If you are employed to take real estate pictures or you just like taking pictures of houses, then you need to know the best way to do that so your pictures turn out good. It may sound simple to take real estate photos, but it’s not something where you just stand in front of a house and click off a few frames. Here are some tips on taking the perfect real estate pictures:
Have the right gear
One of the first things to consider is to use the right gear. For real estate photos you need a wide angle lens (if you can afford it also a tilt shift lens), a good steady and sturdy tripod (prevents blurry photos from hand held shots), and a good flash (that tiny pop up one on your camera will not cut it).
Clean up the area around the house
Clutter and trash or things like an overgrown lawn can take away from a house looking its best. Obviously the real estate agent you are working for wants the house they are selling to look great, so doing things like picking up trash, mowing the lawn, and sweeping the porch go a long way to making the finished photo turn out perfect.
Chose the angle of the photo
Shooting a house straight on can be rather boring. If you instead do so from an angle, it gives some character and dimension to the home. You can choose the background that is most flattering to the building and the one that gives it the best backdrop.
Pay attention to the weather
Did you know that a sunny day may seem like a great choice to take a photo of a house, but it really isn’t? The best weather to shot a house photo is on a cloudy day, as this provides even and diffused lighting and gets rid of all the unforgiving shadows that could occur.
Pay attention to timing
Weather isn’t the only factor to help make the lighting for your house photo turn out better. The key to this is to choose the right time of the day. You want your lighting to be balanced between the house’s windows and the outside natural light. For instance, even if all the lights are turned on inside, no one outside will be able to tell if it’s sunny and high noon outside. But if you wait until evening after the sun has set, the outside of the house will be correctly exposed as the inside of the house looks warm and inviting with its interior lights turned on.
Shoot photos in the RAW
When it comes to trying to balance the light inside with the light outside, another thing to remember is to use the RAW setting for images. This way the balance between lighting and white balance can be tweaked to show the house in the way you desire.
Use Both Ambient and Flash Light
If you are taking photos inside a house in the daytime, the room light could be much darker than the outside natural light. If you don’t get the setting on the camera right so you can compensate for this, you will end up with over-exposed photos due to too much white light. You must balance lighting from inside with that of the outside. This can be done in several ways. One way is using a flash off camera that isn’t attached to the camera, which means the flash is used to increase the light exposure in the room. Another way is to learn how the shutter speed affects ambient light as the ISO level affects both that and the power of your flash. Learning out to properly use these will make the difference between mediocre and great real estate photos.
Learn the best camera settings
Speaking of ISO, it’s best to keep it at either 100 or 200, never on auto. This helps get rid of grainy or noisy photos. The key here is that you only raise the ISO if you need more power for your flash, as a higher ISO makes the flash more effective and powerful.
When it comes to aperture, put it at f/8. This is great for two main reasons: the lens is normally its sharpest and the depth of field is wide enough to ensure the whole room is in focus. The only time you should change this is if your flash needs more power. Then, open the aperture up to get more light. Remember to open it means picking a smaller f stop.
Compose your shots effectively
Make sure you have studied the area you want to photograph and know the best way to compose and set up the shot. Then, always take photos from more than one perspective so you can pick the best one once you get back to your studio. For instance, you can choose to aim the camera from one corner of a room to the other, or pick an angle that shows how one room flows into the next.
One vital thing is all vertical lines must actually be vertical. What that means is you have to aim the camera completely horizontally. If not, the results will look amateurish. Now, there are exceptions to that rule, for instance, if you are shooting a staircase, it is ok to tilt your camera upwards or downwards.
Most of the time it is advised to shoot from about chest height, or halfway in between the ceiling and a floor. But some say shoot at hip height. To be honest, you have to decide which way works for the room and its contents. For instance, if you are shooting a kitchen photo and the cupboards go from the ceiling down to the floor, shooting from the chest would work as it shows off the work surfaces. The bottom line is to make sure you don’t have too much dead and empty space when you compose the shot.
Using these tips will help improve your real estate photos.