One of the most common questions we get about house interior photography is how to photograph interiors without daylight over-exposing and washing out the windows. The quick and honest answer is – it’s tough but can be done.
For lots of listings, the view outside might be a big selling point you want to show off. Even if the view’s not that great you don’t want a big section of the picture completely blown out by those over-zealous photons racing into the room through the glass.
Read on to find some answers but be warned, this blog is a little more technical than usual. Actually, that’s a lie – it’s way more technical, mainly because it’s really hard to achieve the desired look if you’re not a pro photographer.
In my ongoing mission to simplify things and help agents have beautiful property photos to display, I do have a hack for you, dear reader. If you want the easiest way possible to stop whited-out windows, skip to Option 3 – but know this; it’s still kinda tricky!
Why are my windows over-exposed?
Over-exposed windows are a pain in house interior photography, but there’s a few solutions depending on how much work you want to put into your photos. Let’s start with why it happens in the first place.
When you walk into any room, you can see detail in the brightest highlights and the darkest shadows. If you look towards a window, you see everything in the room before the window and everything outside in perfect detail – the human eye is pretty amazing like that.
The problem, when it comes to house interior photography, is that there’s no camera or lens in the world that comes close to what your eye can manage. A camera’s sensor can expose for bright light outside, or it can expose for the dimmer interior ambient light. It can’t do both at the same time.
The sensor’s ability to show detail in the brightest and darkest areas of a shot is its ‘Dynamic Range’. The human eye can detect more than 20 stops of detail in its own dynamic range.
The best sensors in the most expensive professional DSLRs on the market can only manage about three-quarters of that. As agents, you are unlikely to want to buy the top of the range stuff, we actually recommend more basic entry-level gear so you inevitably will sacrifice some of that elusive Dynamic Range. It’s a cost-quality trade off.
If you do want to splash out a little more on a camera that can perform window detail capturing miracles, keep reading, but first, more technical stuff.
Here’s some interior photography tips to fix those washed-out windows.
Option 1: Balance out the lighting with flash (Skill level: Pro)
The only way to catch both interior and exterior detail in one shot is to even out the difference between the interior ambient light, and the daylight coming in from outside.
We can’t turn down the sun, so the only option is to add more light to the interior. You’re not going to manage this with regular home lighting already in the room, so it means setting up studio lighting or flash photography.
But that leads us to another problem. Unless you’re able to set up a few remote flash speedlights away from the camera to bounce the light, you’ll get unflattering shadows and a generally ugly photo.
Even if you can somehow bounce the light off the ceiling, your camera’s built-in flash isn’t up to this kind of job. And if you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know I’m not a fan of flash, it’s easy to shoot a dark room without flash.
Let’s forget the flash then.
Option 2: HDR interior photography and bracketing (Skill level: Pro)
No matter what equipment you’re using, whatever interior photography camera settings you try, sometimes getting a perfect exposure in-camera in one shot that shows the outside detail through a window isn’t possible. That’s where bracketing and HDR photography comes into play.
Bracketing images means composing your shot, then taking multiple photos at different exposure settings, then using software like Adobe Photoshop to composite them together into an image that shows the detail from each image cleverly fused together.
The darker exposure adds more detail to brighter areas, and vice versa. We call the finished composite a HDR, or High Dynamic Range image.
The simplest bracketing method for house interior photography is to take three exposures of -2, 0, +2 “stops”. In this case 0 is a neutral, regular “point and shoot” exposure. -2 is a darker exposure two stops down, and +2 is a brighter exposure two stops up. Most DSLRs have an auto-bracketing setting which will set the exposures for you.
HDR interior photography is a way to get perfectly exposed photos with tricky lighting situations in any part of the property. Here’s how to pull it off:
Tried & tested interior photography camera settings
First of all, we need to measure the dynamic range of our subject. Turn your camera to manual mode and set the lens aperture wide – say, f/8 or f/11. This will make sure everything is in focus. We’re not after depth of field here.
Set your ISO low. The HDR process will add noise to your image anyway, so use as low an ISO as you can manage – 100 or 200 should be fine.
Next, we need to lock the focus so the camera doesn’t try to autofocus halfway through and mess the whole thing up. Either set the autofocus now by half-pressing the shutter, or switch to manual focus and adjust the focus ring on your lens until everything’s nice and sharp.
Either way, remember to leave your lens in Manual Focus mode. What’s the best lens for interior photography? A prime lens as wide as possible. We recommend this Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle lens.
Finally, set the metering mode to spot metering.
Use the spot metering to measure the brightest part of your subject (the window) as you adjust the shutter speed until the metering hits the mid-tone (0 in the middle of the meter). Make a note of the shutter speed.
Now, do the same on the darkest interior part of the subject. Those two shutter speeds give us the dynamic range of our photo, and the -2 and +2 bracketing we need to expose for. Now it’s time to take our photos!
Oh, and if you are still reading and thinking “WTF”, then you’re not gonna like this either, to do all this you need a tripod, and I personally am not a fan, in fact, I advocate not using a tripod as they just slow you down!
However, if you’re wanting to do the bracketing technique, you need one because we’re merging multiple shots you don’t want any movement or differences in camera angle. You should ideally be also using a remote trigger or the delay timer to avoid camera shake.
Take those two shutter speeds you measured, set your settings slap bang in the middle of them, and take the photo. This is your mid-tone, vanilla, middle ground exposure.
Next, set your shutter to the first shutter speed you measured and take the photo for our -2-bracketed exposure. The window will look good but the rest of the image will look too dark. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to.
Finally, set your shutter to the second shutter speed and take the photo.
So, we’ve now got three images, one exposed for the daylight through the window, one exposed for the interior ambient light and shadows, and a third with an exposure in the middle. It’s time to process them to create the final image.
Still confused? Don’t worry, the easier option is coming up soon.
There’s a lot of HDR programs out there, but the best HDR software for real estate photography is still Adobe Photoshop.
Launch Photoshop, and go to File→Automate→Merge to HDR Pro. Click Browse, select your three photos and click Open. Then hit OK to start the photo merge.
On the next screen, adjust the sliders until you get a natural looking image with both the interior and window exposed right, paying particular attention to the Edge Glow Radius and Strength sliders (don’t overdo it, we’re after a natural looking image). Once you’re done, click OK to create your HDR image, then carry on with your usual Photoshop edits as normal.
You should now have a lovely photo with good highlights and shadows, and some detail through the window.
Hard work, right? Especially if you’re just sending out Bob from the office to take some shots. Poor Bob. Fear not. Bob’s day is about to get a lot easier!
Option 3. Auto HDR Mode (Skill level: Intermediate)
Proper, manual bracketing and processing HDR images in Photoshop gives you the most control of the final image, but honestly, have you actually got the time or skill to do all that? Don’t you just want a nice set of shots with a cheeky bit of window detail on show?
Many of the newer DSLR ranges have built-in HDR modes that do a fine job for HDR interior photography. This is definitely true of all Canon DSLRs since the 5D Mk III was released in 2012. But cameras with built in HDR do cost a little more than the entry-level gear that most estate agents use to photograph their properties.
HDR mode (aka ‘HDR Backlight Control’) will take three bracketed exposures in-camera and merge them to extend your sensor’s dynamic range and capture all those important details in your house interior photography.
When you take the shot, all of the stuff in Option 2 is pretty much done automatically, inside the camera, in a couple of seconds.
And the best bit, you don’t need to use a tripod! Just try and stay as still as possible, hold your breath when snapping, that helps.
Now, I’m not wanting to make it sound like the HDR Backlight Control is the holy grail of an answer. It helps a lot but it is still a very tricky skill to nail. If you absolutely, positively, must have the window detail on show all the time, you may be better off hiring a pro to shoot your houses and do all this bracketing jigery-pokery for you.
These images below shows on the left; what normally happens when photographing a house, the whited-out window, and on the right, the image when the camera is set up to shoot in auto HDR mode; where the window detail can be seen.
What’s an affordable camera for auto HDR?
I recommend the Canon Eos 70D. It’s awesome for its built in HDR functionality and can really help capture nice internal shots with a nice bit of window detail as well.
The shots will still look pretty dark, to be honest, so you’ll need to enhance your images in Lightroom, but we can help with Image Enhancement if you need it.
How do I set the camera up to shoot HDR?
The following settings are for the Canon EOS 70D. Why only this model? Because I shoot with Canon and I don’t actually know the Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Polaroid, or any other settings I’m sorry to say.
If you are shooting with a different camera, just see what your instruction manual or Google has to say on the matter.
- Spin the settings wheel to SCN
- Press the Q button
- Choose HDR Backlight Control
Is the extra window detail worth the hassle?
At the end of the day, if there’s a window view that could add something to your property photos, or if the windows are a feature in themselves, then by all means try to show them off with HDR interior photography. It’s quite an advanced concept, but definitely a lot easier to do now with the right camera.
On the other hand, don’t think that a slightly whited-out window will be the make or break of getting people booked in to view the property. Maybe you just have a pet-peeve about it and I get it, it’s amazing to have so much attention to detail and I salute you for it.
The choice is yours my friend; get a pro lighting setup, brush up on some pro bracketing tekkers, pick up a camera that does the hard work for you, or ignore all this and keep things simple but have slightly whited-out windows.
Professional property photography will make your listings look the bees knees but are you paying more than needed to achieve the premium look for your images?
According to Mark Hayward, Chief Executive of NAEA Propertymark, “commission rates are on the floor”, hovering at around 1%, or in cash money terms, around £2,800 – this is despite rising house prices over the last few years. To add to this, the proposed tenant fee ban that could come in and wipe out huge amounts of revenue for letting agents is looming.
Does this mean you cut your marketing budget or double down on things that help separate you from your competitors, things just like professional property photography?
Outsourced professional property photography
If you’re an agent that takes pride in the way your properties are presented visually then hat’s off, we like your style. This is one certain way to stand out from many of the big corporates and the Purplebricks of the online world.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been reaching our via phone to agents all over the country to offer a free trial of our Image Enhancement service and I’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who took us up on that 🙂 If you didn’t hear from us, it’s probably because your receptionist was exceptionally well trained at filtering out sales calls!
We found loads of agents outsource their property photography to a pro who visits the property, shoots the house, does all the editing afterwards and sends the shots to the agent. They would also charge between £50 – £100 for the privilege.
It’s not the fee I’m knocking here, great photos are worth their weight in gold and will certainly help your listing stand out, attract more enquiries, sell quicker and sometimes for more money! It is 100% a wise investment. But are you investing more than you need to to achieve the same premium finish for your property photos?
Let’s go conservative and say you pay £50 to a pro to head out and shoot each property, let’s also say you list 10 properties per month, that’s £500 per month = £6,000 per year on photography fees.
If you’re selling more, say 25 properties a month, then this figure jumps to £15,000 per year.
If you’re visiting the property anyway…
If you – the agent – will be visiting the property anyway to meet the vendor and to get to know the property for writing the description, then why not take the photos yourself?
All you need is some basic know-how, and the right camera and lens. It really is incredibly easy to take a blinding set of shots yourself. Sure, the camera gear will set you back around £600, but you’ll make that back in no time in saved professional fees.
A quick read of our Ultimate Guide to Property Photography will have you and your team clued up in no time, and it’s FREE. It condenses my years of experience as a pro photographer into the essential simple tips you need to know in order to capture sensational shots. Give it a read and you’ll see how easy it is.
If you were to shoot the property yourself, it would take you or one of your team around 15 mins, so that is a small block of time you would need to factor in.
You could then do the photo editing yourself in Photoshop and Lightroom but many agents find that is not the best use of their time, or they are not too clued up on the magnetic edges lasso tool.
Here’s where the big savings come… send us your shots for the wow factor treatment. We specialise in photo editing for the property industry, you specialise in selling houses. Let’s both stick to what we’re good at.
The average Image Enhancement order will set you back around £10 (here’s more info on our Pricing). For this we perform a full suite of edits on a complete set of property photos, and we’ll have them back with you in around 3 hours. Sound good? Try us out for free if you’re interested.
Back to some figures, sell 10 properties a month and that’s gonna set you back around £100 to get the professional finish for your shots, that’s £1,200 per year and a saving of £4,800.
Sell 25 properties a month and your monthly spend would be around £250, that’s £3,000 per year and a cost saving of £9,000.
Put another way, we offer an 80% cost reduction.
Not my words. Often when I call up a new client to welcome them to our service, this is how they describe it. So, to answer the question.. should you cut your marketing budget or double down on things that help separate you from your competitors? Here at Elements – we’re offering a solution that can help you achieve both.
If you’re spending big on professional property photography and would like to try us out today, get your team to read our Ultimate Guide to Property Photography and send over some shots. You’ll get 3 free orders using the promocode BLOG25 to try us out and see if we’re right for you!LEARN MORE ABOUT IMAGE ENHANCEMENT
The sun is shining, the birds are singing and you head out with a spring in your step to shoot a vendors house on glorious sunny day, perfect! Actually, no it’s not, far from it.
The problem with the sun rearing its extremely luminescent head directly behind your vendors house is that it causes extreme contrast with very dark shadows and the house will almost appear as a silhouette.
As brilliant as artistic experimentation with chairoscuro can be, it’s certainly has no place in your property photography. The good news is that you have options available to fix this problem.
Come back another time
For most busy agents this really isn’t a realistic option. Rescheduling messes up your already busy diary and your vendors. But sure, coming back another time or day when the sun will help rather than hinder your photographic efforts will work.
Move closer, crouch and shoot upwards
Try moving yourself around to find a shooting angle where the sun is actually hidden behind the house, moving closer to the house often works. Make sure you’re crouched down to take the shot looking up from a low position.
Photoshop to the rescue
The shot will still look a bit rubbish if we’re honest with ourselves. The last thing to do it lift those dark pixels, boost the colours and add in a nice blue sky to replace the backdrop of a giant orb of white light resembling a nuclear explosion. We can do all the Photoshop magic very quickly if you need some help with that, learn more about Image Enhancement here >
This shot below was the one taken closer to the house after we corrected everything in Photoshop.
Need some help correcting your property photos?
Interested in getting a helping hand when it comes to maximising the wow factor of your property photos? Your vendors and landlords will love you for it! The idea is that it helps your listing stand out, attract more enquiries and sell more property. Prices start at £6.95 for a complete set of images – that’s good value!LEARN MORE ABOUT IMAGE ENHANCEMENT
That horrible yellow tinge that can wash over your property photos is not going to do any favours for your Rightmove listing. Get rid, here’s how.
You always want to shoot properties with the lights on, so flip the switch on every possible bulb as soon as you arrive because some take a while to warm up. The problem is that in some light, particularly tungsten (the older non energy saving bulbs) your shots can come out looking like you’ve attached a yellow filter to the lens. Not ideal. You need colour correction.
Camera settings and white balance
Any decent camera will have the option to adjust the white balance for shooting in different light conditions, but here’s the thing, it takes time to switch between the various modes e.g. tungsten, fluorescent etc.
It’s also easy to forget you changed the white balance setting and all you risk taking loads of shots on the wrong setting. Keep things easy for yourself and leave the white balance setting on automatic. Here’s a handy article with some tips on fine-tuning your camera settings for stunning property photos.
Colour correction by tinkering in Photoshop
This is your best option for correcting those troublesome shots where the colours are just plain wrong! You can do it yourself in Adobe Lightroom using the temperature setting or we can do it for you. This is an essential edit we do as standard on any shots you send us.
The trick is to play around with the temperature slider to make the shot ‘warmer’ or ‘cooler’ than your camera’s sensor would have you believe. Before your very eyes the image will shed it’s unwanted yellow or blue veneer and be back to how us humans see things.
The worst offenders
Rooms with tungsten bulbs that give off a yellow light are the worst. Also, rooms with an excess of yellow, cream or beige decor often try their hardest to impose their yellow stain into your image file.
Another one is small bathrooms with low levels of natural light and halogen bulbs, these can look dark, dingy and like you have smeared a thin coating of marmite over your lens in preparation for your shoot.
Sometimes you just never know when the white balance and colours will take on a mind of their own and decide they don’t want to play nice with your camera sensor. Here’s a few shots showing what I mean…
Need help correcting colour in your images?
Should you need a little help to maximise the wow factor of your property shots, that’s what we’re here for! We expertly enhance the photos you take using Photoshop and correct dodgy white balance as standard on all images as well as doing several other essential edits.LEARN MORE ABOUT IMAGE ENHANCEMENT
Have you always wondered how to add blue sky to your property photos but never had a clue how to do it? Here’s how to turn grey sky blue.
First, let me tell you a quick story. I was recently blazing trails on a dirt bike across Indonesia when I found myself in Bali photographing Ulun Danu Beretan temple. That’s the one on the Lonely Planet guide book front cover that majestically shows off the essence of Hindu-Buddhist architecture.
Sadly the sky was completely overcast and the shot looked completely rubbish. A drag and drop later and the file was with our Images Team for the same blue sky Photoshop treatment we give a 3 bed semi in Rotherham. It was cover-worthy in under 3 hours.
For those of us living in the UK, we don’t need Wikipedia to tell us that 70% of the time we find ourselves covered in a thick blanket of grey cloud. This will do the appeal of your most important property marketing shots no favours whatsoever. Here’s your available options for switching out that unappealing grey sky for a nice blue one, complete with white fluffy clouds.
Option 1 – Add blue sky yourself using Photoshop
This of course requires time, skill and know-how. If you have all of those then this is a pretty solid option. However, if you’re an estate agent chances are you’re more at home, well, selling or letting someones home that performing complex digital wizardry.
If you want to learn how to do it yourself, just search YouTube for “how to add blue sky in photoshop” and take your pick of any of the 28,000+ results.
Option 2 – Send your images to a digital wizard
There are several companies out there offering Image Enhancement services with varying prices, turnaround times, quality and customer service. We specialise in enhancing images for estate agents in the UK. It works like this; you upload your property photos to us with a simple drag and drop, our team of expert digital artists go hard on maximising their wow factor, and you get them back the same day.
Here’s a 66 second video showing how we do things…
“But blue sky edits can look fake”
I hear you, yes they can. And when they’re bad they’re really bad! Our look good. Plus, you can choose your edit style from a Vibrant or a Soft edit style. This gives you the ability to have either a strong, rich, eye-catching blue sky or a classic, understated, mild blue sky – whichever matches your brand or personal preferences.
The Vibrant edit provides a rich, punchy look and feel with vivid colours designed to stand out and grab attention. See more Vibrant edit examples >
The Soft edit offers a subtle, gentle look and feel with milder colours designed to breath a classic, understated essence into your images. See more Soft edit examples >
Want us to put blue sky in your shots for FREE?
We have the best team of digital wizards on the planet raring to get to work on your shots. If you like the sound of having your property photos professionally enhanced then why not sign up for a free trial of our services? Keen to learn more? Click the button and use the promocode!LEARN MORE ABOUT IMAGE ENHANCEMENT
Zim zimmer, who got the keys to ma bimmer… Doesn’t matter. Get rid of cars from your property shots with Photoshop.
You’re selling the house, not the car in the driveway so removing cars from property photos should be your goal. It’s good practice to go old school and actually get the car driven out of shot if you can, but this isn’t always possible. The vendor’s out, you’re in a rush, it’s the neighbours car, the white-van man is busy up in the loft; whatever the reason you can’t move it, you know the shot would look a whole lot better if you could.
Removing cars from property photos
Keep the focus on the property
Do you really want 30% of your most important marketing shot – the external – being taken up by something you’re not even selling? You’d be in the minority if you don’t really mind. That 3 series isn’t going to add any extra value! Keep your property photos free of Beemers, Corsas, Novas and Rovers and keep your vendors delighted.
“But I don’t know a thing about Photoshop” I hear you cry, that’s okay. Just know that we do, and for £2.00 we can remove any unwanted objects including cars from your property photos in just a few hours.
Lightroom, Photoshop and Image Enhancement
If you’re an agent that values the importance of presenting their properties nicely with beautiful photos, thumbs up! Not all do.
You may have set up your team with a nifty camera and lens, given them a crash course in Adobe Lightroom, and they may be doing an awesome job. But if the complex process of removing cars in Photoshop is a step too far or is eating up to much of their time, you may want to consider sending the images to us for enhancement. We can get rid of anything you don’t want and turbo-charge the wow factor of all your shots.
Alternatively, you may outsource your property photography to a pro who should be doing these Photoshop edits as part of their fee, if so happy days. This is a great option if you can afford it, but our clients have typically saved 90% by bringing things in house and leaving the pro edits to us.
You take the shots, we take the image for a spin through Photoshop. Some skilful pixel replacement using the magnetic edges lasso and the healing bush tool will have that car gone in a jiffy and the recycle bin full of unwanted automotive pixels.
We don’t hang about either, you’ll have the car-free shot back with you the same day – in just a few hours in fact.
Do you want cars removed from your shots?
Removing cars from property photos is just one of the 9 ways to prepare for a property shoot but it’s number 1 on the list. Keeping your external images free of cars will provide a clean, clutter free, professional look to your most important marketing shot. Click the button to learn more about these, and all the other edits we can do to inject bucket loads of wow factor into your shots.
LEARN MORE ABOUT IMAGE ENHANCEMENT
Pupils dilate, the buzz they’ve found their dream home kicks in and they instantly book a viewing. That’s the action you can trigger in your buyers with a little wide-angle lens wow factor.
They’ve got their cuppa, kicked back on the sofa and logged into Rightmove. Next they set their criteria, hit search and have a browse around. There’s loads of choice out there but apart from paying for a sponsored listing, what else can you do to grab their attention? Some wide-angle wow factor will do the job nicely.
Create an attention grabbing Rightmove listing
One sure fire way to gain a slight edge, stand out from the crowd and wallop your potential buyers in the eyeballs with your property is by having an awesome looking listing.
A big part of having a great looking listing is the photos. It’s likely the first thing the buyer will see and the photos can either generate a positive, neutral or negative first impression. Both neutral and negative are bad, we only want positive impressions that will raise their excitement levels and heart rate by a few BPM.
In this article on The Pyramid of Importance, I go into more detail why a wide-angle lens is the most important aspect of your property photography; way more important than your camera, experience or skill level.
For now, let’s just say it’s a pretty big deal and can be an easy shortcut to get you taking much better, professional looking property photos right off the bat.
What’s not to love?
There are two schools of thought on wide-angle lens photography for selling property. As a property photographer myself, I am solidly in the pro camp and could talk about the benefits of wide-angle photography til’ the cows come home. You’ll also know from looking around on Rightmove at your competitors, that many of them are also partial.
However, there are some haters out there. Some are buyers/viewers, but some are agents that don’t seem to like it. Each to their own, but here are some pros and cons.
Pros of wide-angle lens photography
- You can fit more in the shot. Obvious really.
- You capture and portray the space more accurately. For all the wide-angle haters out there, yes, I whole heartedly believe that a wide-angle lens shot portrays the house, rooms and space more accurately than a normal point and shoot camera or a mobile phone.
- The photos look much more professional. When I sold a house, having professional looking photos helped me achieve a higher sale price.
Cons of wide-angle lens photography
- Some viewers think that “the property doesn’t look like it did in the photos”. At least they’re in the door, now it’s over to your sales team to help the buyer understand why the house is perfect for them.
- The kind of lens you need will set you back around £350. I’m telling you now don’t worry about that, it will be an investment and you’ll realise very quickly that it was one of the best tools you ever bought for your business.
- You can get the unwanted visual trickery of leaning walls. Read my super simple tip to avoid leaning walls in your property photos here >
What lens should I get then?
Great question. Go for the Sigma 10-20mm f3.5 EX DC HSM Lens with APS-C Sensors. All the shots in our gallery were taken with this lens. Note that depending on your make of camera, you’ll need to get the lens with the right fitting for your make.
Do I need a DSLR camera to get the wide-angle wow factor?
Yes, you’ll require a DSLR camera to plug the lens into but a quick read of our article What’s the Best Camera and Lens for Property Photography? will give you a couple of solid options to choose from. Nothing crazy expensive either, just a couple a great entry level models that will have you taking shots like these >
Want a FREE guide on taking stunning property photos?
Sure you do. Discover the secrets of the pros by downloading this FREE ebook called the Ultimate Guide to Property Photography and discover all you need to know. You’ll learn all about the best camera and lens but also the best settings, composition, where to stand, dealing with tricky weather, adding a blue sky, and loads more, the works.DOWNLOAD FREE GUIDE
So this is Alex speaking/typing, I’m the founder of Elements Property and here’s the story of who we are, what we do and why we care so much about making your property photos amazing.
Who are we? After graduating from Nottingham Trent Uni with an MSc in Building Surveying, I started the company in 2013 to provide Energy Performance Certificates and floor plans to residential and commercial agents across the East Midlands.
As much as I loved clambering around dusty industrial plant rooms or poking my head through varying thickness’ of loft insulation in vendor’s houses, the exuberant cries of “YES!! The EPC assessor is here! I can’t wait to pay you money for this certificate that I don’t want!” were few and far between. Something had to change.
My first camera and fame in the family
I’ve loved photography ever since my freshers days at Leeds Uni in ’04 when I literally stumbled across a Canon IXUS on the floor outside Oceana one night, these were the days before camera phones were a thing and I just started snapping things, anything, and I was hooked.
It also runs in the blood. My Great, Great Uncle was this guy: P.H. Emerson. Never heard of him? Unless you’re deeply into the history of pioneering photography with a particular focus on the Life and Landscapes of the Norfolk Broads circa 1888, then you won’t. But in some circles, he’s kind of a big deal, his images were recently exhibited at Nottingham Castle and The Tate.
Evolution into property photography
My transition into photographing houses came shortly after starting the company as I had my Canon EOS 450D DSLR camera knocking around. Bought in Sydney in ’09 after some Bondi sand killed my Oceana point and shoot camera, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever bought. That camera has been my trusty sidekick in helping me capture these shots from my adventures around Australia, South-East Asia, Central America and Africa.
All she needed was a new wide-angle lens to capture stunning photos of houses. But even after reading all the glowing reviews, parting with the best part of £350 for a Sigma 10-20mm f3.5 EX DC HSM wide-angle lens was not pleasant, but MY GOD was it worth it! The property shots it enabled me to take were simply stunning. They helped our clients get way more enquiries and kept their viewings diary chock-a-block.
Anyway, why should you care about any of this?
Since 2013, I’ve taken thousands of property photos and helped sell hundreds of properties, I’ve trained estate agents how to capture beautiful shots and I’ve written a FREE 50 page eBook teaching you how to do it as well. I’m now here telling you that you simply do not need to be a pro to be able to shoot like one.
The only photography training I’ve ever done was in an Art & Design foundation course I did after 6th form where we sloshed around some chemicals in a dark room. Everything I learned about shooting houses I figured out for myself and I’m telling you all you need is some basic know how and the right camera and lens to shoot stunning property photos like these…
Maximising the wow factor of your images
Fast forward to the present day and we now specialise in the digital image enhancement of property photos for our estate agent clients across the UK. We have a slick system in place for the sharing of image files with our team of 120 digital artists who are experts in Adobe Photoshop and perform these essential edits on thousands of images each month.
From inserting a blue sky to removing bins and everything in between, we can transform the shots you take into sets of stunning marketing images in as little as 3 hours and from just £6.95 (set of 8 images) to £14.95 (set of 24 images). This 66 second video shows you how it all works…
I want you all to have better property photos
Passion. Sure, it’s an age old cliche but property and photography are two passions of mine that genuinely fire me up. I love them both. And I love to see great property photos in windows and on web portals, that’s why I give out practical advice teaching estate agents across the country how to capture stunning property photos completely free. It’s advice that I could quite easily charge for but don’t.
Me and my team make our living by enhancing the images that you take, and if you want to partner with us for Image Enhancement – great! Your images and your clients will love you for it. If not, hey, there’s no love lost. You know where to find us if you change your mind.
Do you want my simple tips for sensational shots?
If you’re an agent that values the importance of great property photography and you want to learn how to take nice shots in house, then this guide is for you! It’s packed full of useful, practical advice that you and your team can start implementing today.
I cover everything you need to know, things like the best camera and lens to use, how to fine-tune the settings, file sizes and resolution, preparing the house for a shoot, plus MUCH more. Grab your FREE copy >
Would you like to learn more about Image Enhancement?
You may already use another provider for this, or do it in house, or maybe you’ve never enhanced any of your shots. You may even use a pro photographer and they do it, either way – if you want to find out more about how we do things then give the button below a click.
We love working with estate agents who value the importance of great photography, so if that’s you, we’d love you to check out our Image Enhancement service for FREE – here’s a promocode for you, enter BLOG17 when creating an account 🙂LEARN MORE ABOUT IMAGE ENHANCEMENT
Who remembers from their school or uni days those pyramid chart things in text books? Maslow anyone?
Here’s one for you about different aspects of property photography ranked from most to least important. I call it The Pyramid of Importance – no lectures, I promise. The pyramid below shows what I believe to be the 6 most important factors that can impact how great / stunning / beautiful / highly average / or completely awful the property photos that you capture will be. Without further ado, here it is in all its glory…
The first thing to understand is that skill and experience are the least important factors. With the right knowhow (we have a FREE 50 page eBook for that) and the right equipment you can go out a complete DSLR virgin and take some pretty impressive shots right off the bat.
Most of the magic that radiates from a pukka property image comes from using the right camera and lens, and from boosting the pixels you capture in post-production back in the office. Photoshop not your bag? Just send them to us, we love it!
Here’s a 66 second video on how we maximise the wow factor of the shots you take.
Anyway, next I’ll quickly run through each part of the pyramid, starting with the absolute must-have, most important bit of kit – the lens.
1. Wide angle lens (most important)
Without a shadow of a doubt, the most important bit of kit to help you capture stunning property photos. Expect to pay a few quid for a good one but it really is worth every penny. In this blog post I dive into my lens recommendation in more detail, but if you’re pumped and looking to get one right now, this second, good on you!
The lens I love is the Sigma 10 – 20mm f3.5 EC DC HSM wide-angle lens, it was born to capture killer property photos. Here’s the links for the Canon and Nikon versions (make sure you get the right one!) if you want to buy one from Amazon.
2. DSLR Camera
Next up, you will need the right camera to screw the lens into – for that you need a DSLR (or Digital Single Lens Reflex). A DSLR is much more than just a lens holder though, it will give you the ability to capture high resolution, professional, vibrant shots with ease – plus the whole set up looks cool and anyone who sees you shooting with one knows you mean business.
You don’t need the top of the range model, in fact, the entry level model will sort you out just fine. And don’t worry if you think it will be too complicated to use, it won’t be. You have my word. You only need to master around 10% of the settings.
Expect to pay around £250 – £300. Sure other brands and models are available but I’m here to keep things simple for you so go with a Canon or Nikon. Here are two fantastic camera body’s (no need for the standard lens) that will be just perfect for you: You won’t go far wrong with a Canon EOS 1300D or a Nikon D3300. If you’re on the fence, I’d say go Canon.
The truth is, you can do a damn good job of taking the shots at the property, but most of the time the images on the memory card just look kind of flat and uninspiring. It’s not your fault, that’s just how it is! But there is something you can do – cue Adobe and its nifty photo editing software packages.
Photoshop and Lightroom are essential tools to transform the wow factor and appeal of your images. Grey sky? Insert a blue one. Cars or bins on the drive? Remove them. Messy bathroom? Tidy it up. Dark rooms? Brighten the shadows and boost the colours. Wonky shot? Straighten the walls. The list goes on.
Read more here about the top 5 edits to turbo charge your wow factor, and remember if you can’t do it, we can – from £6.95 for a full set of images. You can even try it for FREE! Simply use the promocode BLOG 16 when signing up for some free orders.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – a well composed image is the foundation of a great property photo. You could have all the gear, but if you don’t frame the shot properly in your viewfinder then it will look crap and won’t show your property in its best light.
Shoot in landscape, from waist height, into the corner (or at an angle), and use things visible in the shot to help you frame it. It’s dead easy. That’s the recipe for the best composition. To read more on this, take a look at 5 tips to help you compose your shots like a pro.
I put this high up the pyramid i.e. towards the lesser importance end of the spectrum because I truly believe you don’t need much to be able to consistently go out and take beautiful property images that will help you stand out online, generate more enquiries and impress your vendors and landlords.
It may take a little trial and error to get used to the camera, master the settings you need and understand how to deal with tricky weather conditions, but it’s not hard.
6. Skill (least important)
Last (and least) is skill. I’m not saying skill is not important, it is. It’s just the least important of the factors in the pyramid. Skill is ‘the ability to do something well’ and my point is that everything that comes before skill in the pyramid can make up for a lack of skill.
Over time, the more you shots you take, the more skilful you will get. Don’t worry if you’re just starting out with a new DSLR camera or sending out a new recruit on their first shoot. The most important skill to master is keeping the camera still when you take the shot!
Whether you’re shooting properties with a high degree of skill or just pointing, clicking and hoping, as long as you have the right gear, compose the shot correctly and use Image Enhancement to inject the wow factor – you’re miles ahead of most of your competition and your marketing images will attract enquiries like bees to honey!
Do you want to learn more about taking great shots?
In our FREE eBook, I teach you everything I’ve learned from the thousands of shutter releases and repeated squats in vendors houses that have enabled me to capture stunning shots like these which helped our clients sell or let their houses in double quick time. Grab your FREE Ultimate Guide to Property Photography today!DOWNLOAD FREE GUIDE
This video shows the whopping great difference between the photographic efforts of two different agents marketing the same property.
One is a valued client of ours who take pride in their photography, the other has made no effort – and it shows. Before we dive in, I want to make it clear that it’s not my intention to hammer Belvoir for their poor property photography here, maybe this was just a one off bad set, or that particular employee simply didn’t know the formula for taking nice shots, hey, they’re not alone!
Anyway, the cold hard facts are that they were unable to let the property and lost the instruction to a rival agent – Buttercross Estates – who have done a fantastic job shooting the property. The difference is simply astounding.
Watch the video [5m 54s]
Buttercross Estates let the property in 7 days
The new listing with nice photos went live on 19 March, an application was received and accepted on 25 March – 7 days. Would you be happy with that? The landlord certainly was!
To put that in perspective, the original listing with Belvoir was live from 4 Feb for 44 days.
What are the 5 key takeaways?
- Bad photos will lose you enquiries.
- And you can lose an instruction to a rival agent!
- It’s possible to remove objects from photos using Photoshop.
- Image enhancement can boost the visual appeal of the shots you take.
- Great photos can help get properties let (and sold) in super quick time.
Is poor property photography a problem for you?
If yes, then the first thing to ask yourself is “whose images do mine look more like?”. If yours are on the dull side and not getting you the enquiries you want then consider brushing up on your photography skills. The first impression is so important, don’t mess it up!
If you need some help to take better shots, we have just the thing for you! It’s a FREE guide that teaches you everything you need to know about taking beautiful property photos that will help you stand out online and get more enquiries, download your copy here >
Do you want us to boost your images for you?
From inserting blue sky to removing rival boards and everything in between, our digital artists use Photoshop and Lightroom to enhance the visual appeal of the shots you take. They’re transformed into a killer set of images that will help you sell or let in double quick time.LEARN MORE ABOUT IMAGE ENHANCEMENT