Lighting and Camera Choice - Make better photos

Services for Real Estate Pros with J Gettings Photography

If you are a real estate professional, and you are not interested in hiring a professional photographer, that is no excuse to have flat, lifeless photos of your properties.  There are a couple of easy things that you can do to take much better pictures!

First and foremost, buy a digital SLR camera.  I, personally, love Nikon products.  For what you are doing, you can purchase a D40 - you can find it on line usually for under $400.  This camera is only 6.1 MP, but that is plenty when you are taking photos for web applications.  Be sure that you take the time to learn all of the ins and outs of the camera.  With a digital SLR, you will have much more creative control when it comes time to click those pictures.

Remember, you are not taking snapshots (or, at least, you shouldn't be).  You are trying to sell this house over the Internet with these pictures.  Sure, you are trying to shoot realistic pictures, however, this is no excuse to take ordinary flat pictures. 

The second most important thing to consider is lighting.  The pop-up flash is simply not going to cut it.  In order to take beautiful, creative (Architectural Digest type) pictures, you have to be able to control the lighting.  If possible, invest in a couple of stand mounted strobes.  One with an umbrella, and one with a softbox on it.

Now that you know what tools you need, be sure to learn how to properly use them.  Get you hands on a couple of good books (your local library has a great selection) that will teach you the ins and outs of manual photography - Shutter Speed, Aperture, etc...and be sure to get one that explains how to properly use lighting.

With these two tools, you can truly begin to take meaningful pictures that show depth and will distinguish your properties.  Besides, it will also impress your clients!  How professional will your new listing think you are when you show up with a quality camera and a couple of strobes to photo their house? 

One last bit if advice....Practice, practice, practice....Take photos of the inside of your house with your new equipment.  Try out the things that you learn in the books!  Also, you will need a good image editor.  Photoshop is great but expensive.  An alternative (free) is GIMP.  You can search for my blog on GIMP to learn a little bit more of what GIMP is all about!


Jeff Gettings

Comments (5)

Steven Teoh
West Shores Realty - Torrance, CA
Los Angeles South Bay, Palos Verdes

I just got a Canon Elan XSI DSLR, and see the improvement on the quality of the Photo.

Steven Teoh
Houston Luxury Homes and High Rises Specialist


Nov 03, 2008 09:30 AM
Lee Cunningham
Cunningham Team RE/MAX R.P. - Greenville, SC
Greenville SC Real Estate

when you show up with extra lighting devices for getting the right exposuer in distant rooms, that really gets the sellers fired up!

Nov 03, 2008 11:46 AM
Jeff Gettings
J Gettings Photography - Biloxi, MS

Thanks for the comments, folks!  I am glad to see that there is some interest out there in ensuring that you are taking great photos for your clients! 

Nov 04, 2008 12:31 AM
Mindy & Jay Robbins
Robbins Real Estate - Dallas, TX
Expect Excellence from Robbins Real Estate

I am practicing, practicing, practicing.  I practice at my house.  I also practice at a vacant listing we have on the market.  I enjoy my small break-troughs while practicing!

Nov 10, 2008 10:51 AM
Robert Smith
Preview Properties, PC - - Brighton, MI
SRES, Search for Homes Brighton-Howell-SE Michigan

I purchased a D40 in August. It came with the 18-55mm lense and I have since bought a 50-200 mm lense.  I'm still learning the ins and outs of the settings, but so far I'm very happy. While I got this as an upgrade for Real Estate work from my Powershot A95, I have found that my 'recreational' (personal, nature) photos have improved quite a bit, too.  I'm considering joining a local amateur photography club to try and get even more out of the D40.

Nov 28, 2008 02:39 AM