The Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Photography
Whether the real estate market is hot or not, 95% of home buyers said they called the listing agent because of the photos. Agents who know the value photos have on the listing’s performance and their reputation are the ones who last. Keep reading to make sure that you know how to get high-quality images, whether you hire a professional real estate photographer or take the photos yourself.
Hiring a professional real estate photographer
“Professional” is a title used by about anyone with a camera these days. You can recognize a bona fide professional real estate photographer by using the following guidelines:
Do they have the right equipment?
Camera brand doesn’t necessarily matter (Nikon, Canon, and Sony are the most popular), but the following are non-negotiables:
- Camera body: Minimum of 18 megapixels (anything less will not produce high enough quality for your print marketing).
- Wide-angle lens: 10mm for crop frame sensors and 15mm for full-frame sensors will capture any size room.
- Shoot on a tripod: Free-hand shooting is a great way to immediately separate amateurs from professionals.
Pro Tip: If you’re not sure whether your photographer is professional or not, call OBEO’s Photography Experts to get a free review: 800-729-6236.
Do they edit the photos themselves?
Capturing and editing are wildly different skill sets. Professional real estate editors can produce higher-quality results much faster than a professional real estate photographer. For example, it takes about three hours for a professional editor to beautify 25 photos…and around 10 hours for a professional photographer to deliver comparable quality. (Great editing takes much longer than the actual photoshoot!)
The result? A professional editor can deliver photos the next day, but a professional photographer would need a couple of days to deliver the same quality.
Do they shoot multiple exposures in RAW?
Amateurs shoot in JPG (or JPEG), professionals shoot in RAW. There are literally billions of reasons why…RAW gives that much more detail in the image when editing. Shooting multiple exposures per scene (a technique called HDR, or High Dynamic Range) is ideal for real estate photography, especially when bright light is entering the windows. Beware of the amateur hacks – real professionals don’t use the auto “HDR” setting in their camera and especially don’t use flash.
Do they produce consistent quality?
You can always ask for examples. However, to avoid getting unrealistic samples, just ask for two of their most recent shoots that aren’t on their website. This will give you a more realistic sense of their quality, then pay attention to a few key elements:
- Are some photos darker than others or are all the photos generally the same brightness?
- Can you see through the windows or are they super bright (known as “blown-out”)?
- Is the entire image crisp and in focus (zoom in on the picture to see if the foreground and background is in focus)?
Pro Tip: To verify your photographer’s quality and consistency for free, send five sample images to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll review and rate the images as if they were one of our professional photographers.
Are they reliable?
If you call a reference, here are the best questions to determine reliability:
- Are they on time for photoshoot appointments?
- How responsive are they to calls and texts?
- How often do they have to be reminded or monitored?
- Do they have a clean background check?
- Do they have insurance?
Pro Tip: Most professional photographers might be great at photos, but not so great at managing a calendar. OBEO’s platform enforces accountability to Service Level Agreements so you can get quality content, on time, every time.
A professional real estate photographer should deliver high-resolution images (for print) as well as web-optimized images without additional fees.
Pro Tip: Showcasing your photos with OBEO’s Property Website is a nice touch that your sellers will appreciate and likely share to their social media channels.
Taking your own real estate photos
Capturing listing photos by yourself is certainly possible, but to be successful, you must first identify why you’re taking the photos and recognize the accompanying risks and rewards.
Avoid the three biggest risks
There’s a lot of reasons and scenarios why you should take the listing photos. Acting as the professional photographer can work as long as it doesn’t:
- Impact the listing’s performance: photos heavily impact sales amount and time on the market.
- Jeopardize your relationship with the seller: they hired you because you’re a professional agent first, not because you’re great at taking photos
- Impact your reputation among peers and potential customers: referrals don’t happen to agents who cheapen the profession by showing crappy photos.
Is the photoshoot worth your time? You can get premium photos in your area for $150 from OBEO. If a photoshoot takes about 45-minutes, then you should ask yourself if that is the best use of your time? Is it the best use of your client engagement? Will you be able to use the photos as marketing collateral?
Whether you’re shooting with a mobile device or a DSLR, you can avoid amateur mistakes and produce quality images with a little training. The two primary elements in your training must include composition and camera settings.
Pro Tip: OBEO’s free photographer training course is an excellent resource. Get access by emailing email@example.com.
Hire a professional real estate editor
Your ultimate weapon to great photos is leveraging a professional editor. Their unique skills can transform average photos into eye-catching works of art. Editing is where the magic happens. If a professional photographer uses one, you should too!
Pro Tip: See the power of a professional editor. OBEO’s Image Enhancement will edit 5 photos for free when you use the code: LCARocks!
What to know about photo editing?
Performance time is the great separator between professional editors and photographers. If you want to maintain high quality and need photos fast, then professional editors are required.
Professionals use Photoshop. It’s the premier editing software that empowers the editor to manipulate photos to their highest capacity. Every camera and lens manufacturer interfaces with Photoshop and even tries to mimic some of its capabilities. It’s that good.
Pro Kitchen knives don’t make you Gordon Ramsey. Pro golf clubs don’t make you Tiger Woods. A professional editor will employ around 20 techniques to produce a premium photo. Mastery of these techniques is the art that separates amateurs from professionals.
OBEO provides reliable, high-quality real estate photography and editing services at affordable prices. Whether you use our photographers or editors, you get quality content, on time, every time. Call 800-729-6236 to get started or visit www.OBEO.com.
LCA Members: Get 50% off your next OBEO order