Real Estate Photography: The Guide to Better Creating Better Listings

Photo of author
Written By Adam Warner

DealBloom aims to share the latest tips and strategies to help realtors, brokers, loan officers, and investors navigate the world of real estate.

If you want to make it in the real estate business, you need to create listings that stand out from the crowd. Don’t believe me? Do a quick Google search and see just how much competition there is out there. If you hope to draw in buyer after buyer, you need to create listings that pop, and great real estate photography is one of the best ways to make that happen.

But when it comes to real estate photography, you’ve got options. Should you hire a professional real estate photographer, or attempt to do it yourself? What equipment will you need? And how do you properly set up for a shoot?

Well, we’re here to answer these questions and more. We’ll explore all your options, the pros, and cons of each, and even give you a quick guide to handling your real estate photography on your own. So keep reading if you want to create better listings that truly stand out!

Table of contents:

    Hire a Real Estate Photographer or Do it Yourself
    A Guide to Doing Your Own Real Estate Photography
    Real Estate Photography in the Age of Virtual Reality
    Upgrade Your Real Estate Listings Today!

Hire a Real Estate Photographer or Do it Yourself

According to studies, advertisements with a visual element are 43% more enticing for buyers. This is especially true in the digital age, where 86% of home buyers claim that a listing’s real estate photography is the primary reason that they went to view a home.

So it’s pretty clear that including imagery with your listings is pretty important, but is it important enough to actually spend the money necessary to hire a real estate photographer? Well, this all depends on a few factors:

  • Your budget
  • How much expertise you have when it comes to photography
  • The amount of time you have to commit to the project

While it’s certainly possible to take great real estate photos yourself, doing so will require a larger time commitment and could be beyond your capability.

You’ll need to ask yourself if you’re capable of taking real estate photos that look like this:

You want your real estate photos to come out looking something like this

While avoiding blunders such as this:

Don’t take photographs that will frighten off potential buyers

So if you have the confidence in your photography skills or the time to learn some real estate photography editing tricks, then, by all means, take your own photos. But otherwise, you may want to consider hiring a real estate photographer to handle things.

Below, we’ll cover some of the benefits and drawbacks of each.

The Benefits of Hiring a Real Estate Photographer

It saves time. If you’re a successful realtor, there’s a good chance you don’t have time to learn how to use the newest photo editing software are to adjust the settings on a DSLR camera. A professional real estate photographer will take all of these time commitments off of your hands.

No need to buy equipment. Chances are, you don’ have the same level of camera that a professional photographer would have — and no, your Galaxy Note 10+ doesn’t count. Real estate photography equipment can cost you thousands of dollars, so by hiring a professional, you can skip that initial investment.

It will help your properties sell quicker. It has been shown that listings containing professional real estate photography tend to sell up to 32% quicker.

They have the skills to do it right. While you may be able to take some great photos, you probably don’t understand all the dynamics behind what makes a photo great. A professional real estate photographer understands these things and can take amazing photographs of your home because of it. Your photos may be good, but they likely won’t compare.

The Drawbacks of Hiring a Real Estate Photographer

  • The cost.

Professional real estate photographers can be pretty pricey. While cheap options do exist, they may not do as great of a job as their more expensive counterparts. Regardless, it’s likely cheaper than real estate photography classes and buying your own equipment.

  • It could set unrealistic expectations.

While professional photos will most likely look amazing, some of the tricks professional real estate photographers use could give your potential buyers some unrealistic expectations. For example, some lenses can give a room the illusion that it’s larger than it is. When a buyer sees the true size of the room, they may think you were trying to trick them.

The Benefits of Doing Your Own Real Estate Photography

Do things on your schedule. If you’re in a rush to get a listing up and need some photos immediately, doing it yourself may be the best option. A professional real estate photographer has other clients and may not be able to take and edit your photos for weeks. Doing it yourself can be done in an afternoon.

Will save you money in the long run. The initial investment of a camera, equipment, and possibly real estate photography classes may set you back hundreds if not thousands of dollars. However, the ability to do all your own photographs will definitely save you money over time. Just remember, time is money. So if your time could be spent doing more profitable activities, hire a professional.

Don’t have to depend on the tastes of others. You know what you like better than anybody else. So if you have an excellent idea of exactly how you want your photos to turn out and the skills to make it happen, don’t bother hiring outside help.

The Drawbacks of Doing Your Own Real Estate Photography

Better equipment. Even if you buy the fancy new Nikon D3500, you still probably don’t have as much expensive equipment as someone who has made real estate photography their career. Better equipment in the hands of a professional will equal better photos. Unless photography is your side gig, you probably can’t compete.

Lack of experience. They call them professional photographers for a reason. These people spend every day taking beautiful photos. After years of doing this, taking a great photo becomes second nature. This skill takes years of experience and isn’t something any amount of classes can teach you.

Lose time you could spend on more profitable activities. Even though you will save the money you’d spend on a real estate photographer when you take your own photos, if you could have spent that time doing something more profitable, you’re still losing out.

How Much Will Professional Real Estate Photography Cost?

How much you’ll have to spend on real estate photography really depends on who you hire. While an inexperienced or cut-rate photographer could be found for as little as $50 to $110, they may not always deliver the best results.

A seasoned real estate photographer who can expertly shoot and edit will definitely cost you more and can run you as much as $150 to $500 for photos. Keep in mind, if you want videos, this could easily add another couple of hundred dollars to your bill.

It is possible to take the photos yourself and then hire someone to do the editing for you. This could save you quite a bit, as you can find those who specialize in editing real estate photos advertising their services on Fiverr for as little as $5. Don’t go this route unless you have a decent camera and an eye for taking good real estate photographs.

It’s possible to get your real estate photos edited for cheap on websites like Fiverr

Where to Find a Real Estate Photographer

There are several different methods that can be used to find a professional real estate photographer. Some of the better ways include:


Similar to just about every other service out there, one of the best places to find a real estate photographer is Google. Just typing the phrase “local real estate photographer” into the search engine brings up a variety of professionals offering their services from the low to high price range.

The benefit of this approach is that you can see a star rating and past reviews for your potential hires, so you’ll know whether or not they offer consistently good results.

Google is a quick and easy way to find a local real estate photographer

Board of Realtors:

Another option is to contact your local board of realtors. Depending on your local organization, they can likely put you in touch with a professional real estate photographer relatively quickly. Most of the time they will have a database of photographers who offer proven results.

Social Media:

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn are also good places to find real estate photographers. Especially Facebook, as any successful real estate photography pro is likely to be using the free platform to advertise their services.

Instagram is also a popular website that real estate photographers use to show off their portfolio. Seeing their past work is an excellent way to judge whether or not they can handle your job satisfactorily.

Facebook has loads of real estate photography listings

Freelancing Websites:

While it may be a little more difficult to find someone local through a freelancing website such as Upwork or Fiverr, it’s not impossible. Additionally, as previously mentioned, these websites are great places to find professional real estate photography editors for cheap.

Upwork has quite a few professional photographers advertising their services


Another good option, especially if you’re on a budget, is Craigslist. Using this online message board, it’s possible to find real estate photographers who will shoot and edit photos for under $100 per property. There are also higher priced professionals advertising on Craigslist, so no matter what you’re looking for this is a great place to check.

This real estate photographer is only charging $90 for propertied under 2,000 square feet!

What to Look for in a Real Estate Photographer

Once you’ve narrowed down a few potential real estate photographers, you’ll need to decide which one is the best candidate. A few things to look out for when deciding which one deserves your business are:

  1. The type of photography they specialize in, real estate photography, or are they more of a generalist
  1. Are they incredibly busy, as this could mean that they’re good, but it could also equal a long wait time before they can fit you in
  1. What equipment do they have and can it handle your job? If you’re looking for something specific, such as drone footage, this is especially relevant
  1. Are they willing to show you examples of past work, if not, this is a huge red flag
  1. Online reviews from websites such as Facebook, Yelp, and Google
  1. How long does it usually take for them to shoot photos and edit photos? If you’re short on time, make sure that you ask about their turnaround time
  1. Check if the photographer wants to retain rights to the images. This may not be a big deal depending on your situation, but it’s good to know

A Guide to Doing Your Own Real Estate Photography

If you’re the type who would rather do it yourself, don’t worry, we didn’t forget about you. While hiring a professional will arguably get you the best results, there is a certain sense of satisfaction and pride that goes into handling it yourself (plus, it can save you quite a bit).

So for all of you do it yourself-ers, here are some quick tips to taking your own real estate photographs:

Real Estate Photography Tip #1: Hire a Cleaner

While you could always clean the house yourself, it’s hard to match the level of spotlessness a professional cleaner can provide. And regardless, you’re going to need to clean the place before you show it off, so make sure it’s clean before you take your photos as well.

If your property looks like this when you take photos, don’t expect a lot of interested buyers

Real Estate Photography Tip #2: Take an Online Course

With online courses for learning just about anything being so cheap and plentiful nowadays, you could easily spend your free time becoming a real estate photography master. With online learning platforms such as Udemy, you can find real estate photography courses for less than $20.

Udemy offers real estate photography courses for cheap

Real Estate Photography Tip #3: Make Sure You Have Good Lighting

Dark real estate photographs look depressing and definitely aren’t very inviting. Make sure to shoot with as much natural and artificial light as necessary. You don’t want your photos looking like they were shot in a dungeon.

This photo could definitely use new light…and furniture

Real Estate Photography Tip #4: Buy the Right Equipment

Cameras like the Nikon D850 aren’t cheap, but if you want to be able to take professional-looking real estate photographs, you need a professional photographer’s camera.

You’ll probably also need to buy a variety of lenses, lights, editing software, and other professional equipment if you intend to do things right. While this will all equal up to an initial investment in the thousands of dollars, with all the money you’ll save not hiring professional photographers, it’ll end up being cheaper.

The Nikon D850 isn’t cheap, but if you’re taking your own real estate photos, it may be worth the investment

Real Estate Photography Tip #5: Get Rid of Clutter

If your real estate photography is loaded with clutter, even if it’s clean and well-organized clutter, it’s going to turn off potential buyers.

Remember that buyers want to be able to envision themselves in the property that you’re showing, so if it’s cluttered with another person’s belongings, this will be more difficult to accomplish.

Ideally, your photos should be free of clutter and probably shouldn’t look like a mad man’s fever dream either

Real Estate Photography Tip #6: Include Photos of Everything

Far too many listings only have one or two poorly shot images of the property they’re trying to sell. This is a huge mistake. Nowadays, buyers want to be able to take a virtual tour of the property. They want to see a shot of every room, and sometimes several of them.

Some of the photos you need to include in your listing are:

One or two photos of the front of the property

One to three photos of the back of the property

A photo of each bathroom

Two wide-angled photos of each bedroom, kitchen, and living room

One photo of any notable feature that the property may have, things like a fireplace, swimming pool, or breakfast bar. Use your common sense here, if you think it’s a good selling point, make sure to photograph it

Far too many realtors only include one bad image of the front of a property

Real Estate Photography Tip #7: Get the Right Software

Unless you decide to outsource the photo editing part of the process, you’re going to need to buy some editing software. Additionally, spend the time to learn this software well as it will be vital to creating professional-looking real estate photos that pop.

Some photo editing software to consider are:

Corel Paintshop Pro – This easy to use software will automatically correct a photograph’s perspective or adjust it’s coloring, making it great for newbies. On top of this, it’s very affordable compared to software like Adobe Photoshop.

Aurora HDR – This HDR photo editing software uses AI to enhance your photographs. While they may not come out as nice as a professional editor’s work, it’s still a great option if you don’t want to spend too much time learning a new piece of software.

Adobe Photoshop – Great all-around photo editing software. It is pretty difficult to master though, but it’s totally worth the challenge.

Real Estate Photography in the Age of Virtual Reality

The age when boring old real estate photographs were sufficient enough to draw in loads of buyers will soon be gone. The expectations of modern real estate buyers are increasing as new tools and technologies hit the market. This is especially true with the advent of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) tools.

No longer do buyers have to hop in their car and drive to your property to take a tour. With virtual tours becoming more and more common, many realtors offer tours of their properties without needing to actually be there.

Some of the more popular VR and AR services that modern realtors are using include:

Matterport – This company creates both virtual reality and 3D models of your property so buyers can check it out from the comfort of their own homes.

Virtuance – As the leading real estate photography company in the country, Virtuance should be on your radar. Not only will they photograph your property, but they offer HD virtual tours as well.

Floor Planning Online – With Floor Planning Online, you can have your real estate photography, videos (including aerial), and 2D/3D floor plans done. The company also offers a virtual tour service.

Upgrade Your Real Estate Listings Today!

Now you have all the information you need to either hire a real estate photographer or to take your real estate photography into your own hands. Which one you choose all depends on you.

Will it be cheaper just to do it yourself, regardless of results? Or could you spend your time better doing other marketing activities, like generating leads ? This for you to decide. Just remember, that great real estate photography is a huge part of creating successful listings. So no matter what you decide to do, use this guide to make sure you do it right!

Focus Keyword: real estate photography

Additional Keywords: real estate photographer, professional real estate photography, professional real estate photographer, hire real estate photographer, benefits of professional photography real estate

Meta Description: Nowadays, buyers are picky. And unless you can impress them with beautifully shot real estate photography in your listings, your sales will suffer.