Real Estate Photography Gear Guide for Beginners
Gear selection when starting out in any photography genre can be daunting, Luckily there is not a lot of gear you will need to get started in real estate photography and you probably already have a good chunk of it.
In this article, we will talk about all the equipment you will need to achieve professional results, including cameras, lenses, tripods, flashes and accessories.
Let’s take a look at the list below of the gear and accessories you will need to get into real estate photography.
If you have made it to this blog you probably already have a camera, you can shoot real estate photography with most DSLR and Mirrorless cameras, both crop sensor and full frame, however having the ability to shoot in full manual mode as well as being able to bracket your exposures in my opinion is a must. I personally use the Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless camera and the Canon 5DS R DSLR for my real estate photography
The best lens for real estate photography is a wide-angle lens that will allow you to make all spaces look roomy as well as allowing you to capture tight spaces such as bathrooms and scullories etc.
Wide angle lenses you should consider for real estate photography are.
Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D This is the top of my list as this lens is made for almost all camera mounts and is the world’s widest f/2.8 Lens with close-to-zero distortion. Canon users can check out the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS lens, for Sony the Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G and for Nikon the Nikon 16-35mm f/4. Sigma and Tamron also make fantastic wide angle lenses if you are on a budget.
Tilt-Shift lenses are the best of the best when it comes to real estate and architecture photography they are generally more expensive as they are a speciality lens with unique optics and controls, tilt-shift lenses will help improve your photography and save time in the editing room as a tilt-shift lenses can eliminate lens distortion caused by wide-angle lenses
Some of the best tilt-shift lenses available in 2021 are..
Laowa 15mm f/4.5 Zero-D Shift Lens(Venus Optics makes this lens for most camera lens mounts)
Canon 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift
Canon 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift Lens
Nikon Nikkor 24mm f/3.5D ED Tilt-Shift
Other than your camera and wide-angle lens a tripod is the most important real estate photography accessory you will need.
More often than not when photographing real estate you will need to shoot long exposures, without a tripod this would result in blurry images due to camera movement/shake.
Setting up your shot using a tripod gives you the most control to allow you to fine tune composition, horizon lines, lens distortion and height.
A tripod also helps when shooting bracketed/multiple exposures that will be blended as HDR images or Layers in Photoshop.
When choosing a tripod you want it to be solid, sturdy and tall with a variable height range.
The best tripod for real estate photography is NOT cheap, lightweight and portable save that for travel and landscape photography.
I carry multiple tripods for different applications, my go too is the Benro TMA47AXL Extra Long Mach3 it’s a great solid tripod with a versatile height range of upto 2.1m (85in). I also carry a table top tripod for the spaces that a conventional tripod just does not fit.
Tripods are not always sold as a LEG and HEAD combo so you many need to select a tripod head as well, There are different types of tripod heads so what type should you buy? Ball heads are generally more affordable as well as being simple to use and quick to set up, however precision can be more difficult due to the inability to make micro adjustments. Geared heads or 3-way leveling heads offer you the highest precision and control as you can make tiny adjustments by turning the control knobs. These heads are a precise piece of engineering designed for specific needs and applications, the drawbacks are they are more time consuming to set up and are alot more expensive.
Image quality is key when it comes to real estate Photography, So achieving clean sharp images is a must. When shooting long exposures with low shutter speeds even pressing the shutter button can introduce unwanted camera shake therefore using a remote trigger allows for touch free shooting.
There are many branded and third party remote triggers on the market, all you need is a simple shutter release trigger that can be wired or wireless.
An off camera flash is not always needed as you can still get “ok” photos without….. for this reason many newbies overlook flashes however a high power off camera flash is an essential part of a real estate photographers kit. Flash can be used to completely light a dull room or to really make features pop.
As the name states “off camera flash” means you will be using your flash off the camera, to achieve this you will need a flash trigger a great affordable brand for any camera manufacture is yongnuo or godox and most camera manufacturers offer a branded option too such as the canon RTII.
To use a flash trigger you attach the transmitter to your flash mount (hot shoe) on your camera and then attach the receiver to the flash or flash’s therefore when you fire the camera the trigger then fires the flash off the camera.
Flash’s such as the Yongnuo YN600RT have a build in triggering system so it is worth checking out these options too.
Do you need a drone for Real Estate Photography?
Short answer is YES,
If you plan to earn a living or decent side income from real estate or architectural photography you will eventually need a drone. These days I almost ALWAYS use a drone on assignments.
Currently in 2021 the best bang for buck drone in my opinion is the DJI Mavic Air 2 it can shoot in RAW, capture auto bracketed exposures it is compact has a great camera even in low light and is really easy to use and learn even for a novice drone pilot
If budget is not an issue then the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, DJI Mavic Pro 2, or DJI Inspire 2 are drones to consider. Being pro level drones they have even better image quality and more advanced features however some are double the price of the Mavic Air 2.
So you now have a great camera, the perfect lens combos and a rock solid tripod to create the best real estate photos….You still need to know how to edit your photos you have created and the what software to work with.
Software that can process RAW files is essential for professional real estate photography projects, we often have a wide dynamic range in our scenes that can require large amounts of editing this often includes manual blending of bracketed multiple exposure or merging HDR photographs
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are the industry standard when it come to photo editing with the majority of the tools required to edit your raw files as well as layer blending bracketed exposures and merging HDR photos (however the automatic HDR function in Lightroom and Photoshop does always work well it is limited).
If you are an HDR shooter you might want specialty software for batch HDR photo editing, HDR software such as Aurora HDR is the world’s most advanced HDR editor and the results are always so natural with limited editing of the sliders.
Manually blending flash and ambient layers in photoshop
Aaron Radford only recommends products he personally uses, has used or would use. This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks.