How to Shoot Real Estate Photography Using Natural Light Like a Pro?


How to Shoot Real Estate Photography Using Natural Light Like a Pro?

We live in an age of visual culture. The photo of the property you’re selling becomes one of the most important parts of the listing, and, according to numbers, the quality of the photo influences a buyer’s decision a lot. Humans are, by nature, very visual beings - which explain the insane popularity of social media such as Instagram - so the quality of visual content should become your top priority nowadays.

The first thing your customers will see is a photo of a property, so take some time to learn more about real estate photography, and follow our simple real estate photography tips to shoot like a pro.

Getting Started:

Photography for real estate is both - skill and art, but there is nothing about it, you can’t learn. A few simple tricks – and you won’t recognize your photos! So, let’s begin with basics. How to choose a right camera? What are the best lenses for real estate photography? How to shoot using natural light? And do you really need a tripod to take a quality photo? Keep reading!

It All Begins with A Camera:

Shooting with natural light is easy – all you need is a tripod, wide angle lens, and a camera. Wait, but what camera? The choice of cameras is truly overwhelming, but we’ve got you covered. Since real estate photos can really test the limits of your equipment, you need something affordable and made for professionals at the same time. The perfect camera should be also wide-angle, for shooting everything from interior shots and the exterior of the house to surrounding property. The most popular choices, just to name a few, are Panasonic Lumix FZ300, Nikon Coolpix B500, Sony Alpha a68 DSLR, or good old Canon, especially if you want to stay in the $300-500 range.

Choosing the Best Lenses for Real Estate Photography: 

For starters, the Tokina 11-16mm or The Canon 10-22mm would make perfect real estate photography lens. With these guys, you’ll be able to handle just about any real estate shooting situation sometimes even despite the lighting conditions. If you have a full frame camera, we highly recommend a lens in the 16-35mm range.

Everything You Need to Know about Sliders, Tripods, and Heads:

Yes, you need a tripod to make quality real estate photos. A sturdy tripod is one of the most important pieces of equipment for a photographer. You might be tempted to purchase just any tripod, but first, make sure it’s strong and stable, or you’ll end up with a bunch of blurry photos. In case you bought a cheap tripod already, there are a few proven ways to make it more stable: always secure your camera strap, use the thicker top sections first when regulating its height, and use a different type of feet for different surfaces. Also, there are two kinds of heads for a tripod, and while the majority of still shooters use a ball head mount on their tripod, a fluid head, designed for videographers, offers you more versatility and freedom.

Sliders can also come in handy when shooting both the interior and the exterior. The silky smooth, quality slider is a must-have for time lapse photography. Speaking about other equipment, consider buying circular polarizer as well. It will help you to shoot outdoors during the sunny day reducing glare on windows, glass, pool surfaces, etc.

Ultimate Tips for Shooting Real Estate Photography Using Natural Light:

Tip #1: Position your camera to show the best angle

Camera position in a room plays a crucial role in the final result. The room’s best angle should show as much room as possible as well as the most beautiful furniture and architectural elements (think a fireplace or a large vintage window). When shooting using the natural light, finding that perfect spot also depends on two things: available space, and the brightness – the lighter, the better.

If it’s a small house or a tiny room such a bathroom or bedroom, quite often your best choice is the doorway, but if your rooms are large enough, you can enjoy more creative freedom. The most important part: avoid the windows lacking shades and pick a spot in which the bright windows are angled more than 45 degrees away to avoid high-contrast photos.

Tip #2: Timing is important

 The bright sunny day is your best canvas, but one of the best photos can be made during the golden hour, a period shortly after sunrise or before sunset, when the daylight is softer, warmer, and almost magical. It adds this special quality to images that can’t be replicated no matter how many filters or textures you use.

When shooting the front of the house, schedule your shoot when the sun will be shining on the front of the house. All you need is to find out which direction the house faces. Since the front exterior is usually used as the featured photo if the listing, you want to capture the front of the house in its best light.

Tip #3: How to work with Windows?

While windows in small rooms such as bedrooms and bathrooms are usually small or have blinds or shades, the big, bright windows in the kitchen or living room can be a serious problem. Before shooting, consider closing windows at least partially to reduce contrast and minimize flare.

Tip# 4: Don’t forget to edit your photos

The post-production is as important as the shooting itself. You can use some simple to use programs such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and the SLR Lounge Lightroom Preset System and find countless tutorials for beginners online.

Tip #5: How to deal with mixed lighting situations?

When photographing a room during the day, you need to effectively deal with mixed lighting situations, since the light inside a room may be two or three stops darker than outside. The aim of the professional interior photography is to balance the light coming through the windows with the light inside so you can see both the furniture and the view outside the windows. It’s especially important if this view is a selling point! To do so, you can use HDR or exposure bracketing or learn how to use off-camera flash, especially if you want natural-looking photos that will stand out from the crowd.

Tip #6: Prepare the house

 It might sound obvious, but removing any clutter and clothes in a show home is the first step towards a professionally looking, high-quality photo. Then, turn on all the lights to make a room looking more homey and warmer, plus plump up sofa cushions, clean the floors, straighten the bed covers. A spotless home has more chances to be sold!

Tip #7: The simple rules of composition

Before shooting, walk around the room and find more than one viewpoint. Take photos from different angles. Later, you can decide which perspective works best. Also, there are a few important rules you should follow:

  • Make all your vertical lines vertical by aiming your camera perfectly horizontal or use Photoshop later to fix your converging verticals.
  • Shoot plenty of different variations to have a lot of options in post-production later.
  • Always try to shoot from chest height in a kitchen and hip high in all other rooms including bathroom, living room, and bedroom.
  • Fill your photo with the content of the room and avoid dead space whenever possible.


 Tip #8: Check your settings

Skip the Auto and devote some time to master your settings - keeping your ISO on 100-200 as default, for example, will make your images free of any noise and grain. When it’s too dark inside, try to raise ISO a little bit higher to increase the power of your flash.

To sum up, shooting real estate photography with only natural light and interior lighting adds a beautiful, natural aesthetic to your photos. In a nutshell, these short real estate photography tips for beginners are all you need to start creating professionally looking images:

  • Always use wide angle lens.
  • Bring more than just one flash.
  • Always have a tripod with you.
  • Use preset editing for a fast and quality result (Adobe Photoshop Lightroom should become your best friend!).
  • Experiment with natural light and try to shoot exterior both bathed in sunlight and during the golden hour.
  • Control contrast in a room and regulate blinds/shades if needed.


In an industry where one picture is worth a thousand words – as well as thousands of dollars – the quality of your photo,  is as important as the property itself. The Real Estate industry is very competitive nowadays, so a high-quality, professionally-looking photo is the great way to stand out from the crowd and show your house in the best possible light. Remember, that the image of the property is the first thing your customers will see and subconsciously, they will make a decision based on that photo as well.

As with every area, there is no substitute for experience. Experiment and practice, but don’t forget to follow at least some of those useful tips described above – they will help you to avoid the mistakes of the amateurs from the very beginning.


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