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What Makes A Good Real Estate Photo?

March 31st, 2014

I have a difficult time explaining what I do for a living. I'm a real estate photographer. I know that doesn't seem complicated, but it is. You see, there are a lot of real estate photos out there that are less than beautiful. OK, many of them are downright horrible. Which reflects poorly on all of us who choose to do this for a profession. For example, when I meet someone new and they ask what I do for a living, it usually goes something like this:

“I'm a photographer.”
“Oh! What a great job! What do you shoot?”
“I'm an architectural photographer. I shoot homes.”
“For magazines?”
“For real estate.”
“Oh. Excuse me, I think that's my old college roommate over there. . . .”

But the thing is, I love what I do for a living. I'm actually quite passionate about it. I've always been interested in architecture and home design – even as a teenager when all my friends were reading Glamour and Cosmopolitan, I was reading Metropolitan Home (RIP.) To this day I spend more on shelter magazines than I do on food. (Restaurants don't count.) So I have an idea in my head of what a photo of the interior of a house should look like. And that goal, that desire to make my photos as beautiful as possible so that the homeowner can be proud of their space and I can be proud of my work, is what drives me.

Yes, I'm a professional photographer (one who's fortunate enough to work with Cynthia Paggie, our incredibly talented stager.) I shoot a home so that the best parts shine and that the rooms that maybe need work are not front and center. I remove clutter and move furniture and objects so that the viewer's eye looks at what I want it to see. Shots are composed to tell the story of the home, the moments that may be experienced there. Editing is done with a ruthless eye, straightening walls and working with light so that an amazing outdoor view is seen. I spend hours upon hours on each house making sure it's seen in the best light. But above all of the time and the technique is just this: I truly care.

If I'm going to spend the time creating something, I'm going to make it as beautiful as possible. While my ego has no small part to play in this, bigger than that is my respect for the house and the people who love it.  I believe a house is more than just a physical structure. It's the holder of all that is important to us in the world, physically and symbolically. Being invited into people's homes to take photos, especially during an often emotional time, is an honor. My hope is that I can express my gratitude and pleasure through my photos. If the end result is the homeowner falling in love with their home again, that brings me tremendous satisfaction. If the homeowner AND a buyer fall in love with the home, then I have truly done my job well.

For those of you who want the less emotional side of the story, here's an infographic for your pleasure: