Best lens for real estate photography

We surveyed experienced real estate photographers to find out what lenses make their must-have list. In this guide, we’ll zoom in on the best lenses and tools for getting started as a real estate photographer.

Are you a seasoned shutterbug looking to expand your repertoire of services? Thanks to historically low mortgage rates, the housing market is booming, which makes real estate photography a great career specialization.1

But if you’re used to snapping portraits or landscapes, you might be unsure of the equipment needed to capture something as big as a house and its unique features. So what’s the best lens for real estate photography?

We surveyed experienced professionals in the real estate photography business to learn about their arsenal of equipment. In this short guide, we’ll zoom in on the best lenses and tools for getting started as a real estate photographer.

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How to make a “For Sale” sign disappear

As a real estate photographer, you have one mission: to photograph a property in its best possible light so that it flies off the market.

Property photography plays an essential role in real estate listings, especially with more people viewing homes virtually. If prospective buyers see cramped, dark rooms and suspicious stains on the wall, they’re unlikely to schedule a tour of the home. Instead, they want to see a magnificent view of their future abode.

While you can’t be held responsible for old carpeting or ugly wallpaper, there’s a lot you can do to help the property sell:

  • Photograph the exterior in its best possible light, depending on the time of day
  • Use lenses that make the home’s interior feel as spacious as possible while giving a good sense of the layout
  • Highlight unique architectural and interior details
  • Use every tool in your kit—including natural or artificial light and Photoshop—to make the inside of the home look sun-drenched

The job comes with unique challenges, since you’ll take interior photography and exterior photos of rooms, deal with varying light levels, and switch between large-scale photography and minute focus on detail.

To make the realtor and seller happy, you’ll need the right lens for the job. Next, we’ll look at the top three lenses for real estate photography.

1: Wide-angle lens

A wide-angle lens captures a home’s exterior in crisp detail. This can increase its virtual “curb appeal” and make it stand out in listings.

A wide-angle lens is also a must-have for capturing an entire room. The surveyed photographers recommended three wide-angle lenses:

Tamron F Wide-angle lenses (10mm-35mm) – With a wide range of focal length, the Tamron F is incredibly versatile and adept at wide angle shots. You wouldn’t sacrifice detail when taking large-scale photos of a property and its grounds. Priced at just over $200, it’s a reasonable investment, even if you’re just getting started.

Canon RF F4 24-105mm – Canon is one of the most trusted names in photography. This particular camera lens has an incredibly wide range of focal lengths, making it well-suited for exterior shots as well as interior photography of close spaces like bathrooms and pantries. Although it’s much more expensive than the Tamron, you could easily use it to photograph portraits, weddings, and other subjects. It’s also adored for its autofocus and shutter speed.

Canon EF-S 10-18mm – Like the Tamron lens, the Canon 10-18mm is an ultra-wide-angle lens. It’s great for capturing an entire room and creating a sense of spaciousness and depth.

2: A 35mm lens

There’s a reason why almost every professional photographer has a 35mm lens. This is one of the most versatile lenses on the market.

With a focal length similar to the human eye, 35mm lenses excel at capturing a realistic view of any space. And with a wide aperture, yours can help you capture interior details in less-than-ideal lighting.

Use this camera to capture the following:

  • Landscaping features and details
  • Small rooms Interior details
  • Dimly-lit, low-light spaces

3: iPhone camera

We know—we just talked all about the necessity of the perfect lens.

But your iPhone camera is a great back-up when you’re out of battery life or storage space, or when you don’t feel like switching between your wide-angle lens and another option.

Functional in a variety of lighting scenarios, your iPhone is always with you when you need to capture a single sweet detail, whether it’s a window box, a bird at a feeder, or a welcoming wreath on a home’s front door.

Other items for your real estate photography toolkit

Besides your trusty lenses, you’ll need a few other essentials to prepare for your shoot.

Tripod – You may need to take long exposure shots to capture a home’s exterior. Instead of trying to hold your hand steady, bring along your trusty tripod for image stabilization.

Flashgun – If your shoot drags on, you may need to take shots in low light. Come equipped with tools to illuminate the scene.

Battery and memory cards – You don’t just want a shot; you want the right shot. Bring enough equipment to capture as many takes as you need.

Editing tools – After the day’s work is over, you can always remove an unappealing detail in Adobe Photoshop or another photography app of your choice.

Photographer insurance – A client could sue you for anything from treading mud on their expensive rug to taking shoddy photographs that impacted their home’s sale price. Take out photography insurance to hedge against risk.

Stop by a photography store for your camera-related essentials, and come to Thimble for your insurance needs. Thimble’s Photographer Insurance helps provide coverage for the investigation and legal defense for claims of non-employee bodily injury. It also covers third-party property damage, personal and advertising injury, and professional errors and omissions.

Don’t forget about your camera gear. General liability insurance protects other people’s property but not your own first-party property. For that you need Business Equipment Protection, which covers the gear that travels with you. With camera equipment coverage and photography insurance you can protect your business and your gear.

Find a new home in the photography industry

If you’re a real estate photographer, you get to spend your day in gorgeous homes of all shapes and sizes, snapping photos that help families take their next step forward. Hopefully our breakdown of the best lenses for real estate photography helps orient your search!

Just remember, to get started, you only needs a few tools:

  • A wide-angle lens and a 35mm lens (or, in a pinch, your iPhone)
  • A tripod, spare batteries and storage, and lighting solutions
  • Business insurance to cover your professional risk

Equipped with these tools, we hope we find your own dream home within the wide world of photography.