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Beginner’s Guide to Real Estate Photography

What is real estate photography? A large part of selling a property these days is about making it look good on the real estate websites. A property that looks good online will attract home buyers to come look at it in person. Nowadays all real estate transactions start online.

Real Estate Photography Starter Guide

What are the keys to creating your own real estate photography business?

Essential Gear

  • Wide-angle Glass: This is the most is the most important piece of gear you need. You need a wide angle lens that has an effective focal length between 14 and 24mm. See the PFRE lenses page for all the options. The lens I recommend to most people is the Sigma 10-20mm. It has good quality for a very reasonable price and it’s available for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Samsung and Sony.
  • DSLR: Any low-end DSLR is adequate. Don’t bother with point-and-shoot cameras, they don’t have good quality wide-angle lenses. If you are serious about this business you need a DSLR.
  • Tripod: A Manfrotto or any sturdy tripod is adequate.
  • Small flashes: Even if you are going to shoot HDR/Exposure Fusion, I think you need at least one flash. A great way to go is a used SB-80Dx. Trigger one with a Cactus wireless transmitter and use optical triggering for the others.



Lighting Decisions
Lighting interiors with small flashes is the best approach but there is a learning curve with this technique. I recommend starting out with one flash and using Exposure Fusion. Then expand to multiple flashes as you learn how to use them. In the mean time Exposure Fusion covers up many flash learning problems.

  • Small Flashes: This is the technique that about half of professional real estate photographers use.
  • High Dynamic Range Photography: HDR is hard to control. It use to be more popular in real estate than it is now.
  • A Hybrid of Exposure Fusion and a Small Flash: This is what about half of professional real estate photographers use.

Post Processing Software: You can get by with just Lightroom but to do top quality work you need Photoshop or Photoshop Elements too.

Learning The Craft: Start out by learning still photography. All agents need stills. Then pay attention to what is popular in your market and expand into areas that there is a demand for in your area. Video is becoming more popular and with the right DSLR and some extra gear you can supply both stills and video.

Building Your Business: Here are the key parts to building your real estate photography business with links to more details:

If you are interested in more depth on any of these areas our four PFRE eBooks present these subjects in a more organized and more detailed form. They are:

About the Author
Larry Lohrman is a photographer, blogger and former software engineer. Larry has also worked in the real estate business since the 1980s. Today Larry manages Photography for Real Estate which serves as a resource for real estate photographers everywhere.

2 Comments

  1. There’s also a video tutorial available that demonstrates using small flash to light interiors:

    http://www.LightingForRealEstatePhotography.com

  2. Hello everyone, I’m starting in Real Estate Photography and want to shoot in Manual (M). I’m experiencing at home and friends before getting into the business. The problem is that when I put the camera in Manual mode, f16 and 1600 the pictures are underexposed.. Pictures are too dark. I want a setting that I will use all the time (not changing anything for now) and take in all the natural light (and putting all the lights on in the house or room you’re shooting) instead of using a flash.

    It’s easy being on Auto all the time. Apparently, shooting in natural light is the best and on Manual mode.

    Help.. a novice.

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