Photography for Realtors

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun.  I usually don’t write educational

point and shoot camera

type posts on Fridays but that is what I am going to do today.

I have spent a lot of time this week looking for homes for buyers that I am working with.  I just can’t help but notice that the property photos in the MLS are pretty bad. 

I find photos of room parts, open toilets, crooked rooms, poorly lit rooms, open toilets, did I mention open toilets?  bathroom mirrors and windows with bright lights in them and to be honest with some of the photos I can’t really tell what they are of but I try. 

You may have noticed from my blog that I like to take photos.  Maybe I love taking them and I know my way around a camera and if I try I can take a photo of an entire room and if there is a toilet in the room I put the seat down before taking the picture instead of after. (I think Realtors were taught to put the seat down after)  I decided to write some instructions for my peers in an effort to help them with their property photos. .

The following items are needed and my instructions should be followed to the letter.  You will need:  A camera, a towel, a table or sturdy flat surface a hammer, a phone and a room that needs to be photographed.

  • Remove camera from case
  • Remove battery from camera and put it in your pocket.
  • Place towel on flat surface
  • Place camera on top of towel
  • Fold towel over camera until it is completely covered. (Not the towel the camera)
  • Pick up the hammer and hit the camera at least 10 times. When the camera is flat you have hit it enough times.
  • Use the phone to call a photogrpaher
  • Carefully pick up the towel and keep it folded and toss it in the trash. (this part may take some practice)
  • Take the battery to a recycling center.

If these steps are followed I promise that the end result will be better property photos.

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22 Replies to “Photography for Realtors”

  1. Excellent advice. Next week can you teach REALTORS how to fold the towel correctly because I am sure some will need help with that too.

    1. Teresa Boardman says:

      I wonder if anyone will take my advice. Maybe I should have written a disclosure that I am not responsible for injuries or damage to flat surface caused by improper towel folding. I don’t want to get sued.

    2. HYSTERICAL comment Jay!!

  2. NOW I know why I found my camera in pieces this morning… 😉

  3. That post got me going this morning with a smile on my face. I plan to share it with the prelicense class I’m teaching today! 🙂

  4. Thank you, Teresa! Over the years, I’ve been amazed at both the subjects and quality of pictures accompanying listings. Pictures of the huge conifer that blocks most of the house; underexposed shots which do nothing to illustrate detail; views of the backs of garages. Are these folks really thinking “sales” or are they instead thinking about making dinner?

    Sadly, the ability to do it over immediately with a digital camera does not seem to have improved matters.

  5. Oh, and off topic, but I really like the new look of the blog and the easier-to-use comment system. Thanks!

  6. Teresa Boardman says:


    That was my main reason for moving it. Typepad has poor spam blockers and I had to “lock down” my comments and manually approve each one. I even had to manually approve my own comments.

  7. Teresa,
    WELL DONE! You made great points… and hopefully had some fun doing it.
    One of the best ways to improve R.E. pix is to prepare the house. Great architectural photographers don’t have dishes in the sink and they lower the toilet seat. Thanks for the post. 🙂

  8. Teresa Boardman says:

    Brad – I like to have the home owners do the prep and I tell them what they need to do before photos can be taken. You are right having a home that is ready to show makes a huge difference.

  9. I’d send this link to my Realtor, except she doesn’t have a camera – she took the pictures with her iPhone.

    Yeah. 🙁

    1. Teresa Boardman says:

      NO! Well at least it is an iPhone there are worse phones for photography.

  10. Funny post Teresa. I just made the decision this week to use a professional photographer. Thankfully my own Nikon wasn’t a casualty.

    1. Teresa Boardman says:

      Take a few with your Nikon too. It is good practice and a great way to learn.

  11. This cracked me up, and sadly I’m constantly amazed at what I see in the MLS for pictures ‘showcasing’ homes. I often wonder if the sellers ever even look at their listing online – I’d be mortified if my house were posted online for the whole world to see with some of the pictures I see.

  12. I have often wondered if a Realtor is listing a flower bed, a kitchen sink full of dishes, a bathroom with a floor full of dirty diapers, a dog crate, etc. Far too many of the MLS photos showcase furniture, clutter, debris, toys, or just plain dirt. I always passed those listings by since I couldn’t tell what the house looked like.

  13. That was a good one.
    I was hoping for some real tips… lol

    I found your blogs and photo’s about a year ago and was really inspired.

    I have since made an effort with my photo’s

    I am buying a wide angle lense soon.

    I was wondering if you use a flash gun for interior shots?

    If you do, how do you decide which to go for? prices range dramatically.

    Any advice would be really appreciated.

    1. Teresa Boardman says:

      I use a speed light. There are different light available for different cameras so I really don’t know what to recommend.

  14. Yes I understand.

    Is there not a secific strength or something?

    I am asking you because it is something you know and use for real estate.

    The guys at the store never really know that much about real estate or interior photography.

    1. Teresa Boardman says:

      The lights themselves have settings on them so that they can be adjusted. I rarely use the light at full power usually half power is enough if the room is well lit. There is a learning curve with the speed lights. You will need to practice.

  15. lol… big fan. Easist way to do some good indoor work is just to do bracketing on your exposures, and be sure to bring a tripod to get nice long well lit exposures.

    1. Teresa Boardman says:

      I agree and I always use a tripod for indoor work. A wide angle lens helps too. So does a cup of coffee.

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