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Field Guide to Digital Cameras & Photography

(Updated July 2013)

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 2012 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)

REALTORS®' Use of Digital Cameras

  • 51% of REALTORS® websites feature virtual tours.
  • 78% of homebuyers find virtual tours to be very or somewhat useful.
  • 94% of all REALTORS® use a digital camera.

Frequency of use of digital cameras:

Daily . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30%
A few times per week . . . . 22%
A few times per month . . . 30%
A few times per year . . . . . 11%
Rarely or never. . . . . . . . . . 6%

Sources: 2013 NAR Member Profile, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2013) & 2012 NAR Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2012).

Choosing a Camera

Buyer's Guide: 2013 Digital Cameras, (REALTOR® Magazine, Apr. 2013).

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

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

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

DSLR Buying Guide - Basic Tips, (FroKnowsPhoto.com, Apr. 9, 2010).

How-To Tips: Taking Photos, Storage & Printing

Photographing Real Estate Tips, (FroKnowsPhoto.com, Apr. 16, 2010).

6 home-photo tips to draw buyers, (The Wall Street Journal, n.d.).

Real estate photography, (Digicamhelp, 2010).

Take better photos of homes, (Squidoo.com, 2010).

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

The best camera phones, (Squidoo.com, n.d.).

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

The best shot: A photography lesson for home sellers, (msn.com, n.d.).

Sell your home with the right images, (Realty Times, Jan. 13, 2012).

Sell Your Home Now With These Tips, (Realty Times, Apr. 15, 2011).

Making Your Home Picture Perfect, (Realty Times, Jan. 28, 2011).

Virtual Tours

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

Prepare your home for a virtual tour, (REALTOR® Magazine Online, 2012).

Nikon D3s Video – House Walk Through, (FroKnowsPhoto.com, Apr. 17, 2010). 

Browsing for housing requires on-line, off-line smarts, (Realty Times, Mar. 18, 2010).

Video primer, (CIRE Magazine, Jan. 1, 2010).

Video: the real estate game-changer, (InmanNews, Dec.  7, 2009).

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 Digital Photography & Video—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.

Digital Web Magazine—Online magazine for graphics professionals. Includes tutorials on digital photography and using digital images (especially for advanced users, but some may be useful for beginners), product reviews, etc.

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.

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: Digitial Camera (Adobe eReader)

How to Do Everything with Online Video (Adobe eReader)

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