Take Listing Photos Like a Pro!

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams - homes for sale - Florida - Gulf - Beach

While the importance of curb appeal will never diminish, the process of buying a home is changing rapidly!  These days, a majority of the searching process is completed online - very few clients, especially first time buyers or those of the younger variety, choose to attend open houses or showings without first viewing the property on the web and making sure they're not wasting time on something that doesn't fit their requirements.  That's why it's vitally important that the photos you attach to your listings present the home in the best possible light - you want to attract attention and make a potential buyer pick up the phone to schedule an in-person showing!


Before you even get started, you want to make sure that you have the right equipment.  No matter how nice you think your cell phone photos look, it benefits you to have an actual digital camera!  It's easier to touch up your photos when you can put them onto your laptop and view them in a high quality editing program, and you might notice things in a larger scale image that you simply didn't see on your smaller phone screen.  This does NOT mean that you need to run out and purchase the most expensive camera on the market!  Don't waste money on features that you can't or won't use!  Any camera with a 5 megapixel or higher resolution is going to produce quality images, so shop around for the best deals before you buy.  A tripod and small, handheld light bar will also improve your photos!


When you arrive at your new listing, take time to walk around a bit before you start snapping pictures!  Some agents swear by staging their listings, some feel they can do without - but everyone agrees that the home should be clean and not have unsightly garbage, filthy dishes, or questionable decor choices on display!  Help your client by gently reminding them of these things before you show up to your appointment, and if you notice anything that might turn off a potential buyer, respectfully ask that the seller move that item out of the frame for a while.  While doing your initial walkthrough, open up those blinds to let the natural light shine in - sunshine always looks better than artificial light in your photos!


Now it's finally time to start taking those pictures!  I personally am drawn to listings that give the feel of walking through a home.  Starting at the front door, take a photo of what you see in every direction, and keep snapping away as you walk around.  As stated above, you want to use as much natural light as possible, and you should be sure to get as much of the room in each photo as you can so prospective buyers don't feel as though you're hiding anything in dim light and shadowy corners.  Avoid the temptation to do any "artsy" shots, as they can distract a customer as they scroll through your listing.  And be sure the photos accurately represent the property!  Don't use a wide angle shot to make the master bedroom look huge, only to have a buyer walk in and feel duped.  It's not necessary to highlight every scratch or ding in the paint, but you should definitely paint a realistic picture of the home so a prospective buyer is aware of what they'll see when they tour it.  A few cracks in the plaster might not be a deal breaker, but feeling like you're dealing with a dishonest agent sure can be!  


Remember that there is no such thing as overkill when taking these listing pictures.  Don't walk away with one or two shots of each room, only to get back to the office and discover that one of them is blurred or too dark!  Take more photos than you think you'll need, and then pare it down to the best of the best. 


That said, don't go overboard on the editing!  There are tons of free programs available that will allow you to preform a wide range of edits to your photos, from color correction to full on photoshopping - but be sparing!  Again, the goal is to present an accurate listing while showcasing the home at its best.  Feel free to lighten up any dark spots, crop the photos evenly, adjust your brightness and contrast...and then leave them alone.  A great photo starts with the picture you take in the home, it isn't created on your laptop from scratch!  


As with nearly everything, practice makes perfect, so if your first few listing photos don't turn out the best, don't fret!  Practice with your equipment, play around with your editing software, and stick to it, and you'll be taking photos like a pro in no time!






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Denise Samouilidis
Mirsky Realty Group - Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Jupiter Abacoa Sales & Beach Front Luxury Homes

I’m all for photos that properly represent the home. However, I had a very high priced listing which we photographed and I ran an editing program on the main photos. The owner had a fit saying the enhanced photos looked “fake”, so I conducted an A/B click through test and found out the edited photos performed 4 times better than the untouched ones. The home sold shortly after putting the retouched main photos back on the MLS.

Nov 09, 2017 04:52 AM #16
Gordon Crawford
Gordon Crawford Home Selling Team - Morristown, NJ
Your Morris County Specialist!

Great post Joel!  Pictures are so important to a successful transaction.  

Nov 09, 2017 04:56 AM #17
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

These are excellent points. Sometimes the photos don't do the home justice, and sometimes the reverse is true. Getting pictures that actually look like the house, showing it in its best light, is the goal.

Nov 09, 2017 05:07 AM #18
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Your buyer is busy, it is late at night when they squeeze out time to see what is new online in their filtered price range. Video saves them the most time with the same principles are making the presentation quick, easy, memorable using the eyes and ears. Thanks for the reminder post about imagery.

Nov 09, 2017 05:42 AM #19
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Thanks for giving some great tips on taking listing photos.

We could probably write a book on what not to do and what to do.

Getting the property ready for photos is a very important step. The best photographer can not overcome piles of clothes on the bed and floor.

Nov 09, 2017 05:49 AM #20
Donna Quinlan
Keller Williams Realty - Newburyport, MA
Keller Williams Real Estate Agent Career Consultan

It is so important to use a digital camera as you suggested, not an iphone. Even if somehow the photos from an iphone can be edited to look great, (cannot compare to a wide angle lens), an agent just does not look professional taking photos with an iphone. I now use a professional photographer. It really does not cost that much more, considering how much time it takes to organize and edit the photos.

Nov 09, 2017 05:53 AM #21
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal

Joel,  My advice is to just pay a professional.  I get great photos for just $125-$175 for at least 25 shots.  If your price point doesn't justify that kind of expense, then learn from those professionals until your photos are as good as theirs.

Also, your reply to comment #19 is not what I see from Zillow.  When I do a Zillow search, the results don't seem to have anything to do with the number of pictures.  The user gets to choose how they want the results to be sorted.  I don't see any option to sort by number of pictures.  Am I missing something?

Nov 09, 2017 06:18 AM #22
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Lighting and angles are key to a great listing photo. The digital camera these days can autofocus and sets aperture and speed. However it is based on the avg lighting. If there is a lot of lighting contrast one needs to do a manual.  I can tell by the quality of work whether it is done hastily by an ameture. When uploading for god's sake do not upload dual photos and fewer photos will get more curious buyers. 

Nov 09, 2017 06:22 AM #23
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy

Great tips, but I'll stick with the pro that is still going to do a much better job than me.

Nov 09, 2017 08:40 AM #24
Corinne Guest, Managing Broker
Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
Barrington, a Luxury, Country Suburban Lifestyle.

Love this post. Some of us choose to DIY because our photos are more representative of the "real" house, are not over-exposed to make them look better, they are more natural. I have found some great websites with tips, you've just added a few more.

Nov 09, 2017 09:48 AM #25
Betsy N. Robinson - Serving the Sandhills, NC
Everything Pines Partners, LLC. - Whispering Pines, NC

I agree with all of your points.  Particularly the one on not over editing the photos.  I am beginning to cringe on the way some modest homes are made to look, only to disapoint the Buyer on seeing it.

Nov 09, 2017 10:21 AM #26
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

J.J. knows things...

Nov 09, 2017 10:51 AM #27
Raymond Denton
Wholesale Capital Corporation - Irvine, CA
Shady Canyon Homes

Those are some good fundamentals to remember, Joel.  Thank you for sharing them.

Nov 09, 2017 01:49 PM #28
Melissa Spittel
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Westminster, MD
"Achieving Results Together "

You shared some great tips, reminders and advice. You reminded me of an office meeting I attended last year. My broker was showing new office listings on the TV screen. One of the listings included photos that were blurry and rather dark. My broker asked the listing agent who took the photos. The agent replied, "I did! With my iPhone!" Egads!!!!!

Nov 09, 2017 02:10 PM #29
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

The walk-through idea is an excellent beginning and taking a 100 or more pictures isn't unusual for even the smallest of homes. Very nicely done Joel.

Nov 09, 2017 02:35 PM #30
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

Great suggestions.  And definitely a real camera if you're not using a professional to take your photos for you. 

Nov 09, 2017 03:38 PM #31
Amanda Thomas
Providence Group Realty - Plano, TX
​Broker, SRES®, BPOR, MCNE, ​Certified DRS Agent™

Thanks, Joel Jadofsky. Working on a similar post now, but geared toward photographers who sell listing photography packages but don't really understand the requirements of the job. A fancy camera + wide angle lens + high resolution photos does by itself make good listing photos. Shot composition, details, lighting, delivery & after market services are crucial.

Nov 09, 2017 04:58 PM #32
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Hi there Joel. Congratulations on the feature and I'm glad to find your post.  We actually have a professional take our photos - the light around here is pretty tricky and they have the ability - and the tools- to make things look the best. We sure see a lot of sloppy photos in our MLS, wish I could send them all your post. Lol.  D 

Nov 10, 2017 01:06 PM #33
Mega Team Real Estate
Realty ONE Group Alliance - San Mateo, CA
San Francisco and Peninsula Real Estate Concierge

Great suggestions. Thank you for sharing this. 

Nov 11, 2017 12:52 AM #34
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ

Joel Jadofsky "These days, a majority of the searching process is completed online - very few clients, especially first time buyers or those of the younger variety, choose to attend open houses or showings without first viewing the property on the web and making sure they're not wasting time on something that doesn't fit their requirements."

Right on target - and - re-blog!

Nov 15, 2017 02:37 AM #35
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Joel Jadofsky

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