Mastering Real Estate Photography: 10+ Techniques for Small Homes

Jan 31, 2024

Welcome to this comprehensive guide on real estate photography, specifically tailored for small homes and condominiums.

In this article, we'll delve into 10+ techniques that will elevate your photography skill when shooting real estate.

  1. Initial Assessment and Pricing Strategy: When starting out, the most common query is about pricing. For properties up to 1500 sq. ft., like our small condo example, I suggest a base rate of $350 USD + tax. This price can vary with the size of the property. Always inquire about the selling points of the home; if none are specified, use a standard shot list which I’ll demonstrate in my video.

  2. Lobby and Exterior Photography: A crucial yet often overlooked aspect is capturing the lobby and the building's exterior. This should be done at the end of the shoot to provide a comprehensive view of the property.

  3. Preparation Inside the Apartment: Upon entering the apartment, the first steps are crucial:

    • Turn on all lights and turn off fans to create a consistent lighting environment.
    • Close all toilet lids for a neat appearance.
    • Remove any loose cables and clutter, ensuring the space is tidy.
    • Open all doors fully to maximize the sense of space.
    • If the room is furnished, organize the furniture symmetrically. Remember, a well-prepared space is key to great photography.
  4. Equipment Essentials: For equipment, I recommend a full frame camera with a wide-angle lens (such as a Tokina 11-16mm), perfect for wide shots in small spaces. Always have a tripod, and carry additional equipment like flashes and a 24-70 lens for different lighting and composition needs.

  5. Mastering Composition: Composition is vital in real estate photography:

    • Position the camera about five feet high for a natural perspective and to enhance ceiling height.
    • Maintain straight verticals; a hotshoe bubble level can be invaluable here.
    • Balance the elements, avoiding excessive ceiling or floor in the frame.
    • Utilize two-point composition and leading lines for dynamic shots.
  6. Optimal Camera Settings: For settings, use the 5D Mark IV’s built-in HDR mode with a -2 EV setting for balanced exposure. Shoot at f/11 for a deep depth of field, keeping ISO low to reduce noise, and adjust the shutter speed accordingly. Each room may require different adjustments.

  7. Strategic Shot Selection: In bedrooms, shoot from two angles (looking in and out) for variety. For other spaces, let your first impression guide your composition, especially in empty rooms where creative composition is key.

  8. Innovative Light Painting: Light painting can be effective, especially in rooms with mixed lighting conditions. Balance different color temperatures by light painting to create a harmonious look. This technique is more suited for luxury listings or when you have ample time.

  9. Flash Techniques: While I don't often use flash, it can be useful in certain scenarios:

    • Small rooms: Use a speedlite at 1/16 to ¼ power.
    • Kitchens: Set the flash to ½ power.
    • Large Rooms: Use full power (1/1). Flash can bounce off ceilings to create a natural, evenly lit environment.
  10. Efficiency and Workflow: The goal is to be efficient. For most shoots, quick and effective techniques are preferred over complex setups. However, for luxury listings or high-end shoots, invest more time in detailed lighting and composition.

By following these 10+ techniques, you'll be well-equipped to capture stunning real estate photographs in small homes and condominiums.

Remember, each property is unique, and adapting these tips to your specific shooting environment will yield the best results. Happy shooting!

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