Are you an estate agent looking to improve your photography and wow potential buyers?

Then follow these 8 photography tips for estate agents and your bookings are sure to increase!

1. Prepare the home for photographs

The first tip is perhaps the most important.  Ask your seller to prepare the home before you arrive. 

If you’re having to spend time tidying the house then you’re not spending your time wisely and it’s losing you time actually shooting the house. 

If you’ve got multiple houses lined up for a day then each little set back throughout the day will mount up and by the end of the day you may end up feeling rushed and your work will suffer.

I’ve prepared this little infographic below to give you some hints on what you should be asking your client to do before you arrive. You need to explain that these little changes can make a huge difference on how a buyer perceives a property. 30 minutes extra work now could mean thousands added to the sale price at the end.

2. Have a shot list in mind

As well as having the home prepared, it’s important for you to be prepared too.

This means getting all your kit ready the night before, making sure your batteries are all charged and you memory card is in the camera (you will only make this mistake once).

Having a shot list is a great way to make the most of your time in a property. If you know you’re only going to need 8 shots for a listing then really break that down before you get to a property. 

Make sure you get an exterior (both front and back), living space, dining space, kitchen, bathrooms and shot of each bathroom. If you have room for more shots on the listing then concentrate on getting detail shots to sell the lifestyle of the property. If people can imagine themselves in a property, you have more chance of them booking a viewing.

Once you know you have the correct amount of shots for your listing, you don’t have to spend any more time at the property and can concentrate on the next one.

Having a shot list in mind will make sure you can work quicker on site.

3. Invest in a wide angle lens

If you’re shooting real estate, the first lens in your bag should be a wide angle. 

This will let you fit the most of any room in without having to photoshop images together and if you want can also be used to make rooms appear bigger than they are.  

If you’re shooting on a full frame camera, that’s going to be something around the 16-35mm range. If you’re shooting on a cropped or APSC sized camera, then you’re going to want something in the range of 10-22mm.

Each camera maker will have their own version of each lens, check out this post if you want a full list of the best lenses for interior photography.

Investing in a wide angle lens such will allow you to capture much more of the room.

4. Use a tripod

Once you have a good wide angle lens, the next thing you are going to want is a solid tripod.

If your camera is on a tripod, it allows you to get much more of the room in focus by using an aperture of around f8-f11. If that makes no sense to you, then I would really recommend you learn to use your camera in manual or at least in aperture priority mode, something which we will go into more detail in on the next point.

The use of a smaller aperture will increase your shutter speed and anything below 1/60th of a second will mean you will get blurry images without a tripod.

If you can see the benefits of having a tripod and want to know more, then check out this post on the best tripod for interior photography.

5. Learn to use manual mode

Manual mode allows you to control every setting of the camera. This can seem daunting at first, but is fairly simple once you get the hang of it.

Basically, your exposure is controlled by three variables – your shutter speed, iso and aperture.

Shutter speed – shutter speed refers to the amount of time the shutter stays open to let light onto the sensor, so when you press the shutter and your shutter speed is set at 100th of a second, the shutter will stay open for 100th of a second or 0.01 of a second.

ISO – in very basic terms, your ISO controls how sensitive to light your camera’s sensor is and in most modern cameras this will range from anything down to 50 all the way up into the hundreds of thousands.   

Aperture – aperture actually relates to your camera’s lens but is controlled via your camera, unless you’re using a really old film lens where you had to manually dial in your aperture. It refers to how wide the diaphragm (which is basically the hole in the lens which lets light in) opens up and is calibrated in f/stops, which are identified by a little f before a number.

Once you get a hold of what each of the settings do, you can start using them to improve your photography.

Detail shots in a listing will really bring it alive.

6. Learn how to use depth of field

Now you have a handle on manual exposure, you can use that to make more creative shots.

Depth of field is the distance between the nearest and furthest object which are in focus. 

So, if you’re shooting a living room, you will want everything from basically right in front of your lens all the way to the window to be in focus.  To achieve that, you’re going to be looking at using an aperture of somewhere between f8-11.

If you’re looking to make some more creative shots, though, you’re probably going to want to be using something more like f4-5.6. This will put whatever your camera is focussing on in focus, and then will drift the focus out for whatever is in the foreground or background.

This is great for shooting little vignettes to help the buyer picture themselves in a scene, i.e. a close up of some scatter cushions or detail of a kitchen worktop.

7. Use retouching sparingly 

It’s very tempting to just shoot properties in bad lighting conditions or when it’s a very overcast day and then attempt to photoshop them afterwards.

I realise that some properties are time sensitive and you need to get them on the market as quickly as possible, but poor photography will cost you more in the long run than getting the property on the market 24 hours earlier.

One of the most obvious differences between an amateur photographer estate agent shooting a house and a professional photographer is the first shot used on every listing, with a terrible bright blue sky retouched in.

You do not want to end up on

Using photoshop to lighten areas and combine exposures to make the house appear natural is ok, but it you’re going around stripping large sections of the house out or having to change major items in the shot it may be time to move onto tip 10.

A shot like this requires combining multiple exposures to capture all the detail.

8. Know when you’re out of your depth

If all of this seems a bit too much, it may be worth hiring a professional for your first few shoots.

The difference it can make to the sale price of a house – especially the higher end properties – is a worthwhile investment.

So that’s my 8 photography tips for estate agents to help you sell more houses, do you have any tips in your real estate photography arsenal?

If so pop them in the comments below and i’ll get them added to the list!

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