Photography plays an essential role in marketing and selling properties. Still, without quality equipment, the resulting pictures will fail to capture the potential beauty of new builds or homes.
To ensure your images deliver maximum appeal and grab potential buyers’ attention, this guide covers everything from entry-level camera and lighting gear first, to professionals’ essential to real estate photography gears, including cameras, lenses, lighting setups, and accessories—plus helpful tips on editing your shots too! Though this guide covers equipment for real estate photography in general, it will particularly emphasize drone equipment.
You don’t need an all expensive camera gear or arsenal of kits to get started—just a few simple pieces of equipment that make all the difference when creating compelling property photos.
Getting Started With Aerial Drone Photography For Real Estate
Drone aerial photography is rapidly becoming a crucial resource for the real estate industry. Real estate agents can attract more buyers to their properties by using beautiful photos and using aerial photography to provide a perspective that standard images can’t provide.
But it might initially seem challenging if you’ve never tried drone photography. There are rules to learn, tools to acquire, and skills to perfect. But that shouldn’t put you off! Aerial drone photography may be a game-changer for your lucrative business or real estate firm with little planning and skill.
Ensuring you have the proper licenses is the first step in beginning drone aerial photography for real estate. Always be aware of and compliant with local drone usage rules and regulations, and consider becoming certified to solidify your expertise further.
Real Estate Photography Licenses
Real estate photographers in the United States have likely heard of the 107-part certification. Any pilot wishing to fly a drone for business purposes, such as a real estate photography business, must obtain this certification.
FAA-issued Part 107 certification permits pilots to operate drones for business or commercial purposes. Part 107 certification, commonly known as the Remote Pilot Certificate with an Unmanned Aircraft Systems rating, is required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for all drone pilots who wish to operate commercially.
This certificate requires applicants to pass an aeronautical knowledge examination and adhere to safety standards for drone flight.
Who Needs One?
In short, anyone who wants to operate drones legally for commercial purposes needs one. This includes individuals looking to use drones for real estate photography and videography services.
However, some prerequisites must be met before you can receive your license. Applicants must be at least 16 years old, have passed an FAA-approved knowledge test, or hold a valid government-issued pilot’s license. They must also be able to read, speak, write, and understand English fluently.
Once these requirements are met, applicants can apply for their Part 107 certification by filling out paperwork or taking an online course before taking the aeronautical knowledge test at one of the FAA’s testing centers nationwide.
How Does It Benefit Me?
By obtaining your Part 107 certification before operating your drone commercially, you protect yourself from legal action and establish credibility with potential clients.
Additionally, this certification allows you to legally provide services such as aerial photography or videography without fear of being fined or penalized by local authorities if caught flying without one.
Finally, having this certification demonstrates that you understand the rules and regulations set forth by the FAA when it comes to flying drones commercially—something many potential clients may require before hiring your services!
Equipment You Need to Get Started
An absolutely essential piece of equipment when it comes to drone photography is the camera body itself. Depending on your budget and intended use of camera equipment, drones come with cameras ranging from fundamental entry-level models to more advanced professional quality options.
Entry-level cameras usually have a lower resolution and fewer features, while pricier options may have a higher resolution and higher frame rates.
Professional quality cameras may also include more sophisticated features such as adjustable lens settings and image stabilization technology that can be used equipment produce stunning results.
To ensure smooth footage, investing in a gimbal stabilizer for your drone camera is essential. A gimbal stabilizer is a mount that helps minimize vibrations from the drone’s propellers or other sources of movement, allowing you to capture clear and steady images even when flying in windy conditions.
Some high-end drones may already include gimbals built into their designs, but if yours doesn’t, it’s worth getting one separately as it will make all the difference when shooting real estate photos or videos from above.
Last, you should always carry at least one extra battery when using your drone for photography. Drone batteries tend to deplete quickly after extended use, so having backups ensures you can keep shooting without interruption should the need arise.
Additionally, carrying extra batteries is especially important if you are shooting in remote locations where charging them might be difficult or impossible due to a lack of power outlets or other factors.
The Right Camera Body for Real Estate Photography
Several factors need to be considered when choosing a camera body for real estate photography. First and foremost is resolution. The higher the resolution of the camera body, the more detail, and clarity your images will have. The resolution also affects how much editing and post-processing you can do before your photos become too grainy or pixelated.
Think about the camera’s dynamic range, or how well it handles extremes of light and dark. For example, shooting indoors with plenty of windows and strong sunlight flowing in a high dynamic range can help you get correctly exposed shots of the room’s interior and the outside perspective. Essential elements, such as window frames or furniture, might be lost in the shadows or wiped away by the ambient light, if this isn’t done.
Lastly, think about what type of lens mounts your camera has; this will determine what lenses you can use. Most modern cameras have multiple lens mounts to choose between focal lengths and special effects such as macro or tilt-shift lenses. Having access to different lenses means you can get creative with your shots and capture unique angles that are impossible with just one lens on hand.
Crop-Sensor Versus Full-Frame Cameras for Real Estate Photography
Crop-sensor cameras are smaller than their full-frame counterparts, making them more portable and easier to maneuver in tight spaces. Additionally, crop sensors are less expensive than full-frame cameras, making them attractive options for photographers on a budget.
However, because these cameras have smaller sensors than full-frame models, they tend to produce noisier images at higher ISO settings. This means that in low light conditions, pictures taken with a crop sensor may not be as clear as those taken with a full-frame camera.
Full-frame cameras are larger and more expensive than crop sensor models but offer several benefits over smaller ones. For example, because they have larger sensors, they capture more light and produce less noise when shooting at higher ISO settings.
Additionally, full-frame cameras have wider angle lenses (usually up to 24mm), so you can get more room in one shot. This is especially useful when photographing interior shots of large rooms with high ceilings or open spaces like patios or gardens.
Finally, because these cameras are bigger and heavier than crop sensors, they are much better suited for tripod head use—an absolute must for any real estate photographer!
What Are the Best Lenses for Real Estate Photography?
If you’re a real estate photographer, you know that a great lens can make all the difference in your shots. However, with so many affordable options now on the market, it can be overwhelming to determine which lens is best suited for your needs.
Ultra Wide Angle Lens
The ultra wide off-angle lens is ideal for capturing large spaces in a single shot. In addition, this lens allows you to capture more of a room in one shot, creating stunning images of multiple rooms without needing to move around too much.
These lenses are typically used when photographing more significant properties with expansive rooms or many different rooms that need to be captured together in one shot. Wide-angle lenses usually have an aperture range of f/2.8–f/4 and have focal lengths ranging from 8–35mm.
The fisheye lens is perfect for capturing unique perspectives that can’t be achieved with a traditional wide-angle lens. In addition, fisheye lenses have a 180° field of view, meaning they can capture an entire room or space from one spot.
This lens type also has an ultra-wide aperture range of f/2.8–f/16, making it ideal for shooting in low light conditions such as dusk or dawn and nighttime photos with plenty of detail and clarity.
Fisheye lenses come in focal lengths ranging from 8 to 15mm, making them an excellent choice for real estate photographers who want to capture unique perspectives without moving camera bodies around too much while shooting.
The telephoto lens is perfect for getting close-up details of a property without having to close up yourself. Telephoto lenses typically have a longer focal length, ranging from 70–200mm, and offer excellent image quality even at maximum zoom levels and an extremely shallow depth of field (DOF).
This type of lens is excellent for capturing details such as architectural features tall buildings and landscaping elements that may otherwise be hard to grab if you were physically standing closer up or if there was any obstruction blocking your view from faraway spots around the property.
Furthermore, the right lens offers fast autofocus speeds, which makes them ideal for quickly grabbing shots before moving onto another spot on the property promptly and efficiently.
This type of lens can zoom in and capture the finer details of a home, such as its fixtures, finishes, and textures, often missed by traditional lenses. In addition, it allows for greater depth of field and precise focus, resulting in sharp and stunning images.
Tilt-shift lenses for real estate photography
A tilt-shift lens is a particular type of photographic lens with two types of movements—one horizontal (tilt) and one vertical (shift). The tilt movement allows for selective focus in an image, while the shift movement allows for perspective control.
The above enables you to alter the angle you shoot and the location shutter speed of best lens at the photo focal length and point. When utilized appropriately, this combination of motions may provide photographs with perspectives that could not be created with any other lens.
How Can It Be Used For Real Estate Photography?
Real estate photography requires capturing images with specific angles and perspectives to show off properties in the best light possible. With a tilt-shift lens, photographers have much more control over how they compose their shots and where they want to direct attention to the image.
This makes creating beautiful images that accurately represent a property’s features and layout easier. Additionally, because most cameras these lenses allow for horizontal and vertical adjustments, photographers can add dynamic elements to their shots by angling them up or down for more interesting compositions.
The Ultimate Real Estate Lens: Why Wide Angle Is King
Offering a wider field of view than traditional lenses, the wide-angle lens is the ultimate tool for capturing great image quality. As a result, this one camera lens is perfect for exterior shots, highlighting spacious interiors, showcasing the unique features of a property, and giving potential buyers a virtual tour of the space. With its ability to capture various angles and details, the wide-angle lens is undoubtedly the king of real estate photography.
Wireless Flash for Real Estate Photography
Using remote trigger flash is a game-changer for any real estate photographer. With a wireless flash setup, you can direct the light exactly where you want, allowing for crisp, well-lit photos highlighting the property’s best qualities.
Natural light has traditionally been used for real estate photography; however, this may result in shadows and poorly lit areas that detract from the overall quality of the final image made.
The fill flash makes the picture seem more even all around. In addition, a wireless setup provides more freedom in terms of positioning, allowing you to try out various locations and angles until you discover the optimal flash power for your subject.
When selecting, consider software that offers features such as gimbal control, live view monitoring, and camera settings management. You’ll also want software that allows you to easily edit and share your photos, whether it’s through social media or with clients. Some software even offers automated flight planning and stitching, saving you time and effort in post-production.
Photoshop and Lightroom
Photoshop is a go-to choice for editing photos because it has many powerful features that allow you to make precise adjustments easily. Regarding drone real estate photography, some of the most valuable features are its curve adjustment tool and ability to clone out unwanted items in the photo.
You may use Photoshop’s cloning tool to eliminate unsightly elements in the backdrop of your shot, such as trees or vehicles. In addition, Photoshop’s curves adjustment tool makes it simple to change the brightness and contrast levels in specific regions of your image.
Lightroom is an excellent choice for editing drone photos because it has a wide range of preset filters that can be applied with just one click, which makes it easy to give your photos a professional-looking finish without spending too much time adjusting individual settings manually.
Additionally, Lightroom also offers some powerful tools for making specific adjustments—such as its auto-tone feature, which automatically adjusts brightness, contrast, shadows, and highlights based on analysis of your photo—as well as some great tools for organizing your images into collections and categories. Hence, they’re easier to find later on.
Putting It All Together: Your Real Estate Photography Gear Budget
An essential piece of gear for a real estate photographer is a great camera, that can produce high-quality images. Many great cameras are well-suited for real estate photography, but you don’t need to break the bank to get a good one. You can get an excellent camera for a real estate shoot for under $1,000, and some good ones are available for under $500.
In addition to a good camera, you will also need a lens suitable for real estate and landscape photography. A wide-angle lens is a must-have for this type of real estate photography equipment, allowing you to capture more of the scene in each frame. A wide-angle lens will also help reduce the distortion in your images.
A sturdy tripod that is another essential piece of gear for real estate photography. A sturdy tripod and great lens will help keep your camera steady when taking long exposures and allow you to take advantage of lower ISO settings to reduce image noise.
A flash is not essential for every HDR image, but it can be beneficial in certain situations. For example, if you plan on shooting interiors or exteriors at night, a flash will help you capture well-lit images.
Finally, you will need editing software to touch up your images before sending them to your clients. Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are two popular choices among professional photographers, but many other great options are also available.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I start real estate photography?
Research your market and competitors, assess your equipment and software needs, and develop a pricing strategy. Ensure you have a portfolio showcasing your best work and invest in marketing efforts to attract potential clients. It’s essential also to understand the technical aspects of real estate photography, such as lighting, composition, and editing.
Do you need lights for real estate photography?
Regarding lighting in real estate photography, it’s not a matter of need but instead of quality. While natural lighting may suffice in some cases, it’s not always available and may not always highlight the property in the best way possible. Professional lighting setups can enhance the features of the property, giving potential buyers a better idea of what they’re getting into.
How do you make real estate photos look professional?
Focusing on lighting, composition correct exposure post processing, and editing will help your real estate images stand out:
Use natural or well-placed artificial light to make each area as light and airy as possible.
Structure your photographs to showcase the most excellent parts of the house.
While editing, correct the colors, fix the crooked lines, and eliminate any other faults.
Do you need a full-frame camera for real estate photography?
On the one hand, full-frame cameras offer higher image resolution and better low-light performance, which can be crucial when shooting in dimly lit interiors. Additionally, their wider field of view is perfect for capturing the sprawling vistas of high-end properties. On the other hand, full-frame cameras can be bulky and expensive and may require specialized lenses to get the best results.