Today I’ll tell you about real estate photography and how to properly photograph an apartment or house, as well as seven practical real estate photography tips. Before you start photographing real estate, you need to understand what you want to convey with photography to the buyer.
After all, it is no secret that a potential buyer will first look at the photos and conclude whether it is worth seeing this apartment before leaving to view an apartment, house, summer cottage, commercial premises, and other real estate. That is why you need not only high-quality photos but also thoughtful photos. So, let’s move on article topic “real estate photography.”
What Should Be Done During Real Estate Photography?
The most important thing, of course, is the preparation of the property for the photo session. Tell the apartment owners to tidy up their housing. It is necessary to clean the hanging washcloths, towels, linen drying on the “coil” in the bathroom. We also do not need toothbrushes, razors, powder supplies, soap, and other household chemicals and personal hygiene products scattered on the shelves in the frame.
The linen protruding from the washing machine must also be hidden, but the shiny nickel-plated surfaces must be well washed with laundry soap and wiped with a dry cloth; the mirror is also desirable to be free of streaks and water drops. So, we cleaned the bathroom, go to the bathroom. Nothing is more intimidating than an open toilet lid, so close it. Naturally, the floor and walls should be clean, toilet paper and old brush should be removed.
1. We Pass to The Kitchen
There should be no plates, pans, or food leftovers on tables. We also immediately remove the detergents and rags on the sink. The trash can also do not decorate our photo at all. If there are many magnets and stickers on the refrigerator, then it is better to remove them.
The gas stove must be clean, without pots, pans, and, of course, without spilled borsch, etc. You can leave a beautiful teapot of an original shape on the stove. If there is a backlight on the countertops, it is better to turn it on – you get a soft yellowish light.
2. Rooms and Bedroom
From the bedroom, we immediately remove all things that frighten the look – these are clothes hanging on the backs of chairs, armchairs, etc. Curtains should be kept clean and cover windows if harsh sunlight is shining from the window.
The bed must be tucked away, the cabinet doors must be closed, and no hangers or other accessories must be hung on the handles. Flowers on the windowsill can be left (if, of course, there are not a dozen of them).
3. The Hall
The hall is usually the largest room in the apartment, so we need to emphasize the volume. We remove the table from the center if there is one. If the carpet in the hall and underneath the laminate or parquet is in good condition, then it is better to roll up and remove the carpet.
It is better to remove photographs of relatives from the shelves and countertops, and it is advisable not to decorate the carpet hanging on the wall with sabers and other weapons).
The black square of the TV also looks a little dull; it is better to turn on some beautiful screensaver on the screen.
4. Balcony or Loggia
Usually, on the balcony or loggia, we have a storage room. We immediately remove all pickles, onions in a stocking, linen, tires from a car, tools, basins, and other rubbish. If it is impossible to remove all this, then it is better to abandon the photo or try to take a frame from the room, slightly capturing part of the loggia or balcony, so that all of the above junk does not spoil the structure.
Now You can Start Taking Pictures
So, we need to show as much space in the frame as possible. Shooting from the corners of rooms creates the impression of spaciousness. Taking pictures right in the center with your back to the wall is a regrettable decision. By shooting from an angle, you can make a small room look much larger simply by the camera’s position.
You can sit down and capture a portion of the ceiling. Also, a tripod can be used. I want to note that an apartment is often a dimly lit place, so it is advisable to use a tripod and set the correct camera settings.
Using flash is also a bad idea since we don’t need ridiculous shadows. I advise you to give up taking pictures in auto mode; again, it is better to set yourself. I usually set the ISO to 100 and the aperture and shutter speed as appropriate. I do not advise you to bother with focusing.
You do not need to photograph from eye level (unless it is a huge room), as the corners of the walls will look crooked or tilted away from the frame. The optimal height for setting up a tripod or hand-held photograph is approximately chest level or about 135-155 cm; this will allow you to shoot the walls reasonably evenly.
Do not use a flash unit, either built-in or external flash. It is better to use natural light, such as window light, but keep in mind that it is better to shade the curtains and get good filtered light. If you are shooting in the evening, and the light sources are only ceiling lamps, try to choose an appropriate point for shooting so that there are no inappropriate shadows and glare from the lamps.
Shoot in RAW format so that later you can process an unsuccessful photo in special programs on a computer.
Even expensive apartments with luxurious design, exclusive building materials, and rich interiors can look dull if the wrong photo is taken.
Real estate photography is in constant demand; this job provides you with exciting opportunities for self-improvement.
And as a famous photographer said, “Accessing beautiful objects can be an exciting part of the workflow and allow you to broaden your photographic horizons.”
I wish you beautiful, high-quality photographs and naturally more property sales. Bellow, I will tell you seven tips for real estate photography.
7 Tips for Real Estate Photography
What you should look for to present the premises in the most favorable light. A potential buyer gets the first impression of the properties for sale from the photos attached to the ad. And sometimes, as in relations between people, the cherished “yes” does not sound just because this impression is hopelessly spoiled.
I will share the simplest but no less essential tips on real estate photography using a camera or smartphone.
It is better to start preparing an apartment for photography for its sale or rent long before the first click of the camera shutter. After all, a potential buyer is not interested in cluttered rooms or gloomy interiors. Burned-out lamps or wallpaper peeling in places is the last thing a likely newcomer wants to see.
Of course, the easiest way to do photography is in a newly renovated apartment. It is enough only to remove construction dust in it. The only drawback of this option will be the overly expressed sterility of the room (there is nothing to catch the eye in) and the absence of an atmosphere – of its character – which only premises “with history” can boast of.
But at the same time, things are more complicated with an inhabited and no longer new apartment, in which disorder reigns. To make it photogenic, you will have to do general cleaning. The ideal option is when the housing is in a new building, the apartment is already inhabited, but the renovation was there recently. Then it will look new and fresh, but not empty.
Depending on the above conditions, before starting real estate photography, either cosmetic repairs, large-scale cleaning, or simply putting things in order may be required.
In the latter case, it is enough to put everyday things in their places – in boxes, wardrobes, or a dressing room. First of all, it is worth hiding children’s toys, clothes, and dishes. Beds and sofas need to be made, and decorative pillows laid on them carefully. In general, you should remove some of the things that can get into the frame so that there is no feeling of clutter.
Light is the foundation of photography and its most important factor. Because it is thanks to light and shadow, we see objects and their shape, distinguishing between size and texture. Whenever possible, it is better to shoot interiors with natural light from windows – this way, the colors and the general atmosphere will look as close to reality as possible.
It is necessary to choose a time when the sun’s direct rays do not illuminate the room; otherwise, the situation will seem gloomy. Curtains can be reduced in sunlight, but they should not be conspicuous or distracting.
The most favorable time for real estate photography using natural light in the summer is the so-called “regime” hours. It is a couple of hours after dawn and the same number before sunset. In winter, it’s best to have a photo session at noon.
If there is not enough natural light or there are no windows (for example, in the bathroom), you cannot do without additional lighting. In this case, you can simultaneously use ceiling lamps and spotlights: floor lamps, table lamps, lanterns. You can combine these artificial light sources to correctly position your room style to achieve the atmosphere you need to arrange your room style.
Luminaires must be in good working order; their shades must be clean. The lighting fixtures, if they are not evenly hung, should be leveled. Lamps must be of the same type and wattage unless different lighting in different areas is a deliberate design decision.
You may also like to read: Lighting in Photography
So, you cleaned the room, checked the light, and now you can start taking pictures. The best tool for you is a DSLR camera equipped with a wide-angle lens. The most significant part of the room space will fit in that frame, which will make it possible to represent the shape and size of the room adequately. But a full-fledged photo session of an apartment can also be performed using a smartphone.
Whichever tool you use, the main thing is that it is securely fixed. Therefore, a tripod is vital when photographing interiors in real estate photography.
It allows you to avoid blurring the image, which the professional lay down calls “shake.” After all, a blurry photograph instantly betrays the amateur. The simplest tripods for phones and cameras are inexpensive today and are sold in all specialized stores.
Of course, most of the apartment photos should include general interior plans. These are the photographs that fit a lot of space – most of the room.
Such shooting has a right to exist, but this technique is best used for creative purposes. A clear focus of all interior details will show the advantages of the apartment more advantageously, and the viewers will not be tempted to think that something unpleasant may be hidden behind the out-of-focus.
Today, everyone at least once heard the expression “obstructed horizon.” It turns out that the horizon line exists not only in the physical space that surrounds us; the horizon is invisibly present in any image, including in the interior. Everything should be located as in a crossword puzzle: the floor and ceiling – vertically, and the walls – horizontally.
The camera should be installed precisely in the middle of the room height and, as I have already mentioned, on a tripod to do this. Most of them (horizon lines) have unique marks on the head for frame alignment. It is usually a bubble level.
If you do not have a tripod, you can mount the camera on any horizontal stand of sufficient height: a table, chair, or a stack of several books will do. You can also sit facing the back of a chair, resting your elbows on it and holding the camera in your hands.
If, in these cases, the horizon nevertheless turns out to be “overwhelmed,” its line can later be corrected in the photo editor (but only if the deviation is not too large – the program will not hide substantial flaws).
The human eye is a high-precision device, which is still far from modern technology. In addition, the natural world has volume, and photography is just a plane, 2D. Therefore, lenses, due to the peculiarities of their design, sometimes distort verticals. It so happens that the vertical lines in the photo (for example, doors, shelves, or windows) do not look strictly vertical.
To correctly convey the vertical in the apartment’s interior, you must carefully choose the shooting angle.
A common mistake is taking pictures at eye level, from below or from above. Such photographs become “cropped,” and it is difficult to see the actual volumes and straightness of the lines of objects on them.
Speaking of foreshortening, it defines a lot in the quality of a photograph. It is best to avoid filming from corner to corner on the diagonal of the room. It is necessary to choose an angle at which the distortion of the size of objects will be minimal.
Taking pictures in the corner of a room is a proven strategy. Indeed, in this way, you can show it visually more expansive. A large room gives the impression of being inhabited and cozy – these are essential factors that will make the interiors attractive.
It is recommended to shoot from a low position and use a wide-angle lens. Whatever you do, never shoot planes, such as walls, just straight ahead: the image will come out completely flat, and the surface itself will bend unnaturally in the photo.
It is essential to choose the right angles in small spaces – most often, these are bedrooms and bathrooms. In bedrooms, you need to focus on the main thing – the bed.
With a bathroom and a bathroom, the situation can be a little more complicated – you rarely find a place where you get a photo with all the objects. Therefore, shooting from high points is best suited.
By the way, it is in photographs taken from hygienic premises that one common mistake is encountered even among experienced photographers. It is your own and someone else’s reflection in the mirrors.
With any shooting, including apartment interiors, it is essential to understand the goal:
- What needs to be conveyed in the photo?
- What is the atmosphere of the room, and how to present it more correctly?
- What details should viewers pay attention to?
In this, you can always start from the style and interior design. For example, hi-tech looks good on general plans, which favorably emphasize its “sterility,” minimalism, and cleanliness. Even though it is also very minimalistic, a youth loft always attracts the eye with various decorative elements in the interior.
Interiors are created, of course, for people. Therefore, a lively sense of presence must be achieved in all possible ways: a served table, open windows or doors, all accents are on the exact details.
To convey the atmosphere of comfort, you can slightly casually throw a blanket over the back of a chair, leave books on the shelves of the shelves or magazines on the table in the living room. It is not forbidden to put a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table. But nothing more – it is important not to overdo it with products to not draw too much attention to them. It is a common problem with interior photos, for which a large table is one of the leading “enemies.”
Any room has its advantages and disadvantages. The photographer’s task is to correctly define them and show the interior from the best side. There is no need to be afraid of working with any of the above elements, be it light, decor, or a good angle.
Spending a few extra hours preparing for real estate photography will more than pay off this investment: your photograph will become much more attractive than others, which means it will receive a lot more attention. And all because you have learned the main lesson: home space is designed to serve a person and not interfere with him.