3 Crucial Tips For Better Real Estate Photography

I just had the opportunity to help my friends photograph their home. The great thing about this project is that their neighbor’s home, which is attached to their townhouse, is for sale too. I went on to www.realtor.com to check out the competition and thought it would be a great idea to create a video on techniques for taking better photos. These 3 tips can be used by almost anyone as you don’t need a special camera (most likely) to adjust these settings. Simple, easy, yet highly effective for instantly improving your photography.

Check out the sample below as it’s the exact same model townhouse. Please share/forward/tweet/+1 this post to as many friends as possible to help all real estate agents take better photos….that is if they don’t hire a pro 😉

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54 Comments
  1. Stacy Serey July 19, 2011 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    Amazing Tips, can’t wait to give it a try!

  2. steve July 19, 2011 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    Thanks Stacy! Please feel free to share with your friends and let us know how it goes at your next shoot!

  3. Ramona Strojevs July 19, 2011 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Thank you very much, very, very informative! Appreciate it.
    Ramona

  4. Jim Flanagan July 19, 2011 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Steve,

    Great job! I’ve been on the crusade to rid our MLS of bad photos and bad descriptions for years. This video should help. I’m going to share it with everyone I can.

    Jim

  5. steve July 19, 2011 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    Thanks Jim! Haven’t seen you in awhile…hope all is well.

  6. Scott July 19, 2011 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    I sure hope my competition doesn’t see this!

    Great tips. I’ve learned most of these from taking lots of pictures. You just shortened the learning curve for agents!

  7. John Prather July 19, 2011 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    Great tips for the DIY, Steve! Even though my company takes great photos for very reasonable rates, we too would like to see all MLS photos improve (man, there are some really bad ones). They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words and our customers tell us that great photos help them sell their properties faster. Keep up the good work!

  8. Connie Carolsin July 20, 2011 at 1:52 am - Reply

    I learned a ton! Basically, I am doing it wrong… Just bought a great SLR camera so I can’t wait to try your suggestions

  9. Nancy Wood, The wood Team July 20, 2011 at 1:58 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing! I just learned several features on my camera (and I’ve had the camera for four years!).

  10. Pamela Ann Northup July 20, 2011 at 4:20 am - Reply

    Steve, Great Job. Thanks so much for the tips. We have been hiring someone to do our photos. I am anxious to try this out. Do you have any suggestions on a SLR? See you soon P

  11. Don Corson July 20, 2011 at 5:52 am - Reply

    Steve-
    Really great advice. I’ve been trying to do too much in post production in Picasa. I’m going to do this for our next listing photos next week. Thanks — looking forward to your tips for HDR.

  12. Scott Harris July 20, 2011 at 6:10 am - Reply

    Thanks. This is a tip I’d long forgotten about from back in the film days when snapping pics cost money. We didn’t have Photoshop to fix what we broke – in fact we didn’t have computers for Photoshop -that gives away my age.

    The residential side is way ahead of the commercial side of the business when it comes to this stuff

    Great tip.

    The Tech Savvy Geezer

  13. steve July 20, 2011 at 11:22 am - Reply

    Hey Pam! We can talk next week and I will go over all your options 😉

  14. Sheila Rasak July 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    The best investment I ever made for real estate photography was buying a Flip Video. Not only does it allow me to do a virtual tour, edit, set it to music, but it allows me to capture stills from the video. Easy to use and fits in my purse…

  15. jason July 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    Great tips! Do you set to auto shutter speed? Or, manually set to 1 sec?

  16. jeannette July 20, 2011 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Looking forward to giving these tips a try! Thanks a bunch for the advice!

  17. steve July 20, 2011 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    Jason- I am assuming you have a DSLR in this answer. I would recommend shooting in aperture priority (Av) and making sure the aperture is @ F9 or higher. The camera will take care of the shutter speed. Make sure it’s on a tripod!

  18. Rosie July 21, 2011 at 2:36 am - Reply

    Valuable tips I can use and better yet… I learned what some of those settings on my camera mean! Thank you so much!

  19. […] If a picture is worth a thousand words, getting a great photo of your listings is a must for real estate professionals! Check out these great tips from Tech Savvy Agent… […]

  20. […] If a picture is worth a thousand words, getting a great photo of your listings is a must for real estate professionals! Check out these great tips from Tech Savvy Agent… […]

  21. Anna-Marie Moorer July 21, 2011 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    Great, great, video Steve! Thank you for sharing. It was sort of like a condensed photography lesson. One question: were you using a wide angle lens?

  22. steve July 21, 2011 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Yes Anna-Marie, it was a 17mm -40mm Canon L lens.

  23. […] 3 Crucial Tips for Better Real Estate Photography 07/20/2011 admin Agent Resources Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginIf a picture is worth a thousand words, getting a great photo of your listings is a must for real estate professionals! Check out these great tips from Tech Savvy Agent… […]

  24. Bob Webster July 21, 2011 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    Hey Steve, interesting suggestion on turning off the flash. I always use a tripod and two flashes and am a stickler about having a nice view out the window. As long as you’re suggesting the use of the tripod, why take a nice photo of the window with the view properly exposed and then another of the room and just bring them both into Photoshop and erase out the blown out windows.

  25. steve July 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm - Reply

    4 sure Bob! I think I mentioned in the video that this is not for people who use multiple flashes and/or understand photoshop. This post was designed to help the masses that don’t have a firm grasp of photography and would like to learn a few easy things to improve their photos. Definitely not teaching any experts anything here 🙂

    Keep doing what you are doing!

  26. Christopher J Cassidy July 22, 2011 at 12:48 am - Reply

    There’s some great info here, thanks. I’m planning on upgrading my camera in the next month, as I’ve noticed more and more agents using either pros or better equipment themselves. It seems these days like house pictures are either fantastic or abysmal, with little middle ground.

  27. steve July 22, 2011 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    I agree with you Christopher! I am trying to help some of the agents get on middle ground.

  28. Andrea Ferreira July 22, 2011 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Thank you for these great tips. I have Canon PowerShot SD1400IS plus a Canon Rebel XSI and I was unaware of these features…. Pics will show better from now on.
    Do you know anywhere I can go to learn more? Do you have more tips to share?
    Have a nice day.

  29. Newman July 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    The biggest tip of all was left out though – there is NO point and shoot camera that has a wide enough angle lens to properly take interior real estate photographs. Period.

    A couple of the higher end models (in the $500 range….LUMIX LX3, 4 and a couple of Canon’s) have an “almost” wide enough lens, but it’s still not enough. Any of the cheaper cameras aren’t even remotely close.

    In real estate you don’t want to take photos of chair arms and flower vases – you want to take the ROOM. On a crop sensor camera (all point and shoots and most consumer DSLRs) you need a 10-20mm wide angle (the above cameras I believe are 28mm… still not wide enough).

  30. steve July 24, 2011 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    You are right Newman, that is why we did this post here too http://techsavvyagent.com/text/best-website-for-camera-reviews/

    This site shows the 35mm equivalent right on the comparison screen!

  31. […] If a picture is worth a thousand words, getting a great photo of your listings is a must for real estate professionals! Check out these great tips from Tech Savvy Agent… […]

  32. Chris Bohn August 4, 2011 at 12:44 am - Reply

    I will spend some time with my Nikon and research your suggestions. I’ve had tripod but haven’t used it. My biggest problem has been the “outside brightness” coming in the windows. I will do some experimenting. Thanks!

  33. AdvisorRE | Social Media Round-Up August 13, 2011 at 6:55 am - Reply

    […] 3 Crucial Tips For Better Real Estate Photography […]

  34. Eric Sanchez August 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    Great video Steve! Wonderful content as usual but couldn’t help noticing you have not upgraded to OSX Lion…. what gives?

  35. Justin Adams August 23, 2011 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    I’ve created 7 great tips for real estate agents who are just starting out with photography – please have a look here:

    http://www.home2market.com/us/photography-for-real-estate/

    Best of luck – happy shooting!

    Justin Adams (Real Estate Photographer)
    http://www.home2market.com/justin-adams

  36. Steve Pacinelli September 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Great tips Justin!!! Thanks for checking us out!

  37. Steve Pacinelli September 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    (Eric Sanchez) I did on my laptop but not on my desktop…too many photo apps aren’t ready for it yet 😉

  38. Suzanne Asher October 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    I don’t like that you compared two different photos to make a point. I would rather see two photos of the SAME exact thing as in
    “before and after”
    I don’t think it is a true comparison if you are facing towards the window, or away from the window….

  39. Michel October 20, 2011 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Thanks for the info. Hopefully this helps lots of Real estate pros take better pictures.
    Strange you have your ISO on 800. And your F stop at 9. I always try to set the lowest ISO which is 200 for my Nikon D50 and my F stop at 5.6 or 6.3 for sharper images.

    Michel
    Belgium

  40. Devon December 9, 2011 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Great tips for helping agents get better images. As you mentioned there are more advanced techniques such as off camera and photoshop editing, but for drastically improving photos with just a little more work your three tips are great. I wish all the agents in my local MLS would use your tips, or contract a professional photographer for real estate photography.

  41. Framingham MA Realtor December 18, 2011 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    There is no question that having great photography is one of the most important parts of marketing in Real Estate. You can really tell the difference when you see an agent that has spent the time taking great photos as well as video.

  42. Dina January 5, 2012 at 3:40 am - Reply

    thank you, you’re awesome 🙂

    – dina
    http://www.dinaelhakim.com
    http://www.lifeofphi.com

  43. Christine Nguyen February 19, 2012 at 11:05 pm - Reply

    Steve,
    Really enjoyed your session at the Remax Of Michigan yesterday. Hope to see you again soon. Thank you for sharing all the wonderful tips.

    Christine

    • Steve Pacinelli February 20, 2012 at 12:46 am - Reply

      Thanks Christine! Looking forward to coming back and speaking with you guys again!

  44. Marianasliving June 21, 2012 at 8:38 am - Reply

    I have no second thoughts, I am gonna try this. I am excited. Thanks for this article. I enjoyed it a lot.

  45. Paul Hamar January 31, 2013 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    Do you recommend the same settings for shooting a video, using a dslr?

  46. Fran February 9, 2013 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    Bad mls photos is a huge RE pet peeve of mine. Your tips have helped me tremendously. I already had the tripod and never use a flash tips. But the EV and WB make the biggest difference. Thanks so much for sharing.

  47. Johnny B April 20, 2013 at 7:33 am - Reply

    One cool thing to do with flash.

    I love to do evening shots of the front of the home. I turn on all the lights and wait for just the right twilight. The sun needs to be in just the right place.

    I like to shoot through a bit of greenery – like bushes or leaves. The flash will light those up giving the beautiful green. But the light will not hit the home – it is too far away.

    I may take too long trying to get just the right lighting, but it pays off in beautiful photos that give your listing an unfair advantage.

    • Steve Pacinelli April 22, 2013 at 5:09 pm - Reply

      Cool Johnny! Send me some pictures to (Steve at Techsavvyagent dot com).

  48. Marc June 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    Hi Steve,

    Great video. I just finished a new blog post about improving property photography (I am a landlord and amateur photographer).

    Maybe you could mention it:
    http://www.megaquicksale.co.uk/blog/25-tips-dramatically-improve-your-property-photos

    I cover the tripod and other basics tips just as usual manual settings.

    I don’t cover the camera settings in details like you did.

    Maybe I should embeds your video on my blog. Is that possible?

  49. Laura Boshell July 21, 2013 at 12:05 am - Reply

    Great article! I think that the photographs can make or break the sale of a home. It’s amazing at the amount of actual “crappy” photos that I have seen in our local MLS.

  50. Bill Gassett February 8, 2014 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    Without question real estate photography can make or break you as a Realtor. Not only proving good photography but lots of it. This is an area where lots of Realtors could improve.

  51. Josh April 7, 2014 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    In the pictures you took, the colors are different. It’s easier to take warm pictures of a room that has tan colored walls and more brown wood furniture than the ones of different rooms that were painted with more whites. It’s not really representative of the difference between what you did and what the original photographer did.

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