Commercial Real Estate Photography: Best Practices

Michael • January 20, 2023 • 5 min read

Commercial Real Estate Photography Best Practices

When it comes to selling or renting a commercial property, the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more true. High-quality photography can make all the difference when it comes to showing off a property’s features and luring buyers or renters.

But capturing the essence of commercial space through a lens is no easy feat. It takes a certain level of skill, an eye for detail, and a willingness to experiment. I recently got to talk with an experienced commercial real estate photographer, and what I learned was nothing short of eye-opening.
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It’s All in the Lens

Commercial real estate photography is a unique animal, requiring a specific set of tools and techniques. The first and most essential of these is the lens. A wide-angle lens is a must-have for capturing the entire space, from the grand entrance to the back office.

But it’s not just about getting the entire space in the frame. A wide-angle lens also allows for the creation of dynamic perspectives, making a room feel larger than it is in reality.

A wide angle lens is a must have
A wide angle lens is a must have

Stabilization is Key

Once you have the right lens, the next step is ensuring that the image is sharp. This means using a tripod and a remote shutter release. If you want to keep the camera steady, especially when there isn’t much light, you need a tripod.

On the other hand, a remote shutter release keeps the camera from shaking when the button is pressed. This is especially important when using a wide-angle lens, since even the slightest movement can cause the image to be distorted.

Use a tripod to stabilize
Use a tripod to stabilize

Lighting is Everything

Lighting is perhaps the most critical aspect of commercial real estate photography. The right lighting can make a space feel warm and inviting, while poor lighting can make it feel dark and uninviting.

A good commercial real estate photographer will know how to use natural light to their advantage, as well as how to supplement it with artificial lighting. This might mean using a flashlight to highlight specific features or using a strobe to brighten up a room.

Good lighting is important
Good lighting is important

Post-Processing is the Secret Sauce

Once the shoot is over, the real work begins. That’s right, post-processing is where the magic happens. This includes color correction, retouching, and compositing. Color correction is essential for making sure that the colors in the image match reality.

Retouching, on the other hand, is used to remove any unwanted elements from the image, such as power cords or trash cans. Compositing is the process of combining multiple images to create a single, final image.

This might include combining multiple exposures to create a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image or stitching together multiple images to create a panorama.

Post processing Lightroom/Photoshop
Post processing Lightroom/Photoshop

Showcasing the Property’s Unique Selling Points

A good commercial real estate photographer knows how to highlight a property’s unique selling points. This might mean emphasizing the scale of the space through the use of people or props or showcasing a property’s views through the use of drones.

It could also mean staging the space to create a desirable atmosphere. This might include adding furniture or artwork to an empty space to give it a sense of scale and purpose.

Overcoming the Challenges

Commercial real estate photography is not without its challenges. One of the most significant is working in difficult lighting conditions. This might mean shooting in a dark, windowless room or dealing with harsh, direct sunlight.

Another challenge is capturing empty spaces in an interesting way.
This might mean using creative angles or using lighting to create a sense of atmosphere. Shooting in small or cramped spaces or in places that are busy or messy are also common problems.

The Final Product

A good commercial real estate photographer will not only know how to overcome these challenges but also how to turn them into strengths.

A skilled photographer can take pictures that really show off the potential of a property by using creative angles, lighting, and post-processing techniques.

The final product should be a set of high-quality images that accurately represent the space, while also highlighting its best features and selling points.

Final Product

The Importance of High-Quality Photography

In today’s digital age, the first thing potential buyers or tenants see of a commercial property is a collection of images on the internet. High-quality photography is essential for making a good first impression and attracting interest.

Poor-quality images can turn potential buyers or tenants away, even if the property itself is top-notch. That’s why it’s crucial to invest in a skilled commercial real estate photographer who knows how to capture the essence of a space and showcase its potential.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of the day to shoot commercial real estate?

The best time of day to shoot commercial real estate depends on the lighting conditions and the specific look you’re trying to achieve. Shooting during the golden hours, just before sunrise or just after sunset, can create warm, inviting images.

However, shooting during the middle of the day can also be beneficial, as the harsh sunlight can create interesting shadows and highlights. Ultimately, it’s about understanding the space, the light, and the equipment, and knowing how to work with them to create the desired image.”

Why is the location of a property a key factor for the photos?

The location of a property is an important part of the photos because it can have a big effect on the overall mood and feel of the space. A property situated in a bustling city center will have a different feel than one situated in a quiet, rural area.

The lighting and views can also be affected by the location, which can have a big effect on the final photos. For commercial real estate photography to be successful, you need to know the location and how it can be used to show off the property’s best features.

How do you stage a commercial space for photography?

Staging a commercial space for photography is all about creating a desirable atmosphere. It’s about highlighting the property’s unique selling points and showcasing its potential.

This might include adding furniture or artwork to an empty space to give it a sense of scale and purpose. It’s important to understand the space and know what to include or leave out to make an image that flows.

What are the benefits of using a wide-angle lens for commercial real estate photography?

The benefits of using a wide-angle lens for commercial real estate photography are numerous. First of all, it lets you capture the whole space, from the front door to the back office. But it’s not just about getting the entire space in the frame.

A wide-angle lens also allows for the creation of dynamic perspectives, making a room feel larger than it is in reality. It’s a must-have tool for any commercial real estate photographer.

How do you shoot a commercial property in low-light conditions?

Shooting a commercial property in low-light conditions can be a real challenge. But with the right tools and techniques, it’s possible to create stunning images.

This could mean using a tripod and a remote shutter release to keep the camera still, as well as adding artificial lighting to supplement the natural light. It’s all about understanding the space and the light and knowing how to work with them.

How does a photographer decide which parts of a commercial real estate photo to include or leave out?

Figuring out what to include and what to leave out of a commercial real estate photo comes down to knowing the space and what will best show off its potential.

This might mean emphasizing the scale of the space through the use of people or props or showcasing a property’s views through the use of drones. It’s about knowing what will make the space look desirable and what might detract from that.

How can you make a commercial space look bigger in photos?

Making a commercial space look bigger in photos is all about understanding the space and the light, and knowing how to work with them. This might include using creative angles, lighting, and post-processing techniques.

It’s about creating a sense of scale and depth in the image, making the space feel larger than it is in reality. It’s a skill that takes patience, creativity, and a willingness to experiment.


Conclusion

Commercial real estate photography is a unique art form that requires a specific set of skills and tools. It’s not just about pointing at a camera and clicking the shutter button. It’s about understanding the space, the light, and the equipment.

It’s about knowing how to showcase a property’s unique selling points and overcome its challenges. It’s about creating images that accurately represent the space while also making it feel desirable.

It’s an art form that requires patience, creativity, and a willingness to experiment. And when done right, it can make all the difference in the marketing and sale of a commercial property.

Further readings:
A Guide to Developing wellness real estate
How competitive is commercial real estate
Californiaʼs assault on the commercial Real Estate Industry

What is your best practice for Commercial Real Estate Photography? Let us know in the comments.

By Furoore team member Michael
Furoore Team is here to assist you in capturing the most significant moments in your life. To create exciting photographs, discover photography guides, find unique photo ideas, and limitless image inspiration.

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