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HDR Real Estate Photography - How to Use Photography to Attract (and Keep) Clients

Jul 21, 2018



We wear many hats, as real estate agents…  contract-reader, negotiator, appraiser of value, inspector of properties, counsellor extraordinaire, and professional photographer. And we’re expected to be proficient at all of them.  We’ve talked here about photography before:

* The Kinds of Real Estate Photos that Can Cost You a Sale
* The Three Biggest Mistakes Real Estate Agents Make When Taking Property Photos

A relatively newer style of photography has been emerging into our industry: HDR (High Dynamic Range) Photography.


What is HDR?

Technically, it’s called exposure bracketing. Basically, the camera  takes multiple shots in sequence at varying shutter speeds, so it gives different degrees of range, then melds them together into one picture for a funky, deep image. It definitely looks creative and interesting.


It gives the ability to enlarge a space - the counters will look long, the ceilings expansive, and the appliances large enough to fit Arnold Schwarzenegger and his entire family into.

Why I Don’t Use It:


There’s one reason, and one reason only, that I do not use HDR for real estate photography: it’s not real. And I know when buyers arrive and the place looks nothing like it did in the photos, their impression is disappointing. They may even feel tricked or deceived. I’ll tell you, making people feel those things does NOT help sell a house.


When buyers walk into a house, they expect to see what they saw in the representing photos.
It’s kind of like blind dating. Imagine how you might feel after talking for a while with the person who you’ve only known through word and a photo. They’re fit, brunette, and have straight white teeth. When you meet them in person though, you discover the photo they used was not at all accurate. The brunette has greyed, the teeth have yellowed, and fitness should have been described as having existed in a previous life. You’d feel deceived, no?



When working with a  buyer who’s looking at properties, nothing irks me more than when the photos don’t match the reality of the home. When they don’t represent it in a way that you can rely on, it makes the buyer (and me) wonder what else isn’t quite accurate about the portrayal of the property.

Photography, As It Should Be


Photography is more complicated than point and shoot, but also far more simple than HDR.

If you’re going to DIY your photography (and I’m not saying you should…), understanding the relationship between the users knowledge of the cameras capabililty and that of the lens and its suitability for a start. With the camera, the settings can make or break a photo. It is not always best to shoot in Automatic Mode, plus it is not set up right out of the box for business use. Settings in relation to for example: lighting from windows or lack thereof, whether it’s a sunny or cloudy day, positioning of objects in the fore or background, etc. And talking lenses, the one that came with your camera may not be right for the job and the wide angle lens you got for your birthday can complicate it with their abilities to distort let alone its response to the flash setting and camera settings. You must compensate for wide angle lenses as it can give a fishbowl effect, bending of straight edges, accentuating counters or fridges, making things look longer and wider. HDR takes it even further, into a creative realm that, in my opinion, has no place in fact-based real estate photography that is meant to showcase a real product.


We’re not trying to win awards for artistic photography.
The goal is to portray the property as through the eye of the beholder - to give them a preview of what their own eyes will see.


Category: Selling A Home

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