How to Take Real Estate Photos

One of the biggest fields of sales that is really lacking quality photos is residential real estate. This is literally an untapped well of opportunity that I’m just giving you! Countless listings look like the photos were taken without thought on a cheap point and shoot camera or on a phone.

I’ve read countless times that if buyers see the first picture for a listing, and it’s not a high quality photo, they will skip it and move on to the next option. Your real estate photos are like meeting someone for the first time, and you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Learning how to take real estate photos well will help listing stand out from the rest because it shows you take the proper steps and effort to list a quality product.

Gear You’ll Need

If you don’t have at least a beginner DSLR, get one. I have a list of good, better, and best options on my Recommended Gear page that come as kits, which means they come with lenses. You could probably take really good photos with a kit lens that zooms out to at least 18mm, but for the best option, buy a wide angle lens. You can also find a large selection of wide angles on the Recommended Gear page as well.

You will also want to get a tripod. You don’t have to get a really expensive one, either. Just one that you know will hold your camera still. A $50 investment should do the trick. They will have a good selection at your local camera store.

You will need a flash like this one!


Next, let’s talk about lighting. Photography is the art of chasing light, not color. Finding the perfect light, and knowing when it will happen takes a lot of practice. I’ll get you started on the right foot.

The first step is to turn on all lights and lamps. Also, open the windows enough to let in natural light, but not enough to cause distracting highlights and shadows from the sun. You should always try to use natural and room light together first.

If you can’t get the lighting to work, a flash will come in handy. If you don’t have one, the Yongnuo YN-560 II Speedlight Flash for Canon and Nikon. GN58 is an awesome flash that is only $60.

To use the flash properly, always bounce it (point it towards) off of a white wall or ceiling. Since almost all ceilings in homes are white, you won’t have any problem finding something to bounce the flash off. If you take a photo with the flash straight forward, you will get gross highlights and shadows. Bouncing flash spreads light reflection evenly throughout a room.

If you really want to get wild with lighting, get some of these.

Kitchens sell

Where to Take Photos

Spend the most time on the key rooms that sell a house. Real estate agents are the professionals on that subject, but I’m guessing it’s the kitchen, living room, master bedroom, and master bathroom. Get those areas perfect, no matter how long it takes. The rooms that sell a home are the key photos.

Keep in mind, also, to feature the backyard (if there is a good one).

The front of the house is also very important. It’s my personal preference to see a couple photos of the front at different times of the day; in the daylight and at twilight. Now, you don’t want any shadows on the front of the house, so you will have to take a daylight photo early before the sun get’s high in the sky.

A twilight photo of the house is always my favorite because you can get some creative shots. First, turn all of the outside lights on. Set your camera up on a tripod and take a long exposure photo (click the link for a quick tutorial on exposure settings). Look for opportunities to catch a sunset in the background to enhance the photo.


Keep in mind that you need to creatively construct a photo. If the furniture is out of place, or isn’t just right, rearrange the furniture to make the room more photogenic. A good way to understand how to make a room more photo friendly is to understand this information on composition.

Remember, how much effort you put into each shot will be reflected by how much interest it gets on the market. So get out there, work hard, and sell! For more photography information that will improve the look of your photos, I’ve provided you with a few more articles below!