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How to Take Professional Grade Real Estate Photos

Impressive real estate photography is extremely important if you’re looking to rent or sell a property. While it may seem like a superficial aspect of the selling process, amazing, eye-catching pictures can actually sell you property over 30% faster than average or low-quality images. With the growing dependence on virtual sales and interactions, property photos are becoming even more important and competitive.

Of course, the best method for getting professional property photos is to hire a professional. At Utopia Management we handle property staging and photography from start to finish, leaving you hassle-free. But if you’re on your own or on a budget, here are some tips for getting the best real estate pictures:

Cleaning the Property

The first step to photographing any property is preparing it. There should be absolutely nothing visible in the room except for the staging furniture and decor. Ideally, staging furniture should be neutral and minimalist so that it appeals to a large audience. Additionally, a professional staging will use small pops of color and household objects to give an idea of how each room may be used. For example, a vase of flowers as a dining table centerpiece or fresh towels in the bathroom. If you are photographing your current home, you will need to pack up belongings such as toiletries, kitchen appliances, and knick-knacks, and store them out of sight.

Next, you will need to deep clean every room, including all surfaces, windows, the walls, and the floor. For a sleek, shiny look, use glass cleaner on glass and cleaner specifically designed to polish on countertops and tables.

Photography Equipment

In order to take professional grade real estate photographs, you’re going to need more than an iPhone. Ideally, you should have the following:

A DSLR camera with a wide-angle lens: The lens type is extremely important for getting photos that emphasize the vastness of each space and can capture the full room in one shot.
A tripod: Although you may think you have a steady hand, a tripod is essential when working with long exposure shots and ensuring that the perspective is not tilted.
Flash: To properly illuminate the property you will need either a flashgun or a monolight, depending on what fits in your budget. Flashguns are more affordable but may not be effective for large spaces. When using an external flash, you will also need a flash trigger to ensure the flash goes off when you press the camera shutter.
Light modifiers and stands: These flash accessories allow you to create the ideal light source for a perfectly illuminated image.

The most important equipment to have is the camera, the lens, and the tripod. If the property has a lot of natural light, then you can do without flash equipment by photographing at the right time of day.

The Best Time to Shoot

When it comes to proper lighting, time of day and weather are essential, especially if you don’t have artificial light equipment to compensate. Natural lighting will give your pictures a warm, inviting look.

For interior photos, wait until the sun is shining bright and casting indirect light into the room. Ideally, you want the sun to be behind the camera, so the best time to shoot depends on which direction each room faces.

For exterior photos, dusk is the best time to shoot, so that you get a soft, colorful natural light. If the property faces East, wait until just after the sun sets to ensure that the property is not backlit.

Photo Composition and Detail

The goal of each photograph is to capture the entire room and make it look spacious. The best way to accomplish this varies depending on the shape and size of each room, so try taking pictures from multiple angles to make sure you get the right shot. Usually you want to shoot either head-on or from one corner of the room.

Additionally, you can choose to take a one-point or two-point perspective shot, which means you either have a central focal point or two focal points. If you aren’t sure how to compose the photo, take as many pictures as you can so you can decide which one is best during editing. While you can shoot at a variety of heights depending on what compliments the room best, be sure the camera is completely straight to avoid distortion.

Make sure you can see out of every window and that mirror reflections are crystal clear. You want the light to be consistent throughout the room and avoid excessive shadows or bright spots. When using artificial flash, bounce it off of walls to diffuse the light source.


If you aren’t comfortable editing the pictures yourself, photo editing services such as Box Brownie are affordable and easy ways to get professionally edited images. If you would rather do the editing yourself, Adobe Lightroom offers a free trial that will give you more than enough capability to produce beautiful photos.

When editing, you will first need to crop or straighten the image if it is crooked. Then adjust the exposure, white balance, contrast, clarity, highlights and shadow, and HSL. This covers the lighting and colors. The most important part is creating a consistent color temperature from all light sources. Keep it simple and neutral to brighten the photo and create a uniform color scheme. You also want to have a consistent white balance and color theme throughout all of your photos.

When uploading your real estate pictures, put them in the order that the guest would see them if they were touring the property. Of course, start with exterior shots, move to the entryway, and order the next rooms in order of importance. Larger spaces should have two shots each, while small rooms such as bathrooms can just have one.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to take competitive real estate photos to sell your property quickly. Remember that your photo composition, lighting, and editing are more important than your equipment.

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For North Bay California Property Management Contact Utopia Management today by calling us at (800) 294-4656 or click here to connect with us online.

Elly Johnson stands at the forefront of content research and online branding at Utopia Management. As the Content Marketing Manager, she delves deep into understanding local real estate and rental markets, fueled by her passion for travel and keen research skills. Elly is dedicated to empowering individuals with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about where to reside. A proud alumna of the University of South Florida, located in the vibrant heart of Tampa Bay, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Her academic background and extensive travel experiences uniquely position her to provide insights that resonate with diverse audiences.

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