9 Photography Experts Share Real Estate Photography Tips That Every Landlord Must Know Today

by Charlsie Niemiec

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by Charlsie Niemiec

When you’re ready to put your rental property on the market, there are many steps to finding the perfect tenant. However, it’s no surprise — photography ranks high as one of the key components in marketing your property and getting it successfully rented. To help landlords get the perfect shot of their available rental, Rentals.com asked nine photography experts to share their most helpful and creative real estate photography tips. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Get rid of furniture

Empty apartment.

“For unfurnished rentals, schedule a professional photo shoot in between renters when the property is vacant and clean,” says Damon from Vegas Real Estate Photography. “Professional photos will get the property rented faster and show pictures of the home vacant, plus it lets prospects know it doesn’t come with furniture and may be ready for a quick move-in. Continue using the same photos for future vacancies as long as the property condition and color scheme haven’t changed.”

2. The higher the quality, the higher the value

Real estate photography tips for higher quality photos.

“When it comes to listing photos, long-term rental properties don’t often get the same level of consideration as for-sale homes,” says Guadalupe Garza, owner of Sharp Frame Media. “Yet, for a minimal cost incurred once, landlords can attract more interest, rent their property faster and at a premium. Whether it is for sale or rent, any property will tend to be perceived by viewers as having higher value if the property’s photos are of high quality.”

“When it comes to real estate photography, preparation beyond basic cleaning is critical. Without a doubt, it is best to schedule your listing photography right after a professional cleaning is complete. What sometimes gets ignored is poor landscaping, broken blinds, missing or color-mismatching light bulbs or debris left from a recent remodel. Attention to those details will maximize your photography results.”

“While it may not be feasible or convenient sometimes, it is always best to wait until the property is vacant to take professional listing photos. A tenant-occupied home will display personal items and may not be ready to your standards, and the photography outcomes will be subpar as a result.”

3. Go for depth

Depth shown in an apartment photo.

“Use foreground subjects and vignettes to create a sense of depth in your images,” says Dave from Thibeault Photography Solutions in Maine. “Also use backlighting and side lighting to create a sense of mood and atmosphere. Avoid front lighting (bright light sources behind you) as this will flatten the image and make it seem 2 dimensional.”

4. Think aerially

Aerially photography.

“I am a drone pilot that does a lot of real estate photography, so my most pivotal tip would be to hire a professional aerial photographer to not only show the property through listing photos but also the surrounding area,” says president and head pilot Denny Marquez at LazMarq Drone Solutions in Rio Rancho, NM.

“As potential tenants may be unfamiliar with the area, they may want to see if there is a Starbucks in the area or where the closest hospital is located nearby. A good aerial photograph can highlight these key amenities and more.”

“If you opt to hire a professional photographer or even a videographer, make sure you have a full walk-through of the property and living areas in the listing content. They say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ so a good quality video must be worth several million. With many people searching for apartments and homes virtually via the Internet, showing them the property this way is the best shows them the property in the best possible way. I use a camera mounted on a gimbal to get a nice smooth walkthrough video for my clients. It just looks so much more professional than taking video with a phone.”

5. Keep tried and true real estate photography tips top of mind

cleaning apartment before photographing it

“We’ve been working with incredible real estate photographers and realtors for over 10 years,” says Dan Sullivan, Project Manager at Glasshouse Media. “So, these are the most important real estate photography tips that come to mind:

  1. Communication: If you’re a landlord looking to sell, be clear and transparent with your tenants and give them a timeline to prepare for photos and showings.

  2. Clean, clean, clean: Make sure your property is prepped and ready for photos. We recommend hiring professional cleaning crews prior to taking photos or doing open houses and property showings.

  3. Hire a professional photographer if you have the budget (it’s worth it): Especially one with a wide-angle lens. The wide-angle photos show more of your space and that is exactly what you want.

  4. Work with a reputable real estate agent with knowledge of MLS and other listing services. Marketing is crucial for eyeballs on your listing.

  5. Present the best angles and attributes of your property first. Key photos and rooms bring the most value and appeal. Examples: Front-facing exterior, living room, kitchen and bedrooms.”

6. Take the time to understand light and composition

Photographer inside an apartment.

“My real estate photography tips focus all about light and composition, no matter what device or camera you use,” says Stefano Caioni, owner of Pixinfocus and professional photographer. “Using an iPhone is totally fine these days, thanks to the excellent quality and versatility of the cameras included in mobile devices. The best way to shoot interior listing photos with an iPhone is to set it to HDR mode. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, which means the resulting images will have enhanced highlights, shadows and tonal range in general, looking more detailed, appealing and punchy (like a pro-level camera took them).”

“Turning on HDR mode is straightforward. All you need to do is go to your iPhone settings, select camera and scroll down to the end, where you will see the option Smart HDR.”

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