Northern Virginia Realtors: Take Better Real Estate Photos. Get More and Better Business.

Take Better Real Estate Photos. Get More and Better Business.



  Most home sellers are not familiar with all the detailed work that goes into marketing their property.

One thing they do understand right away is how we make their home look online or in brochures.





Most people are very visually attuned and they evaluate us immediately on the quality of the photographs we use to market their property.


Whether we think online ads and brochures actually help sell a property is really irrelevant. Showing our clients that we work hard with creativity to cover all the bases is mandatory in a very competitive business.



We need to make the sellers happy and keep them that way by showing that we are doing everything possible at a quality level to get the property sold until the day it does.


Listing agents easily say "Well Bob you need to spend 2 months cleaning this place up and spend some serious bucks repairing and updating the stuff you have ignored for 20 years."

How do you think Bob feels if he works hard and spends big money and we spend 20 minutes photographing his home with our cell phone ...then posting dark narrow indistinguishable photos online? Not happy. Sellers feel this way whether their home is $100,000 or $500,000.


  We should always work on improving our performance in all the aspects of a real estate transaction. If we stand stagnant, the competition will pass us by.

All of our efforts reflect back on us and leads or does NOT lead to further business.

Not doing brochures anymore?

Clients want them...their neighbors want them...they want to SEE some effort and creativity from US.


 Here are some tips for better photography:

Use a wide angle lens. It is what the professional real estate photographers use. Modern open floor plans cannot be shown well without one. An 11-16 mm can be had for $600.

We use a Tokina wide angle on the Canon T3i.


Nobody wants to spend the $ ...BUT the quality you get and the increased business you receive will pay for the equipment.

Add light: Many real estate photographs are too dark. Solution: yes you can use the on camera built-in flash BUT that blows out all the interesting shadows and highlights.

If your camera will accept a removable flash, look into the Yongnuo Speedlite. They are cheap and ours works great...THEN you can bounce the flash off the ceiling or wall and get more realistic light as opposed to the on-camera direct flash.

  An additional solution is to purchase a program like Adobe Lightroom. There are tons of free online tutorials to learn from on Youtube and you can be up and running fast.

It does a terrific job of adding light and removing shadows. It also does great color correcting...

...many of the photos real estate agents take are too yellow due to the fluorescent lights in the house. This distorts the true paint colors and makes the client unhappy. You can fix this in Lightroom.

Ipiccy and Picasa are two outstanding free programs which will also help your photos shine.

Use a tripod: It will make your photos sharper and help you keep that wide angle lens level to eliminate distortion.

Educate yourself. Everything you need to know can be learned for free online. Just search: "Better real estate photography YouTube" and go from there.

Make quality brochures and photo tours. Send them in advance to listing appointments or be prepared to show them AT the appointment. This will make you stand out from the competition and give you confidence going in.

Here is an example of one of the photo tours we put together to send to listing appointments the day before we go. It shows our best efforts at home and farm photography with a couple other types thrown in to show versatility and fun.




Why pay more and get less when selling your home? Jan and Steve Bachman of RE/MAX Gateway use professional photographers, create interactive photo floor plans, print full color brochures, and make an individual property website for your listing that goes out to 40+ public real estate search sites including, Trulia, Zillow etc.


We also create a custom photo tour that is sent to other agents and prospective buyers.



RE/MAX Hall of Fame, Platinum Club, A Washingtonian Magazine Top Agent 2018

Happy to Help. No Hassle, No Pressure.

Jan and Steve Bachman are full time Realtors® with RE/MAX, specializing in Homes for Sale in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington Counties.



Our 3 rescue dogs have been GREAT! Go get a couple.

Comment balloon 40 commentsSteve and Jan Bachman • October 16 2013 12:50PM


Hi Steve and Jan, Great photo story and superb photos to illustrate your points. Wonderful!
Posted by William Johnson, Retired Real Estate Professional (Retired) over 6 years ago
Congratulations Steve and Jan, This post is being featured in the ActiveRainPhotoBlogger Group. Well Done!
Posted by William Johnson, Retired Real Estate Professional (Retired) over 6 years ago

Thanks William. You have been the leader in this genre on AR since the beginning. I have appreciated all the tips you have posted over the years and your outstanding photography which has shown us all what can be done.

Posted by Steve and Jan Bachman, Realtors - Northern Virginia (RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax ) over 6 years ago

Jan & Steve, your comments about not getting stagnant are so true.  I really appreciate the recommendations on what to use for photography.  I hire a photographer because they do a professional job and the photos are great.  The video of examples is such a great idea ~ love that.

Posted by Kelly Young, Colorado Springs Real Estate ~ 719-226-0126 (The Platinum Group Realtors) over 6 years ago

Excellent post Steve. . I'm suggesting it. .this can be very helpful for all of us and needs to be shared

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 6 years ago
Steve, suggested! A wide angle lens was my first purchase...need to get a speed lite...they do make a huge difference.
Posted by Nick T Pappas, Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource (Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Huntsville AL) over 6 years ago

Kelly, pro photographers are pretty affordable in the whole scheme of things. Sellers really do care about this and share their photos and slide shows with others. It pays to have quality shots.

Fernando thank you! Every aspect of our business always needs to be evaluated for quality no?

Nick, the speed lite helps so much in small bathrooms when bounced off the ceiling. It also helps equalize the light inside so that you can see out the windows I found.

Posted by Steve and Jan Bachman, Realtors - Northern Virginia (RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax ) over 6 years ago

WOW!  What great photos. I've been trying to figure out which camera to purchase, but I always get so confused that i buy noting!  I'll take your tips and see my local photo shop.  Thanks.

Posted by Sandra Scott, REALTOR of Choice! Payson, Pine & Strawberry, AZ (DPR Realty) over 6 years ago

Thanks to Cheryl for reblogging a post that should not be missed! Your photography is outstanding. Thanks for always sharing.

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 6 years ago

I don't understand how AR community missed this wonderful blog post?!

Beautiful pictures, valuable advice!


Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) over 6 years ago

Steve  Your photographic skills are ever improving - excellent information

Posted by Karen Kruschka, - "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS" (RE/MAX Executives) over 6 years ago

This is the first thing the agents and buyers usually see.

Posted by Geoff ONeill (John L. Scott Medford) over 6 years ago

What an exceptionally detailed and relevant post. I use a 12-24mm wide angle lens, Speedlight flash, tripod and love them.

Posted by Lisa Friedman, 30 Years of Real Estate Experience! (Great American Dream Realty) over 6 years ago

Sandra, I am positive that the extra effort has brought us more business.

Hi Margaret, see you Saturday.

Inna, thanks for suggesting. As you can tell this subject has become important in our business :-)

Karen, if I was 32 I would have learned much faster :-)

Geoff, 100% agree. Folks will never know what we do behind the scenes so we should really do well on the stuff they can see no?

Posted by Steve and Jan Bachman, Realtors - Northern Virginia (RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax ) over 6 years ago

Great online photos are so important! If a potential buyer doesn't see any photos or bad ones, they're most likely moving on to the next listing.

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) over 6 years ago
Steve & Jan, Thanks for the photography tips. There really is no substitute for a high quality camera. Wouldn't be caught dead without one. With all the different sites photos are distributed we feel it's a reflection of professionalism.
Posted by Bill and MaryAnn Wagner, Jersey Shore and South Jersey Real Estate (Wagner Real Estate Group) over 6 years ago

Steve -- Love this post as I am always looking at ways to perfect my pictures. I need to get one of those speedlites. If I am not mistaken, would that help with equalizaiton of light so the outside through the windows can be seen?  I do not like 'blown-out' windows.

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Couldn't agree more!  I hire a professional real estate photographer for all of my listings -- whether they are $100K or $1.0M.   Many agents who don't have "the eye" for photography, can hire someone for as little as $99.  

Congrats on the feature!

Posted by Kerry Lucasse, Your Urban Nest Atlanta Real Estate Consultant (eXp Realty - Urban Nest Real Estate Group) over 6 years ago

Suzanne, there are more than 10,000 agents in the area we joke. Every impression is important in order to get business.

Bill, we alll have all seen the lopsided too dark photos even on homes that cost big bucks. That reflects poorly on the listing agent for future business from potential sellers who see their work.

Barbara, yes indeed I hate blown out windows too and the flash will help. However, if the sun is blasting directly in...that is very hard to fix and it is often unavoidable. We always shoot the house with the side AWAY from the direct sun first...hoping that by the time we get around to the other side it will be better light. I also like to shoot on overcast days if I can arrange it. Usually we have to go when the client requess it so we have to make do with the conditions we find.Taking multiple exposures and blending them (this is done by many real estate photogs) can help. Lightroom has the ability to reduce highlights which helps immensely with blown out windows. You can also brush on exposure reduction selectively. It is not that hard to learn...YouTube teaches all :-) Heck any improvements we make will make us stand out from those who make no effort eh?

Posted by Steve and Jan Bachman, Realtors - Northern Virginia (RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax ) over 6 years ago

So many variables and a ton of little things that make you stand out from the herd. You do Steve!

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 6 years ago
Excellent photography and tips. Thanks for sharing. I need to upgrade my photos...
Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Steve, you could sell your photographs. It's obvious you have really honed this skill. I wouldn't be able to tell your photographs from a professional photographers. I can get 50-60 photos from a professional here for $99. Now, I know if an agent has lots of listings that can be a junk of change. However, I don't think I can adequately do a listing the same justice as a professional. So I'll leave continue to hire out for this but I absolutely agree that photography is an important component of marketing a home and sellers need to be made more aware of that.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 6 years ago

Steve -- Thanks for the response. I do the same thing with taking pics around the sunny windows. Doing a shoot later. It's overcast right now and I hope it stays that way!  I have to check out that Lightroom as well. Thanks for your help!

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) over 6 years ago

I'm very glad this got featured.  My brokerage has standardized on professional photos so we can guarantee the highest quality to our clients. That won't pencil out in every market so the advice you've given here really covers what agents need to bump up their quality.

Posted by Bryan Robertson over 6 years ago

Great post- you are spot on!  Buyers are visual, they search online and pick their homes to see based on the photos! They MUST be good, there MUST be enough and the home should be show ready before the photos are taken.  Such a small detail, but very very important.  I actually use a professional photographer- best $150 spent on my listings!

Posted by Deb Espinoza, GRI, Broker, SRS,ABR ePro, SFR, CNE (Stage Presence Homes, San Diego Real Estate) over 6 years ago

I always hire OBEO for my listings' pictures. Leave it to the professionals and focus on what we do best is my mantra!


Posted by Rajeev Narula, My Services Are All About You! (iPRO REALTY LTD.,Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Better yet, hire a professional photographer.  Our guy charges $150 to show up and do professional photos and virtual tour.  For an extra $30 he'll do a complete website!

Posted by Marc McMaster, Putting my clients before myself (RE/MAX Centre Realty) over 6 years ago

Great tips! I wish I had more time to play with all the ins and outs of photography and photo editing software. Found a great professional photographer in our area who is reasonably priced, fortunately!

Posted by Andrea Peters, SOLD with Andrea! (The Andrea Peters Group @ HōM Realty) over 6 years ago

Steve, Fantastic advice and your photos clearly state your case!  Congrats on the feature!

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 over 6 years ago

Phenomenal Steve and don't know how i missed this one except i am having pc issues...thanks!!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 6 years ago is worth it!

Barbara, Lightroom is from Adobe and is far cheaper and easier to use than Photoshop. To me it was worth it.

Bryan, Seeing the work of the pros inspired me to do a better job.

Debbie, $150-200 is about the going rate here as well. The home prices and competition justify the expenditure in my mind for those who do not wish to spend time themselves.

Rajeev, it is worth it to make the best impression.

Marc, money well spent and that is going rate here as well. It usually takes me 1.5 hours to shoot and 1.5 to process and make a website. I like to do it myself since my client is usuallly there and I think it helps us to bond and leads to a better chance for referrals.




Posted by Steve and Jan Bachman, Realtors - Northern Virginia (RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax ) over 6 years ago

Andrea-yup...good way to go. It does take time to learn and do no question. Hiring a pro enables you to focus on other things in the business.

Bliz many thanks. My affection for photography as a hobby came from wanting do better at real estate photos. The hobby part has enabled me to get business as well by taking photos for friends and clients as gifts.

Ginny Heck you don't need advice. You are already good.

Posted by Steve and Jan Bachman, Realtors - Northern Virginia (RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax ) over 6 years ago

In these years of internet marketing, quality pictures of homes listed for sale, is more critical than ever before!  Your tips are valuable!

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) over 6 years ago

Great pictures are always a difference between properties that get a lot of attention and those that are passed over with on-line marketing.

Posted by Morgan Evans, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 6 years ago
Thanks for teaching me this stuff all the time. I just upgraded to ALR 5!
Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge over 6 years ago

Once the home is ready and priced right, it's all about the marketing. Professional photography and brochures are a major portion of great marketing. But we don't see it often enough. I am amazed at what sellers accept as adequate marketing and photography of their homes from their agents.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) over 6 years ago

Great information, thanks for sharing.  We use a professional photographer, he will shoot a new listing for $100.

Posted by Richard Weeks, REALTOR®, Broker over 6 years ago

It will definitely attract buyers if they see great photos just like the photos you included in your article.  Congratulations on the feature!

Posted by Carlton H. Brown, Sr. (Pacific Manufactured Homes) over 6 years ago

Thanks Meryl, I enjoy showcasing the client's property. I do believe it gives us an edge in the market.

Morgan,  the stakes keep getting higher as do the client's expectations.

Cheryl, happy to help! See you Saturday :-)

Nina, we send our stuff in advance of the listing appointment o that if we are competing ...the prospective client sees our work and can compare with whatever else is being presented to them.

Richard, a great it runs $150-250 for a 3 level single family home.

Carlton, thank you. We have all had to up our game in the increasingly competitive market place.


Posted by Steve and Jan Bachman, Realtors - Northern Virginia (RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax ) over 6 years ago

Hi Steve and Jan...You Two take great photos, Congratulations on your feature here in Photoblogger and in as a AR Feature.

Cheers, have a fun and successful day!

Posted by Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation, Accredited Real Estate Consultant (RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate) over 6 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments