The Importance of Real Estate Photography



According to, 92 percent of home buyers use the internet as part of their home search. Let’s face it: Buyers are looking for pictures – good pictures. Put simply, just as much as curb appeal is your client’s responsibility, web appeal is yours. 


With the online home-buying market being as competitive as it is, a Wall Street Journal study shows that “95 percent of online shoppers view the first photo – the one that shows the exterior of the home – for a total of 20 seconds.” This provides you a huge opportunity to pull people in your door for showings. During these 20 seconds, the human brain analyzes the image for a few aspects that helps the buyer determine if the listing is attractive to them or not:

  • Brightness: Buyers are attracted to bright and vibrant images. Dark and dull images will automatically coax them to move along to the next listing.
  • Disorienting lines: We all see houses in our day to day lives and have a well-developed mental model of how they are supposed to look. If an image is too different from this mental model – perhaps having bad verticals, horizontals, or perspective, it is not visually attractive and naturally causes our brain to be uncomfortable.
  • Composition: A well framed image is key to persuade your buyer that your listing is right for them. People intuitively recognize when a photo works and when it doesn’t. Cutting off rooftops, sides of the house, or even having a majority of the house hidden by a tree are just a few examples that will turn a potential buyer away.  
  • Distractions: Hoses left in the front yard, trash cans in the front driveway, miscellaneous garbage scattered in the lawn are just a few examples of things I’ve run into that I have moved out of the scene to create the perfect image. Anything that will take the buyers’ eyes away from your listing will turn them away.


It is a common misconception that your smartphone camera is a great way to photograph your listings. Although it may seem like an efficient way to do business, it is counter-productive in the long run. The average iPhone camera’s focal length is between 29mm and 37mm. In order to produce an appealing exterior or interior image, a DSLR camera lens should have a 35mm equivalent focal length of between 14mm and 27mm. This provides the photographer a wide enough view to give the buyer a great perspective of the exterior or interior of the listing. Therefore, the camera lens on a smartphone just doesn’t cut it. 


Many agents label themselves as photographers merely because they bought a high-end camera and taught themselves how to use it. There is an art, however, to good photography. The skilled professional knows how to use composition, color, and lighting to make a photo more appealing. Owning a great camera makes one no more a professional photographer than owning a Wolf range makes one a professional chef. Even if you fancy yourself a budding photographer and have all the high-end equipment necessary, your time is better spent drumming up new listings and growing your business.


Although having a professional photographer photograph your listings is not required, it is absolutely going above and beyond to provide the best possible experience for your client. It is also a great opportunity to increase your sales numbers. According to a 2013 Redfin study, homes with listing photos taken with DSLR cameras sell for $3,400 to $11,200 more relative to their list prices. Your main objective is to “make them dream.” Jaw-dropping photos do that.

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