Real Estate Photography 101

By Missouri REALTORS posted 02-19-2020 03:01 PM


A picture is worth 1,000 words, especially in real estate. Property photos can make or break an online listing. Some REALTORS® 
prefer to hire professionals while others opt to take the photos themselves. Here are a few testimonies from Missouri REALTORS® on how they approach photography with their businesses. 

Hiring a professional

Many REALTORS® opt to hire a pro to take the best possible photos of their listings. Here are a few thoughts from Missouri REALTORS® who choose to hire professionals. 

  • While it's an extra cost, it doesn’t have to break the bank.

“For the unheard price of $75-$150 (based on square footage), you can hire a photographer to take high-quality digital images of your listing and provide you with digital files that will load quickly and display perfectly on the MLS. Despite having all the professional photographic equipment I need to shoot my own listings, I still hire a photographer because I recognize the value of this work and that my time is more effectively spent in my business.” - Lisa Mandel, St. Louis REALTORS®

  • We all have different strengths, and photographers are gifted with their cameras. 

“Professional photos do so much to help market a property. Professional eyes see things we don't. My photographer is great at giving a true image of the home.”   -

  • It’s okay to go for a hybrid method.

“If you are a good photographer, rent a more advanced camera and try out your skills with your own home. I am pretty good with most subjects but there are times when I hire someone with better skills and equipment.  I took several classes at the local community college and also worked with a professional photographer prior to getting into real estate. I now know my own limits and I think that is the most important lesson to learn. Know your own skill limits.” -

How to take your own photos

Sometimes professional photography isn’t an option, or perhaps you believe in taking the photos yourself. Even without professional training, it’s possible to take stunning property photos, especially with today’s high-tech equipment. John Mayfield, with MINERAL AREA BOARD OF REALTORS® INC, has extremely helpful tips for DIY photography. Here are a few things he recommends. 

  • Use a smartphone with an additional lens.  

My iPhone 6S Plus does an amazing job, especially when used with my lens adapter from Moondoglabs. There is a small process you have to go through to make the photos work, but wow, the results are stunning! In all honesty, some of the photos on my Smartphone come out better than my Canon and a $700 wide-angle lens. 

You can find some very inexpensive lenses from Amazon for many smartphones.  I have purchased a few wide angle lenses for less than $50.00 which allowed me to capture more area when taking interior photos.”

  • Pay attention to lighting. 

“Remember, lighting is key!  Sometimes it requires taking exterior photos at a specific time of the day.  Sometimes I take a portable lighting kit with me. Stand so the windows are behind you, and make sure you have plenty of light.”

  • Get comfortable with editing. 

Take several photos from different angles and always use a good photo editing program for your post-production work, e.g. straightening, adjusting the light, etc.  Snapseed is a wonderful app you can use from your computer or smartphone for post-production and editing work.” 

What’s your approach to property photos? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or visit our Common Ground thread for the full discussion!