Real Estate Listing Photo Taking Tips - Exterior Photographs

Services for Real Estate Pros with Design Smart Graphics



ALL of us have seen this photo that is low resolution, highly compressed under exposed with the house on the hill looking like it is a pyramid because the photo was taken with the wrong settings and at a bad angle! I am here to give you some tips on creating photos that will help sell your properties...well at least make them look better and stand out more to your potential buyers!

Here are common problems and the solutions:

Low Resolution photo - a blurry or pixelated photo where you can see the actual square pixels or the photo is blurry from trying to enlarge a smaller photo using Interpolation. You don't have to know what interpolation is you just have to know how to fix it!

SOLUTION - My teachers always preached "Start with the best original!" Meaning take photos on the highest setting you need for your output (web, print, billboard, flyer, etc), because this saves space and allows you to work with lower file sizes which in turn allows for quicker downloads and uploads. If you don't know if you are going to make a large photo, but you might, just shoot on your highest setting. Most cameras now days are higher than 6 Megapixels.


The house looks like a pyramid! - This has to do with a combination of lens distortion and angle.

SOLUTION - Try to be level with the house when you take a photo. Many times I have to stand on my truck to get the angle needed. Basically you want the camera level (imagine it sitting on your counter). If the house looks like it is pinched or bulging out, it is most likely a lens distortion issue. This can be fixed by buying better lenses or fixing it in an image program like Adobe Photoshop.


Underexposed Photo (Really Dark) - Caused by not enough light.

SOLUTION - Take photos with the enough light in the day or mount the camera to a tripod and take the shot is it is dusk or dawn out. A flash might not be strong enough to give the photo enough light because usually you are more than 15 feet away. You can also fix this in image editing software but it is easier and better to fix it in the original shot.


Overexposed Photo (really light/bright) - caused by taking photo in direct sunlight at noon-2 PM.

SOLUTION -  Wait for the sun to go down in the sky so the shadows aren't as harsh and the sun isn't as strong. You can also fix this in image editing software but it is easier and better to fix it in the original shot.


Highly Compression photo - The image, usually a jpeg, looks dirty and pixelated.

SOLUTION - All you have to do to fix this is take your original photo that should be clean and crisp and save it as a jpeg, but pay attention to the Compression/Quality setting in the dialog boxes.


Other helpful info:

WHAT IS THE SIZE OF A PIXEL? Well to give you perspective, screens are usually 72 pixels per inch (ppi) but for output on business cards or professionally-printed flyers, you need images to be 300 pixels per inch. Another way to look at camera creates 8 Megapixel images, and when I bring it onto my computer it says the dimensions are 3456x2304 pixels, You can easily see your output options by dividing those by 72 or 300 pixels per inch. The image would be a 48x32 inch image on screen (72 ppi), which is huge since most screens are 9x12 inches. If we were printing the image and needed it to be 300 ppi, the image would be 11.52x7.68 inches. These are the maximum sizes the image could be without losing quality and detail. You can shrink them to fit your output. If you have Adobe Photoshop or Elements you just go to "Image/image size..." in the menu.

The best time to take exterior shots depends on the type of photo you want:

Dramatic photo - You want to take the photo in morning or evening (bring the tripod). This gives more harsh shadows but neat colors for the background sky. Turn on some lights on the inside for a warm, homey look.

Evenly lighted photo - Cloudy days are a natural "lightbox" as they spread the sun's light out evenly.

Sharpen, balance color, add contrast, saturation, adjust shadows/highlights - These all can be done in photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Elements.


The Fixed Photo

Get these problems under control and you will have awesome looking photos that will draw the eye of your potential buyers! If you have any problems you need me to troubleshoot, drop me a line!




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Jean Terry
Keller Williams Realty Spartanburg, S.C. - Spartanburg, SC

Hi and welcome to Active Rain, a great site to network, share, learn, and have fun. Good Luck.

Jan 01, 2009 11:56 AM #1
Calvin Hanson
Design Smart Graphics - Greer, SC

Thanks for the welcome! Have a happy new year!

Calvin Hanson
Photo Graphics
864 423 6240

Jan 01, 2009 11:24 PM #2
Fred Griffin presently on Leave of Absence
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

    We invite you back to ActiveRain in 2018!

Much has changed since you last posted to ActiveRain.  I encourage you to take another look at the website.  

  Best to you! 

Jan 03, 2018 07:14 PM #3
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