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(Updated February 2015)

Did you know that 87% 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 2015 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)

E - EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page.


REALTORS®' Use of ​Digital Cameras

  • 48% of REALTORS® websites feature virtual tours.
  • 77% of homebuyers find virtual tours to be very or somewhat useful.
  • 87% of all REALTORS® use a digital camera.

Frequency of use of digital cameras:

Daily . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28%
A few times per week . . . . 23%
A few times per month . . . 26%
A few times per year . . . . . 12%
Rarely or never. . . . . . . . . . 12%

Sources: 2015 National Association of REALTORS® Member Profile, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2015) 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2015).

Choosing a​ Camera

Product Guide: Cameras and Video, (REALTOR® Magazine, n.d.).

The Ten Best Digital Cameras, (PC Magazine, Jan. 19, 2016).

Best Camera 2016: What Camera Type Should You Buy?, (TechRadar, Jan. 19, 2016).

Best Camera 2015: We Help You Choose the Right Camera, (TechRadar, Oct. 31, 2014).

How to Choose a Digital Camera, (Wake Forest University, n.d.). 

How-To Tips: S​hooting, Editing, & Storing Digital Photographs

Polaroid Returns With a Modern Take on Instant Photography, (REALTOR® Magazine, Jan. 9, 2015).

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).

Taking Real Estate Photography to a Whole New Level, (REALTOR® Magazine, July 31, 2014). 

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

Capture Your Listings in Their Best Light, (REALTOR® Magazine, Nov. 12, 2011).

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 phones of 2016, (CNET, Jan. 25, 2016).

Best Smartphone Cameras 2016, (Tom's Guide, May 29, 2015).

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, (MacRumors, Jan. 14, 2015).

Apple iPhone 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy S5 Photo Shootout: Why Megapixels Mean Nothing, (The Wall Street Journal, Sep. 16, 2014).

Souped-Up Smartphones, (REALTOR® Magazine, May 2014).

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

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

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

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

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

Marketing Your Listings With Digital Images

Real estate photography is turning a new page, (news.com.au, Aug, 22, 2014). 

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).

Virtual Tours

9 Steps to Video Marketing Success, (REALTOR® Magazine, Dec. 2014).

How to Make Video Work for Your Budget, (REALTOR® Magazine, Nov. 2014).

3-D Listings From Every Angle, (REALTOR® Magazine, Sept. 2014).

Virtual Tours Are a Slam Dunk for Your Site, (REALTOR® Magazine, Sept. 17, 2014).

Virtual Tours Go 3-D With Matterport, (REALTOR® Magazine, Aug. 26, 2014).

What Makes a Virtual Tour a Virtual Tour?, (RISMedia, Feb 2, 2011). 

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.).

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:

How to Do Everything with Your iPhone®, (Adobe eReader)

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Digital Video, (EPub, Adobe eReader)

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

Information Services Blog

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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.