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The Secret to Professional Real Estate Photography

By Lindsay Davis Last Updated November 14, 2019 6 min read

Understanding how to shoot professional real estate photography is a medium that takes skill, know-how, and passion.

Ever want to know what goes on behind the scenes before a property ever hits the MLS, Zillow or Redfin? It involves significant preparation prior to listing a home, which includes the listing photo shoot. We asked three of our 180+ Virtuance photographers nationwide to share some of their insights on how to shoot real estate photography. Here’s what they had to say:

JESS J.

Jess began her career photographing families and weddings. After 12+ years of being a wedding photographer, she decided to add real estate photography to her growing repertoire. Jess’s greatest success is showing her son that dreams of being an entrepreneur and doing what you love can be achieved.

How long have you been shooting photography?

I have been a photographer for over 15 years!

What is your favorite thing about this profession?

I absolutely love shooting real estate photos. I get to get up every day and schedule my day around my family. It’s not a 9-5 grind. I am not locked into a weekly schedule that would absolutely bore this creative mind! Besides the flexible schedule, I love that I get to make a living doing what I am most passionate about. I also really enjoy meeting all kinds of interesting people!

How is real estate photography different from other styles of photography?

Real estate photography is so different from anything else I have ever done. You aren’t photographing people, so you don’t have to worry too much about movement – and the house won’t complain about a flyaway hair like a bride will.

Working for Virtuance Real Estate Photography has taught me how to capture great compositions to highlight the best parts of a property. I was a decent real estate photographer before Virtuance, but now, I am a great photographer thanks to their excellent customer service and amazing on-boarding process.

What can we find in your gear bag for a real estate photography shoot?

You can find a wide-angle lens, my cameras, a tripod, business cards, brochures, cleaning cloths (for those pesky flyaway dust particles!) and..lens caps. Lots of lens caps. With doing around 5-7 shoots a week with Virtuance, it’s super important for me to keep my bag and my equipment with me at all times.

What are 3 strategies you adhere to when capturing the listing images?

  1. Always introduce yourself to whoever is present whether it be the homeowner or agent
  2. I shoot the exteriors first so I can easily remove my shoes before entering the property
  3. Quickly check out the space to see the best route to take and see what, if anything, can be hidden (dish soaps, used towels, etc.) before beginning.

These 3 simple strategies allow me to move through the property efficiently, which helps both the agent and myself move onto our next task.

What is one thing you wish your Virtuance client would know about the listing photoshoot process?

To make everything run smoothly, preparation is key. Real estate photographers work best when knowing key information prior to arriving at the listing photoshoot. This includes lockbox codes, amenity gate codes for subdivision add-ons, and any other entry codes necessary to shoot the property.

How is working with Virtuance different?

Virtuance is one of the best companies I have contracted for. They take care of you, stay in touch when any problems may arise and are committed to producing exceptional real estate marketing tools and photography packages for their clients.


DANIEL R.

Daniel grew up in the Midwest and now lives in Morrison, CO. When it comes to photography, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Daniel’s love for photography was fostered through his dad’s own career in the industry. After purchasing a camera in college, his passion developed through building his Instagram accounts, which feature his two Australian Shepherds, Roja and Ringo. Prior to working with Virtuance Real Estate Photography, Daniel’s photography portfolio included Inventory Photography for a car dealership and wildlife photography.

How long have you been shooting photography?

I have been taking pictures for about 4 years now.

What is your favorite thing about this profession?

My favorite part is definitely the people (and dogs) I get to meet every day! Having studied speech and communication in college I get a real kick out of interacting with people from all walks of life. Moving can be one of the most stressful life events someone faces, and to be able to reduce some of the stress for them is great. It’s also a lot of fun to see so many different houses, old and new. Some of the things people do with their homes are incredible and to have the opportunity to see so many of those nifty features is always a cool part of my day and gives me a lot of ideas for a home if I ever have the chance to build or renovate my own.

How is real estate photography different from other styles of photography?

Real estate photography is different from other photography in a few ways. If I’m taking pictures of an alpine lake I can’t just go move a tree or flower to make the shot even cooler, I have to work with what is there. Same with people and especially animals. They are going to do what they want and I’m at the mercy of the subject to a certain degree.

With real estate photography, I have infinitely more control over the image. I can move a light or a coffee table to open the space. On top of that, lighting is never a concern with Virtuance because of their HDReal® image processing solution. I can take a picture of a basement in low light and it looks just as lit up as the living room. It’s a great system and takes one of the more frustrating aspects of photography out of the equation.

What can we find in your gear bag for a real estate photography shoot?

In order to capture high-quality consistent images that are required by Virtuance, I carry my wide angle lens, a tripod, my panorama head for 360 shots and my laptop. We upload our listing photo shoots right after we finish taking images of the property. This allows me to check for clarity and composition before I head to the next shoot.

What are 3 strategies you adhere to when capturing the listing images?

  1. Focus on highlighting the space, not the items within the space
  2. Be aware of the difference an inch can make – with a wide angle lens, moving as far back as possible can be a huge benefit to the composition of the space
  3. Practice efficiency, not speed when moving through the property

What is one thing you wish your Virtuance client would know about the listing photoshoot process?

The biggest piece of advice I could give clients for prepping for the shoot would be to remember that less is more. Removing the clutter and cleaning the space can go a long way for real estate photos. Virtuance offers clients a pre-shoot checklist that helps agents and sellers prepare their home for the upcoming listing photo shoot.

How is working with Virtuance different?

Working with Virtuance is particularly great because each photoshoot is the definition of a team effort. Shoots are scheduled and sent directly to my calendar. I arrive at the property, take the real estate photos, and move onto the next shoot — all the while the processing team is taking care of the finishing touches. On top of that, there is an incredible team of CSRs working to answer both client and photographer questions.


AMANDA E.

Amanda resides in Southern California and owns Stone Studio Concepts. Her photography specialties include pet, nature, portraiture and real estate. She is a certified professional photographer with active registration through the Professional Photographers of America. She holds 2 merits from the International Library of Photography and 16 Photocrowd awards.

How long have you been shooting photography?

I have been shooting photography for 3 years. I’ve had my stand-alone professional photography business for one year.

What is your favorite thing about this profession?

I love being behind the camera shooting anything. With shooting real estate photography, I enjoy creating images of the home and seeing different layouts and spaces.

How is real estate photography different from other styles of photography?

It is different from all other styles of photography because the houses don’t have insecurities you need to work with like in portraiture. Houses have a process you can follow to get great shots and still leave room for creativity. Take Virtuance for example – they have a superior process for capturing properties in the best light. I have learned the most about how to shoot real estate photography from Virtuance and I carry that knowledge to every shoot.

What can we find in your gear bag for a real estate photography shoot?

You’ll find my Canon 5D Mark II, lenses, and an adjustable FotoFans rail. I also carry a tripod with a ball head and quick release plates. I always bring charged batteries and a charger. Lastly, my bag holds a Rocket air puff, cleaning solution, hot shoe level, and a memory card waterproof/shockproof wallet.

What are 3 strategies you adhere to when capturing the listing images?

  1. Incorporating the third wall
  2. Adjusting the tripod height appropriately for the space
  3. Paying close attention to verticals

What is one thing you wish your Virtuance client would know about the listing photoshoot process?

This process takes experience, skill, and know-how. We take great pride in capturing their listing and this is not something that anyone can do with their own camera.

How is working with Virtuance different?

I love how Virtuance took the time to come to Southern California to meet me for on-boarding. Their on-boarding process adds value and consistency to the end product, which is the way things should be!  I love this community and feel like I am actually part of a team.


Virtuance’s recent awards and accolades

Denver Business Journal’s 2018 Best Places to Work

2018 Best of Houzz Customer Service 

Top 60 Real Estate Marketing Blog

Inc 5000 fastest growing company

Denver Business Journal’s 2016 Best Places to Work