High Standards: Disrupting the Status Quo in Real Estate Photography / by Lisa Rakhuba


The word “photography” was created from the Greek roots φωτός (phōtos), genitive of φῶς (phōs), “light” and γραφή (graphé), “representation by means of lines” or “drawing”, meaning, ”drawing with light”.

Every good agent knows that professional photography is key in today’s millennial driven housing market. Over 70% of you are using social media as part of your marketing, and 50% of home buyers see homes for the first time… online.

Before I got into real estate photography, one of my favorite pastimes was to go online to look at rentals or housing for sale in the areas I wanted to live in. I could always find hilariously bad photos of real estate, and would show everyone around me while laughing, “Really?”.

These days I don’t find it as funny, but instead feel like whoever was involved in representing that property should maybe reconsider their advertising. These days, my home searching is more research than hobby, and though I’m seeing way less cell phone pictures, there is still vast room for improvement.

I did a google search for “home exteriors” to replicate what I usually see in the MLS and these are the results:


I’m visually overwhelmed already. Off the bat I only want to click on a handful of these photos. I pick a property to look inside of, and here’s what I see:

I’m sorry to your eyeballs. But I had to show you what we’re up against.
Sadly, these are real photos advertising properties for sale. And these are agent photos, not for sale by owner. This is the most frustrating thing to see while browsing homes online.

I know that you know homes with quality photos sell faster, and for more money. So in this blog post, I want to show you how we work our photo mojo.

Not every shoot is the same, but the quality is. Every photo is meticulously drawn with spacial awareness, framing, and light. Clear and crisp - honoring the very definition of the word photography.

Seeing the whole room is so important. I want to imagine living in a space, not be overwhelmed by over or under saturated colors.
It starts with framing the room and getting that angle that shows off the space in the best way. Adjust for the light and temperature, focus - and snap. Captured.

You’ve been on shoots, you know the drill.

But - how well do you know the other side of photography? The part where the photo goes into the software and comes out as your marketing material? I would like to give you a behind the scenes look at what goes into editing just one photo from our High Standard Photography package.

The room in the video has been carefully considered. I wanted to show off the light that’s coming through the 2-storey windows & highlight the beautiful fireplace. I wanted to protect the anonymity of the people living in the home, so I blurred their faces.
The room appears darker straight out of camera because of the sun drenching the room through unshaded windows, so I brightened the shadows by the staircase and in the foreground.

My main goal was to make the room appear as it does in real life. Naturally beautiful. Naturally bright. Naturally appealing. I paid close attention to the color changes that occur when increasing brightness of specific areas, and adjusted them accordingly. I darkened each window to maintain the integrity of the original capture’s view. I also maintained a realistic vibrance of color.

I do this for every photo, every home, every time. I’m a painter, and as such I have been trained to notice the subtleties of light bouncing off of objects and the color of reflection. It has become a reflex to fix that which looks unnatural and unattractive.

As a photography service, I want to be the wind beneath your wings, not cheap mass-produced pixels that pass as media. I value what you do, and your time. I know that the better job I do, the more money you’ll make and the faster the house will sell.

You work hard for your clients behind the scenes - stuff that most people will never know about . And at the end of the day, it’s not about sellers, buyers, leads, prospects - it’s about helping people find, and sell their homes. It’s about your reputation and helping build communities.

Even if the listing you worked hard to get isn’t the most luxurious place on earth, it’s somebody’s future home. And I’d personally like to see it get the attention it deserves.

This is our version of how to do that.

Don’t let your “featured listings” look like my google search results, and don’t settle for less. You owe it to your clients, and your brand. We can break the cycle of poorly photographed homes, one seller at a time.

How will you disrupt the status quo?