8 Tips For Great Real Estate Photography

You wouldn’t buy a house you’ve never seen before.

And you can’t sell a house without showing buyers what they want to see.

Forget about open house, for now. Obviously, a real live walk-through is the best way to get buyers excited about your for-sale property. Let’s talk about online listings. Let’s talk about image content and photography.

Perhaps the most important part of the homebuyer’s journey starts with pictures online. Show your home with exceptional imagery to set your listing apart from rest and capture the attention of more homebuyers.

If you’re listing and selling your home FSBO, you want maximum exposure for your advertising and a quick turnaround on an offer. Don’t worry if you can’t afford a professional photographer. In a world of smart phones, photo apps and DIY hacks — these tips will help you make the most of whatever you have to point, shoot and flash with to generate more leads.

What Are Your Real Estate Goals?

Zoom In On Your Goals

For real estate pictures, you want to enhance what’s good and make what’s ugly appealing.

Are you trying to emphasize architectural design or ambiance? Do you want to appeal to working professionals or families? Understand the needs and wants of your target audience and compose photos accordingly.

Finally, what are your specific goals for this home sale? Is it an inherited estate that you want to get rid of? Or, a family home for which you’ll take nothing less than asking price? As a home seller, your motivations absolutely affect your ability to produce great content. If you know what you hope to achieve, you can get started achieving it.

Basic Tools

A top-of-the-line camera and cutting edge equipment isn’t necessary to take good pictures of a house, but a smartphone might not cut it either. You may want to invest in a digital camera with at least 12-megapixels. Additionally, a sturdy tripod shouldn’t break the bank and will be worth the spend as it eliminates the unsteady hand and reduces blur.

Look Around And Copy

Chances are, you’ve spent plenty of time browsing other seller’s listings, especially for homes in your area. Make a list of what do you like about the listings. Would that camera angle work with a room or the features of your home? Take some practice snapshots mimicking the techniques.

Beware the mindless joys of scrolling the internet looking admiring pretty pictures. For example, if your home doesn’t have a second story — don’t waste time admiring artful down-angle shots of staircases.

Pay attention to what doesn’t work. In other words, don’t skip looking at unappealing listings. Note what makes them ugly and be inspired not to copy whatever’s going on with those.

Set The Stage

There is no way to photograph a whole room in one picture so choose the most interesting features. You may need to rearrange furniture and reconsider decor. Always walk full circles around your subject and take a lot of shots. Avoid deciding on success through the viewfinder. Focus on quantity and you can worry about quality when you load everything onto your computer.

It’s fine to list without furniture but bear in mind that buyers are interested in a home, not a building. Play up a plain, outdated kitchen with a vase of bright colored flowers. Don’t bring them into sharp focus though. You want to include subtle depth to bare or less interesting rooms by taking pictures from different vantage points Add warmth to a stone fireplace with holiday pines.

Get The Light Right

Back to the photos you admired while browsing other listings. The best ones were light and bright, right? Home-buyers are almost always looking for that sense of space and openness. Sometimes the architecture of your home helps you out. High ceilings, big windows and bright walls may allow you get away with using natural lighting for your photo shoots. Whether or not that’s the case, always turn on indoor lights and open curtains. Take pictures when it’s sunny to get the most from daylight.

Neutral colors are best for open house because they appeal to a general mix of buyers. For image content, there’s more creative freedom to use bold colors in order to make your listing stand out on screen.

Human Eye Ratio

As much as possible, aim for horizontal or landscape orientation. The human eye is a lens that sees in a 4:3 aspect. If you stick with that ratio and keep compositions tight — you’ll get the appearance of space rather than minute details. Watch some YouTube videos or read up on wide-angle techniques based on your camera’s zoom features. This is especially important when it comes to exterior shots.

If your lawn could use a trim or the hedges a haircut — take care of it. Unlike the indoors, however, it’s less necessary to have outdoor furniture; you can still make the exterior look inviting and welcoming. Zoom out and focus in on a tidy garden or the generous acreage of your property.

Want to get those impressive aerial shots? Start shopping for drone. If you’ve got the money for it, it’s probably worth the investment. It’s the only way to create those increasingly popular fly-over property videos or interactive video walkthroughs.


For open house, you would never leave your mantle adorned with family photos, holiday decor, or anything personal. (Amazingly, people make this mistake all the time!) The same goes for your real estate photos. It’s helpful to get a second pair of eyes on the scene before you start taking pictures with refrigerator magnets and kids’ art still on the walls. Since it’s your home, you may have overlooked these things.

Don’t Stress

Picture-taking for a great property listing shouldn’t be stressful. Nor does it have to be overly complicated. Honestly, there’s always a “better picture” for the even your best shot. But don’t let the “rule of thirds” or the “golden mean” stop you from trying different things. Photography is produced by humans, for humans after all.

Be proud of your work once you’ve listed your property online. If you’re getting a lot of attention but not a lot of offers, there’s probably a bigger reason apart from your photography efforts. Turns out, 90% of home sellers are asking for too much. But that’s up to you and your agent.

Remember, great real estate photography is crucial to generating the interest but it’s only the first step in the home selling process.