Want Better Real Estate Photos?

Excellent guest post by Dylan Darling for Tech Savvy Agent.  We have talked about some of the things he mentions in this post on Tech Savvy Agent, but he does an amazing job of tying the concepts together into a single article!


Real Estate Photography Tips

It drives me crazy that sellers allow their agents to get away with posting DARK, BLURRY, & PLAIN HORRIBLE listing photos! Almost all buyers are searching the Internet for their next home to purchase. What grabs buyer’s attention online? PHOTOS, pure and simple. Most buyers won’t read about the home unless the pictures speak to them. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR and give your listings photos that “pop”. You and your sellers will be rewarded with more showing activity and quite possibly a higher selling price.

The examples below are of a Redmond home for sale. The home was listed by another agent prior to me getting the listing.
Redmond home for salehome for sale in Redmond

Looks like two different properties! Notice the angle change. A slight change in angle allows for a much better view. THINK ABOUT YOUR SHOTS before you just fire away. Then preview your shots (most digital cameras allow you to preview your photos right after you shoot them).

Real estate photography exampleshome for sale kitchen

Some Basic Real Estate Photography Rules To Live By

Prepare- Look around. Close toilet lids, clear off counters, move furniture if needed, etc. In most cases you’ll also want to turn on all lights and lamps. Professional staged homes look much better, so talk to your sellers about hiring professional, interior designer.


  • Shoot, shoot, shoot! You’re not paying for film in the digital age, get more photos than you need. Play with angles and different camera settings. You can review and pick the best shots later.


  • Think- Take your time and think about what you are doing and what you’re trying to portray to prospective buyers. Imagine the shot before you snap away.


  • Use a tripod! The use of a tripod will keep the camera stable, and take away any chance for blurring caused by camera movement. When using a tripod, it’s best to use a shutter release or set your camera to timer mode. This way your finger pressing the shutter button doesn’t cause the camera to move. Tripods also allow for slow shutter speeds in low light conditions.


  • Invest in equipment- DSLR’s are affordable these days. Pick yourself up one and learn how to use it. Invest in a quality wide angle lens (I love the Cannon 10-22mm for real estate). More advanced photographers will want to purchase a few external flashes as well. Search Craigslist for used equipment.


  • Level- Try to get your camera level, especially if you’re using a wide angle lens. This will take away the fisheye look.


  • Verticals- In most cases your vertical lines should be that, VERTICAL. When using a wide angle lens check your verticals and adjust the camera until they are all straight up and down. This will give a natural look to the photos.


  • Explore your cameras settings- Most agents just use the Automatic setting. Explore your settings. Most pro photogroaphers will shoot in Manual mode. When shooting in manual mode, make sure to keep your aperature above f/8 (f stop). This will keep entire rooms in focus. When you start dipping under f/8, your depth of field shrinks and you may loose focus of near or far subjects.



Post Processing


  • Brightness and Contrast- Adjust the brightness and contrast of each image. Most interior real estate photos look better bright and contrasty. But be careful not to over do it.


  • Saturation- Give your colors more saturation where needed. Saturation can be overdone as well… So use caution.


  • Crop- Crop your photos for the best display (most MLS’s use a standard 4X6 display ratio)


  • Re-Size- 72 DPI is the best resolution for the web. See what size your MLS allows and re-size the photos at 72 DPI. For our MLS I’ve found that the best size is 1200X800 at 72 DPI.


  • Sharpen- After you’ve re-sized your image for the web, use your photo software to sharpen the image. This is a great way to give your listing photos more “pop”. Sharpened images stand out online.


  • Save images for web- Adobe Photoshop has a great feature, FILE, SAVE FOR WEB AND DEVICES. I’ve found that if you save real estate images using File, Save for web and Devices method, they’ll display awesome on the web.



swimming pool pool with mountain views

If you can’t take great listing photos, hire a pro real estate photographer. The money is well spent. You’ll get more internet leads, more phone calls, more showings, and many times a higer selling price. A great site for real estate photography information with a real estate photographer directory is www.photographyforrealestate.com. You’ll find a wealth of knowledge on this site for newbie photographers and pros.

Written by Dylan Darling, a Bend Oregon real estate agent.

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  1. Steve Longcrier July 3, 2012 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    This is great advice and thanks for the info on PS having a special save for web pics. I use a mono pod for all my shots and a 10mm Nikon zoom lens. We get a lot of compliments on our pics, but you’re right, it is easy to over do it on the contrast. I prefer natural light photos, but the bright light coming in many windows often makes it difficult. Just picked up a Speed Light 910 and it does a great job, even in large rooms. You recommended buying a DSLR and I would add you might want to be sure it will also do video. We do a walking tour after I do the pics and put them on YouTube and in Realtor.com. Great added plus for your clients.

  2. Dylan Darling July 3, 2012 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    I agree Steve, make sure the DSLR will do video. Video is the new wave of the future. I’m looking at getting a new DSLR that does video. I’m leaning towards the Canon 70D, as I alreay have Canon equipment. It looks like it is a great option for video.

  3. Ronny Geenen July 5, 2012 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Good comments.
    Photography has been my hoby for about 40 years and being retired engineer I am also been in Real Estate for 25 years. That said, I also started writing articles for the board to educate agents. And I am telling you, it is a hard fight. Most Realtors do not want to see the benefit of good and clear pictures.
    I also work with Canon and the 10-22mm lens. Nearly always the camera on a monopod and I use also two Canon flashes, a master and a slave unit. The body is set to AV. The number of pictures taken from a standard 3 bedroom and 2 bath is about 100 and the modification and updating is done with photo elements 9. My goal is to show a certain flow to the interior. And I just change the standard screen of my 40D to the one that has horizontal and vertical lines. You know why!

  4. Ryan Z. July 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the awesome post! As a real estate agent, I have used some of the tips you have recommended on here and they have all worked out great! I will try and use more of the color effects and cropping options you have shared as well as the different angles to take when photographing. Thank you again for the great post!

    • mm
      Steve Pacinelli July 5, 2012 at 11:14 pm - Reply

      Thanks Ryan! Glad you found the information helpful!

  5. […] Before and After Real Estate Photos […]

  6. Michael Gerrior July 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    I totally agree. Thanks for this Ryan.

    I currently use a 5d Mark II w/ 17-35 1.8f.

    Used it to create these for my new listing in Palisades, Washington, D.C.:


    Michael J. Gerrior
    Realtor – Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage – Georgetown

  7. Michael Gerrior July 16, 2012 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    I totally agree. Thanks for this Steve.

    I currently use a 5d Mark II w/ 17-35 1.8f.

    Used it to create these for my new listing in Palisades, Washington, D.C.:


    Michael J. Gerrior
    Realtor – Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage – Georgetown

  8. […] your real estate photos after you’ve taken them! TechSavvyAgent has some great advice on “post processing” for photos – from software to use to simply cropping and re-sizing your real estate images to make a […]

  9. Elaine Salt | Rental Property Management September 14, 2012 at 8:59 am - Reply

    You could see the “before” and “after” difference, how awesome! You should take different angles of the scene and choose what is better. You can put lights or other effect that will add the highlights. These a very helpful rules and tips to use for real estate photography.

  10. Jona Jone September 26, 2012 at 6:53 am - Reply

    This is helpful. It truly is helpful, especially for sellers to present their properties for sale to look attractive so potential buyers will anytime be drawn.

  11. Joe October 12, 2012 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    Great article. I usually put something heavy similar to a sand bag without the sand on top of my camera on the tripod to keep it from moving especially when outside on windy days.

  12. Emily November 25, 2012 at 6:05 am - Reply

    Great article! I found it because I was searching the web for an answer to why so many realtors use such horrible photos. I feel that my market (rural, with modest houses, in New England) may be worse than most… the BEST photos I see are the kinds that end up on “terrible real estate photos” sites. Realtors seem clueless and photos are laughably bad. (And, it is not at all uncommon for listings to include glaring spelling errors, even beyond simple typos!)

    I recently bought a dSLR and read a little and then started playing around with the manual mode. After just a brief period of time, I was taking much better pictures than the ones I see online – and this was without formal training, a tripod, or a wide angle lens. The first important breakthrough I had was taking properly exposed photos which clearly show the view out the window, without overexposing the area, and without making the rest of the room look dim. I’m now shooting with a tripod and about to buy the same 10-22mm lens you mention here.

    We are putting our house on the market in the spring, and I live in utter fear of having bad photos taken. I have seen firsthand the damage bad photos can do. If our realtor is not photo-savvy or doesn’t want to hire a professional, I plan on insisting on taking the photos myself. Any tips on broaching this subject without insulting the realtor?

  13. Gail Robinson January 17, 2013 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    I had been using HDR with on-camera flash on a point-and-shoot camera, but have just made the switch to a Pentax K-5 DSLR with a 12-24mm lens and small flash photography (up to 4 speedlights for one shot). It takes a little longer to photograph, but I can carry all the equipment over one shoulder in bags and I spend less time in post-processing.

    Photographs are what attract buyers to homes. I don’t understand why there are so few agents willing to improve their photography skills.

  14. Marc A. Donald May 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    Nice tips, but what I think the most important is that since the biggest financial move in your life is buying or selling a property, So you need to find some time to interview at least 3 agents before choosing one to deal with. Choose someone who’s familiar with the area you want to buy/sell your property in, also a good real estate agent should be aware of other technicalities such as inspection, negotiation. What really matters before all this that you need to be comfortable dealing with this agent.

  15. Ed Neuhaus August 16, 2013 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    Turn on the grid on your camera. It really helps you level the photos with out a tripod, but also help make photos look better if you follow the rule of thirds.

  16. Teri Adler January 24, 2014 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    Great advice with solid tips for photography. Thinking about the shot ahead of time and spending some time after the fact to find the best shot and edit it (even a little bit!) make a huge difference. I take special care for the photos I use, like these I took for real estate in Weston MA.


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