with Flash Fill               One off Camera Flash

Multipl Flash                                       Multiple Flash Blended with available light

 

____________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Now more then ever, good listing photographs sell homes.  You need to choose a listing agent that utilizes professional photographic services or has the ability to take their own great photos.  Home buyers are making decisions based on what they see on the internet.  If they don't like what they see.... they dont call on a house.  Get the best real estate photography for your home.  Call Kevin at 978-360-0422

Good Real Estate Photography Sells Homes

 

 

 

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Topic:
Real Estate Technology & Tools
Groups:
Photography
Photoshop Elements for Real Estate
Photography, Advanced
Marketing Services & Tools for Real Estate
Tips and Techniques for Better Real Estate Photography
Tags:
real estate
photography
interior
camera
massachusetts
flash

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
253,129
Lee Jinks
Jinks Realty - McAllen, TX

Thanks for another good discussion/tutorial.

Oct 21, 2013 01:00 PM #9
Rainmaker
178,807
Steve Mun
Keller Williams Silicon Valley - Santa Clara, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor

Fantastic post Kevin.  Very informative.  Thank you for sharing. 

Oct 24, 2013 05:07 AM #10
Rainmaker
139,897
Paul Viau
Nova Scotia Real Estate Blog - Halifax, NS
Nova Scotia Real Estate Blog + Photo Services

Yeah - I am in the market for atleast one off camera flash. Seems to be the way to go!

Have a 580 ex and I am pleased with it but lighting is important!

Oct 24, 2013 10:03 PM #11
Rainmaker
1,958,570
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Quality and quantity factor in. If you have 36 sockets to fill, why are only eight used and what is the subject, style of how you shoot. Just the same front image, one of each room or taking pieces, slices of the properties and having more, better complete photo arrays using good standards taking them practices consistency too. Videos are the 30 to 50 "pictures" a second and not just seeing with your eyes. The ears get tickled, kicked into gear which is 40% of the experience using two senses. Not just one.

Oct 25, 2013 12:45 AM #12
Rainmaker
178,706
Kevin Vitali
EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales - Tewksbury, MA
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers

Steve-  Thanks for reading. 

Paul-  Cant go wrong for $65 from Adorama.  At that price its a throw away!

Yongnuo Speedlite YN560 Flash- Real Estate Photography

Helen and Larry- Thanks for including in your favorites!!

Andrew- Sorry didn't follow your comment 100%, its a little cryptic.

Oct 25, 2013 02:48 AM #13
Rainer
28,552
Joan Fitton
Keller Williams Southern Nevada - Mesquite, NV
CRS, ABR, RSPS, kw New Homes Ambassador
Loved seeing the difference that making little changes can make. I need to practice taking photos trying out these various techniques. Thank you so much for sharing this great information.
Oct 25, 2013 03:08 AM #14
Rainmaker
178,706
Kevin Vitali
EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales - Tewksbury, MA
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers

Thanks Joan.  If you just use a point and shoot or a DSLR, for that matter and you are not using a tripod, that alone can make a huge difference.

Oct 25, 2013 04:23 AM #15
Rainmaker
530,239
Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

Great tips.  I've started taking a photography class as I didn't have a clue how to use my DSLR and these cameras are amazing, but a good tripod and an external flash I find are absolute musts.  And I'll look into the software you recommend.  I didn't know it was that affordable.

Oct 25, 2013 07:37 AM #16
Rainmaker
178,706
Kevin Vitali
EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales - Tewksbury, MA
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers

Francine your absolutely right about the tripod and the external flash.  Adobe Elements is only about $100 once you learn how to use it you will wonder how you lived without it.  Good luck at congrats on taking the time to use your camera. 

Oct 25, 2013 09:13 AM #17
Rainmaker
103,449
Julie Ferenzi
john greene Realtor - Plainfield, IL
Julie Ferenzi

I am a family photographer and a Realtor.  Crazy that I've never thought of combining the two.  I should, lol!  I've seen some amazing HDR photography on lisitngs and they just POP!  I wish there were more photographers that offer that service where I am.

 

Oct 25, 2013 01:15 PM #18
Ambassador
1,704,110
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I use a professional photographer for all my listings, no matter the price. It's one of my marketing tools. Then I can concentrate on the marketing and leave the photos to the professionals.

Oct 26, 2013 11:25 AM #19
Rainmaker
178,706
Kevin Vitali
EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales - Tewksbury, MA
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers

Julie-  If you are a family phtographer take your own photos.  I personal am leaning towards flashing out a shot.  The color and control is much better.  But if you are just starting out Exposure fusion is an easy way to start.

 

Tammie- Gpood for you knowing when to hire a professional photographer either for time reasons or ability reasons!

 

Oct 29, 2013 02:18 AM #20
Rainer
83,281
Amy Gutschow
RE/MAX - Sheboygan, WI
Professional Real Estate

Fantastic article Kevin, thank you! It is amazing how much of an impact a great or poor picture can have on selling a property!

Oct 29, 2013 08:10 AM #21
Rainmaker
518,506
AJ Heidmann ~ CRS
McEnearney Associates, Inc. - Alexandria, VA
YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert

Kevin - Great post!  I particularly like all the iterations of the same shot to show the obvious & subtle differences between each set up.  Now I have an off camera flash to find for my Nikon D-5000...

Oct 30, 2013 07:03 AM #22
Rainmaker
178,706
Kevin Vitali
EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales - Tewksbury, MA
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers

AJ Can't beat the Yonguono Speedlight for $65.  I use the built in flash powered all the way down on my camera to trigger the off camera flash its simple and at $65 not a major expense at all.  Good luck.

Oct 31, 2013 12:53 AM #23
Rainer
170,811
Laurie Logan
Keller Williams Realty, Inc., Broker Associate - Madison, WI
South Central WI Real Estate

Hi Kevin, Perfect Post! I need a new camera, and was just starting to dread shopping for it, now I am ready.  Plus, a while back, someone gave me a tripod, and I didn't think I had any use for it - it seems as though I do afterall!!  Thanks so much!    Laurie

Oct 31, 2013 10:37 AM #24
Rainmaker
518,506
AJ Heidmann ~ CRS
McEnearney Associates, Inc. - Alexandria, VA
YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert

Kevin - thanks for pointing me towards the Yonguono... I'll have to go check it out.

Nov 01, 2013 04:48 AM #25
Rainmaker
178,706
Kevin Vitali
EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales - Tewksbury, MA
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers

Laurie-  if you want to run anything by me let me know.  I can help you pick the equipment that is best for you.

AJ-  Its truly not about the expense of the equipment it is waht you do with it.  Quite frankly for 65 bucks its a throw away.  I have been paying $200 for used Nikon SB80's and for my purposes the SB80s cant do anything this $65.00 flash cant do.  It is completely manual but with practive youll get the hang of it.

 

Nov 01, 2013 07:44 AM #26
Rainmaker
97,406
Teresa Cooper
Home Solution Real Estate Services - North Charleston, SC
SC Lowcountry - Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley

Kevin - I need to learn more about Photo Fusion.  Can you direct me?

 

Nov 04, 2013 12:06 PM #27
Rainmaker
178,706
Kevin Vitali
EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales - Tewksbury, MA
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers

Teresa-  sorry I missed your post!!  Are you talking about exposure fusion?

May 05, 2014 12:57 AM #28
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?

Rainmaker
178,706

Kevin Vitali

Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers
Have a Question? Ask Now!!
*
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Additional Information