Real Estate Photography
December 17, 2020

Commercial Real Estate Photography: Tips to Photograph Commercial Properties

Rahul Agrawal
About Author

Although the approach and methods used in commercial real estate photography are similar to residential real estate photography, there are a few important differences. Residential real estate photos are used for any purpose that involves marketing until the property is sold. On the other hand, commercial real estate (CRE) photos have broader and longer use. They are used for various marketing activities from flyers, brochures, websites to social media posts. 

Like any great photos, commercial real estate photos should emphasize the best features of the listing while downplaying the potential drawbacks. 

Read on to learn how to do that and more to execute a successful commercial real estate photo shoot. 

1. Preparation Is Key

Before you pick up your camera, you need to do the following: 

Understand the objectives

Define what you want to achieve with your CRE photography. For example, are your marketing a property for sale or lease? Your photos should clearly communicate the purpose of the listing.

Scout the location

When scouting the property, do the following: 

  • Capture simple shots from different corners of the space so that you get the property orientation and the sense of space. 
  • Determine where will be the sun at what time  
  • Find out which direction the windows are facing
  • Check whether there are any obstructions to natural light
  • Find out if there are any reflective surfaces

Once you are done with scouting, you’ll have a better idea of what you need and how to execute a successful shoot.

Declutter the space to make it picture perfect 

You are marketing the space, not the clutter inside the space. Include only the items such as work and seating areas that adds proportion to the space. Too many objects in the photo can make your commercial real estate listing look space smaller than it actually is.

Whether you are a professional photographer, a real estate agent or a home seller – if you have to click a lot of photos, and despite reminders, if the decluttering is not happening on time, you’ll be battling against time to get the photos clicked. An easy way out is to use Styldod’s object removal service to declutter the space virtually and if needed, get the outdated interiors replaced with trendy artwork and spectacular accessories.  

Plan ahead

Use a pre-photography checklist to ensure smooth commercial real estate photo shoot. Some of the things that should go on your checklist are: 

  • Turn off sprinkler systems
  • Check lightbulbs inside and out
  • Have maintenance staff handy to resolve unexpected issues that may crop up
  • Ensure garden and indoor plant are maintained
  • Keep parking spaces in the photos empty for exterior shots
  • Clean windows the day before,
  • If the building has illuminated signage, ensure that it is working

2. Timing is Everything

Figure out the best time of day

The street view of the property is usually the most important feature of a commercial property. While shooting, check the direction of the sun. Usually, the property photographs look best when the sun is low and shining on the building. Accordingly, figure out the best time of the day to shoot the property. 

If the property is north facing, there will never be direct sunlight. So, plan your shoot at a time when the sun is not behind the building. The solution to this could be an overcast day or a dusk photo.

Avoid depicting a season or time of year

If your commercial real estate photos depict a season or a particular time of the year, you are actually dating your photos and limiting its longevity. For example, if your potential buyers see your property images in summer, but the images they see depict a winter month, they can get instantly detached and lose interest in the property. 

3. Pro Tips and Tricks

Make use of these best commercial real estate photography practices:  

Emphasize location

If the commercial property is in a strategic location, use it to your advantage. Emphasize the location in your photo to bring out the biggest value of the property. 

Include logos & branding 

If the property has any sort of branding or logos, try to capture them into the images. Whether they are on the table mats, pens, windows, or screens, get a few shots with the logos seen. These types of images can help the business with its branding and can also be used for other marketing purposes such as social media posts, headers, postcards and other print marketing materials. 

Keep things straight and balanced

These tips may help you: 

  • Ensure vertical lines, such as door frames and windows, always appear vertical.
  • Use anchor points, such as furniture to connect one photo to another.
  • Get a proper white balance.
  • Frame the surroundings, such as greenery, to add interest to a photo.
  • Ensure the reflection of the photographer, bystanders or equipment is not captured in the photograph.  

Commercial Real Estate Photography: The Way Forward

There are two options to approach your CRE photography – either you outsource it to a reliable photography professional or opt for the cost-efficient DIY route.

Both of these options have their own pros and cons. If you hire a professional photographer, you’ll be purchasing their talent as well as their experience, but it comes at a huge cost.  

Alternatively, you can choose to do your own commercial real estate photography and save money. Suppose your newfound photography skills need more fine-tuning. In that case, you can hire Styldod’s affordable virtual staging services to add a touch of virtual magic to enhance your CRE photos and make them look beautiful and professional.


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