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What goes into a professional real estate photography shoot? Part 1

I have been wanting to write this for some time. One of the things I, and other professionals, hear most with our photography is “Wow, you must have a really nice camera!” Typically, yes – we do have nice cameras. The results we get, however, are not because of the camera but because of years of experience studying light, composition, and editing. I have been a photographer for 10 years, and starting working in video 16 years ago. I bring this up because far too often, people tend to think that a nice camera will yield great results. This isn’t entirely untrue, but there is a lot more to it than buying a fancy camera.

On average, a Realtor or homeowner might spend about 30-45 minutes photographing a home, dumping the photos onto a computer, and uploading them to the MLS. I spend anywhere from 2-4 hours from start (preparing) to finish (delivery) depending on the size of the home. If I am shooting a video as well, add a few more hours on top of that (I will have another post soon about this).

A Realtor will typically contact me a few days before the shoot to check availability. Once I get the address, I do a little research on the home by seeing if there are any old photos of the property online, checking an app I use called Sun Seeker to see where the sun will be during my shoot, and adding the details of the shoot to my calendar. I typically don’t spend more than 20 minutes or so doing this.


The day before the shoot, I make sure all of my batteries are charged and my lenses are cleaned. This process can take anywhere from 5 minutes to a few hours if I forgot to charge my batteries since the last shoot. Once that is complete, on the day of the shoot I load up my bag with the gear I need and pile it all into the car. I pull up the address in Google Maps, throw on a Podcast or Audiobook, and head to the location.

As I am driving up to the location, I am already thinking about the front exterior. Are there cars around? Kids playing? Trash bins? Realtor signage? etc. I park the car, open up the hatchback and get my camera ready to do the exterior shot.

Usually the homeowner or Realtor are already at the home, so I will spend some time chatting with the Realtor, or getting to know the homeowner. This is an exciting and stressful time for them, so I want to be sure I am the least stressful part of this life change.

In my next post, I will talk about the photographing and editing process.


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