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Real estate photography is a thriving industry that is both evergreen and relatively easy to enter as a freelance photographer. There are many opportunities to work on your own after setting up a real estate photography business or by working directly with Realtors. Real estate markets do go through periods of ups and downs however there is always buying and selling going on which gives photographers the chance to contract out their skills.
At the time of writing this article, the Philadelphia real estate market is hot (not commercial real estate which has been devastated due to the virus and rioting). The real estate market for photographers can be very lucrative with prices starting at about $150-200 per photo shoot although for luxury properties the price can easily be in the thousands of dollars! Working in commercial real estate photography is also very well paid although some professional experience is usually needed to break into these sectors.
Never before has there been a better time to get involved however, without the correct lens your photography will not stand up to competition. Real estate photography requires a specific type of lens which cannot be improvised.
Selecting the correct lens for real estate photography will make the all important difference between success and failure in this competitive industry.
What do you need to look for in a Lens for Real Estate Photography?
A good lens is essential for success in real estate photography. When you are beginning to learn or enter the industry you can rent a lens to try it out in the real world before you take the leap and buy your own personal equipment. The type of lens you select will, in the end, be the most important piece of kit that you have for your real estate photography and although your camera is of course vital, so is the lens.
- Wide-Angle Lens: Due to the environments that you will be working in a wide angle lens is a must have. This will give you the versatility to capture the entirety of the room, even in small spaces. A wide angle lens will let you photograph the whole room when you are inside but also the entire building when outdoors. Both of these are vital for a real estate photographer. Having a wide angle lens will help you to make the property appear more appealing to potential buyers by creating a sense of increased space in the rooms. Seeing the entire room gives a better idea of what the property is like while showing it in its best light. Do not use a fisheye lens though because the distortion of the image is not suitable for professional real estate photography.
- Good Zoom Versatility: Having a good range of zoom on your lens will allow you to work more easily, both indoors and outdoors, in the real estate industry. It will add to your versatility on the ground and widen your pool of potential clients. Image quality is the most important factor which can, unfortunately, often be pretty dependent on the price range in which you are purchasing your new lens for real estate photography.
- Aperture: The aperture is important for any photographer however in real estate photography most lenses should be sufficient. You’ll usually be operating with an aperture of between f/2.8 to around f/4 or f/5. You will need to be fairly adaptable and able to work in lower lighting conditions but with an aperture of around f/2.8 you’ll be able to operate in most properties. In particularly dingy properties you can make use of extra light and a flash to guarantee the best results.
- Distortion and Chromatic Aberration: As the quality of your lens gets better you will naturally find that there is less distortion in the images as well as improved chromatic results. Chromatic aberration is most common on the edges of photos taken with lower quality wide angle lenses. This will result in the edges of the photos appearing blurred and distorted. This is important to avoid in real estate photography, particularly at the higher ends of the industry. A good quality lens will avoid ending up with the edges of the frame being blurred or distorted.
What is the Ideal Lens for Real Estate Photography?
There are two main types of camera that you will be using for real estate photography, a full frame camera or a crop sensor camera. The difference between these two types of camera is the size of the camera’s sensor. A full frame camera has the same dimensions as the traditional 35 mm film, approximately 24mmx36mm. The crop sensor camera is smaller than the 35mm frame and includes the micro 4/3. You’ll need to bear this in mind when selecting a lens to ensure that it is properly compatible with your camera.
3 of the Top Wide Angle Lenses for High Quality and Versatile Real Estate Photography.
- The Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM (For Full Frame EOS Cameras): This fantastic Canon 16-35mm lens has a maximum aperture of f/4 and an ultra wide angle zoom. The lens has an optical image stabilizer and despite the f/4 aperture it operates fantastically in low lighting conditions, particularly when used in conjunction with a tripod. With the perfect functionality for real estate photographers this is the perfect choice in its price range for Canon users. The lens is versatile and has water resistant properties making it a trusty companion for both indoor and outdoor photo shoots.
- Nikon Nikkor 16-35mm. (For Full Frame Cameras): This incredibly high quality, well made lens is perfect for real estate photography with a 16-35mm focal length and a constant aperture setting of f/4; this sturdy lens can operate in most lighting conditions and any property. The lens helps to provide you with steady, shake free photography with its vibration reduction technology. The autofocus is quick and trustworthy which can help you to get more shots in less time, maximizing your on site efficiency.
- Tamron 10-24mm f3.5-4.5. (For Crop Sensor Cameras): The super compact Tamron 10-24mm f.35-4.4 wide angle lens has a special vibration compensation (VC) system that means you can shoot in low lighting conditions without using a tripod. This makes it a highly versatile lens that is perfect for newer real estate photographers that comes in at an incredibly reasonable price. Voted best in its class, the ultra wide angle lens for all APS DSLR cameras with a focal length of 10-24mm, making it the exact equivalent of a traditional 35mm camera with a 16-37mm focal length. With autofocus and manual focus override modes you can make the finer adjustments whenever you need to. The lens is water resistant and is easy to transport making it a great tool for any professional real estate photographer who is relying on a Crop Sensor Camera in their work.
Selecting the Best Lens for Real Estate Photography.
When you are choosing a lens your budget is going to be one of the defining factors however, if you are working in a professional capacity you will get a good return on any extra that you can afford to spend. The extra clarity and quality of image that you will get by spending towards the upper end of the price range within your budget will quickly pay dividends as you deliver super sharp, well focused and effective photography to your clients.
Have you dabbled in real estate photography?