As a real estate agent, property investor, or a homeowner looking to sell, you need to get your listings noticed. And if you expect to gain new clients, you want to project a professional appearance, both in how you look and interact with your clients, as well as the imagery associated with your brand. Here’s 5 reasons why you need professional real estate photos to give you that advantage—with statistics.

  1. Pro photographers have the gear that delivers the best results
  2. Professionals have the KSA’s (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities) to correctly frame, light, and compose top quality professional real estate photos
  3. Professional photographers properly edit images for the best results
  4. 87% of home buyers rely on online images to make buying decisions
  5. Homes listed with professional DSLR photos sell quicker and for more money

We’ve all heard the expression, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Your MLS photos are your “first impression”. Buyers have short attention spans, and focus on visuals. With professional real estate photos, your listings will command attention, because those images will stand out!

Camera Gear

These days, just about any modern DSLR or mirrorless camera body is capable of producing excellent real estate photos. No single brand outshines any other. Whichever brand they choose, professional real estate photographers know their gear, and can achieve phenomenal results. Two other key pieces of gear they’ll likely focus (pun intended) is on a sturdy tripod with a 3-way adjustable head, and quality glass (lenses). The tripod’s stability, and the 3-way head’s maximum control, enables professional photographers to precisely nail each shot. Real estate photographers need high quality lenses with wide fields of view to capture small spaces in their entirety. The lens a particular photographer might choose varies, but generally speaking, they prefer 14mm or 16mm focal lengths.

Aerial Photography

In addition to traditional DSLR cameras, professional real estate photographers are likely to have another camera in their arsenal: A drone. Aerial photos help tell the story of the home by showing the surrounding area, and help potential buyers get a feel for the property in its entirety. In this example, buyers can literally see the home’s proximity to the local middle school, just a few blocks away.

Why Can’t I Use a Smartphone?

If you’ve ever wondered, “Why should I pay a photographer? My smartphone photos are good enough!” That seems like a fair argument. After all, modern smartphones have impressive cameras. But smartphones lack the optical quality, large sensors, and lighting required for truly high quality images. Clicking some snapshots on a smartphone will likely lack the photography rules required for well composed real estate photos. Which brings us to our next point: Know how.

Knowledge is Power

Professional real estate photographers have many years of valuable knowledge gained through experience, including knowledge of camera gear, camera placement and framing, lighting, and photo editing. Let’s briefly discuss each.

Camera Placement and Composition

Fancy camera gear isn’t the only reason you need a professional real estate photographer. They know how to position a camera to make a space look its best. They’re keenly aware of verticals, horizontals, and distortion, and how to avoid those errors before they press the shutter button. Additionally, pro real estate photographers can help direct an agent or home owner to make small adjustments to help make each scene look its best. Generally speaking, toilet seats should be closed, towels straightened (or simply removed), kitchen counters empty, and unsightly garbage bins and garden hoses hidden. Some photographers even provide the home owner a checklist of details like this, in advance of the photoshoot.


Pro real estate photographers also understand light. Many homes appear “dark” to a camera’s sensor. An amateur photographer may adjust camera settings to compensate for the darkness of a room, only to find the window light now appears over exposed. Pro photographers know how to compensate. They know how to capture bracketed shots, and when to use an off-camera flash–or both (called “flambient” in the biz).

Photo Editing

While photo gear is important, photo editing skills are equally (if not more) important. Experienced real estate photographers can transform a well composed photo into a work of art using tools like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. If a photo has an odd color tone, or is too dark, a pro photo editor can correct the colors and lighting to show off a beautiful space.

Industry Statistics

Let’s look at some numbers:

  1. 87% of home buyers rely on online images to make buying decisions—(National Association of Realtors, 2020 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report)
  2. Homes with listing photos taken with DSLR cameras sell for more money than those with amateur photos — For homes priced between $400,000 and $499,999, professionally photographed homes sold for an average of $11,200 more than homes with amateur photos. Professionally photographed homes priced between $200,000 and $1 million sell for $3,400 to $11,200 more relative to their list prices. — 2013 Redfin Study
  3. Professionally photographed homes are more likely to sell within six months — The largest disparity was seen among homes priced from $400,000 and $499,999, with those with DSLR photography selling 64% of the time, compared to 46% for homes with amateur photos. — 2013 Redfin Study

Sell Faster and Earn More

  1. Homes with DSLR photos sell faster — For homes priced in the $400,000 range, professionally photographed homes sold 21 days faster than those with point-and-shoot photos, while those priced higher than $1 million sold four days faster. — 2013 Redfin Study
  2. Homes with sharper photos sell for more money — Homes with the sharpest 10% of listing photos sold at or above their list price 44% of the time compared to 13% for homes with listing photos of average sharpness. — 2013 Redfin Study

Final Thoughts

Are you still reaching for your smartphone to snap your MLS snapshots? I hope not! If you’re a realtor, you want to project excellence with your brand. Part of that includes partnering with a professional real estate photographer. Tell your clients that you only ever use professional photographers to help their home sell faster and for more. That’s a major selling point! Your clients will see you have their best interests in mind. The numbers clearly show why you need professional real estate photos. And the small investment it takes to get them is definitely worth it!

Categories: Knowledge

Russell Robinson

Russell Robinson is a blogger and photographer in the Pacific Northwest. Join Russell and his monthly readers on to learn how to improve your photography at a quick pace. Before starting this blog, Russell provided photography services for nationally recognized brands like DoorDash, Cars and Bids, and several real estate organizations in the greater Seattle area. His stock photography images have been featured on 100’s of websites worldwide.