Last Updated on January 17, 2021 by Jose Barrios
Here is my list of things you do really need, but that will make your life as a real estate photographer that much easier.
1. – 18% grey white balance card
I always carry one of these cards in my bag, they can save you a lot of time and work when editing your photos.
There are homes that will have some very odd color and lighting combinations that will not allow your cameras AWB (auto white balance) to accurately measure the correct color temperature of the room.
This can result in a lot of wasted time in Lightroom trying to get the correct colors.
With a simple 18% grey card that costs less than $20 you can easily avoid all this headache with just a single photo of the target placed in the room. Once you are back in Lightroom you can use the eyedropper white balance tool to accurately set the correct temperature.
2. – A camera cleaning kit
Another cheap and essential thing to have in your camera bag is a small and inexpensive cleaning kit.
A basic kit will cost you less than $15 on Amazon and will include cleaning fluid, wipes, a brush, and an air blower for cleaning the sensor of dust if needed.
I keep several around, I even have one in my car. I hardly ever use the cleaning kit, but when I have needed to use it, it was a lifesaver.
3. – Disposable shoe covers
50 pairs of shoe covers will set you back less than $15 and they make you look like a total pro when photographing a house.
I will admit that I do not use them on every occasion, but I do come across properties that required them, especially if there was any risk of soiling their carpets or floors.
4. – A camera utility belt with clips
When I started photographing, I would carry around all my stuff in my hands or oddly stuffed in my pockets, it was a mess, I would drop things and damage them, all because I did not want to look like batman.
I finally caved in and bought my first Spider Monkey clip for my flash, what a life-changer.
I have since progressed and bought myself a utility belt so I could keep hanging stuff from it. I will carry my large Godox flash and my smaller flash clipped to my side and ready to on a moment’s notice.
5. – Extra battery charger
I cannot stress this one enough, always have something on hand that can charge your batteries!
The worst thing that can to you is get on-site and realize that you forgot to charge your batteries (read more on the best rechargeable batteries for your flash here). I carry chargers not only for my camera’s batteries but also for my cell phone.
I also try to make sure that my chargers will work with USB chargers so I can charge in my car and in a wall socket.
No power means no photos, which means that you do not get paid.
6. – Small orange traffic cones
Now you’re thinking I have gone mad by saying that you need to carry small toy traffic cones, but here is why you need them: In very large homes with lots of rooms you can easily lose track of what you have photographed. It has happened to me several times.
I have a set of 24 cones that I carry around in my car, they are about 7” tall. I numbered them all from 1 to 24 with a black sharpie.
When I get to a large home and do my initial walkthrough with the real estate agent or homeowner, I will set a cone in each room that needs to be photographed, and as I photograph the house I pick up each cone from a room after it has been completed.
When I’m finished, I count my cones and make sure I have all 24 cones in my tote bag (I have an old tote bag I use for this), and if I do not see all 24 numbered cones, it means I missed a room.
7. – A water bottle
Get a big one and fill it with ice and water before you out to photograph. It sounds like a no-brainer, but for the longest time, I never did it.
Go get one and keep hydrated.
We all become obsessed with having the latest and greatest equipment but tend to forget about the small things that help you get done quickly.
This list is showcasing simple, cheap, and not quite essential things that have made my life as a real estate photographer easier, and I hope they can make your life easier as well.
“What can I say? I love taking photos of houses.”
Based in Orlando Florida, Jose is a real estate photographer specializing in vacation homes, working for realtors and property managers to make their properties look great. You can visit his site at JoseBarriosPhoto.com.