I get asked almost every day by realtors and homeowners what kind of gear I’m using. Most want to know what brand of camera I have, or what lens is used to capture those large spaces in a single frame. Although there’s much more to real estate photography than just the gear, it is undeniably one of the most intriguing parts of the process. The need to light large spaces, simplify complex layouts and make it all look natural and pleasing no matter the conditions are unique challenges in comparison to other styles of photography. To help the gear buffs and technology enthusiasts who are curious about the process, I’ve outlined the contents of my typical load-out when photographing homes. Below is the contents of my camera bag I take with me to real estate shoots, although some of the larger gear is stored in a rolling case and only accompanies me on location if specifically required, such as the video slider for video shoots.
(click the photo for a larger version)
1. Extra Batteries
Always keep at least 2-3 extra camera batteries handy. Video is extra demanding and can consume almost an entire battery for one house.
2. Extra Lens
The extra lens is primarily for view shots and any details. Although it doesn’t come out often it’s still necessary since the wide-angle lens doesn’t zoom in enough.
3. Leveling Plate
Much like a ball head, but smaller and sturdier, this allows the photographer to level out anything that goes on the tripod, be it the pan head, slider, or any other mount.
This is the workhorse mount for still photos. It allows the photographer to level the camera incredibly quickly and in at almost any angle.
Flashes are used to light shadows and fill colour into our still shots. Having two gives extra power when needed or helps light multiple areas in large spaces.
6. Extra memory cards
The extra memory card case is always full and never, ever, leaves the camera bag. 32GB SD cards are the standard while the 16GB and 8GB cards act as backups.
7. Extra AA batteries
Just like the camera batteries, but these are rechargeable AA’s for the flashes. Always keep multiple sets ready to go as flashes consume massive amounts of power.
8. Camera with wide-angle lens
A sturdy DSLR camera and wide angle lens are the essentials for real estate photography. Wide angle lenses range from 10mm-20mm to capture as much of a space as possible while keeping edges straight and distortion to a minimum.
9. Remote triggers
Small wireless triggers allow flashes to be fired even if they’re off the camera. We use them to light far away dark spots or adjacent rooms that can’t be lit by one single source of light.
10. Emergency USB charger
This handy little device allows you to charge any USB device using AA batteries. This means you can charge a phone, iPod, or other device using the AA’s from a flash.
11. Lens cleaning supplies
Clean lenses are crucial, especially when shooting on bright or sunny days as dust and fingerprints light up and quickly turn into huge messes.
Shooting up to 14 images per shot that have to be perfectly aligned to composite them would be impossible without a sturdy tripod, which is also the base for the slider when shooting video.
The slider is strictly for video use and helps achieve absolutely smooth slides to showcase homes in motion.
14. Pan Head
The pan head is how we achieve our 360 degree panoramic images. By setting the “nodal” point of the lens, and spinning it on axis at specific degrees we can create full 360 panoramic images that stitch together seamlessly.