Real Estate Photos. Professional or Amateur. Can You Tell the Difference?

We have all been there at one point or another. Searching for an apartment to rent or a home to buy. Sifting through local classifieds,, or any other platform to help you find a place to live. We scan through picture after picture, trying to find the perfect place for us to live.  Recently, I have been looking into buying a home and finding myself questioning why would somebody post a picture that way, or why would they shoot it like that. Well, there's a big difference when it comes to amateur and professional real estate photography.

Selling or trying to rent out your home or apartment is a huge time commitment and in most cases time sensitive. Why would you want to waste time with low-quality photos? Giving the first impression to your home is critical as it can in most times make or break getting potential buyers to schedule a walk through.

(Read to the very end where you will see examples of what not to do with tips and tricks on how to avoid looking like these examples.)

The Right Angle

As I searched through some photos, I pulled some that I thought would be good to compare. Let's see if you can tell the difference between these pictures of the kitchen area.

Which one is more pleasing for you to look at? The kitchen on the left is set at a lower viewpoint. This helps create straight lines rather than looking at a higher point where it's harder to create straight lines. The photo on the right isn't evenly lit which makes it less appealing to look at. The photo on the left looks to be more professional than the one on the right.

The Outside Money Shot

What photo would you list as the main picture for people to look at? Most people go with the outside shot. After all, that's the first thing you see when you pull up to actually look at a home for a walk through. So, you want to make a big impression right here which is why I call this the money shot. It's really going to determine if people click on your listing, or if they will just keep scrolling.

Below are two outside pictures of homes. Can you again tell which picture is taken by an amateur and what one is taken by a professional?

Things Not To Do!

This is where you really need to pay attention. For all Real Estate Agents, please urge your clients to have professional photos taken. It makes their homes sell a lot faster! Below are photos of what not to do for real estate photography.

These photos were the only ones on this listing. Can you see any part of the actual home in these photos? Will this appeal to buyers? Nope, and unfortunately not.

I understand that not every may be able to afford a professional photographer, but there are some basic tips to consider if you are using your own camera or last resort your phone. Here are some tips to remember.

Real Estate Photography Tips and Tricks

  • Light the room with as much lighting as possible. Point'n shoot cameras and phones don't have good low light functionality. Shoot during the day so you can open the windows to bring in more light.
  • Use a tripod. Using a tripod will help stabilize any shaking while taking pictures at what may be a low shutter speed.
  • Shoot at a lower angle to capture more of the rooms and get straight lines.
  • Back up into the corners of the rooms to get the full view of the room.
  • Use your built-in HDR to see how those photos look. You will have to be picky on this as not all HDR functions produce the best results.
  • Remember, the rooms are what should be the main focus, not the decor or what you have on your walls.
  • Don't have any people or pets in these photos no matter what. Try avoiding mirrors and take them at angles where you or the camera won't be seen. If it's unavoidable, set the tripod up and use a timer to get out of the way.
  • There's nothing wrong with having at least one picture per room and two for larger rooms.

To those of you who are Real Estate Agents, again, make a big push for professional photos. This is their home on the line. When homes don't sell fast, it causes stress on both sides.

To those who are amateurs, take these tips into consideration and have better success to have your home look more appealing and sale a lot faster.