A Lesson in Real Estate Photography

I’ve had lots of jobs. In high school, I was a lifeguard, worked at a frozen yogurt place and did data entry in-between. My eclectic employment continued through college—interning for law firm, setting business cards for a printer, selling programs at football games, and babysitting on the side. The trend continued into my adult years, but with more of a focus: graphic design, marketing, and photography. And not too long ago, I had five jobs: two teaching jobs, a job as a photographer and marketing admin for a media company, working as a real estate photographer, and then the owner of my own photography business. This is boring—sorry. I do have a point: you see, I’m a life-long learner (no, not a delinquent job-hopper).

Photography has been a great buffet to satisfy my quest for knowledge. You can never know ALL there is to know about photography. It’s has great breadth. And when you find a topic or niche you like, you can dive deep. And just when you think you’ve mastered that, you find out there’s new techniques to tackle. Actually, teaching has pushed me to explore photography deeper than I would’ve on my own. Students challenge me: they’ll ask me questions. And if I don’t know the answer, I research it, and hopefully, teach it.

In my quest to learn new things, I recently became a real estate photographer. I thought it would be easy. After all, I teach photography to teenagers. How hard could it be?? Honestly, it was humbling—it was much harder than I thought, but eventually I got a handle on it. And it was a pleasant surprise to realize learning real estate photography was helping me shoot other things better.

My photos are straighter. I pay more attention to lines and angles within the frame. Oh, and whenever I see a picture of a building, it’s incredibly troublesome if it’s crooked or slanted. What's the hardest part of real estate photography? Getting things straight horizontally and vertically—and making sure the camera is level. Sure, these things can be fixed in Lightroom, but that takes extra time and it doesn’t always do it without some distortion. As I tell my students, “It’s always better to shoot it right ‘in camera’.”

Earlier this month, I updated Veritas School’s visual catalog of the buildings on their beautiful campus. As an added bonus, I got to fly my drone for the soccer field shots. They’ll use these images for lots of things: website, newsletters, and marketing materials. And for those who like to “geek out” about these thing: I shot these in HDR and blended and edited them in Lightroom. It’s a simple process, but you have to start with your camera on the right settings. But I'll save that for another post…

Here's the highlights of that final gallery—enjoy!