5 Common Mistakes Agents Make With Real Estate Photography

What agents often get wrong with real estate photography and how to avoid these mishaps.

In today’s competitive real estate market, high-quality and visually appealing media can make all the difference in attracting potential buyers. Unfortunately, one critical mistake with a home’s photography can come at the expense of sacrificing showings. 

The good news? Following these tips and techniques can help get your real estate photography back in focus. 

5 Things Real Estate Agents Sometimes Get Wrong with Photography – and How to Fix Them

Poor Lighting

One of the most significant mistakes agents and their real estate photographers make is not paying enough attention to lighting. Poorly lit photos can make a property appear dark, cramped and uninviting. To avoid bad lighting, it goes without saying to shoot during daylight hours, but creative lighting techniques can also be used such as ambient, natural or artificial lighting to help capture the best features of a property.

You may also find photography packages that offer virtual twilight to enhance the imagery with lifelike warm tones and cool hues that capture the beauty of the home at dusk. ShowingTime+ Listing Media Services, for example, now includes virtual twilight as part of its Essentials media package.

Neglecting Proper Staging

Effective staging can greatly enhance the visual appeal of a property. Unfortunately, some agents fail to properly stage their real estate listings prior to the photography appointment. It’s essential to declutter, clean and arrange furniture in a way that helps buyers visualize the space as their own. 

Virtual staging is particularly useful for vacant properties since it can help buyers engage more with the listing, says Seth Greenwell, Senior Manager, ShowingTime+ Media, Listing Media Services Operations and a former real estate agent with 17 years of experience.

“Buyers are clicking online, asking themselves, ‘Do I want to see this house, yes or no?’ If you have an empty house that’s virtually or physically staged, you’re going to get the buyer to slow down and see a very beautiful interior, enticing them to schedule a showing rather than just viewing an image of an empty shell with bare floors and plain white walls,” says Greenwell.

Listing Media Services provides affordable virtual staging images online ($30/photo) and quickly – typically delivered within two business days: one day to virtually stage the home and one day to turn the photos around. 

Showing Too Few Images

The quantity of photographs can have as much of an influence over a buyer’s first impression as the quality. If you’re shooting a small space, try supplementing interior shots with neighborhood amenities to highlight the tennis courts or a community clubhouse and pool. Listing Media Services’ Essentials and Premium packages provide at least 30 high-resolution, HDR (high dynamic range) photographs including both interior and exterior shots, with options to add aerial photography, amenity images and more. 

Over-Editing Photos

While editing can enhance the visual appeal of photographs, over-editing can have the opposite effect. Agents’ real estate photographers should strike a balance between editing for brightness, contrast and color correction without making the images look artificial or heavily manipulated. Buyers appreciate authenticity when viewing property photos, so it’s crucial to present them with an accurate representation of the property. One option is a turnkey photography and media service like Listing Media Services, which offers end-to-end service, professional photo curation and editing, and personal customer service.

Failing to Showcase Important Features

Real estate agents understand the importance of showcasing a property’s unique features, but sometimes their photos fail to draw attention to those features. Potential buyers are often looking for specific details such as updated appliances, spacious rooms and yards, landscaped exteriors, views and outdoor living areas. 

Buyers also want to know where they’re viewing the imagery within the context of the home. Listing Media Services’ Essentials and Premiums packages provide Interactive Floor Plans that allow the buyer to click on the floor plan to change views and images and instantly connect the photography to the location in the home. 

To highlight the home’s best features and receive prioritized placement on Zillow, there’s Zillow Showcase by ShowingTime+, offering a limited number of agents in each market the opportunity to display their listings’ visuals with a self-rotating photo carousel, room-by-room photo organization, an interactive floor plan, virtual tour and more.


Real estate photography plays a significant role in attracting potential buyers and helping agents stand out in a crowded market. By avoiding these common mistakes and implementing a few tried-and-true techniques, your real estate listings will be better equipped to engage more buyers and impress sellers.

A real estate agent looking at a phone and smiling, pleased with the property photos ShowingTime+ provided for her listing.

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Two people shaking hands and smiling after sitting through a winning real estate listing presentation.