What’s My Camera Gear for Real Estate Photography?

The equipment required for real estate photography can be pretty extensive, particularly when compared to that required for some other types of photography. Finding the right camera equipment for your real estate operation might be the difference between being able to provide your customers with photographs of excellent quality and having to spend a significant amount of additional time on post-processing. In this article, I will provide a rundown of the equipment that, in my experience, performs the best for photographing residential and commercial real estate.

Gear

Camera

The typical real estate shoot does not require a great deal of resolution; in fact, the resolution needed for the majority of fundamental purposes, such as postings on social media, flyers, and listings in the MLS, is only a few megapixels. Because of this, the vast majority of cameras are feasible options. However, in addition to the megapixel count, there are a number of other advantages to using a more recent full-frame camera for real estate applications.

A sensor from a more recent camera will often have superior performance across a more comprehensive dynamic range. This can make it simpler to recover the highlights from overexposed windows, eliminating the need to resort to HDR bracketing or mixing flash exposures, both of which can be time-consuming and laborious processes. While you may examine the data on sensor performance, as a general rule, you can assume that the majority of cameras that have been introduced during the last five years should have adequate performance in terms of dynamic range.

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In addition, I would recommend a full-frame camera because of the abundance of extensive lenses available for it. Full-frame cameras have possibilities for lenses with focal lengths as wide as 10 millimeters, but APS-C cameras can only use lenses with focal lengths up to roughly 15 millimeters. Because of the severe perspective distortion that may be caused by these ultra-wide lenses, they are not the best choice for every scene; yet, they are an indispensable tool for situations such as photographing cramped bathrooms. Check out our comprehensive collection of real estate photography advice if you want additional information on how to get the most out of your camera during a session for a real estate listing.

To that end, if I were to rebuy my gear, I would give serious consideration to purchasing either the Nikon Z6, the Canon R6, or the Sony A7 IV. If you believe that you will have a need for better resolution in the future, the Z7, R5, and A7R IV are the cameras that you should consider purchasing. Due to the lower shot volume of a normal real estate session, the bigger individual files won’t impede your workflow to the same extent.

Lenses

Wide Zoom

When photographing real estate, a wide lens is essential. My 14-30mm makes up around 90% of the photographs that I take during each session, while a wider lens and a 24-70mm lens each take approximately 10% of the photographs that I take. The rationale for this is straightforward: a focal length of 14 millimeters is more than adequate for the majority of standard interior images, and having the ability to zoom up to 30 millimeters allows for the capture of finer details while preserving the overall impression of the space.

Although I am partial to the range that is provided by the 14-30mm, most companies provide a 16-35mm choice, which may perform admirably in many situations. Those two millimeters on the narrow end are not required. In addition, although ultra-wide prime lenses are available, I find that zoom lenses’ compositional versatility and simplicity of usage best suit my needs.

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The same is true for the lens aperture values, as f/2.8 lenses are entirely superfluous. Using a slower lens is not an issue for me because I usually shoot with the aperture shut down, and I also frequently shoot while mounted on a tripod. A similar ultra-wide lens with an aperture of f/4 will be noticeably more compact, lighter, and more affordable than one with an aperture of f/2.8. The money that is saved may then be invested in other areas of the gear, such as lighting equipment, which is an added plus.

Mid-Range Zoom

In addition to a super-wide angle lens, I would recommend getting a zoom lens that covers the middle range. This lens may come in helpful on those occasions when a customer requests a photo that focuses on a particular detail. Assuming you have enough room to move about, using a lens with a focal length somewhere in the middle might be an excellent choice when photographing scenes outside. Even less of a specialized lens is required for shooting in this range; as long as the lens covers the middle range and is adequately sharp, it should do the trick just fine.

Ultra-wide

When your focal length is more than roughly 16 millimeters, you begin to enter the realm of ultra-wide lenses. These are going to be intended for usage that is somewhat more specialized. When using extremely wide focal lengths, the atmosphere of the space will be thrown off, and the impression of scale will be twisted in an unnaturally exaggerated manner.

My 11mm lens is rarely used, and when it does, it is often for trying to get a photo in tight spaces like lavatories. These photographs are seldom examples of creative mastery, but for the vast majority of clients, it is sufficient only to have them recorded. Even though you could do this using the widest possible setting on your zoom lens, having the additional breathing room that an ultra-wide lens provides is quite helpful.

In light of the aforementioned factors, I have developed a strong affinity for the Venus Optics 12mm f/2.8 lens. Because it is available in practically every major mount, has low distortion levels, and is an economical option to get to 12 millimeters, it is simple to suggest. Venus Optics also produces some even wider choices for you to choose from, like the 9mm f/5.6 if you are using a mirrorless camera.

Lighting

It is possible that lighting equipment is completely unnecessary for your style of real estate photography, but it is also possible that it is an absolute need. No matter what your taste is, I would recommend carrying at least one lamp with you since certain places may have lighting that is so inadequate that you will need an additional source of illumination. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of using flash lighting, a basic bounce flash may be an excellent way to add light to a scene in a way that isn’t overly artificial.

If you want to get further into flash photography, purchasing some more flash units may give you access to a variety of new opportunities, especially when it comes to lighting things like bedrooms, open floor plans, corridors, and even outdoor locations.

“Flambient” photography, in which flash and ambient exposures are blended in post-production, uses somewhat less lighting gear than traditional photography. I believe that you could get away with a simple flambient shot with just one flash unit that was placed off-camera.

For any and all of these applications, my top recommendation is the Godox AD200. The AD200 is rather small and portable despite the fact that it has a power output that is substantially more than that of a standard on-camera speed light. In addition, the flash heads are replaceable, so you may choose between a naked bulb head, a round head, or a speed light type head. The AD200 allows for the attachment of a variety of different modifiers directly onto the light, which makes it simple to adjust the parameters of the light.

Additionally, the Godox system has an excellent wireless triggering solution, which enables the user to easily change the flash power directly from the camera, manage multiple zones, and alter a variety of other settings. In addition, the trigger has an acceptable range that allows it to be used in even the largest of homes while maintaining its reasonable price.

Tripod

There is a wide variety of tripods that may be utilized for shooting real estate; virtually any legs will do the trick. The many alternatives available for foot are the most important aspect to bear in mind. If you want to use your tripod on floors without damaging the surface, you should steer clear of feet that include claws, spikes, or marring rubber. Despite the fact that there are a variety of alternatives that are less expensive, I’ve found that my Gitzo tripod has met all of my requirements. Check for Benro, Robus, or Manfrotto legs if you’re looking for a better deal.

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Both carbon fiber and aluminum legs may be used, and any type of leg lock can be used with any material. However, you will want to make sure that your legs are sturdy enough so that you can take photographs using the flare and HDR techniques. The movement that occurs between photos as a result of shaky legs can cause issues when stacking the photographs. To that end, you should steer clear of the travel tripods that have the thinnest legs and the most leg parts.

The height of the tripod is the last factor to take into account. Because the central column of the tripod is the element of the device that is the least stable, it is preferable to have a set of legs that can reach a respectable chest height without needing to extend the column.

Tripod Head

A ball head will serve your needs admirably for photographs of a more fundamental kind. Although I use an RRS BH-55, you could probably get away with using a smaller head, depending on the weight of the rest of your gear. Different kinds of heads can also be used. However, the “gold standard” for real estate photography is a geared head. Other kinds of heads can also be used. In comparison to a ball head, they provide a higher level of accuracy, but their pace of operation is slower. Either choice can be a good one; it just depends on the level of specificity that you require.

I like to use a mounting plate that is compatible with Arca-Swiss on any size or style of head since the majority of camera L-Plates are designed in the Arca-Swiss way and it is just simpler to standardize on one type of plate.

Remote Trigger

In the past, a single trigger was a necessary piece of equipment for capturing shake-free photographs. These days, however, I find that I don’t even bother to bring mine. Even if your camera doesn’t support a mobile app that permits triggering, it usually does support some sort of mirror-up delay or exposure delay mode. My camera supports a mobile app that allows triggering.

The actual exposure can be delayed for a short period of time after the shutter button has been hit. This allows any residual shaking to settle down, which results in crisper photographs.

Drone

My Mavic 3 has quickly become an indispensable piece of equipment, displacing the independent trigger that I used to carry with me. The use of drone photography for real estate listings is fairly common in my region, and the Mavic 3 is a terrific option because it offers high picture quality in a portable design. Check out this page for further information on the subject, where you’ll also find a comprehensive guide on photography using drones.

I’ve had a lot of fun piloting the Mavic Air 2, as well as the Mini 3 Pro, which could be a choice for you if you’re looking for a more affordable drone. I’ve written a first-look piece on the Mini 3 Pro, but to put it more simply, the image quality is really high, and the drone has all of the same fantastic autonomous flight capabilities that help make exciting films.

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