In some contexts, taking photos of your home is more than just a way to capture memories. It could be your livelihood or the foundation on which you build a profitable financial strategy. The better your home photos are, the more likely your home is to sell quickly, the more likely you’ll find tenants, and the more likely you’ll be able to build a real estate photography career from this skill.
The question is, how do you improve your home photography?
Why Does Real Estate Photography Matter?
There are many good reasons to focus on real estate photography. Most people are going to be motivated by one or more of the following:
Selling a home. If you’re selling your current property, you’ll need photos that flatter it. Accurate photos that capture the most impressive highlights of your property should attract more interested buyers, increase the number of bids you generate, and potentially even increase the offers you receive. Photos form most prospective buyers’ first impressions, so having excellent photos in place is practically a requirement.
- Renting a property. If you’re renting a property to a tenant, photos are similarly important. Before a tenant decides to fill out an application or move in, they want to feel confident that the property is comfortable, spacious, and suitable for their lifestyle goals. Without good photos to demonstrate what your space is capable of, you may not be able to reach those tenants.
- Building a photography career. Some people focus on improving their real estate photography skills specifically so they can become a real estate photographer. With a bigger, more impressive portfolio, you could get a steady supply of new gigs, eventually securing a stable stream of revenue.
- Showing off. Of course, you may also want to improve your home photography for its own sake. If you want to show off your property on social media or if you just want to take better photographs, building your skills can pay off.
Invest in Your Equipment
One of the best things you can do to improve your real estate photography is to invest in your equipment. With respect to cameras, you usually get what you pay for, at least to an extent.
Better tripods, better lighting, and specialized tools like flashguns can augment your capabilities and help you take better photos. If you’re serious about building a career, you may even invest in a drone so you can take aerial photography for real estate.
Study the Pros
What qualifies as a “good” real estate photo, anyway? If you don’t know, you won’t be able to take any of your own. That’s why it’s a good idea to study some compositions by professional real estate photographers. What do you notice about these photos? What makes them impressive? What types of angles do they use, and what lighting tricks are they employing? Try to talk to some experts one-on-one if you can.
Master the Art of Lighting
Lighting can make or break a real estate photo, so pay close attention to it. Sunlight is your best friend in most scenarios, so try to take photos during the day with the curtains drawn open. If that doesn’t work, or if you need more supplementary lighting, use a variety of warm and cold lights, and use tasteful accent lighting to show off the most important highlights of each room. Lighting strategies vary, so experiment until you find combinations that work for you.
Show Off Space
One of the most important elements of an effective real estate photo is its ability to show off space. Ideally, you’ll make each room look as spacious as possible without misleading people. Using a wide lens, positioning the furniture differently, and taking photos from low, distant angles can all help here.
Do your best to minimize distortion. Keeping the camera straight and employing lens correction (especially if you’re using a wide lens) can help enormously here.
Be Ready to Make Adjustments
Initial photography is just the first phase of the process. Be ready to make some adjustments in your photo editing software later on. Smoothing out shadows and amping up the brightness in strategic areas can make your photos pop. You can even make composite photos out of multiple shots when necessary or advantageous.
The most important strategy for becoming a better home photographer is to keep practicing. No one becomes a successful real estate photographer overnight, so try experimenting with many different techniques in many different houses to refine your skills. As long as you practice deliberately and focus on improvement, it’s only a matter of time before you become a true master.