A picture is worth a thousand words – or thousands of dollars in the case of home listings.

More than ever, home buyers rely heavily on online research during their search. Whether they are shopping from out of town, prefer looking online rather than in person, or are trying to speed up the buying process, potential buyers are basing their opinions on the photos in your home listings.

That means that if you have any hope of selling your listings, the photos you’re posting online better be stellar. We understand. You’re not a professional photographer. And, you may not have enough in your marketing budget to hire one.

You’re probably taking your own photos. But you could be making some common mistakes that keep your listing photos from being the best they could be.

Here are five mistakes you may be making with real estate photography. Stop making them, and your home listing photography will practically sell your homes for you.

Not shooting with the light

When it comes to photography, lighting is critical. If you don’t have an additional flash or strobe, you’ll have to find a way to maximize the available lighting. That means using whatever natural light is there.

That means shooting with the window light instead of into it. Try standing by the window and shooting into the room. You could do that with a phone camera and end up with good pictures if there is a decent amount of light in the room.

Agents make a mistake when they want to showcase the whole room, the windows, and the view all in one image. Shoot with the light to ensure that each photo looks as good as possible.

Underestimating the need for drone photos

Photography using drones is cool. It’s also a very effective way to capture the look of the entire property, often from a unique perspective. Drone shots are helpful even to get a better angle of the whole property.

Fly the drone just a few feet overhead to get a shot of the entire house, including a nice roofline angle. You can also use it to get wider pictures of the neighborhood.

Shooting without a shot list

You’re ready to shoot photos of this stunning home. So what photos are you going to take? If you’re not sure, you could miss out on some of the best shots.

One big mistake is not having a specific shot list before you start snapping photos. Put some thought into which rooms, features, and areas you want to show in your listing.

Some listings are represented by eight, 10, or 15 pictures. But for some homes, that may not be enough to showcase the home properly. For other homes, that might be too many.

The only way to know is to go into each shoot with a shot list. Know which are the “wow” shots, which ones you know you must capture during the shoot, and which shots you can do without.

Failing to inform your client

Surprise – I’m here to take photos of your house for the listing!

Not only will this move not go over well with your client, but the quality of the photos you get also won’t be good. Showing shots of the house being functionally lived in is one thing, but you’ll want that to be strategic.

So, make sure your seller knows when you’re coming to shoot, which parts of the house you’ll be photographing, and ideally, ask them not to be there when you are. Ask them to clean and declutter and keep pets secured in a cage or area that you will not need to photograph.

Not hiring a professional

If you’re not a professional photographer, have a little marketing budget, and want your listing photos to be magnificent, see if you can hire a pro. Maybe you can work out a mutually beneficial arrangement where you barter or refer each other’s services.

Real estate photography can be very technical and getting a good photo on your own can be time-consuming. But, with the right tips, advance planning, and practice, you can still capture amazing photographs that will help you sell more homes.


McKissock, B. (2021, December 7). 6 common real estate photography mistakes agents make. McKissock Learning. Retrieved March 28, 2022, from https://www.mckissock.com/blog/real-estate/real-estate-photography-tips/