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Updated: Oct 22, 2019

Let me start by saying, "Correct lighting means everything when it comes to real estate." You see here a picture of the St Mark's Lighthouse at sunrise. While it has an artistic touch to it, this would not be a great shot for real estate.

St Marks Lighthouse at sunrise

The realtors and brokers that would be hiring you are going to want the shot done to their specifications. In this post, we will talk about balanced lighting, not too dark and not too bright. So it is important that you learn the basic camera settings for the different light conditions you will be faced with during different times a day, with different cloud coverage, weather and different parts of the property being darker than others. In the first picture below you will see a house that was shot in the morning, where the sun is shining directly on the front of the house. The rest of the picture looks good but the house is washed out.

Settings are wrong so the house is too washed out
Nice house in Crawfordville Florida

You may think you can correct this in post-production editing but in the second example the brightness and contrast have been brought down to the max and you still can't see the details of the house, while everything else is too dark to see.

The same shot with brightness and contrast lowered to the max.

There is more than one thing I had to learn the hard way. I would look at my shot on my tablet and it would look great. Then, I would get back to the office and realize I couldn't use any of my photos. I was blessed with a very understanding broker in the beginning. More than once I would have to tell him, "I need to go back out and reshoot the property." This is not always feasible. The next day there may be rain or the owner doesn't want you back out there for some reason. However, in this case, I was able to go back out the next day. I ask the broker if I could shoot it a little later in the day and I shot each picture at multiple different settings.


Another consideration, that we have spoken of before is what is the best time of day for

the shoot.

The one on the left is in the afternoon and the one on the right is in the morning. Now, you can change your settings to darken or lighten your shot but you can make your work a whole lot easier by waiting for the correct time of day with the best natural light angle.

So, let's establish two simple rules:

1. Take your photos during the time of day that best show off all areas of the property.

2. Take multiple pictures at different settings.

You might say at this point, "This is all well and good but Fred what are correct settings and how do I do it?" Take a look at these two great instructional videos below, both of which will get you started on the right path to setting your camera for photography:

Here is another great instructional video that teaches the best camera settings for cinematic videography:

Please post your questions and comments. Keep it friendly and respectful. The more input we get the better.

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