Choosing The Right Photographer for Listing Photos

It’s probably common knowledge that hiring a professional photographer for listing photos is quickly becoming the new “norm”.

Before the days of the internet, a seller expected their agent to provide a yard sign (many still do).  Agents gladly provided the sign because it helped sell the home AND it gave the agent some exposure too.

These days, sellers know that more buyers not only start their search on the internet, but actually doing much of the “shopping” or previewing on computers, tablets or cell phones.  They expect professional listing photos and more agents are glad to offer them because professional listing images help sell the home AND reflect positively on the agent when seen by buyers AND other potential sellers.


Consider service, quality and price when hiring a real estate photographer

As you may have guessed, not all photographers are created equal and hiring the wrong one can do more harm than good!


  • Easy scheduling
  • Easy payments, accepts credit cards
  • Shows up and on time
  • Provides pre-shoot preparation checklist
  • Friendly, polite and professional when interacting with your client
  • Will do light staging when needed to get the best shot
  • Provides high resolution AND images optimized for MLS upload
  • Delivers final images within 1-2 business days


As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words!”  …so be sure to look at a photographer’s image gallery or sample images before hiring them and confirm they were actually taken by the photographer!  Some large national chains have great looking websites, but the pictures or processing wasn’t done by the photographer/equipment that will be showing up to your listing.

looking for quality in real estate photographs…

Lighting – does the lighting look well balanced?  Do windows look like a white glow, or can you see outside?  Are there dark shadows with no detail in the corners, or do rooms look evenly lit?

window light is blown out

If there were nice views from this window, you wouldn’t know it from the image.

The room is well lit, and you can also see outside.

The room is well lit, and you can also see outside.









Colors – colors should look vibrant and bright, but still realistic.  Interior colors especially should be accurate and not over saturated or altered.

over saturated colors

The colors and saturation does not look natural. The picture to the right is actually the same bathroom.

actual colors

This picture was taken by the real estate agent to show the actual color and look.









Straight lines – lines should be straight and images should be cropped for the best possible look.  Pictures should not appear to be crooked or have walls leaning in or out.

Realistic appearance – do floors look shiny when they actually aren’t?  Do white doors and ceilings look strangely blue or light beige tile appear dark and orange? Overdoing effects is a common mistake and can turn off buyers who would have otherwise wanted to see the home.


The photographer’s images were over processed. The house sat on the market for quite some time and sold very quickly after the pictures were updated.

sheen is more accurate

The real estate agent took this to show the actual look of the flooring (image has been cropped)










paper towel rollCould have, should have, but didn’t – sellers aren’t all perfect…even when provided with a checklist, there may be a toilet seat left up, or roll of paper towels on the counter, a crooked doormat, etc.  Your photographer shouldn’t need to bring a cleaning crew, but some light staging and common sense goes a long way.


Last but not least…  Unless all your listings are a million plus, most agents won’t spend $400-$500+ on professional listing photos, especially for lower price point listings.  The good news is you don’t have to.  With pricing starting at $149 you can afford professional listing photos on ALL your listings.

Watch out for some photographers or companies that charge extra for better quality images or only provide 10 or 20 pictures and charge more for extra shots.  Quality should always be the highest and image count should always be sufficient to properly showcase the property.

You should expect to pay more to schedule a twilight/evening session. Homes with nicely lit exteriors, landscape lighting or pool lights really stand out when photographed at this time of day.