Real Estate Photography Tips for Landlords

The following is a helpful article for landlords about real estate photography by Charlsie Niemiec. It includes great tips from a number of professional real estate photographers including yours truly!

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

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, 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.”

Screenshot of photo settings on an iPhone.

“Now that HDR is on, you need to get two things right: light and composition. For the best light, shoot on a bright sunny day. Make sure all the curtains are open to allow proper illumination of your rooms with the maximum amount of light. You will get the most sunlight during the middle hours of the day. Moreover, during those mid-hours, the light remains constant.”

“If you want your photos to have a softer, warmer light, a pro tip is to shoot in the early morning or the late afternoon, but it will all depend on the room or home orientation. If you take photos during these “golden” hours, make sure your images are not too dark.”

Vertical lines mock up for real estate photography tips.

“Ultimately, composition. When composing an interior photo, use a technique called two-point perspective. It’s not complicated. Make sure your camera is level and shoot from a corner, taking advantage of leading lines. Two-point compositions have two points along the horizon to which parallel lines will fall towards. Get all vertical lines parallel so they will never converge.”

7. Increase exposure


“When it comes to marketing your property online, professional photography is essential,” says Senior Vice President Hannah Huppi from IMOTO photo.” Not only do professional photos increase perceived value for renters who are searching for properties online, but they also increase the amount of exposure your property gets. In a study done by IMOTO, we found that professional photography can increase online views by 118 percent.”

8. Remember that details matter

Interior real estate photography shot.

“Details matter!” says Billy from Midcoast Maine’s Downeast Aerial Photography. “Check every inch of every listing photo for dust or streaks that distract from the space or worse yet, notice and laugh at the reflection of you in the microwave that you missed.”

9. Make sure your listing photos leave a lasting impression

Showing with a real estate agent.

“According to “Fish Tank’s” real estate mogul, Barbara Corcoran, renter’s decide in the first eight seconds in seeing a home if they’re interested in renting it. So, you need to make the first eight seconds count!” says Jennifer Johnson from The Perfect Spot For You.

“Professional photography has never been more important to the rental market than it is today. It isn’t enough to just have great photos — try getting creative with your marketing options by using things like 3D Matterport tours to showcase your rental property. The key is setting your rentals apart from everything on the market today. When demand for rentals goes up, so does real estate’s demand for creative marketing.”

Oh, snap!

Whether you hire a professional photographer or you become an iPhone photography master, make sure your photos truly reflect your rental property. The more you can show about your rental and the clearer you are in listing photos and listing details, the more likely you will find a perfect tenant for your space.

Royalty-free images: