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Field Guide to Digital Cameras & Photography

(Updated May 2014)

Did you know that 98% of homebuyers who searched for a home on the internet found photos to be among the most useful features of REALTOR® websites, according to the 2013 NAR Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers? Digital photography and virtual tours allow REALTORS® to serve their clients like never before. Digital images can quickly and professionally showcase a listing, and today's technologically savvy clients appreciate the convenience of a virtual tour for both long distance and local moves. The following articles will guide you from the beginning to the advanced stages of how to choose and use one of real estate's hottest tools. (C. Dodge, Information Specialist)

Q - ProQuest articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the ProQuest/Find Articles page.

REALTORS®' Use of Digital Cameras

  • 51% of REALTORS® websites feature virtual tours.
  • 77% of homebuyers find virtual tours to be very or somewhat useful.
  • 90% of all REALTORS® use a digital camera.

Frequency of use of digital cameras:

Daily . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28%
A few times per week . . . . 24%
A few times per month . . . 27%
A few times per year . . . . . 11%
Rarely or never. . . . . . . . . . 11%

Sources: 2014 NAR Member Profile, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2014) 2013 NAR Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2013).

Choosing a Camera

The Ten Best Digital Cameras, (PCmag.com, May 7, 2014).

Best Camera 2014: what camera type should you buy?, (techradar.com, May 29, 2014).

Top 10 Digital Cameras by Consumer Reviewers, (IntelliReview.com, May 2013).

Digital Camera Buying Guide, (Consumer Reports, Apr. 2013).

YouTube Video: Which is the Best Camera to Use for Real Estate Photography?, (RealEstatePhotoClass, Sept. 2011).

YouTube Video: SLR Buying Guide - Basic Tips, (Jared Polin, Apr. 9, 2010).

How-To Tips: Shooting, Editing, & Storing Digital Photographs

2014 Camera Guide: Do It Yourself or Hire a Photographer?, (REALTOR® Magazine, July 2014).

Real Estate Photography – a Guide to Getting Started, (Digital Photography School, n.d.).

Real Estate Photography Tips, (Tips for Real Estate Photography, Feb. 20, 2014).

How to Photograph Real Estate: Lessons Learned, (Improve Photography, Aug. 13, 2013).

Photo Editing Made Easy, (REALTOR® Magazine, July 2013)

Storing your digital images: Where to put those endless picture files, (About.com, 2010).

Getting started scanning...Part 3: Printing digital photos and scans, (About.com, 2010).

Camera Phones

Best Smartphone Cameras 2014, (Tom's Guide, May 2, 2014).

2014 Smartphones: A Phone or a ‘Phablet’?, (REALTOR® Magazine, May 2014).

Smartphone Photography Gets an Upgrade, (REALTOR® Magazine, Jan. 2014).

Best camera phones, (CNET.com, July 3, 2013).

5 Tips for Better Photos from your Cell Phone's Camera, (PCMag.com, Apr. 20, 2011).

12 tips for improving camera phone photos, (Digital Photography School, 2010).

Marketing Your Listings With Digital Images

Don’t sabotage your MLS listing: 3 digital mistakes you can correct today, (Inman News, May 19, 2014).

Create real estate listing photos that sell: 8 tips, (Inman News, Feb. 4, 2014).

Choosing the Best Photos for Your Listing, (JumpTools, Sep. 6, 2013).

Back Away From the iPhone and Hire a Photographer, (Market Leader, Aug. 7, 2013).

9 Awful Real Estate Listing Photos—And How to Avoid Taking Them, (Adorama, March 25, 2013).

The Best Shot: A Photography Lesson for Home Sellers, (MSN, n.d.).

Virtual Tours

How to Make a Virtual Tour, (WikiHow, n.d.).

Real Estate Videos and Marketing Your Listing, (Travels Through Images, Jan. 16, 2014).

Are Real Estate Virtual Tours No Longer Effective? - That Depends..., (About.com, n.d.).

10 Tips to Create a Winning Virtual Tour, (Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate, Feb. 7, 2012).

How to Stage a Virtual Tour, (About.com, n.d.).

YouTube Video: Nikon D3s – House Walk Through, (Jared Polin, Apr. 17, 2010). 

Useful Websites

Imaging Resource—This comprehensive site features product reviews, comparison charts, news, and other key information about all aspects of digital cameras and photography. Find some excellent tutorials and tips under the menu options for "How To", "Better Pictures", and "Getting Started" at the top of the main page.

CNET Cameras—Product reviews and recommendations, comparisons, buyer's guides, how-to articles, and more from the electronics experts at CNET.

Digital Photography Review—Product reviews, discussion forums, sample images, glossaries, buyer's guides, comparison charts, tutorials, news, etc. The site even includes a fully linked timeline to digital cameras released since 1995.

Shortcourses—Online tutorials on various digital camera topics, with a glossary of terms and links to other digital camera websites. A valuable feature of the Shortcourses site is the collection of printable, portable guides to using specific Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Olympus digital camera models.

Fro Knows Photo – Professional photographer, Jared Polin, offers product reviews, discussion forums, advice, instructional videos, and photo critiques. A useful website for both beginner and advanced photographers.

Featured -- Each month the Photography For Real Estate community chooses the best real estate photo of the month. This page is a compilation of past winners.

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Digital Photography All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies® (Adobe eReader)

Digital Photography for Dummies® (Adobe eReader)

Digital Photography Just the Steps For Dummies® (Adobe eReader)

Digital Video Essentials (Adobe eReader)

Digital Video for Dummies® (Adobe eReader)

How to Do Everything: Digital Camera (Adobe eReader)

How to Do Everything with Online Video (Adobe eReader)

Marketing to the Social Web (Kindle, OverDrive, Adobe eReader)

Organize your digital life: How to store your photographs, music, videos, and personal documents in a digital world (Adobe eReader)

Video Marketing for Dummies (Kindle, OverDrive, Adobe eReader)

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Choosing & Using a Smartphone

Field Guide to Effective Online Marketing

Field Guide to Marketing Tips for REALTORS®

Field Guide to Preparing & Staging a House for Sale

Field Guide to Using Digital Video as a Marketing Tool

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.