The 6 Different Types
of Real Estate Photographers

Average Person

  • Price: Free
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Value: Low

Usually shot on a smartphone by someone with little to no photography experience and doesn’t want to invest in a professional photographer. The image is crooked, looks like a fun house, no thought has gone into this. It’s just a simple snapshot.

Advanced Smartphone Shooter

  • Price: Free
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Value: Moderate

To achieve this, hold your phone horizontally at chest level, aim it straight for vertical lines, and avoid tilting your phone. Do this small adjustment, and you’ll be able to shoot real estate photos on your phone, enjoy!

As a bonus: If the room is dark, be sure to lift all the blinds up, and turn on the lights.

Amateur Photographer

  • Price: Cheap
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Value: Low

Maybe your neighbor’s son is shooting it or you’re a DIYer that happens to own a camera. The biggest amateur mistake is slapping on a fish eye lens and tilting the camera down on auto.

The problem with shooting Auto is the camera doing it’s own thing trying to compensate the light, usually resulting in an unsharp, grainy, distorted photo.

Natural Light / HDR Photographer

  • Price: Affordable
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Value: Moderate¬†

This is usually a professional photographer who knows what they’re doing. Everything is lined up and looks good, can’t go wrong with natural. Less experienced photographers will achieve this with one correctly exposed timed shot, while a more seasoned professional will stack multiple timed shots, and later merge the different exposures in Photoshop (HDR) for one perfect “natural” image.

Flash Photographer

  • Price: Fair
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Value: Moderate to High

Does the same exact thing as the natural lighting photographer but this time introduces an off camera flash. These type of images immediately give the photo that clean commercial pop. Generally, a flash photographer will cost more than a regular photographer, since these type of images have a higher learning curve, and require additional equipment.

Flash Blend Photographer

  • Price: Expensive
  • Difficulty: Complex
  • Value: Very High

This type of photographer has mastered the off-camera flash, stacking HDR exposures, and blending them in Photoshop / Lightroom. These types of images are achieved by lighting separate areas, taking multiple shots, and then blending all the photos together in Photoshop. The end result, is a bright commercial image where everything pops. These type of photos are frequently used in high-value luxury listings.

The Flash Blend Process

To achieve this type of shot do as following:

  • Camera settings: Use Fish Eye Lens, Shoot RAW format, manual mode, ISO 100, f8, lowest SS until correct exposure (ex: 5-25)
  • Camera self-timer set to 2sec
  • Control camera shutter via WIFI or Trigger
  • Place camera on tripod roughly 4ft from ground (mid chest length).
  • Use remote flash. Adjust flash power accordingly such as 1/8
  • Take multiple shots while bouncing the flash to light up different areas of the room.
  • You should end up with 8 to 25+ randomly lit raw photos. Upload all of this to Lightroom and use the correct lens profile to correct distortion.
  • Edit as layers in Photoshop and use masking to paint in the flashed areas.
  • Flatten the image, remove blemishes, add brushed opacity layers to even out darker areas, reflatten, color correct, and do a final lens profile correction if needed.

Done.

 

On the left, this is 1 of the original 8 photos. It is unedited, as you can see the lines are warped due to the Fish Eye lens. Correct lens profiles have not been applied. On the right, is the final composite Flash Blend image.

Below are some of the images used in the final flash blend composite. Each photo, is lighting a separated area, which will later be merged in the composite. Under that is my Photoshop workspace. As you can see, in order to achieve that one final flash blended image, a lot of layers of work go into it.

Hopefully this helped!