How to get that awe-inspiring listing photo

Catching a home in its best light with real estate photography’s tricks of the trade


You know that shot — it’s the one listing photo that gets the most interest, the most views, the most oohs and ahhs, clicks, shares and showing requests — and it’s the property that sells the quickest.

Many times it’s that one shot that captures the story of a home at its best and entrances buyers to see themselves as the main characters in the next chapter of owners.

Photography is powerful, as we all know; it helps speed up sales by as much as 32 percent. It’s real estate’s best sales tool, but only if it’s done right — and great professional photographers have the innate talent, experience and expertise to get the job done.

You might not realize it, but a real estate shoot is one of the most difficult and complex types of photography. So how do professional real estate photographers capture the magic of a home the way hobbyists, iPhone Instagrammers and other amateurs can’t? Here are five tips to help you get that jaw-dropping photograph.

1. Find the story

Photographers work with real estate agents and homeowners to find the best story a home has to tell — visually. They ask what made them buy the home, what rooms they spend the most time in and what they will miss about the home when they move.

Then, they strategize on when and how (angles, perspectives, depth) those special spaces should be shot.

2. Capture the story

There simply is no one-lens approach to photographing a home, but rather a carefully balanced algorithm of creativity, precision, expertise, instinct and artistry that can only be blended by a professional real estate photographer.

Discover every angle, view and surprising perspective of a home. The most-engaging view is rarely gained by standing at the doorway of a room.

Inside a home, lighting changes drastically from room to room as you go from natural to incandescent to florescent and from overly bright to dimly lit spaces.

Small rooms look even smaller in photos while large rooms tend to lose some of their grandeur. Having the right camera, lenses and flashes — and the skills to make the necessary changes from room to room — are critical. 


3. Add dimension

The bar has been raised on the caliber of image quality we see online, and it’s because of HGTV, Houzz and Pinterest. It’s made real estate professionals put more thought into their marketing to make sure it’s innovating with emergent technology tools.

Consider adding a 3-D element to the menu of services you offer your clients to amp up the showmanship of listings. As a real estate professional, you now have to market directly to consumers, not just other agents.

Today’s consumer expects stunning, striking visual photography and will ignore anything less. Adding 3-D, floor plans and video also help them connect with a home.


4. Try a top-down view

Aerial photography is bringing real estate marketing to new heights. For homes located on golf courses, seaside, lakefronts or in the mountains, photography or video captured through drones will show a broader and grander perspective. It makes a rare aerial statement that commands a buyer’s attention.

5. Enhance the story

Photos straight from a camera are never ready to be used for professional marketing, so be sure your images are skillfully optimized to make sure they are seen at their best in all print and digital media.

Digital editing will optimize images to showcase bold bright colors, sharp detail and clarity. In some instances, some image enhancement is helpful to remove clutter that couldn’t be removed in time during the staging process or to brighten up a sky, lawn or pool.

Take these tips, go forth and wow us with your beautiful photography. Remember to get the shot that sells your listing.

Brian Balduf has been actively involved in marketing, technology and media for over 30 years. He has built VHT Studios into the largest real estate photography, video and multimedia company in the country.


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