How to Become a Freelance Real Estate Photographer

Real estate photographer

A lot of work goes into selling a house; from the paperwork to the advertising, it can be a time-consuming process. This is why many real estate agents and individuals selling property are willing to enlist the help of a real estate photographer to make the process go just a little smoother. 

Real estate photographers are a vital part of the real estate industry, as they are responsible for creating content that attracts potential buyers to the properties. In this article, we will take a look at what real estate photography entails, what you can expect from this career path, and how to become a real estate photographer. 

What Does a Real Estate Photographer Do?

A real estate photographer is tasked with finding and capturing the most attractive qualities of a property, for the seller to display on the listing. In the competitive world of real estate, high-quality photography is crucial for attracting potential buyers and showcasing properties in the best possible light. 

Displaying high-quality images on a property listing is crucial for successfully selling a property at your desired price; in fact, listings with professionally edited photos receive a 47% higher asking price than those that don’t. Additionally, 32% of homes with high-quality real estate photos sell faster than those without. These facts are evidence that photographers play a crucial role in effectively selling a property.

Become a freelance real estate photographer

Real estate photographers should know how to effectively capture what makes each property unique, and to showcase why potential buyers should consider it. You may also be responsible for creating a virtual tour of the property, which has become an increasingly popular way to view a house or apartment. 

How to Become a Real Estate Photographer

In order to succeed in the field of real estate photography, you need to be a skilled photographer as well as an expert in architectural imagery. This career path requires additional knowledge that other photographers may not need; as a real estate photographer, you have to be able to identify and capture the best features of a space with the architecture in mind.

Real estate photography can be a rewarding and profitable venture if you have a passion for photography and a keen eye for capturing architectural beauty. Below are some steps to follow in order to set yourself apart in the field. 


72% of all photographers in the US have either a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree, with only 18% having achieved just a high school diploma. However, degrees are not essential to start a career in photography, but they can be extremely advantageous. Other options for furthering your education in this field include diplomas and courses in photography or even apprenticeships or workshops. 


Real estate photographers should have experience and knowledge of camera equipment and editing software and a good understanding of composition and lighting. Compiling a portfolio of your past work is highly recommended, preferably with examples of your real estate photography. 

real estate photography living room

If you’re new to the field and seeking to gain experience, there are several ways to develop your portfolio. One option is offering your services for free to build up your body of work; another is reaching out to established event photographers and inquiring about standing in to assist them. This way, you can gain practical experience while learning from experienced professionals in the industry.

Essential Skills

Develop your photography skills specifically for real estate. Learn effective techniques for capturing wide-angle shots, mastering composition, and showcasing the unique features of each property. Pay attention to lighting and understand how to best highlight the space and ambiance of a home or commercial property.

Market Yourself to Agents and Agencies

real estate agents in area

Establish connections with real estate agents, agencies, and property developers in your area. Attend networking events, join real estate associations, and leverage social media platforms to showcase your work and connect with potential clients. Offer introductory rates or discounts to attract your first clients and build your reputation.

Building an Online Presence

It is important for professionals to build an online presence for themselves and for their business. You can accomplish this by creating a business website, setting up a social media profile on platforms such as Instagram or LinkedIn, and even signing up for freelance job sites such as Upwork. This can contribute to establishing trust and credibility for your business, expanding your reach, and developing valuable connections within your industry.

Offer Additional Services

drone photography

Expand your offerings beyond standard photography. Consider providing services such as virtual tours, 360-degree images, and floor plans to provide a comprehensive visual experience for potential buyers. Offering these additional services can set you apart from competitors and attract clients seeking a comprehensive marketing package.


Equip yourself with professional-grade gear to deliver exceptional results. Our recommendations for equipment include the following:

Camera: Invest in a digital camera with manual controls, preferably a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Look for a model with good low-light performance, a high-resolution sensor, and the ability to interchange lenses. Some of our favorite picks include the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, the Nikon D850, and the Sony Alpha a7 III. 

Wide-angle lens: A wide-angle lens is crucial for capturing spacious interiors and showcasing the full layout of a property. Look for lenses with focal lengths between 14mm and 35mm to achieve a wide perspective without excessive distortion.

Tripod: A sturdy tripod is essential for keeping your camera steady and ensuring sharp images, especially in low-light conditions or when using longer exposure times. Choose a tripod that is durable, lightweight, and easily adjustable.

External flashes: Real estate interiors often require additional lighting to balance out exposure and eliminate harsh shadows. External flashes or strobes allow you to control and enhance the lighting conditions. Look for models with adjustable power levels and the ability to be remotely triggered.

Remote shutter release: Using a remote shutter release or cable release eliminates camera shake caused by pressing the shutter button manually. This is particularly useful when shooting long exposures or bracketed shots for HDR photography.

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Polarizing filter: A polarizing filter helps reduce glare and reflections, especially when photographing through windows or capturing exterior shots. It can enhance the overall image quality and make colors appear more vibrant.

Post-processing software: Invest in reliable post-processing software such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. These tools allow you to edit and enhance your images, adjust exposure, correct colors, and fine-tune details.

Drone: Invest in a reliable drone specifically designed for aerial photography. Look for models with a built-in camera or the ability to mount a compatible camera. Ensure the drone has stable flight capabilities, GPS positioning, and obstacle avoidance features for safe and precise flying.


Extra batteries and memory cards: Drones have limited flight time, so having spare batteries is essential for extended shooting sessions. Also, carry extra memory cards to capture sufficient aerial images and videos.

In addition to camera equipment, you should preferably have access to your own vehicle, as this can help you to work jobs that are further away, as well as to safely store and travel with your equipment.

Pricing Your Services

Determine your pricing strategy based on factors such as the size of the property, the number of images delivered, and any extra services, such as editing or virtual tours. Research the average market rates in your area and consider your skill level and experience when setting your prices. 

Contracts and Agreements

Protect yourself and your clients by using contracts or agreements that outline the scope of work, the specific deliverables, your payment terms, and usage rights. Clearly communicate your policies on cancellations, rescheduling, late payments, and delivery to avoid any misunderstandings.

Professionalism and Customer Service

To ensure a successful experience, it is crucial to maintain professionalism and deliver consistently exceptional customer service.. This means promptly addressing inquiries, being punctual, dressing appropriately, and treating clients with respect. It is important to meet agreed-upon deadlines for delivering images and maintain clear communication about the post-production process.

Continuous Learning

Stay updated with the latest trends and techniques in real estate photography. Research popular property listing websites and online platforms to understand the visual standards and expectations of the industry. Continuously refine your skills, explore new editing techniques, and adapt to evolving client preferences.

Client Referrals and Reviews

Encourage satisfied clients to provide reviews of your services. Provide a positive experience for your clients, and they are more likely to refer you to their friends, family, or colleagues who may be in need of real estate photography services. 


By combining your photography skills with your expertise in architectural imagery, you can set yourself apart in the competitive field of real estate photography. Continuously develop your skills, market yourself effectively, stay up to date with industry trends, and provide excellent customer service at all times. 

With dedication and passion, you can become a successful freelance real estate photographer and capture the beauty of properties in a way that attracts potential buyers and leaves a lasting impression. 

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How to Become a Freelance Real Estate Photographer

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