Whether with a smartphone or professional camera, real estate photography can be less challenging with these tips from a professional photographer, you put your property in the right light.
Learning to Take Pictures of Houses and Real Estate
Photo tip 1: take your time
Not every landlord or broker has a lot of time, especially if the tenants are still in the apartment. Of course you don’t want to bother for long. But often you only see afterwards that something does not fit: the picture is blurry, too dark, too bright or there are objects that have a disadvantageous effect on the room. I therefore always plan some time to let the space work on me. This is the only way I can capture the respective atmosphere. I call that a feeling of space.
Photo tip 2: create a feeling of space
In pictures I always try to create a feeling of space. That means: when I look at the photos, I feel good and can imagine living in the apartment shown. This works better with a furnished apartment, because it is easier to convey emotions with furniture and other home features such as the tile flooring from Carl Anders. If the property is already vacated, I can still create a positive feeling of space with the right technology. For example, I can create a feel-good atmosphere by paying attention to suitable lighting conditions.
Photo tip 3: Choose the right motif and image detail
A furnished apartment should definitely be tidied up, because order brings calm into the picture. For the photo, I can arrange furniture nicer and put a few decorative pieces on the table or closet or on the shelf. In a living room with an old-fashioned oak cupboard that fills the entire wall, with crocheted doilies and a dark velvet sofa set, you can’t do much. In such a case – tastes are simply different – I simply would not show the room. The rule here is: less is more.
Once I have decided on a motif or an area in the room, I take a few test photos. I look through them straight away, because I often notice little things that are annoying: be it the clothes horse on the balcony in the background or the open milk carton and the bottle of detergent on the kitchen counter. You can put that away quickly – with a big effect: the room immediately looks much tidier and quieter.
It is also important to choose a suitable image section. Often you cut furniture or other things that do not fit the rest of the picture. For example, if I want to photograph the corner of the sofa with a coffee table and cut the dining table next to it, it doesn’t look harmonious. One solution would be to move the dining table for the photo aside. Or I can crop the picture accordingly.
Photo tip 4: It’s the perspective that counts
When shooting indoors, you want as much space as possible, if not the entire room, to be in the picture. For a professional camera, I clearly recommend a wide-angle lens. With the smartphone you should definitely avoid one of the most common mistakes: tilt the camera. Many do it automatically to capture more space. But this causes wall lines to run towards each other and the perspective is distorted. They don’t get more of the room in the picture. Some also stand on a ladder so that they achieve the same distortion effect.
My tip: take pictures from a height of about one meter. I bend my knees a little or hold the smartphone down. The camera should be as straight as possible. I also take photos of a room from all four corners where possible, because I can take most of the space from the corner – later I can choose the best from all the pictures. I wouldn’t stand between the door frames or in the hallway.
A 2D effect quickly emerges when taking pictures of houses, namely when the photographer photographs a building from the front. If he also tilts the camera, the perspective is additionally distorted. I achieve a 3D effect by taking more photos of the building from the side so that the longitudinal facade is visible. But. In higher houses, one should avoid the frog perspective – the edges converge optically upwards. Instead, it can also be photographed from the second or third floor of an opposite building. If it is not open to the public, you must, of course, ask for permission beforehand.
Photo tip 5: put the property in the right light
The best time to take pictures is during the day when it is bright outside. Shadow is ideal for interiors. If the blazing sun shines through the window, the image is overexposed. I can remedy this with a blind or try again later. Outdoor shots are too dark in backlighting or light reflections can also occur. With a professional camera, I can regulate the amount of light via the aperture and the shutter speed and also set the appropriate exposure value. On my smartphone, I can focus the exposure on the subject by tapping – the selected image area then becomes brighter and sharper.
Nevertheless, the lighting conditions can prove to be unfavorable, for example, because the sky is very cloudy or because a room has no window. Under no circumstances would I provide more brightness with additional lighting. Overexposure threatens, drop shadows form and the different light sources often produce different colors of the lights. I’d rather take a picture that is too dark and lighten it up afterward.
Photo tip 6: subtle reworking is allowed
If the pictures are too dark or too light, you can save a lot afterwards. Post-processing is fine as long as you don’t falsify the photos. Images can be optimized via brightness, lighting and contrast as well as the color setting. With more brightness and warmer colors, the photos look much friendlier. In addition, the appropriate image section can be cropped to achieve a good and harmonious image ratio.
Classic programs such as Photoshop Elements or free alternatives such as GIMP and Paint.net are suitable here. For the smartphone there are now good and free apps for image editing, for example PicsArt Photo Studio, Snapseed or Photoshop Express. Some smartphones have a pre-installed editing program, where various factors such as white balance or exposure value can be adjusted in the settings. Usually the default settings are automatic, I would leave it at that.
Extra tip from the professional: which camera?
Good pictures are possible with a smartphone as well as with a professional camera. If you would like to try out the latter, you do not necessarily have to buy an expensive SLR camera. I recommend a system camera instead. This is a kind of digicam with a detachable lens and functions similar to an SLR camera, only much cheaper.
In general, the more expensive a project or property is, the more I would prefer a professional camera, if not a photographer who specializes in architecture. No matter which camera you choose – if you follow all the tips, nothing can go wrong. The most important thing is: plan some time, take test photos, look at them, eliminate any interference factors and take pictures again. In this way, the desired effect can be achieved with the real estate advertisement.