The ups and downs of modern real estate photography


1) Modern cameras make it possible to take good photos of houses, quickly, in reasonable conditions. Combined with a good flash and tripod, today’s cameras can produce great results in short order.

2) Real estate listing photos are mostly viewed online, often on a phone or tablet, so the files should not be enormous. This makes things a lot less cumbersome for anyone dealing with the photos. Photographers, realtors, homeowners and prospective buyers all benefit from photo sizes that are easy to distribute and view quickly. This far outweighs the rare instance where somebody wants to print a poster-sized photo of a living room.

3) Homes do not move, allowing you time to find the right angles and adjust the things you can control (blinds, furniture, lighting).

4) If things really go poorly, you can always come back – your subject isn’t going anywhere! It can be very awkward and inconvenient for the homeowners/realtor, but getting the shots right will always outweigh your convenience. It hasn’t happened in awhile, but the times I’ve had to return when something has gone wrong have usually been met with understanding and even humor. You tuck your tail and admit you didn’t get it right the first time and set forth to get it right.


1) Most home listings don’t justify a large budget for photography. You’re going to have to get over yourself and accept that many captures of many rooms in many homes will not be worthy of consideration for any artistic awards. If someone should commission you to take THE photo of their view property at dawn for the purposes of acquiring large prints, then you should get serious. Especially when it comes to insignificant rooms that may be small, awkward or cluttered, it is important to recognize when your photo is “good enough” so you can concentrate your time on the best shots available. I’m a firm believer in documenting everything to cover my tracks in the event of a customer saying something like, “I didn’t find any photos of my pocket laundry room.” I take photos of EVERYTHING, just in case, but I sure don’t spend as much time on the little things. Those shots are more like an insurance plan.

2) You need to work relatively quickly through constant change (interior, exterior, rooms with bay-window views, basements). Just when you get your settings dialed for the kitchen full of windows, it’s time to shoot the dark green bathroom. Never lose track of where ALL your settings are. You don’t want to be finishing up outside and realize your white balance and ISO are still set for the basement.

3) The shooting environment will include many things beyond your control (sun, weather, non-working lights). From power being shut off in a bank-owned home to wicked sunlight in a room with no blinds, you will run into many irritations that you must simply accept and conquer. On that note, it is a good idea to always travel with a pack of light bulbs.