As a real estate photographer, the most important thing is the presentation of the property. Whether you’re using a high-end DSLR, drone, or your phone to capture pictures, you need to make sure that the alignment compliments the property to its full potential.
For each property you photography, there are important elements to consider. For instance, what time you should photograph, the equipment you need and the settings to use. In this guide, we will explore different budget options and the types of equipment you need to get the best real estate shots.
Products That Need to Be in Your Real Estate Photography Kit
Whether you’re an enthusiast who’s trying their hand at real estate photography or a pro with years of experience, there are some things that you can’t leave out of your photography kit.
Use a Drone To Gain a New Perspective For Real Estate Photography
If you’re a professional real estate photographer, a drone will make for a great addition to your equipment. Not only does a drone help take overhead shots of a property, but it will also allow you to experiment with oblique shots. Drones can help you put your best foot forward with top-down photographs that would seem far fetched otherwise. While using a drone, it’s important to check out the property and determine the total height and width of your property.
As we’ve mentioned above, you can take oblique shots with drones. Oblique shots are photos captured at a 45-degree angle. The drone would have to be approximately 200m in the air for an oblique shot. Be sure to check with local regulations if you aren’t a certified CASA drone pilot as you may not be able to fly at 200m. The biggest challenge with real estate photography is that you need to be able to show the buyer what exactly they’re buying. Because drones allow you to take several types of overhead shots, you can easily capture the property and the neighbourhood around it. This adds a certain authenticity to your work that would be unachievable without a drone.
For professional real estate photographs, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro would be a perfect choice. The Mavic 2 Pro was designed for aerial photography with the nuances of engineering and technology combined. This drone has a maximum flight time of 31 minutes, making it ideal for a one-house shoot. This popular model has a 2x optical zoom that will allow you to compose your shot with clarity and precision. Employed with a Hasselblad camera paired with the Natural Colour Solution Technology, it can photograph 20-megapixel photos in the air with impeccable detail. If you are after a lighter option then the Mavic Mini should be considered. Weighing only 249 grams, this drone will also deliver exceptional image quality at an affordable price.
Pro Tip: For real estate photography, we recommend using a polarising filter on your drone. Australia has some harsh light, and the filter will help reduce any highlights or reflections you get on the roofs of buildings.
Using a Smartphone with a Phone Clamp and Tripod
Nobody likes shaky shots. Whether you’re supposed to be capturing a building, or a well-lit interior shot, you must make sure that your frame is stable. Using a tripod will save you from the embarrassment of landing an unsteady frame. Furthermore, a tripod will help control light settings for your photograph, and provide your pictures with a better perspective and improve the overall composition. We also suggest that if you’re using a smartphone, you should get a proper phone clamp. A phone clamp will effortlessly attach your smartphone to your tripod or camera mount.
For a phone clamp, we advise you to get Manfrotto’s Smart Phone Clamp. This phone clamp by Manfrotto is universally compatible with smartphones up to 8.4 cms wide. With silicone rubber pads, the Manfrotto Smart Phone Clamp makes for a safe and durable choice.
If you’re starting as a photographer or using your phone to take real estate photographs, you should get the Compact Manfrotto Tripod. The Manfrotto Tripod weighs just 800 grams, making it the lightest one in their collection yet. This model is also an excellent choice if you’re on a budget. Anywhere you go, you can take this tripod along with you.
If you’re a professional photographer, you can get the Manfrotto Tripod Kit with Ballhead. It offers a complete range of movements with four leg angle positions. The leg locks of this tripod are made of aluminium. They include rubber warmers for a better grip and stoppers to protect floor surfaces. The stable head of this tripod makes it perfect for creating exceptional real estate photos.
Pro Tip: If you are on the go and have to take photos of multiple properties, you can use cloud-based editing services to edit your real estate photos. Alternatively, you could download the Snapseed app on your phone to take advantage of any perspective adjustments you may need to make before you send any urgent photos to a client.
Use a Flash To Light Each Room
One flash is great if you’re taking pictures of closed spaces. But when you’re required to capture open indoor areas, such as kitchens or dining rooms, having multiple flashlights will come in handy. This may be difficult to manage if you’re using a phone to take real estate photographs. Plus the extra cost for additional flash heads is something many photographers don’t want! In which case, we have the perfect product to recommend.
The Profoto A10 is all the rage right now. The new A10 is a Speedlight that has built-in wi-fi and works with smartphones through AirX Bluetooth technology. With Bluetooth functionality you have the opportunity to take your photos to the next level by wirelessly firing the A10 off camera for more creative control. The A10 model has a round-shaped light which gives a beautiful, soft light that’s great for both indoor and outdoor shots. While this is on the higher end of the price scale if you are looking for a more affordable option take a look at the Jinbei HD2 PRO TTL On Camera Flash with RT control. This flash works with Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Fujifulm and Olympus cameras, however it doesn’t have the Bluetooth tech that comes with the A10.
When using a flash there are various techniques you can use to obtain the photo. One we highly recommend is to expose for each individual shot then combine the photos using Capture One 21. The first photos should contain ambient lighting using natural light and the second using a soft flash. To obtain the second shot you can bounce the flash off the roof or walls to fill any shadows. The final shot should be underexposed to cater for the bright outdoor lighting streaming through the windows. Once you have all your photos you can combine them using Capture One 21 (plugin) and Photoshop.
Pro Tip: Set your camera or smartphone on a tripod and then take photos while moving your off-camera flash in various positions. When you light every area you want to, combine the photos in Photoshop to get the ultimate shot.
Use a Wide Angle Lens
The focal length of your lens will help tell the story of the property. Using a wide-angle lens widens the field of view. For real estate photography, we would recommend a 16-24mm focal length. That being said, you don’t need the widest lens for real estate photography, but just wide enough to capture everything the property has to offer. We would recommend the following lenses for each brand:
To make sure that you articulate what the property has in store, you can use a zoom lens. Using a zoom lens will help save your time. Moreover, with a zoom lens, you won’t have to switch to other lenses during a shoot. We suggest Sony’s FE 16-35mm Wide-angle Zoom lens for real estate photography. Sony’s FE 16-35mm lens has an aperture of f/2.8, making it an ideal fast lens for interior, low-light work.
Pro Tip: Utilise focus peaking on your camera to ensure the entire room is in focus. If you see that the focus peak highlight only covers a portion of the room, adjust the aperture on your lens so that everything falls into focus.
The Best Compact Camera for Real Estate Photography
If you’re an enthusiast on a budget, a compact camera would be a proper fit. A compact camera is also helpful if you don’t want to lug around with heavy camera gear in case you have multiple projects lined up for the day.
We suggest Canon’s PowerShot G7X Mark III as its wide-angle lens, battery life and image quality are all suited for real estate photography. Featuring a 24mm focal length, the lens is capable of capturing the smallest of bathrooms. Plus combining the G7X III’s large CMOS sensor with the DIGIC 7 Image Processor, the camera captures and processes images that meet the demand of a professional photographer. The aperture ranges from f/1.8 – f/2.8, making it ideal for light gathering. Plus with a tilting LCD monitor real estate photographers can take photos with ease.
Pro Tip: When capturing images with the G7X III, make sure you turn on RAW shooting. By doing so, you gain the highest image quality. You will then be able to edit photos in Adobe Lightroom to gain detail in the shadow and highlight areas. Plus if you are planning on doing High Dynamic Range shots, then shooting in RAW is a must.
Use Software To Optimise and Organise Your Photos
There’s no doubt you would have heard of Photoshop. Adobe’s software has ruled the world when it comes to photo editing. Unfortunately though for many people understanding how to use the software has become a hurdle. That’s why we recommend using Capture One 21 to edit your photos.
This ingenious software is capable of correcting lens distortion in your real estate photos. Plus there is the added ability to edit RAW files so you can recover the details in show and highlight areas. In addition to this one of the many benefits real estate photographers love is the ability to catalogue photos and backup to an external drive – all at the click of a button.
Have You Considered VR Photography?
While we are on the subject of software, technology for real estate has come a long way. Virtual Reality is now a viable option for photographers wishing to extend their product offerings. To deliver virtual walk throughs all you need is a capable VR camera. One that’s widely used in the industry is the Ricoh Theta V. Using this unique camera offers a new world of possibilities. When you arrive on location all you need to do is mount the Theta V on a tripod, put the camera on self timer and press the shutter button once. Then you have an instant VR image. To combine the multiple VR images together we recommend uploading them to Matterport where the software will take care of the rest of the process.
As we near the end of this guide, we encourage you to consume some online courses or attend a workshop to learn more about real estate photography. Real estate photography is about capturing the essence of the property and using a combination of any of the equipment mentioned above will help enrich your client photos with both professionalism and quality.
To learn more about any of the products listed speak to our specialists in-store today who will help guide you in how to get the best from your equipment for real estate photos.