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DIY vs Professional Real Estate Photography

The saying that a “picture is worth a thousand words” plays a significant role in today’s real estate market. Many home buyers use the Internet to find and evaluate a property before they even contact their realtor, let alone visit a property. The images provided on the MLS and social media play an important role in the amount of interest you generate. Before you decide to take the pictures with your mobile phone, you may want to consider both the benefits and potential downsides of working with a professional real estate photographer.

Pros of hiring a professional real estate photographer

Lighting and Special Features

Unless you have taken photography classes and know a thing or two about lighting effects, you are unlikely to end up with the same quality images as a professional photographer. Artificial and natural lighting create different effects within a space when seen through the lens of a camera. Frontlighting, back light, side light, and shadowing are all lighting affects a professional real estate photographer will consider when trying to take that perfect picture.

Specialized Equipment

Professional real estate photographers invest thousands of dollars in purchasing the right equipment that is needed to deliver professional results. It is more than just the camera, but the most important part of real estate photography is the lens that the photographer uses, and these lenses could run into the thousands of dollars price range. Not only do the lenses allow the photographer to capture a great amount of space in the room (i.e. both width and height), but you are likely to get much richer and cleaner colors in the end. This doesn’t even take into consideration the use of 360 degree cameras or drones, both of which are becoming increasingly popular in real estate photography.

Photo Editing

The final advantage of using a professional real estate photograph is the level of post-shoot editing that is completed. When a photograph is taken you have to understand that it doesn’t come out ready to be published. A lot of rooms in a home have very bad levels of light, so the rooms need to be lightened up post editing. Also for rooms that do have large windows coming into them, you will find that there are different colors of light coming into a room that may need to be adjusted. A professional photographer will use software to make these edits prior to you placing the photographs into your listing.


The Cost

The only disadvantage of using a professional photographer is that you’re going to have to pay for the service, as you do any professional service. Bearing in mind that you aren’t guaranteed to recover this cost if you don’t sell the property, you really are going to have to look at this as an investment that could help you sell the property quicker.

Pros of DIY Real Estate Photography

Fast Results

When taking photos yourself there’s no scheduling and waiting around for the photographer to arrive, and it is going to take you far less time to shoot each room yourself than it would a professional photographer. You’re able to go into each room and quickly snap a photo and download them within minutes. You could actually have all of your DIY photographs ready for the MLS in the same amount of time it takes a professional to shoot a home.

Full Control

Since you’re taking the photos and it is your time, you can take as many photos as you want. You can frame them as you see fit, and light them in your own style.

Cons of DIY Real Estate Photography

Lower Quality Results

Unless the real estate agent has had some kind of photography training, the likelihood is that the end product is going to be sub-standard. The photographs may be acceptable, but if you put them next to a professionally taken image that has been edited the differences will be apparent.

In Summary

Unless you’re a seasoned real estate photographer, it’s best to go with a professional and experienced photographer to take your property shots. Always think of your real estate shots as being part of the cost of doing business, as much as any of the other marketing efforts that you carry out when you want to become a successful real estate agent.