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Gear Up for Real Estate Photography on a Shoestring Budget

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As photographers, one of the most consistent opportunities to make money with our cameras is shooting real estate and hospitality properties such as Airbnb rentals. Contrary to popular belief, it does not require a large investment to provide quality images for this purpose. .

I have never offered general industry advice that you need to specialize in order to be successful in photography. Instead, I was able to generate a variety of photography-related income streams. Shooting real estate, hospitality, and architecture, along with other services, provided me with a very stable and consistent source of income. During his five years of professional activity, he has experimented with many different methods and equipment. Creating professional quality work for clients. After experimenting with different approaches, we realized that we could offer a sophisticated real estate look without spending a fortune on gear.

Real estate photography requires a somewhat specialized setup, but you don’t have to start with the best and most expensive equipment. This article details basic guidelines on what equipment you should consider purchasing to kick-start your real estate photography workflow. I’ll make some suggestions for those who want to spend a little more money early on, but the guidelines for this “beginner’s” kit go way beyond providing the tools. It takes a little practice to do well.


One of the areas that offers the most budget-conscious value when shooting real estate is to start with an APS-C mirrorless camera body. Many of the features you paid for in a state-of-the-art camera body may become completely unused due to the specific workflow requirements of the process, so even an older used camera body will do just fine.

First, construction work is mostly done on a tripod. This is due to the fact that both of the most popular and effective workflows rely on taking multiple exposures of each scene and blending them together to create the best possible result. Because of this, the camera body doesn’t need super-fast autofocus (or more on that in the lens section) or best-in-class dynamic range. In addition to this, the extra depth of field inherent in APS-C sensor-based cameras can benefit your workflow. This is because it means that more of the scene is in focus compared to a full-frame camera with the same aperture setting.

From my experience, the most valuable camera bodies to consider when getting ready to shoot real estate are the Fujifilm X-T2 and the Sony a6300, both of which can be found on the used market for around $500. As a full-time Fuji photographer, I prefer the X-T2, but this decision involves personal preference. Both cameras offer 24 megapixel resolution. We believe this is the best baseline for creating professional architectural-based images, and leaves a little more room for cropping if needed (although it’s best to frame the shot in such a way that cropping isn’t necessary). is best). It also has other features that make life easier, like focus peaking for easily getting sharp focus if you’re using a manual focus lens, and a built-in 2-Second Shot His Timer.


The main requirement when choosing a lens for real estate work is that it is actually super wide. The longest focal length that can be used with an APS-C body is 14mm (21mm full-frame equivalent), which I personally think is still too long. Both of the cameras we suggested in the previous section have a wider variety of options, perhaps none of which 7Artisans 12mm F2.8At just $150 new, it offers a 102-degree angle of view, allowing you to shoot in tighter spaces than narrower options. This is a fully manual lens. That is, there is no autofocus, but this is not a drawback. At aperture he shoots a 12mm lens I often shoot the real thing (f/5.6-f/8). Just turn the focus ring until the infinity marks line up and everything in the scene will be captured from about 3 feet away. The aforementioned camera’s focus peaking feature makes it quick and easy to check for accurate focus. Since the scene is still and you’ll be shooting on a tripod, you can line it up endlessly, tape the lens to keep it in place, and forget about refocusing the entire shoot.

You can find wider lenses on the market for a significantly higher price. Laowa 9mm f/2.8, which is available new and unused for around $500 for both cameras. Users who want more flexibility in their zoom lenses can usually find better lenses. Fujifilm XF 10-24mm f/4 When Sony 10-18mm f/4 Lenses cost less than $500 on the used market.


A stable tripod is essential for creating quality real estate images. Luckily, there are a wide variety of tripods on the market for every budget. When I first started, I used a heavy, old tripod with thick steel legs and a video head. The extra weight of that tripod and the strength of its legs provided a very stable shooting platform. , there are some aluminum tripods that offer very good stability. One tripod we’ve found to offer great value for this workflow is Vanguard Veo 3T 235ABP, available for $200. You can find more affordable aluminum tripod options, but when shopping for the best prices, you’ll want a head with 360-degree panoramic rotation, the ability to easily switch to portrait camera orientation, And look for one with a spirit level. To reduce bad keystoning (the tilt of vertical lines in the scene), you can keep the scene properly oriented.

Other considerations

The most common way to get started with interior real estate photography is with a basic HDR workflow. This workflow captures a series of images at different exposure values ​​(underexposed, uniform exposure, overexposed). The editing process combines these to provide a scene in which the room is well-exposed, but at least partially visible windows that would otherwise be blown out due to the limited dynamic range of the camera. If you want to get a more sophisticated level of window view visibility, a technique commonly called “flambient” is to use a flash to increase the exposure value of the room while setting the ambient exposure of the camera to the correct value. for a perfectly clear “window pull”. ” is sometimes called. This technique also allows for more precise control over the white balance of the scene. I think it’s often used too aggressively and creates weird and unnatural images, but the flashy workflow is used by many of the best real estate photographers in the business.

Adding a simple $65 Godox TT600 speedlight kicks off a brilliant workflow, but my preference for this workflow is more powerful yet compact and Godox AD200 For about $300, wireless flash trigger and more $60 Godox Xpro TriggerThe extra power available from the AD200 allows the Flambient Technique to be used in larger rooms where more juice is needed for proper exposure.

Additionally, a very handy tool for filming internal work is a wireless remote camera trigger, such as the Pixel TW-283, available for around $40. Triggering the camera remotely reduces the effect of micro-shake on the image from physically pressing the shutter button, but achieving the same by simply turning on his 2-second timer on the camera. You can also

Providing drone photography as part of our real estate services is of great value to many clients. If not, you may have to go to another photographer, but in places like the US, they make money using your drone images. A very affordable first drone option for those striving to get Part 107 is the Aum AnahuThe i can be purchased at Parrot’s Amazon store for under $400 with basic cropping and offers decent image quality.For around $1,200, you can get a better product DJI Mavic Air 2Swith a larger, better camera sensor and an obstacle avoidance sensor that helps reduce the risk of crashes.

This tool isn’t cutting edge by any means, but with the necessary effort to learn how to use it properly, it is more than capable of creating quality real estate images for your clients. After you start building your customer base and generate revenue, you can think about how you can upgrade your equipment to provide more advanced jobs to your customers, but in skilled hands, this guideline gear alone can do very well over the years. This allows you to maximize your return on investment.

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