The 7 Biggest Mistakes of Real Estate Photography

In our 20 years of marketing for the real estate industry, we’ve seen some great photos, and some not-so-great ones. Here are a few common mistakes in listing photos we’ve seen time and time again.

Nice Couch

In many cases the listing is occupied, meaning there is furniture and other accoutrements in each room. This is fine, there’s nothing wrong with a furnished home, but don’t fall into the “Furniture Ad” trap. This occurs when the photos are taken in such a way that seems to focus on the furniture. We’ve seen many photos that are great images of the back of a couch or chair, but don’t really give an overall look of the room itself. Remember, you’re trying to sell the HOUSE, not the furniture.

Step back, tilt the camera up, and give a better view of the room’s flow and size.

The Corner Shot

Vacant houses are especially guilty of this mistake, but occupied homes can fall victim as well. The Corner Shot is a photo of the corner of a room. That’s it. We see two walls converging and some floor and ceiling, maybe a window, but nothing more. There’s no feel for the size or layout of the room.

To counter this claustrophobic conundrum, you’ll need a wider lens. Ideally, three walls in the frame helps give a better view of the space.

The More the Better

This isn’t really a style problem, but more of a flawed mindset. We’ve seen some listings that have 80+ photos of a property. While this may seem advantageous, it can actually turn away potential buyers, especially if they have to scroll past 30 photos of the exterior before they even get into the house! Duplicates, unnecessary angles, and focusing on unimportant “features” can all aggravate a buyer who’s browsing online.

While you want to have enough photos to entice a showing, you don’t need dozens upon dozens to do so. Buyers typically like to see a few photos of the outside of the home, then move inside to get a feel for the style and layout.

Think of the listing photos like a movie trailer. You don’t want to give away every little detail about the property right away—you want to pique a buyer’s interest and get them to come and see it for themselves.

Let There Be Light

The word “photography” literally means “drawing with light” and many listing photos neglect this important aspect. Some photos are too dark, showing only the bright light coming through a window, while others are too bright, the victims of an overly ambitious flash.

Rooms should be evenly lit, and the camera set for the proper exposure to capture the best possible image.

Photo Priorities

Typical listing photos include the exterior of the home and main living areas. But we’ve seen some . . . shall we say, unique photos of home appliances. Water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners, and even the interior of the washer and dryer. While it’s commendable to show the condition of included appliances—especially if they’re newer—they don’t belong in the listing photos.

List them in the description and leave the photos for the features that will bring buyers through the door.

Improper Exposure

Following along the lines of bad lighting, numerous things must come together to create a clear, sharp, well-done photo. If any of these are wrong, you end up with blurry, dark, crooked images. These not only make it hard to see what you’re looking at, but they can have a negative impact on both the property, and you as an agent.

Smartphone photos are for Facebook and Instagram uploads. Show your clients and potential buyers that you are a serious professional by investing in a good camera and lens setup, and familiarizing yourself with the workings, or by hiring a professional to do the job for you.

Knock, Knock!

Not every home can look like a perfectly staged set. Homes are lived in, and sometimes knick-knacks and picture frames can line the walls and shelves. Some homes just have a “lived-in” or “homey” look, which can be fine so long as it’s neat and tidy.

But not every listing photo follows this advice. We’ve seen images that look like the agent surprised the client with a photo shoot on laundry day. Scattered toys, dirty dishes, and roaming pets should be avoided at all costs in listing photos. Homes should be clean and ready to be photographed.


Remember, the listing is the product you’re trying to sell. The better the photos of your product, the more interest you’ll receive in its purchase.


About Annette

Wife. Mother. Nerd. Writer. Amigurumi designer. Lover of bad movies, good movies, good books, and chocolate. I make snarky, sarcastic, snappy remarks when appropriate, and sometimes even say them out loud. I live in Missouri with my professional photographer husband, my daughter, son, and too many pets.
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