Getting great real estate photos isn’t rocket science, but there are definitely a few things that will make the shoot go more smoothly and the shots shine.

In real estate, a picture can truly be worth a thousand words, and a successful property listing often depends on the quality of the photos. That’s why it’s important to know what you’re about, from the moment you first talk to the client through the final editing and delivering the images.

What to do before you start shooting

  • Make sure the site has been prepped.

First of all, things need to be neat and tidy. Rooms need to be clean and free of clutter. Floors need to be vacuumed or mopped. Magnets and photos should to be removed from the fridge. And outside areas need to have been tidied, hoses put away, etc. 

  • Walk through the home before you start shooting

Once the house has been prepped, it’s time to do a walk-through before picking up your camera. This will not only allow you to double check that everything’s ready, it will also help you to get a feel for the entire space overall. You’ll be able to note which angles might work best for you, where the light’s coming from, and whether you’d like items of furniture moved.

This is also a great time to add any finishing touches. For example, it doesn’t hurt to set up the kitchen or dining table with a nice set of dishes, move lamps or furniture to where they’ll work best in the shot, or add some color with a vase full of flowers. 

It’s Time To Get Shooting

  • Shoot Wide Angle

Wide angle lenses allow you to get more of the room in the shot. They can make a room look large and spacious, even when it’s just a little studio. For a full frame camera, try a wide angle zoom lens as wide as 16-35mm (for a crop sensor camera 10-18mm). The only caveat is to watch out for distortion. Also, avoid fish eye lenses. They make the subject look oddly distorted. 

  • Compose Carefully

Home buyers are generally looking for an abundance of natural light and a feeling of spaciousness, so set up your shots accordingly. It’s also important to emphasize the selling point of each room, whether it be a little nook in the corner, a wide window, or light streaming down from a skylight. That being said, try to capture the whole room instead of focusing on a particular item in any given room. Just set up the shot to feature the selling point, not focus exclusively on it.

  • Use the Light Around You 

As mentioned previously, most interior rooms will look much more appealing when shot in natural light. You can adjust your flash equipment to work with the natural light or work on natural light alone if there’s enough of it. If you choose the latter, make doubly sure that you bring your tripod. It can be difficult to get clear, sharp shots using daylight as your key light.

Sometimes it will make sense to use interior lighting as well. Turning the lights on can make a room feel warmer, but will need some post-processing work to balance the varying light temperatures. (Use Luminar’s White Balance filter.) Keeping them off will keep an even temperature, but can make the room look cold. Either way is ok, just be sure to be consistent throughout the house.

  • Shoot in HDR

Shooting in high dynamic range (HDR) will not only make your images stand out, they’ll also help you capture the the richness of color and detail in each image. Because you’re taking multiple exposures, HDR will allow you to brighten the shadows of an image while not over-exposing the highlights.  In the end, a well-edited HDR photo will look rich and full of dynamic shades, without appearing fake or too “doctored.” You’ll need a good DSLR camera that has bracketing, a tripod, and some good editing software (like MacPhun’s Aurora), but the end result is well worth the investment.

  • When Shooting the Exterior, Take Shots at Dusk

Turning the lights on in the house while using the last bits of ambient light in the sky can really make make the difference. It makes them look warm and inviting and is reminiscent of coming home from work after a long day and finding a cozy place inside.

  • Use Luminar’s Real Estate Presets for quick and easy editing. 

Luminar’s quick and awesome Accent AI editor may very well be all you need for your photos. Sometimes you might also need a bit of the Top and Bottom Lighting filter or some adjustment to the Hue and Saturation. Pay attention also to your composition—if you didn’t nail it in-camera you’ll probably also have to do some cropping.

Once your photos are finished, you might want to optimize them for the web if they’re going online. Beyond that, you should be good to go.