A Look at the Most Under-Appreciated Genre in the Photo Industry

Real estate photography could be the most undervalued genre in the industry.

“No experience necessary as full two-week training will be given.” It’s a line I would often see when browsing photography jobs. It was never written in ads for commercial work, and it was certainly never linked to wedding gigs or portrait shoots. This line, at least it seemed, was only reserved for real estate photography. So, if a total novice can go from having no clue to being a real estate photographer in only a matter of weeks, it means it must be easy, right?

Is Real Estate Photography Easy?

The short answer to that question is, no, real estate photography isn’t easy. The amount of times people see my street, travel, and portraits photos, and then ask me to shoot their interior is uncountable. Without hesitation, I tell them, “Hell no”! Unless, of course, they want nobody to rent or purchase their property, then I’m your guy! That’s not to put myself down. I’m just aware of the skill behind quality real estate photos. I don’t have that skill, because it takes way longer than two weeks to ascertain it.

A deep understanding of angles, lighting, positioning, photo editing, and even feng shui is needed to create the best in class of real estate photography. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the images below, which I’m certain were taken by those who just had their two-week training.

The images have been uploaded to a website called Terrible real estate agent photos. There you will find archives worth of awful images. They will leave you thinking about how anyone in their right mind rented or bought the properties being offered. Yes, they’re funny, ridiculous even, but they’re also extremely sad to look at.

People have put in countless hours of trial and error to get to a standard that sets them away from the hobbyist. They deserve to be respected for that.”

When I look at these images, after the hilarity begins to fade, I have a feeling of anger and frustration. I’m tired, yet at the same time, almost numb to this nonsense. I’m beyond sick of people and businesses undervaluing the importance of photography. And more so, under-appreciating how much skill goes into it.

Respect the Craft

From national publications to those who manage content creation agencies, I’m so done with this “oh, that will do” attitude. I’m aware little can be done about it. It would require those who are under-qualified to say, “No, I’m not ready for this.” That’s never going to happen because, at the end of the day, people are desperate for opportunities, even if they’re not ready for them.

But can we have a little more respect for photography? We all know it goes beyond a good camera and knowing how to turn it on. Even the utopian “shooting in manual mode,” which convinces people they’ve made it, is still way off the mark when it comes to creating professional standard photographs.

I’m in no way a real estate photographer, but I have a lot of respect for the craft. And that’s my point. People have put in countless hours of trial and error to get to a standard that sets them apart from the hobbyist. They deserve to be respected for that. So, I stay away, I know my place. My only wish is that businesses would do the same.

All images in this piece are screenshots.