Why Professional Photography Matters

Get The Guide
Marketing Ideas

3 Ways to Spot Professional Real Estate Photos

By Lindsay Goebel Last Updated June 22, 2020 3 min read

Top agents in the real estate industry know how important it is to use professional real estate photography for their listings. That’s not to say that some agents don’t use their own equipment, including smartphones, to take listing photos. While real estate images taken by a realtor or a friend can look decent enough, there are certain aspects of those images that simply cannot look professional.

kitchen with white counters

In this post, we discuss 3 easy ways to tell if a listing photo is taken by a professional or by an amatuer. Once you see the differences, it’s likely you’ll stick with a professional real estate photographer for all of your listings!

Image Composition

If you’ve ever looked at a listing image and thought “this feels funky” it’s probably an issue with the composition. Real estate photography that isn’t professionally shot often misses the mark when it comes to correct composition.

Correct verticals are extremely important when it comes to producing a professional real estate image. Verticals need to be – vertical. When you look at a real estate photo, take a look at the vertical lines of the wall. They need to be in a straight vertical line, which is parallel to the frame of the image. If the verticals aren’t right, the entire image will feel off.

Another thing to look at when it comes to composition is the presence of the third wall in two-point composition images. You want to make sure your listing image has the right amount of the third wall in order to provide a sense of the space. No third wall will leave buyers wondering where the rest of the room leads to. Too much third wall will make the room feel smaller than it actually is.

Lastly, the real estate images need to be captured at the right height and angle. You don’t want your listing images to have too much ceiling or too much floor. Likewise, the height of the tripod will change depending on the room. Real estate images of the dining room should be captured at dining table height. Real estate images of the kitchen should be captured at countertop height. This technique also will give buyers a sense of space and functionality.

Exposure and Lighting

Real estate images that are either too dark or too bright make it hard for viewers to actually see what’s going on in the room. Seasoned real estate photographers typically use bracketing or flash and lighting to adjust image exposure. Professional real estate images will have proper exposure and lighting that allow buyers to see the image as if they are looking at the room with their own eyes.

Proper exposure and lighting also helps home buyers see the right colors and contrasts between the floors, ceiling, furniture and windows. If the exposure is blown out, you may not be able to see outside of the windows. Views from windows are important for buyers!

Clarity and Focus

Listing images that are out of focus and blurry are a sure sign of not hiring a professional real estate photographer. A real estate photographer uses professional equipment including wide angle lenses and tripods, which allow for them to capture sharp listing images.

Large living room with white couches

When you hire a professional real estate photographer, you will receive images that are high resolution – not fuzzy.


If you’re deciding between taking your own listing images, using a friend, or hiring a professional real estate photographer, remember to check for the three things above: image composition, exposure/lighting, clarity/focus.

Want to learn more about professional real estate photography? Click here.