When taking pictures of houses for sale, your images are the first thing people see. Real estate photography is nothing more than product photography, just about a much bigger product.
Shooting in Corners
Real estate photography needs to take in as much of the room as possible. It’s tempting to just find a corner and shoot from there, but you may end up with a wall cutting off part of the room or not being able to see the whole image. This is especially hard if the room is small. Bring a 28mm or wider lens with you to get as much or the room in as possible.
Don’t forget to move around a bit and see the room from other angles to find which is best. You’ll need a tripod and good quality camera to make sure your image is sharp, stable, and clear as well.
When people view a home, they try and imagine themselves living there. It’s hard to imagine yourself living somewhere that’s stuffed with other people’s detritus. That means hiding shampoo and shower bottles, removing excess knick-knacks, and clamping down on fussy items as much as possible. While it’s difficult to force people to clean up after themselves, it’s essential to getting a good real estate photography image that people want to see more. Would you want to see more bottles and clutter?
Avoid photographing areas that are jam-packed with stuff until the owners have cleaned or reorganized, don’t be afraid to ask nicely if they can pack certain things or move them.
Photography comes with a surprising amount of paperwork. One of the biggest things real estate photographers shouldn’t work without is insurance and a contract. Real estate photography means going into someone’s home. If you break it, you bought it. If you’re in their home as a contractor, you may not be covered for being there, so it’s important to have your own insurance. Real estate photography also requires special contracts and considerations, for example, your time may include moving or cleaning areas to make them photo ready if that wasn’t specified to the client. Make sure you’re getting fairly compensated for the amount of time needed to do the real estate photography and staging.
The flashlight is harsh. Real estate photography should use as much of the ambient light as possible which is why it’s essential that you bring a tripod. It also tends to reflect off surfaces and doesn’t effectively light space. The exception to this is if you’re bringing lighting and strobes, but such should only be used if you’re able to keep them out of the picture.
If you do have to use a flash make sure it’s diffused and consider where it would be best placed (usually off camera). Don’t forget extra light stands just in case you don’t have a handy counter or table that will work.
Real estate photography is about selling a product. You want to put the listing in it’s best light (no pun intended) so having straight lines is a must. Proper editing so that walls/doors are at the right angle and look straight is a bare minimum. Blown out highlights and fading to black are both bad editing, and bad exposure; use post-production techniques like HDR to deal with this. You also don’t want to overdo the editing. Too much photoshop can make it look like you’re hiding something or that the image isn’t real.
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