Whether you are an individual or a real estate agent looking for a tenant or a buyer, you know better than anyone: taking good real estate photos is not that easy. After all, that’s absolutely normal, it’s a craft!

And yet, in the age of smartphones and social media, creating and sharing premium photos is the best way to set yourself apart from the other property ads. In other words, (quality) real estate photography is your best ally to sell or rent faster and at a higher price.

Be careful as the first impression will be decisive. Like on a dating site, your property should seduce from the first photo!

A difficult, but not impossible task, if you manage to overcome the 8 challenges specific to real estate photography:

1. Cleanse your interior

An overloaded and / or untidy interior is undoubtedly the most common mistake not to make! Yet, this kind of photos is to be seen everywhere on Immoweb. Some Belgian real estate agents, calling themselves “professional” and which I would rather call “lax” even seem to have made a specialty of it … 🙄

In short, unless you live in a model house, no one can escape tidying up before shooting. Dirty dishes in the sink, a magnetic board filled with vouchers and reminders, family photos here and there, an unmade bed: the list is endless…

Even if all these objects enhance your daily life, they can also leave an impression of neglect, or worse, of discomfort for your potential buyers or tenants, in the event that they are found on your real estate photos.

A professional photographer (or a serious real estate agent, i.e. concerned about the quality of their photos) will be able to help you in this home staging exercise.

2. Control backlight

You surely know about this cruel dilemma, typical of indoor photography, where you have to expose correctly for, either:

    • a super bright room, facing the risk of “burning” your windows and sacrificing the view, or
    • the outside view, facing the risk of making the inside as dark as a prison cell

This backlight management is a classic problem in photography, and not only in real estate. We are touching here the physical limits of any camera, and more precisely of their CMOS sensor, unable to correctly reproduce the huge gaps between the brightest and the darkest areas, unlike our eyes which can perceive all these nuances of light.

Fortunately, there is a solution. It consists of taking several photos, more or less bright, which will be stitched together to create a final image with a wide dynamic range: I am talking about the infamous HDR image, yes, the one that still suffers to this day from its nefarious reputation, but that’s another debate…

3. Master your white balance

Regardless of our decoration preferences – white walls vs wallpapers, our brains are conditioned to immediately recognize pure white or pure black. But what should you do when your camera decides to apply an ugly yellowish, bluish or greenish tint to your interior?

The worst part is that this problem can affect any type of camera, smartphone or DSLR, including the most expensive models!

Fortunately, this problem can be fixed with a little bit of retouching and / or thanks to the good use of a flash which, by illuminating the interior, will help to clean these unwanted shades.

4. Maximize small spaces

How to photograph a small bedroom, bathroom or even a dressing room without losing the essential?

The solution lies in the use of a wide angle lens which covers a much larger angle than a “standard” lens. For a long time, this lens had been reserved to DSLRs only. In the recent years, this lens has become more affordable and is now available on most high-end smartphones.

Some advocates of the “always more” will go even further by using a fisheye lens that offers an unparalleled 180° shooting angle. This is a true misconception as this lens creates outrageous distortions of spaces warping straight lines into curves. When used with care, in some very specific cases, with an artistic intention, this fisheye lens can be interesting though. But NEVER for real estate! Unless you want to provoke headaches!

5. Find the right angle

Too high, too low, too far to the left, too far to the right… One step too far and your photo could give the impression of a cramped space, poorly designed, or even oppressive.

Some people will tell you to systematically stand in the most remote corner of a room to photograph most of the space. By default, this angle gives indeed fairly correct results. But this is not an absolute truth. From a pro photographer’s point of view, most of the time, finding the best spot / angle from which to take a photo may actually take several attempts.

You’d better train your eye if you want to highlight the size and the assets of a room through a photograph!

6. Fly a drone

If we leave aside the cool, even gadget side of aerial photography, a drone can provide real added value, especially if your property has a huge piece of land or a unique neighborhood. And no need to reach heights! A few meters high are sometimes enough to get a unique and rewarding angle that will make your photos stand out from the other ads.

7. Get ready like a pro

Quality is rarely a matter of chance. Like any photo shoot, it is better to prepare well so that everything goes without a hitch on D-Day. The list of rooms to photograph, the choice of equipment, the best time of the day, etc. : All these points must be defined in advance to guarantee quality photos.

8. Find the right professional real estate photographer

Ultimately, perhaps the biggest challenge is to find the professional real estate photographer who will meet your needs. You would certainly not go and install your boiler yourself, or even replace your roof with your little hands ?!

Why cut off the perceived value of your property with average photos?

Which choice do you think is the most reasonable?

    • Save the price of a pro real estate photographer and sell in the lower price range, or
    • Invest in a pro real estate photographer and sell in the higher price range

Based on my experience, I am convinced that real estate photos made by a professional guarantee you a return on investment. A pro real estate photographer will save you time and money. Better yet, in the end, he/she may not even cost you anything at all, because his/her cost will most likely be covered by the added value he/she will bring you.

Why would you want to deprive yourself of this asset?

And if you are ever looking for a professional real estate photographer available in Brussels and Belgium, feel free to contact me here for a real estate quote. 😉


Photo source: Flickr – andrechinn (CC BY 2.0)