9 Things Your Real Estate Photographer Should Know

Inman.com recently posted an article called “9 things your professional real estate photographer better know“, and I thought I’d go through the list, include a short quote from the Inman article, and give my own take on things.

1. Think ahead.

“If the sun rises behind the house, the photographer won’t want to do an early morning, front, exterior shot. The bright sun above the house will cast the facade into shadow and ruin the photo.”

While this is true most of the time, a photographer with Photoshop skills can overcome this.

2. Elevate the exterior shots.

“In most cases, there’s a limit to how far up you want your photographer to get. You seldom need a top-down view of the roof. A good rule of thumb is to go no higher than the upper windows.”

While drone shots can get this done in most cases it can be more economical to hire a photographer that can incorporate shooting on an 18′ extended pole. When the home is in a subdivision a drone will show a lot of roof tops. Elevated photos will still focus on the front of the home at a different prospective to help make the home stand out.

3. Plan exterior lighting.

“The best light is usually available shortly after dawn and before sunset.” 

If you have hired the photographer for an early morning or dusk photo you will need to make sure all of the rooms have enough light that can be seen from the exterior. Also make sure all landscape and exterior lighting are in working order.

4. Say no to candy colored skies.

” The perfect sky for your photos is attractive but not dramatic.”

A skilled photographer can swap out that gray dreary sky to a sky that can enhance the photo. 

5. Keep it real.

Your photographer can remove things in photoshop to clean up the photo. But make sure your photographer only removes things that do not effect the desirability of the property. Removing overhead power lines, fire hydrants, etc can get you could get you in legal hot water.

6. Light the indoors.

“Photography is an art of light, and your photographer should show up carting plenty of lights. They should have a flash, at least two portable lights and light stands.”

Some photographers uses a technique called HDR. This process can cause color cast, unnatural shadows or flat color in the photos. Flash properly mixed with natural light will give a more pleasing and correctly colored photos.

7. Use a wide-angle lens.

While most real estate photographers do use wide angle lens, some can take it to wide. This can cause problems when prospective buyers see large rooms on the Internet of your home only to be disappointed when they see the” smaller” rooms smaller in person.

8. Pay attention to window blinds.

“Ask your photographer to pull down the blinds or close the curtains whenever necessary. Try to do so in a way that still lets in the light, but blocks out the bad views.”

No! I always tell my clients that closed blinds or curtains make it clear to the potential buyer that the selling agent is trying to hide something. If most of the blinds in a home are open, but one or two or tightly closed then of course the buyer is going to assume the worst.

A professional real estate photographer will be able to adjust the brightness of the view out the window, and a blown out (or bright) view can usually hide anything outside that we don’t want to see. That approach works far better, and looks more inviting (most interior design images in home magazines feature views with blown out windows), than a window with the blinds pulled down.

9. Have a contract.

“A contract will save hassle for your photographer, but more importantly for you. Make sure it is clear ahead of time what exactly is expected, how long it should take and whether cleaning and staging is involved.”

Instead of a contract I feel a list or an email from the photographer stating what they will and won’t do is sufficient.