Each photographic genre has its challenges, secrets, and fans. Although they use the same medium, they focus on different aspects of human reality, convey different messages, and suit different photographers. Real estate photography is a commercial genre and doesn’t leave much room for artistic freedom. Nonetheless, real estate photographers prove artistry, imagination, and an eye for detail. Here is everything you need to know to get started with real estate photography.
What Is Real Estate Photography?
Real estate photography is a commercial genre with subject properties to sell or rent. The goal is to present the property in its best light, show its features, and capture the attention of potential buyers. The quality of real estate photos influences the buyer’s decision to visit a property and make an offer. As a result, they must be appealing and realistic.
Basic Skills for Real Estate Photography
The purpose of real estate photography is commercial. It presents a product. However, properties have a lot of features that stretch the photographer’s skills. You work within a given space and don’t get to choose the photo setup. The interior may be crowded and poorly lighted. The exterior may not benefit from the best orientation.
A beginner real estate photographer should be prepared to take photos in natural lighting, artificial lighting, and combining the two. They should know how to deal with high contrast between bright and dark areas and rely on HDR photography when nothing else works.
Furthermore, beginner real estate photographers should master composition rules and consider geometry and perspective. Vertical lines need to stay vertical; horizontal lines need to stay horizontal. If the walls or furniture look skewed and wobbly, the house will look surreal and artificial. Thus, the photographer should have a sense of space and patience to go through all possible camera angles.
Last but not least, storytelling skills are required. Although a property is a product, it comes with a history. Whether it’s a family home or an industrial site, the property has a certain flavor and atmosphere that must be captured and revealed.
Best Gear for Real Estate Photography
Most real estate photographers use wide-angle lenses because they allow them to have an entire building or most of a room in the frame. The wide perspective makes the property more spacious and inviting. That being said, you can use a DSLR or mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses and a selection of wide-angle lenses or choose a more portable and affordable high-end zoom compact camera. Some prefer to use an additional high-quality smartphone, action camera, or drone, each providing a different perspective and increasing the photographer’s versatility.
You should also consider bringing a tripod. HDR photography isn’t possible with a handheld camera. And you never know when you must rely on a longer exposure to compensate for poor lighting.
Some real estate photographers bring extra light sources to improve the brightness and create a better atmosphere. However, many argue that these lights aren’t part of the property and are misleading the potential buyers.
How to Get Hired as a Real Estate Photographer
You can work full-time for a real estate agency or as a freelancer. There are plenty of freelancing platforms, such as Fiverr and Upwork, where you can find work as a real estate photographer. However, consider how far from home you are willing to travel for a job. If travel expenses are higher than what you earn, it isn’t worth it.
Also, consider creating a portfolio using the properties of your friends and family. It helps to showcase your work and let potential clients see your style. And because word of mouth is a powerful advertising tool, look for jobs near you through your personal and professional network.
If you are passionate about design and architecture alongside photography, real estate photography may be a good choice. It invites you to tell people’s stories from their property’s point of view. Focus on lighting and geometry, use the right gear, and practice as much as possible.