How Photographers Get “That” Shot

by Brian Balduf


Brian Balduf is the CEO of VHT Studios.

You know THAT shot – it’s the one that gets the most interest, the most views, the most “oohs and ahhs,” clicks, shares and showing requests – and it’s the property that sells quickest. Many times, it’s that one shot that captures the story of a home at its best, entrancing buyers to see themselves as the main characters in its next chapter of owners.

Photography is powerful, as we all know, helping speed up sales by as much as 32 percent. It’s real estate’s best sales tool, but only if it’s done right – and great professional photographers have the innate talent, experience and expertise to get the job done.

You may not realize it, but a real estate shoot is one of the most difficult and complex types of photography. So how do professional real estate photographers capture the magic of a home the way hobbyists, iPhone Instagrammers and other amateurs can’t?

1. Find the Story – Photographers work with real estate agents and homeowners to find the best story a home has to tell — visually. They ask what made them buy the home; what rooms they spend the most time in; and what they will miss about the home when they move. Then, they strategize on when and how (angles, perspectives, depth) those special spaces should be shot.

2. Capture the Story – There simply is no one-lens approach to photographing a home, but rather a carefully balanced algorithm of creativity, precision, expertise, instinct and artistry that can only be blended by a professional real estate photographer.

Discover every angle, view, and surprising perspective of a home. The most engaging view is very rarely gained from standing at the entrance doorway into a room. Inside a home, lighting changes drastically from room to room as you go from natural to incandescent to florescent lighting, and from overly bright rooms to dimly lit rooms. Small rooms look even smaller in photos, while large rooms tend to lose some of their grandeur. Having the right camera, lenses and flashes – and the skills to make the necessary changes from room to room – are critical.

3. Add Dimension – The bar has been raised on the caliber of image quality we see online, and it’s because of HGTV, Houzz and Pinterest. It’s made real estate professionals put more thought into their marketing and make sure it’s innovating with emergent technology tools. Consider adding a 3-D element to the menu of services you offer your clients to amp up the showmanship of listings. As a real estate professional, you now have to market directly to consumers, not just other agents. Today’s consumer expects stunning, striking visual photography and will ignore anything less. Adding 3-D, floor plans and video also help them connect with a home.

4. Try a Top-Down View – Aerial photography is bringing real estate marketing to new heights. For homes located on golf courses, seaside, lakefronts or in the mountains, photography or video captured through drones will show a broader and grander perspective. It definitely makes a rare aerial statement that commands a buyer’s attention.

5. Enhance the Story – Photos straight from a camera are never ready to be used for professional marketing, so be sure your images are skillfully optimized to make sure they are seen at their best in all print and digital media. Digital editing will optimize images to showcase bold, bright colors, sharp detail and clarity. In some instances, some image enhancement is helpful to remove clutter that couldn’t be removed in time during the staging process or to brighten up a sky, lawn or pool.

Brian Balduf has been actively involved in marketing, technology and media for over 30 years. He has built VHT Studios into the largest real estate photography, video and multimedia company in the country. A frequent speaker at industry events, Brian received his B.S. in marketing from U of I Chicago and an MBA and master’s in information systems from Benedictine University.


Preparing a home for prospective buyers requires more than great photography. Learn everything you need to know to prepare your clients’ homes for the market.

AgentEDU Blog Bumper Image

Read More Related to This Post

Join the conversation

New Subscribe

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.