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How to Take Great Digital Photos of Your Homes

By Mike Wheatley | January 30, 2014

Digital photos can make a real difference in your ability to market your homes. Professionally taken photos can really help set a property apart, and will have potential buyers drooling in anticipation and desperate to see it with their own eyes. But that's only going to happen if you do it right, and produce really outstanding images. If your digital photos are poor quality, they could turn off prospects altogether, and make your job that much harder.

Crazy hill of San Francisco

photo credit: Håkan Dahlström via photopin cc

The following useful tips should help you overcome common digital photography problems.

If your digital photos often come out with one portion of the house looking too dark, your problem is probably underexposure. Often, underexposure occurs when the background light in the picture is brighter than the details you’re trying to capture. You’ll often run into this problem outside when the sun is directly behind the home or when you’re taking a picture across a snow-covered yard.

Inside, taking a photo toward a strong light or a bright window can have the same effect.

To reduce the amount or the impact of background light, try:

  • Taking an exterior picture at a time of day when the sun is in front of the house
  • Waiting for an overcast day if snow or water glare is a problem
  • Turning off bright lights inside and drawing shades and blinds


photo credit: SunlandGroup via photopin cc

If none of those options are feasible, you can reduce underexposure problems by:

  • Zooming in on the home itself. If the home takes up more of the overall picture, you reduce the amount of background light that would otherwise cause the photo to be underexposed.
  • Setting your camera to use spot or center metering, if it has those features. That will instruct your camera to take a light reading based on the light in the center of the frame, which is usually where the home is.
  • Setting your camera to forced-flash mode, which causes the flash to fire regardless of the amount of available light. The flash will reduce the effects of a strong light in one area when you’re taking pictures inside.
  • Using the exposure value setting available on some higher-end digital cameras to override your camera’s built-in light meter and compensate for the light.

Out-of-focus images are another common problem. In real estate photography, you often take pictures out of windows. Because a digital camera’s auto-focus feature may focus on a nearby object (a screen or tree branch) and not the intended subject matter, the image you want to photograph comes out blurry. Avoid this problem by:

  • Setting your camera’s focus on infinity rather than on auto-focus
  • Moving the center of your photo slightly to shift the auto-focus away from the object that’s confusing it


photo credit: SunlandGroup via photopin cc

It’s also a good idea to check your camera’s settings to be sure your digital photos are formatted for easy retrieval and electronic viewing by customers. You can accomplish this by ensuring that your photos are bright, crisp, and fast loading, you make it easier for buyers to say yes to your listings.

Finally, make sure you’ve set your camera to save images in the JPG format. This is your best option, whether you intend to e-mail photos to clients or post them on your website.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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