Being a Professional Real Estate Photographer

Professional real estate photographers don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, your job is to work closely with your client or real estate agent. Your job is to provide a service to that agent who’s trying to make a living selling a house. They need your professional images to help promote their business and connect with clients. A professional real estate photographer must form--and support--a relationship with an agent. You must set this relationship pretty much from the beginning. Your part of the business relationship is to photograph their listings and help get their properties sold. You must also be able to get along with them, and you must have an understanding of how the real-estate system works. If you want to keep working, you have to be a professional.

Your client will already know what type of photography they want and will expect you to already have a pretty good understanding of what needs to be photographed. If you're new to real estate photography or are already a working real estate photographer, the following advice (a little basic for some, I hope) may make you more aware of some of the skills you should be experienced with. These skills will help you to create that important professional relationship with your agents.

The best photographers know what questions to ask; show a genuine interest in the business; and learn about their agent's unique needs and their business goals. Photographers must learn to listen to their agents and anticipate suggestions that will be helpful. A professional photographer will be reliable, always show up on time (when promised), dress professionally, and care about their agent's needs. Professional real estate photographers know they have to always work to keep their agent’s trust and work even harder to always do the best work they are capable of. It's all about taking care of business, making that property shine, sell faster and for more money, and making that agent look good. Your photography will one of the most important parts of your agent’s marketing. Your photographs are a reflection of the agent. Your photography has got to top-notch. (

Differences in Lines

There are some major differences between experienced and unskilled real estate photographers. The most obvious (and what should be the first thing to look for) is vertical lines. When the look of an interior or an exterior property photograph seems to be at an angle or “tilting,” your vertical lines are not straight.  Almost everywhere we look doors, walls, windows, and buildings are all perfectly straight. It's important to have a strong and sturdy tripod, and you should ensure that it is perfectly level when you take your picture. A level camera will straighten the vertical lines and make the resulting photo more pleasing to look at, and there’s always your photo editing program to help you.  ( A real estate photographers’ job is to display the property their clients are trying to sell in the best possible way. Your pictures have to impress the viewer; they need to have true verticals and flat horizontals lines. A professional photographer will know how to level the image to take that best picture. Otherwise, the room or the house will appear distorted and out-of-balance, suggesting the room is in need of repair. That's not good. 

Necessary Bracketing

Correct Color Balance

Correct Color Balance

Manipulating exposure is an important technique for any photographer to fully understand and know how to do. A scene does not always have the same exposure. There are normally light areas and dark areas that have to be dealt with to capture the brightness range of a scene. There are editing programs for photo manipulation as well as other methods; but if you have the software experience, you may be able to edit the exposure problem out. One good method is exposure bracketing. It's a better method that you can use to solve the problem, if you know how to make the camera adjustments. Exposure bracketing is taking the same picture multiple times—but with different exposures each time, either changing aperture, shutter speed, or ISO. One of the exposures should be a more correct exposure; the goal is to get a great photograph that is a realistic looking image.  (How To Shoot Brackets So You Capture The Whole Brightness Range Of A Room)

Filling with Flash

Professional photographers are expected to be able to create great images that are well-exposed and with flash used correctly. Mixing the room light together with either on- or off-camera flash to create a natural look is the best way to show off the features of an interior room. You can bounce your flash off a white ceiling or off a white wall to diffuse the light to avoid the harsh shadows that can ruin your interior shots. Learning this one skill will greatly improve your real estate photography. (How Do You Use A Flash To Light Interiors?) 

White Balance

Incorrect Color Balance

Incorrect Color Balance

White balance is important to understand. It is essential to get it as correct as possible for a true representation of the image you're photographing. White balance is the color of an object, affected by the color or temperature under the light in which it is viewed. Our brains and our eyes will compensate for the differences in the light temperature; that's why white objects look white. Our digital cameras can’t compensate as people do and will need help in presenting an exact color. The white balance settings on your camera are what will help your DSLR emulate the correct color. It is a good practice to learn about white balance and how to set it on your camera. White balance works with your fill flash. You need to learn to match the color temperature of your flash with the existing light in the scene you're photographing. White balance can make a dramatic difference in how pictures are seen. (What Workflow Do Real Estate Photographers Use For White Balance?)

There is much to learn to be a professional real estate photographer. We’re only just touching on some of the basic things that will help define you as a professional photographer. You want to be the photographer that you would want to hire as a professional photographer for yourself! Your main goals should be: to be as helpful as you can for your client, know your clients’ needs, and know how they always want certain photography. Understand that the photography you create will either help sell your agent’s listing or perhaps be part of the problem when it stays unsold for too long a time, which will probably cost you your continued work with that client. You want your client happy with your work as well as with you. (