How to Shoot Real Estate Photos in Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills is known for its incredible houses and mansions. To properly capture them on camera, you need to learn how to take real estate photos. Here are some handy tips on shooting real estate in Beverly Hills, for both beginners and photographers.
Tips for capturing great real estate photos in Beverly Hills
1. Use a wide-angle lens
Wide-angle lenses allow you to shoot in tight spaces. They can also make an area look bigger and give a better sense of depth, which makes them ideal for real estate photography. At the very minimum, you should use a 24mm lens. Ideally, your lens should be even wider: 16-35mm for a full-frame camera, and 10-22mm or 12-24mm for a cropped sensor camera.
If possible, use a tilt-shift lens. The downside to using a wide-angle lens is that it can cause distortion, which a tilt-shift lens can eliminate. If you plan on shooting a lot of real estate photos, this may be a worthwhile investment. Otherwise, use lens adjustment in post-production to adjust for the distortion.
2. Use a tripod
Not all properties have large windows that let in plenty of natural light, or have the ideal lighting situation with interior lights. Bring and use a tripod so you can take crisp and clear photos without blur. It also makes it easier to shoot HDR. Using a tripod also helps ensure you are shooting at the right height.
Alt text: Straight on shot of a two story white house with pillars, and a pool in the foreground
3. Shoot at the right height
For real estate photography, there’s a sweet spot for the height at which you should be shooting, typically around five feet. It varies somewhat for different rooms (and properties), but the following are typical guidelines: try to shoot between 36” and 48” for living rooms, 15” to 20” higher than the bed in the bedroom, and 15” to 20” higher than the counter in the kitchen.
4. Be careful with vertical lines
Shoot straight and make sure all vertical lines and edges are indeed vertical. If you tilt the camera even slightly up or down, the images will be crooked and look off. Use a tripod to help you get straight shots. You can also turn on the virtual horizon on your live view settings.
5. Shoot from various angles and perspectives
Always take a variety of shots of each room at different angles. Don’t just shoot from the corner of every room. It gets really boring. Try taking photos from the door, or shoot through the doorway. Or, try shooting from the center of the room. If there is a particular highlight in a room, make sure to capture it. It’s better to have more photos than you need to choose from.
6. Shooting with flash
If you are using a flash, particularly your in-camera flash, be sure to bounce it off a wall or ceiling, or add a diffuser. Otherwise, you can end up with harsh lighting and unflattering shadows. If possible, use an off-camera flash that you can better aim and trigger wirelessly. Also consider using flash stands and flash umbrellas. You may also want more than one flash if you are shooting in large spaces.
7. Using interior lights
If you are going to shoot with the lights on, make sure the light bulbs are all the same, or at least give off the same color temperature. Cool fluorescent and warm incandescent lighting really don’t mix well and will give your photos a weird color tint.
You should also generally avoid shooting with lamps on, as they can create an unbalanced lighting situation. Whatever you decide, you should always adjust the white balance and color in post-production to make the lighting and temperature consistent throughout.
8. Shoot in HDR
In any room where there are windows, it’s likely that you will end up with areas that are too bright and too dark. If you try to capture the view out the window, the room will be too dark. But if you expose correctly for the room, the window will be too bright. By shooting in HDR, you can expand the range of both the contrast and color, and adjust for the different areas of brightness.
9. Shoot in RAW
Shooting in RAW as opposed to JPEG will give you the most control in post-production to get the shot where you need it to be. There are presets you can use to make the editing easier. Or, if you really don’t want to deal with editing, you can hire people to do it for you, usually for just a few dollars an image.
10. Best times to shoot
When shooting with natural lighting, you want the sun to be behind the camera. The direction the house faces will affect when you should shoot the exterior: morning for east-facing, afternoon for west-facing, mid-day for north-facing, and during the golden hour for south-facing.
Alt text: Aerial view of a house with green roof taken with a drone
11. Use a drone
For exterior photos that really make an impact, consider shooting with a drone. It will allow you to shoot the entire house exterior and property. Just be sure to check any limitations on flying drones in that area. As a courtesy, you should also inform any neighbors of your plans.
Wrapping up: how to have a successful real estate photo shoot in Beverly Hills
There are definitely things to watch out for when photographing real estate, along with the specific gear you need and techniques to learn and apply. This article sets out some of the basics to look out for when shooting real estate photos. Now that you know what you need to do, it’s time to start scoping out photo shoot venues in Beverly Hills to put these tips into practice.
Links to Images: