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Thread: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

  1. #1

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    Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    I recently helped out a friend by taking photos to sell his house. I shot HDR and usually went in the late after noon and when the sky is in the sky so I can get a blue sky in the shot. HDR is really good for showing details and making the picture pop out. I want some tips for taking real estate photography. I have photoshop CS5 extended with NIK software complete collection, HDR Efex pro, Viveza, Dfine 2.0, and etc. The equipment I would most likely use is my Canon 30d with 18-55 mm lens. I cannot afford a wider lens right now so I will have to work with that. Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Re: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    Hi Tyler,

    What lighting equipment do you have?

  3. #3

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    Re: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    I have a canon 580 ex speedlite with a diffuser.

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    Re: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    Hi Tyler,

    This kind of photography is always a compromise --- ideally, it's nice to have several high-powered studio strobes on hand, but it's possible to do a quite reasonable job with a lot less (although personally, I'd recommend at least a couple of speedlights, and some shoot-through umbrellas).

    As with any kind of photography, it's all about the lighting - personally, I HATE seeing real estate photography where the view through interior windows is just left to over-expose, but unfortunately, that also means reducing the exposure of the interior portion (which then has to be brought back up with strobes). Using HDR techniques is another option, but my onservation is that few have the skills to blend the different exposures into something that looks realistic.

    Some folks will say that one needs a tilt & shift lens for interior photography, but in my experience, any wide-angle lens is genarally just fine - so long as folks understand how to use it to avoid perspective distortion (it's very important to keep the sensor perpendicular to the surfaces you're shooting, and to adjust the camera height accordingly).

    Here's a few I shot using just 1 or 2 speedlights ...

    Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

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    Re: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    Tyler,

    For interior work, Scott Hargis is often considered as the best in the business. He has more than one book, but the best one I could suggest is:

    The Essential Guide to: Lighting Interiors - Techniques for lighting with small flash

    I've spent the past few weeks educating myself on the basics and finer points of real estate photography, and Scott's book has been a goldmine of "how to" info for using off-camera speedlights.

    After being self-employed for the past 20 years, I closed my sales rep. business down a month ago. The area we live in is quite economically depressed, and with my hearing/balance disabilities there were no positions available with a livable wage. While looking at a home listing on the web one day I was reminded just how awful the photo's are that are taken by the sales agents, and seeing the opportunity (need), I decided to act on it. Next day I called a few Real Estate Brokers I've known for years to discuss the potential, and sufficiently confirmed that there would be plenty of work for me providing I could "deliver the goods".

    Lacking years of experience, I've been studying and "practice shooting" for 16 hrs. a day x7 to get myself up to speed on the needed skills. I've licensed a new business, and expect to be learning more every day with the challenges of shooting a multitude of home interiors (it's no fun if you don't!). I've got about $2k of lighting equipment on the way, and within a few days after it arrives I'll be ready to start taking on clients. It won't be easy by any means, but believe I can make a go of it with hard work to build the needed photography skills, supported by the skills I've developed from nearly 30 years in sales and marketing. You have to sell yourself as much as sell your work.

    My research shows that in some areas of the US there is a good amount of competition among REP's, so be sure and do your homework to see what you'll be up against in both pricing and skills. In my region there are some very skilled professionals that will take on a real estate project, but it is not part of their normal business plus they are quite expensive for the realtors to use. We don't have million dollar homes here in the valley, so I've set my initial pricing to be affordable for the realtors, and sufficient enough that I can make a livable wage while paying for expenses and equipment.

    I wish you the best of luck in your new venture!

    Mike
    Last edited by Dizzy; 19th October 2011 at 07:07 AM.

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    Re: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    Thanks for the tips. Looking now at your photos and from what I took, mine are a bit messy and need improvement. I have one speedlite that I will probably use with a wireless transmitter and an umbrella for extra lighting.

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    Re: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    His book looks very informational, I will have to check it out. I have seen online real estate photos in my area, and they are just horrible. I am gonna do some contacting after I practice and research. I have one realtor call me about a job which I took of course. So I am now photographing for him. I do still need practice so I will check out that book.

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    Re: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    Tyler, after looking over your Flickr page I doubt you'll have a lick of trouble applying the needed skills. In my case, this is a matter of survival as I have a family to support, so I'm going to take my meager skills + as much information as I can pack into my skull and do the best I can for the agents in this area. The education never ends..there is always something new to learn (and that's the fun of it all!)

    Mike

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    Re: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
    Tyler, after looking over your Flickr page I doubt you'll have a lick of trouble applying the needed skills. In my case, this is a matter of survival as I have a family to support, so I'm going to take my meager skills + as much information as I can pack into my skull and do the best I can for the agents in this area. The education never ends..there is always something new to learn (and that's the fun of it all!)

    Mike
    Thanks Mike. I am 15 and need the money less than you of course. I do like to do it for fun but he wanted to hire me. I still have a lot to learn. I have been doing photography for 2 years now and I have a long time ahead of me.

  10. #10
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    Re: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    Here is my experience. I am a retired design engineer and have 24 years of Real Estate experience and more than 30 years photography. Real Estate is seeing also "architectural" through the lens! About a year ago some Realtors start asking me to take pictures of their for sale homes. The NAR (National Association of Realtors) wrote in an article that 90% of Real Estate shoppers are looking on the internet and mainly at the pictures and 37% start working with an agent and end up buying and/or selling their property. I handle both residential and commercial investments. Our MLS (multiple listing service) and our boards in SoCal have implemented mandatory requirements to add pictures and no pictures is a violation and end with monetary penalties. Our MLS allows up to 35 pictures to be uploaded and the size is 640 x 480.
    That said, I work with a Canon 40D including a Battery Grip, a 430 EXII flash, Canon 10-22mm lens, a monopod, a tripod and when needed a remote control and a water level indicator. I do not want the vertical walls to be skewed and that means the lens has to horizontal.
    Taking pictures from the home I have often used the flash with minus 2 stops to reduce the shadows.
    Before taking any inside pictures I walk through the whole house adjusting the lights in each room using interior lights and available blinds and/or drapes. I also announced ahead of time when I am planning to do the shoot to give Realtor and owners the time to spruce up the interior.
    Most of the inside shots are taken in AV mode with iso 200 and sometimes I use bracketing. When using the flash it is used as a bouncer in the direction of a dark area.
    Taking pictures of million dollar homes that has really large rooms I use the tripod and take some pictures to perform HDR, otherwise nearly always the monopod with a quick release. My photo wordpress website is still under construction, but also ready to see some home pictures. If you are interested, go to www.LetPicturesTalk.com .
    Real Estate is a new and open field for photography. I have checked out some Realtors who only work in area of high end estates and homes. They hire Professional Photographers and pay often between $600 and $2000 per home. If you are still young it might be good direction to go. But marketing is very important and that means get yourself a good website.

  11. #11
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    Re: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    Its amazing how crappy some of the pictures that realtors use really are.

    Probably the biggest thing is making the room presentable in the first place.

    I agree it is very important to be able to see through the windows, although an occasional time exposure of the outside of a property can really set it apart.

    If theres a fireplace, roll up some newspaper and light it, it will flare for long enough to capture two or three descent shots, although do make sure that there is an open flue.

    Always always take a tripod and use the flash(es) off camera hidden behind some furniture.

    And save up for that high quality wide angle lens. A 12-24mm (on a full frame) will make you wonder how you ever managed without it.

    You might also want to experiment with 360 panoramas too.
    Last edited by shreds; 20th October 2011 at 06:26 PM.

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    Re: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    Colin,

    You left the poor cat outside! Noooooooo! Get the cat or dog curled up in front of the fire for that ooh factor. Known to even sell houses!

  13. #13

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    Re: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    I am going to do the 360 panorama with panoweaver. I do want to get a canon 10-22mm lens for real estate. It would make such a difference.

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    Re: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    Quote Originally Posted by shreds View Post
    Colin,

    You left the poor cat outside! Noooooooo! Get the cat or dog curled up in front of the fire for that ooh factor. Known to even sell houses!
    Yes - we actually noticed that later. Funnily enough, our neighbour just sold her house ... it came down to two buyers. One put another log on the fire to keep the place a bit warmer ... she got the house because of that.

  15. #15
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    Re: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    I attended a real estate sales course (which was an elective when I was going for my bachelor's degree). The instructor provided a lot of tips on how to spruce up a property so that it would look good to a buyer. He recommended removing a goodly amount of furniture since many homes, especially older homes with smaller rooms seem overcrowded with the furniture stuffed in there. Also, make sure that there are not piles of books,magazines, etc. laying around.

    Two tips which could be carried over to photography is to have all the lights on - even during the day. This makes the room look brighter and warmer. He also recommended having vases with flowers (even artificial flowers) strategically located.

    One tip to make a home seem inviting is to bake a loaf of bread (even a frozen loaf) giving the home a wonderful odor. Unfortunately we don't have smellography yet, so that last tip is useless for photography.

    Finally, IMO, many architectural images need perspective corrected. You can do this in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and probably in most other editing programs. Straight verticals in an image make it look professional.

    Also, use a tripod and shoot with a relatively small aperture and have your camera's sensor perpendicular to the floor to avoid as must perspective distortion as possible.

    Finally, shooting a 3-4 shot panorama with the camera in the portrait position, might enable you to cover areas wider than your lens can catch.

  16. #16
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    Re: Real Estate Photography- tips and techniques.

    I started out with a Pro photpgrapher doing exactly this kind of shots for local agents/realtors some twenty plus plus years ago. I learnt so much (thanks David!) about this type of photography in those far off days. He used to have a selection of flowers to put in the right place, and a small branch in the boot of his car to hold over the camera to frame the shot. The lights tip, yes we did that too, the warm glow was so inviting and also have some of the windows open to always make it look like a summers day. Any shots with snow would be reshot within days, and if ccourse anything that didnt sell quickly would be reshot to change the season (spring bulbs, green leaves, etc.

    On more than one occasion he made the place look so good that the sellers would see the picture in the window and try and buy their own house! Yes really!
    Last edited by shreds; 21st October 2011 at 12:52 AM.

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