DIY Photography Tips for Realtors

DIY Photography Tips for Realtors

So, you’re a real estate agent and every time you get a new listing you hire a photographer to photograph the property, correct? Pictures are worth a thousand words, but a photographer can run you thousands and thousands of pounds over time.

What if you were to take the photographs yourself and be able to save that expense?

Before we get into tips for photographing a property with the intent of selling it, let’s talk about the virtues of hiring a professional photographer. Photographing the interior of a home or building can be tricky with the lighting. One tip would be to hire a photographer who has the proper lighting equipment. You may think that hiring your nephew because he’s a pretty good hobbyist and has a nice camera, but expensive, professional-grade cameras have their limits shooting indoors.

When shooting indoors, you can have harsh lights coming from windows and darkness from poorly lit areas such as a hallway. If you use a flash the light can be too direct and not fill the scene with an even, ambient light. A lighting kit that many professional photographers have will light the room much better than natural light.

If you want to do it yourself and will only have the built-in flash on your camera, you may want to turn on all the lights available in the area you want to photograph. If it’s sunny outside, try closing the curtains and drapes in order to remove a harsh light source. A strong sun can also create shadows in a room. If it’s cloudy outside, then you can try leaving the curtains open. Photographing the venue in the golden hours of the early morning or late evening will reduce the effects of bright sun and you will still have available light from the outside.

How to get your listings to stand out?

If you want your listings to stand out from the competition, then photograph features of the property no one else thinks of doing. People who are searching for a home online want to see the details. Exterior shots and photographs of the rooms are standard, but that only tells the story of the space. Homes have mechanicals, special spaces, and even the most mundane thing can be a selling point. If the property has a new furnace or air conditioner, take pictures of those. These are selling features. Potential homeowners are concerned about the condition of mechanicals and you can help sell the property by showing updates and features of the property.

Saying “new furnace” in the description is not very helpful because people want to see what they’re buying. As I write this, the home I am living in, the big selling point for me was the garage. A previous owner expanded the garage with an additional 625 square feet of space for a woodworking business. The description merely said there was a 4.5 car garage. When I saw the space, I fell in love because it was perfect to use as a photography studio.

My backyard has a view of a small woods which creates a nice, private area. When I was looking at the property online, the only pictures available were the typical interior and exterior shots. I drove by the house for a look-see but there wasn’t much I could tell from that because the home sits away from the main road and I couldn’t see much. So, I didn’t bother to schedule a showing. I came back weeks later to go through the property because there wasn’t much else available when I was later looking, and I decided I had nothing to lose.

Seeing the property for real was the difference between night and day because the online photographs did nothing to show off the property. I initially passed on the property after doing a drive-by and I’m sure many people ignored the listing merely from the images they saw on the internet.

It should be obvious that a wide-angle lens will help with photographing small spaces. If the cost of a wide-angle lens is prohibitive you can rent a camera from a local camera shop or just rent the lens if you have a camera with detachable lenses.

One last tip that can really help sell a property for people searching online is where you position the camera and composition. If you move two feet to the side can you take the picture without the power lines showing in the background? Was it garbage day and the neighbours have a pile of trash that might show up in the photograph? Even professional photographers make this mistake, they are so focused on the primary subject that they fail to pay attention to the entire scene.


This article will hopefully provide real tips compared to what you generally see on the internet. Pay attention to the lighting. You can control the light by using light from the outdoors and the time of day or you can cover the windows to reduce harsh light from the sun. Don’t ignore details of the property that can be huge selling points for the right buyer. Rent camera equipment as needed for special situations. Lastly, pay attention to the entire scene that you’re photographing in order to prevent any negatives from appearing in the images.

The internet has made it extremely easy for home buyers to shop for a property and it should be realized that the images need to sell the property virtually in a few seconds by being appealing and showing buyers what they’re looking for. The property may have been the perfect place a buyer was seeking but if they don’t see what they need to see online then they are going to click on to the next property and your sale was lost before you ever had the chance to show it in person.

Author Bio:

Kevin Thomas is a professional writer and photographer who regularly contributes to the Dreamstime stock photography website. You can see more of Kevin’s work by visiting his Dreamstime portfolio.

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