Last Updated on January 17, 2021 by Jose Barrios
Quick disclosure, this guide was written with the US MLS requirements in mind, if you are in another part of the world your local real estate listing service might be quite different.
Real estate photos should be 1024 x 768 according to Stellar MLS. Other MLS systems might have different requirements and may allow larger images.
You must check with your local MLS requirements in order to deliver a size that is usable by the agent and that looks good also.
Quick section links:
- Image size for MLS photos 1024 x 768?
- Image size for Zillow: 1536 x 1152
- Image size for Facebook: 1200 x 630
- Image size for Instagram: 1080 x 1080
- Other image sizes
- I deliver images sized 2500 x 2500 max
- Should you charge extra for other sizes?
Why are the MLS photos 1024 x 768?
You might be wondering where this number came from, it is not arbitrary, it is a legacy size from when computer monitors maxed out at was referred to as standard XGA resolution of 1024 x 768.
This resolution has an aspect ratio of 4:3 that was common in older TV’s and computer monitors, back when they looked square.
Why are they still using this resolution and aspect ratio is anyone’s guess?
Image size for Zillow: 1536 x 1152
Zillow prefers higher resolution images. Their guide suggests that your photo dimension be 1536 x 1152 for the best quality. File size should be kept under 50 MB per photo and their acceptable formats are JPG, GIF, PNG, or TIF.
The situations where you would directly upload photos to Zillow are rare since Zillow pulls images through syndication directly from your MLS. This means that Zillow will display the same lower resolution image that you uploaded to your MLS.
Image size for Facebook: 1200 x 630
As real estate agents find more creative ways of marketing their listings, you should also consider the image size for social media when delivering your photos.
Facebook posts recommend an image size of 1200 x 630. They have many other sizes and they vary depending on placement, but for 99% of your clients their standard post image size is all you will need.
Image size for Instagram: 1080 x 1080
Instagram is really hard for cropping images, the reason is their 1:1 aspect ratio, it’s square! and square images are not that friendly to photographs since they are rectangular.
From a composition point of view, it presents a whole new challenge for the photographer when framing a shot. In all honesty, I never take this square image size into consideration when taking photos because doing so would mean spending a lot more time on site trying to get those perfect shots that will still look good when cropped into a square.
Other image sizes
You might get from time to time requests from agents for images that are to be used in print media, such as flyers and brochures.
In these cases, I prefer to deliver the image at its native resolution (how it came out of the camera) at 300 dpi. This makes for a very large file, so I only send strictly what the client asked for.
If the real estate agent is not sure of the image size they require, just contact their graphic designer and work with them directly.
I deliver images sized 2500 x 2500 max
This number is arbitrary, when exporting photos in Lightroom (one of the three pieces of software you should have, you can read more here) I set them to be resized to a maximum of 2500 x 2500 at 300 dpi.
In my case, this varies from camera to camera, my image comes out to 2500 x 1669 when resized and exported in Lightroom. This gives my customers plenty of room to crop and fit my photos into the most common format sizes like Facebook, Instagram, MLS, Zillow, and others, without creating oversized images that cannot be uploaded to the different platforms.
Should you charge extra for other sizes?
This is a tricky question. You should put a price on everything you do, after all, time is money, and resizing images is no exception.
For the small one-time things I do not charge, but I will put it in their invoice and then apply a discount for the resizing service, basically making the price $0.
By putting it on the invoice I let my customers know that I had to spend time doing it, and this way if they ask for the service repeatedly they will not be surprised when I charge them for it.
When it comes to real estate photos, there is no such thing as one size fits all. It is best to overdeliver in image size but without making the images so large that your customers will not be able to post them online.
When it comes to special sizing for social media or print, unless they are paying me, I leave that to each individual real estate agent.
I hope this helps you further your real estate photography business.
“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.