Photography For Real Estate

Tips and techniques for real estate photography

What’s Important When Shooting Real Estate Photos?

Posted by larrylohrman on August 15, 2006


I’m going to pick on’s home of the week again to point out a few things I think are important when shooting real estate marketing photos. This week’s home of the week is an $11.5 Million home in the Boston area. I think the lead photo needs some work and given the photos shown of this home I’m not sure I’d have used it as the lead photo.

On the positive side this photo does say “large estate” but other than that it’s uninspiring. After seeing the 10 photos that present this property I did some googling to see if there were more photos available for this home. Yes, there are more and better photos. The listing agents website has a much better presentation of the property. The lead photo here is much more inspiring. It’s brighter, more attractive and it also says “large estate home” with out having the 4 garage doors showing. Why this photo was not used as the lead photo in the presentation I don’t know. Probably it’s due to the whim of who ever put together the article at Frequently when you submit photos to any publication the agent doesn’t have control of photo selection or even words. The virtual tour of this property shows even more photos not shown in the still presentation.

The problem I want to point out with the lead photo is the horizontal alignment one. This problem seems all to common with real estate photos. I believe it’s an absolute must that horizontal lines that one would intuitively expect to be parallel with the top and bottom of the photo frame must be horizontal. Roof lines are always effectively horizontal so they should be rendered horizontal. I always use horizontal guides to see how things line up. And then use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements to rotate the photo and re-crop. I’ve drawn lines on a copy of the photo above to highlight the alignment problem.

The second problem is the lighting. The trees tell you this was shot in the winter and good lignt is probably hard to come by in the winter in Boston. However, I find you have to come back many times to get good light. Getting good light outside takes more time and return trips than shooting the interior. Some homes I’ve been back to 4 or 5 times to get good light.

Another issue I have with the series of photos of this home is there is no kitchen. As one of the most used rooms in a home I think it is essential to include a shot of the kitchen. In fact when photos any key rooms are missing on a photo presentation of a home my assumption is that the agent/seller is trying to hide something. Key rooms are kitchen, living room and master and for upper-end homes the master bath. An expensive home needs impressive key rooms or I’m suspicious! The reason I’m suspicious is when we have a listing with a awful kitchen the temptation to leave out a photo is large. However, it’s better to make what ever is there look it’s best. After all that’s your job as a real estate photographer.


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