Capturing Your Luxury Listing: 8 Tips for Real Estate Photography Success

the InstituteAll, Become a Luxury Professional, Luxury Home Marketing Tips, Uncategorized 4 Comments

When it comes to selling luxury real estate, photography is king. It’s what can inspire a buyer to bookmark a listing (and eventually tour it), and it’s what can garner media attention or even get a listing featured in local magazines, on the web or in exclusive print publications. For far-off foreign and relocation buyers, it might even be what closes the deal entirely.

Is your current photography doing your luxury listings justice? Want to up your game? Then these tips and many more exciting ideas, concepts and strategies are available when you take our training and become a member of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.

#1: Go pro (either in equipment or in expertise).

Great photography requires an investment, so commit to either buying pro-level equipment (and editing software) or using a professional photographer for your listings. The latter might come with a higher up-front fee, but the better quality photos will more than pay for themselves in the long run. According to RIS Media, homes with high-quality pictures sell 32% faster than other listings. Homes in higher price points also sell for up to $11,000 more with better quality photos.

#2: Start with the story first.

A powerful real estate picture tells a story. It paints a picture of what life would be like in the home. To ensure your photos capture this story, always write your listing description first. What could life be like on the property? What hopes and dreams can be achieved there? What possibilities does it offer? Tell this story in your listing, and let your photographer use it to guide the photos they capture.

Don’t be afraid to nix photos (and a lot of them).

Just because your photographer shoots 75 pictures doesn’t mean you need to use them all. It’s okay to be choosy when selecting your listing photos. In fact, you should be. Pick the photos that best speak to the home’s look and feel, as well as those that highlight its greatest, most in-demand features. A few very persuasive photos are much more effective at selling a property than hundreds of just so-so ones.

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#3: Don’t over-sterilize before your shoot.

You want buyers to see themselves in the home, but you don’t want it to feel empty, vacant or cold. Instead of sterilizing the place and removing all signs of life before your photo shoot, use carefully placed props and staging to convey the true possibilities of the home. Turn the fireplace on, use a fan to blow the curtains or put out place settings on the table to offer buyers a glimpse at life in the home.

#4: Keep keywords in mind.

If you were to boil your listing down to just a handful of words, what would those be? Luxurious? Spacious? Elegant? Narrow down three to five descriptive terms and share those with your photographer. They should use them to guide what shots and angles they use as they capture the home.

#5: Use the “a day in the life” framework.

A great way to capture a full range of shots is to consider a day in the life at the home. What rooms would a resident use when going about their daily lives on the property? Narrow down the list and use that as a framework for your shoot. Capture the well-appointed bedroom where they’ll awake in the morning, the amenity-filled bathroom where they’ll get ready, and the beautiful chef’s kitchen where they’ll make their family breakfast. Let them experience the home from start to finish.

#6: Mix up your shot styles and angles.

At the end of the day, photos are just photos — and they often don’t convey the true, real-life feel or possibility in a space. To give buyers the best possible chance of understanding the home’s layout, space constraints and functionality, try mixing up your shot styles and angles. Use a variety of wide angles, close-ups and establishing shots to offer buyers a comprehensive sense of place. You can even use drones to capture shots above the home and of the yard.

#7: Learn from others.

Subscribe to luxury magazines (not just real estate ones) and follow top agents in your area. How are they capturing the homes and items they’re selling? What angles are they using? What feelings do their photos evoke? Use this to inform your future photography strategies and stay on trend.

#8: Up the Ante

If you really want to attract more buyers and increase your sales potential, you may want to consider a video tour in addition to your high-quality photographs. Not only do these help far-off and relocation buyers better evaluate properties, but they also make your listing more interactive, more shareable and more memorable on the whole.

Want more help with marketing your luxury listings? Sign up for one of our luxury home marketing courses or consider becoming a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist today.



  1. As per the usual standards of the Luxury Home Marketing Institute the article is excellent, informative with constructive and proactive content.

  2. Totally agree with you on not removing on all parts of life before photo shoot just so buyer can imagine themselves living in the house. Thank you sharing all these helpful tips. I do real estate photography and i found your article really interesting!

  3. We are looking for professional real estate photographers for some new projects and this blog is quite informative for us to get an idea of what to expect. Great piece

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