It’s no secret—the quality of your property photography goes a long way in impacting your commercial real estate marketing efforts.
In fact, buyers spend 60% of their time on a property page looking at photos of the property they’re interested in. As such, the quality of your photos can make or break your marketing efforts.
Luckily, your route to striking commercial property capture can be quickly and easily paved with the right equipment and knowledge. Below is your ultimate guide to commercial real estate photography.
Commercial Real Estate Photography
There are two ways to approach your photography efforts as a commercial real estate business: you can either outsource to reliable photography professionals or opt for the cost-efficient DIY route.
Both of these options have their own merits and limitations. If you opt for a professional photographer, you’ll be purchasing both their talent and their years of experience snapping lead-generating shots for the commercial real estate market.
Alternatively, deciding to take your own commercial real estate photography can come with a steep learning curve. In addition, you’ll need to budget for the right equipment and take the time to learn the ins-and-outs of real estate photography.
Despite these initial drawbacks, you are also likely to save more money in the long-term as you can put your newfound skills to use again and again.
Regardless of the route you take, this post will you guide you through sourcing exceptional real estate photography services and show you how to take highly marketable commercial real estate photos for yourself.
Real Estate Photography Tips
In embracing the DIY side of commercial real estate photography, there are a few basics you need to cover.
The right professional equipment, the correct lighting and layout, and a solid editing program each make up a fundamental aspect of successful real estate photography.
After exploring the DIY side of CRE photography, we will walk you through sourcing the best real estate photography companies, and the potential costs involved.
Best Camera for Real Estate Photography
Lead-generating commercial real estate photography all starts with the right choice of camera. While smartphones and digital cameras are good starts, the best camera for real estate photography has no real competition: a DSLR with interchangeable lenses.
Why is a DSLR camera the superior choice? DSLRs produce high-quality images which can’t be replicated with a less expensive camera. These cameras are highly versatile and are designed to play well with a range of different lighting options and conditions, enabling you to create quality shots no matter what.
You can also experiment with shutter speed, white balance and ISO settings, all of which can help you arrive at commercial real estate photography that enhances the aesthetic appeal of your commercial property. Additionally, a DSLR can also be combined with several different lenses, from macro to zoom, giving you greater control over the results that you can produce.
The question is—how much will a DSLR set you back? Prices for a DSLR camera start at around the $400 mark. Depending on your budget, you can also shell out upwards of $1000.
Some of our favorite options? Take a look at the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II (which comes in at around $5,699), or try the Canon Rebel T6i (for an affordable $599).
Best Lens for Real Estate Photography
In order to produce beautiful commercial real estate photography, your DSLR must be paired with the right lens.
What is the best lens for real estate photography? There are several different factors to consider. A wide angle lens (approximately 10mm – 35mm) is a smart choice for commercial real estate photography, as it allows you to perfectly capture your commercial property interiors and exteriors.
You also have the option of choosing between a zoom lens or a prime lens. A prime lens will offer higher-quality photographs, so it’s the better option for a professional finish. Also note: it’s good to opt for a lens that provides both sharp and fast focusing for a high-end finish.
Lighting & Layout
Quality commercial real estate photography is highly dependent on your lighting and layout. In terms of lighting, you can create your own light show with lighting equipment.
Use of these tools allows you to have control over the aspects of the shot that you highlight. They can help your commercial property appear ‘glossier’. In contrast, you can rely on natural light to warm up your photos. Natural lighting will give your photos a more realistic finish.
Furthermore, your layout is also another key component of an appealing shot. Make sure your interiors are free of any clutter, and that they are tidy and presentable.
Ensure that furniture and other key features are adequately spaced out. Take the time to center your photograph on the property’s key features, whether functional or aesthetic. In addition, signs and lighting should be viewable and in working order.
Lighting and layout considerations also need to be factored in when taking photos of your exteriors. The external building should be clean and have well-kept surroundings. Furthermore, framing your buildings with trees or other natural elements can also give your photos more character.
Real Estate Editing
A professional finish relies on professional real estate editing.
Editing software can enhance your images, perfecting exposure and lighting. Even the most experienced of photographers find it difficult to achieve the correct exposure in a single shot. Fortunately, correct exposure can easily be achieved by taking multiple photos and blending them with photo editing software.
Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are industry standards thanks to their diverse range of specialized editing features. However, these can be intimidating if you have no experience with professional photo editing software. Easy-to-use alternatives for real estate editing include the Photomatix Pro 6 ($99) and Aurora HDR 2018 ($99).
Real Estate Drone Photography
If you are looking to take aerial shots, real estate drone photography is another DIY option to consider.
Real estate drone photography is increasing in popularity, as drones now provide a far cheaper alternative to that traditional methods that were once used to capture aerial photos. You can purchase your own drone for around $1500, such as the DJI Inspire 1, which produces high-resolution photographs from every height and angle.
But if you want to buy a drone, don’t forget that you need a FAA-approved license to fly it. In order to be granted a license for real estate drone photography, you need to first undertake an aeronautical knowledge test, which requires study time to master the material and cost around $150.
360 Degree Images
360 degree images are one of the best ways to market your commercial real estate properties. These images are more engaging than traditional photographs alone, as they provide your viewers with everything they need to visualize your commercial space.
It’s likely your smartphone has 360 degree or panoramic settings for you to take photos with. If not, Autostitch is a great, free application to try.
Real Estate Photography Companies
Alternatively, you can also hire a professional photography company or freelance photographer.
There are hundreds of different real estate photography companies to choose from. From freelance to well-established photography businesses, here are some options for you to explore…
Virtuance is one of the leading real estate photography companies on the market. Using their unique HDReal® imaging system to produce high-definition, impressive real estate photography, Virtuance maintains their reputation for being one of the best in the business.
Real Estate Exposures
As an alternative to Virtuance, many commercial real estate companies utilize the services of Real Estate Exposures. Real Estate Exposures offer quick turnaround times, cutting-edge photography technology, 3D virtual tours, and aerial photography.
Or, you may want to go for a freelance photographer. An experienced freelance photographer can bring fresh insights and years of expertise to your photographic endeavors.
While there are many different freelancers to choose from, you may find that you prefer the more candid results than the glossy finishes provided by a larger business, such as Virtuance or Real Estate Exposures. Whether you go for a big business or a talented freelance photographer all depends on your preferred stylistic approach.
Elyssa Cohen is one of our top choices of freelance photographer, who specializes in commercial real estate photography. Peter West Carey is also another excellent option, offering impressive turn-around times and characterful commercial real estate captures.
Real Estate Photography Pricing
Whether you decide to outsource or not will largely depend on your marketing budget, as well as the time and manpower you already have available to you. As such, price is a key consideration for the majority of commercial real estate professionals.
Drone Real Estate Photography Pricing
The cost of drone real estate photography pricing varies depending on whether you go the DIY route, or opt for a professional service. As we previously noted, the cost of a high-quality drone will begin at around $1500.
In comparison, if you decide to go with a professional company, such as Dronegenuity, you can expect to pay around $150-$300 for 1-10 photographs.
Real Estate Photographer Pricing
Real estate photographer prices vary extensively from company to company.
Commercial real estate photography business Virtuance charges $109.00 for 10 images, and up to $219.00 for 40 images. In comparison, Real Estate Exposures’ prices vary depending on your package of choice.
The cost of freelance photographers varies widely, depending on the freelancer you choose.
Photographers specializing in the commercial real estate space will likely charge more based on their expertise and experience, in comparison to photographers who work on a more diverse range of projects. Typical costs for CRE photography begin at $150.00, reaching upwards of $500.00 for a package.
Just Point and Click…
With the rights tools, some basic lighting and layout know-how, and real estate editing software, you can quickly master the art of commercial real estate photography. Alternatively, there are also several reputable professional photography companies and freelance photographers on the market.