The advantages of a twilight shoot when selling real estate


When it comes to marketing a home for sale, the photography is of utmost importance, and can have a significant impact upon the sale price and the time on market. As an article in Forbes magazine put it:

Imagine the photo shoots retailers and catalog companies do to showcase their products. Would they release a catalog with photos of stained living room furniture or with improper lighting? Of course not — and neither should a seller. A home is a product for sale, just like any other, and should be marketed as such.

However, is it better to book a twilight shoot or a daytime shoot?

Here’s a comparison for you to compare. Now obviously every home will be different, but in this example we have a daytime photo of the exterior of this home:


… and here is a twilight photo of the same property:


As you can see, the daytime photo is very good, but the twilight photo, with its strong colors and great lighting, is going to stand out a whole lot more when competing against other homes in the same area.

So which is better – daytime or twilight? Photographer Angela Giles from Victor Harbor said:

Twilight shoots can be appealing for marketing campaigns. but daytime shoots can really bring out the warmth of the home.

A daytime shoot can work very well on a bright, sunny day, especially homes with ocean views or strong exterior colors that look great when the sun is hitting them (just be sure to book the shoot for the right time of day!).



However, most homes can benefit from a twilight real estate photo shoot. The glow of the lights inside the home, the absence of shadows from the sun, and of course a stunning sunset all combine to create a visually appealing image. As Sunshine Coast real estate photographer Jon May put it:

With the warm interior lights contrasting against the cool blues of the evening sky, a twilight photo resonates with our primordial need for shelter & protection.

Twilight shoots can also make a property stand out amongst all of the other properties for sale in their area, especially in places where daytime shoots are the norm. As Kalgoorlie real estate photographer Shane Cullen said:

For me twilights stand out so much more when buyers are looking for a property. If you are searching through 100’s of listings and see one all lit up and with a beautiful sunset behind it you are more likely to click on it and view the property. For me it is in the top 3 tips for marketing a property.

A real estate photographer in Ohio, Sandy Rybka, agrees:

A twilight image of a home can really help viewers take that second look to see more of a home inside as well. If the outside is more appealing then they will have more curiosity to look at the other parts of the home.

So twilight shoots add to the appeal and beauty of a home, and perhaps that has something to do with them looking a little different. We don’t often see a home all lit up like that just after sunset, and when you add in one of nature’s true wonders – a beautiful sunset – then we find that hard to resist. Johanna Zolg, a real estate photographer in Warwick, Queensland, said:

Sunsets are also very appealing to a lot of people, it is one of the most featured photograph from any range of photographer. Sunsets have something calm and relaxing about them.


Are there times when a twilight shoot is not appropriate?

As I mentioned earlier a home with an ocean view may be better off being photographed during the day to ensure plenty of sunlight is hitting the water, and also if a home has no front windows then a twilight shot may not be appropriate because you won’t have the glowing lights (unless there is a good number of exterior lights).

So just about any home will look better at twilight than it will during the day, and they will stand out in any marketing campaign, adding that extra level of glamour that can take a home from ordinary to extraordinary!

But do twilight shoots really help to sell a home?

A real estate agency in Sydney decided to test the difference between daytime professional photography and evening professional photography, and here’s what they found:

“This house was track­ing at about 1,000 views in one week with about 10 call-ins. Then we changed the photo the next week (noth­ing else) to a twi­light shot. Guess what? Where views nor­mally drop off (because it is con­sidered a stale list­ing after 1 week), they picked up by approx­im­ately 50% to 1,500 views and 15 call-ins in a week when inquir­ies tra­di­tion­ally drops off.”

So that’s 50% more people who viewed the property, and 50% more people who contacted the selling agent to find out more about it. If you’re not sure, feel free to test this yourself and compare how well a daytime photo shoot compares with the twilight photos, and see if you notice a difference. I would think that, on average, you will see a better result when using twilight photography for most homes.

What about photography prices for a twilight shoot?

A lot of professional real estate photographers will have higher fees for their twilight shoots. Due to obvious time restrictions, a photographer can only deliver one twilight shoot per day. Some people ask their real estate photography if they have other jobs to attend to after completing an evening shoot, but in most situations that just isn’t possible. Once it gets dark (about 30 minutes after the sun goes down), then that’s about it for the day as it just gets too dark to adequately photograph a property. This restriction on the number of shoots, and their high demand, leads to a premium price being introduced by most experienced photographers.

Frequently asked questions about twilight shoots:

Do twilight shoots help homes that have no curb appeal?

Yes, I think they can work really well in that situation, because they get the most out of what you’ve got. When you add in the glow of the interior lights, some nice exterior lighting, and an amazing sunset full of color and vibrance, well it’s going to work well in most situations.

Why do photographers take the exterior shots so early?

When you are looking at a home with your eyes, they can look better later in the evening, some times very late. However, a camera does not have the same range to adapt to bright and dark areas, and so when photographing a home it is better to do it earlier (often 10 to 20 minutes after sunset) rather than later so that the contrast between the bright lights and the exterior of the home is not too much. If you’ve ever seen a photo of a house when inside looks super bright, like some kind of explosion is going on, and outside is really dark and it’s hard to really see anything, then you know what I mean.

An experienced real estate photographer will know just the right time to shoot a property, given the sunset time, the direction the property faces, and the amount of lighting inside and outside a home.

The Benefits of Professional Real Estate Photography

The Benefits of Professional Real Estate Photography

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That first visual impression of a home for sale is essential to driving and maintaining interest in a property. In today’s market, buyers have very high visual expectations, short attention spans, and they require clear information instantly. Prospective buyers have an abundance of resources and before they are willing to schedule an appointment to see a property, they prefer to view the property online. The only way to entice them into looking further at a property is with professional photography.

Before you can sell a property, you have to get potential buyers visiting the property. According to Digital House Hunt, a joint report between the National Association of Realtors Research and Google, the future of the real estate market is marketing to home shoppers online. The report states that 90% of homebuyers searched online during their home-buying process. Additionally, it states that 28% of new-home shoppers used their mobile devices. These statistics enforce our belief that in order to represent the property the best way possible is with professional photography.

Professional photography isn’t simply using an expensive camera; you have to know how to use that camera and have skill in capturing the property at its best. A real estate photographer also doubles as a “visual stager” – they take the time to look at the space and take an image that showcases each room in the ideal way, even if the rooms are empty.

Shopping for a home online is stressful; the buyer is making snap judgments from the brief impression they had from looking through photos at hyper speed. How are you going to capture their attention, let alone actually get them to look past that first exterior photo of the home? Quality real estate photography helps to determine the next step in selling a home: getting the buyer to see the house in person.

Does a Real Estate agent sell more with profesional Real Estate photography?


1. How many buyers searched the Internet for a home?

In 2006, 80% of home buyers searched the Internet when looking for a home. Four years later, in 2010, the percentage of home buyers that searched the Internet when looking for a home jumped to 89%. Consumers are purchasing and becoming competent with more technology devices such as laptops, iPods, iPads, tablets and smart phones. These consumers are home buyers, and they want to shop online. Their trend is showing us that they recognize how useful technology is and therefore they are going to be better at noticing professional versus point-and-shoot photos.

With all of the competition on the market, it is important to have professional photos because they are your first, and maybe only impression, to the majority of buyers who are searching for homes on the Internet.

1 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

2. How many more clicks do professional photos receive?

Using professional photos can draw more attention to your listings and result in more clicks by potential buyers. Papilios Real Estate Photography examined listings that used their photos and compared the click rates to listings both in the same MLS area and Zip Code. They found listings that utilized professional photos generated an average 139% increase in clicks compared to similar listings.

Although more clicks do not guarantee a sale, it does mean more potential buyers are viewing your listing. Reaching more buyers with your listing betters your chance of finding the right buyer.

3. What percentage of homes sold were sold with photos from a professional camera vs point-and-shoot?

The Wall Street Journal published a graph to show that in the majority of price brackets, more homes sold that had photos from a professional camera compared to photos taken with a point-and-shoot. A professional camera can affect how a buyer looks at a listing and the benefits can be seen starting in the $300K price point. This data was obtained in bulk and therefore the image data was examined to see if a professional camera was utilized to take the photo. No consideration was taken to determine if a professional photographer was controlling the camera. Most likely if the data represented photos taken by a professional photographer, not just an image taken with a professional camera, the benefits would be even greater.

4. What percentage of active listings use professional photos?

Unique Exposure Photography researched local MLS listings for Dallas, TX and Fort Worth, TX and made note of listings utilizing professional photos and listings that were represented with point-and-shoot photos. Overall, Dallas, TX is more progressive and about half of the local listings are marketed with professional photos. Around 32% of Fort Worth, TX listings are marketed with professional photos. As expected, the higher the listing price, the more likely professional photos are utilized.

If you are listing a home in a higher price bracket, you need to use professional photos to match the rest of your competition. If you are listing in a price bracket with little professional photography being used, take advantage and stick out from the competition by embracing professional photography.

5. Make professional photography part of your brand.

As a realtor, you may have to compete with your peers to obtain listings. Professional photography is a great way of improving your marketing portfolio when meeting with potential sellers. If a seller has to choose between a realtor that uses professional photography versus a realtor that uses a point-and-shoot, they are more likely to go with the realtor that uses professional photography. Their home is a big investment and they want it marketed to the best of your ability. Using professional photography, you are solidifying your marketing and showing the seller you mean business.

A lot of real estate business comes from referrals so it is important you give your clients something to talk to their friends and family about. Show your clients you operate professionally and they will bring you more business.

6. Save time and stress, have a professional photographer handle the photos.

Taking photos takes time. As a realtor, you have to drive to the property and go room by room snapping photos. But your work does not stop there. Once you get back to the office you have to pull the images off your camera and place them onto your computer before you can upload them to the MLS. It is easy to get stressed when something goes wrong with your computer and your photos do not download correctly. If you happened to take a blurry photo, you have to decide to discard it or go back to the property to retake the shot. Otherwise you risk posting a photo to the MLS that does not meet your standard of quality and you end up advertising your brand in a poor manner when potential clients view your listing online.

A professional photographer will not only take the photos, but they will re-size them and send them to you over email or through their website. All you need to do is download the image files and upload to the MLS. Interested in a Virtual Tour? Your professional photographer should provide that for you. They also can probably link the Virtual Tour to sites for you.

Some shots also benefit from tools that real estate photographers carry with them, such as poles for extending the height of their camera. There might be a slope in the back yard so when you take a photo of the pool, all you see is landscaping. A professional real estate photographer will utilize a pole to put the camera 12+ feet into the air to capture the best angle possible.

7. A professional real estate photographer might be your best all-around marketing teammate.

Ask your real estate photographer if they can help in other areas of marketing so you get the best exposure possible for your listing. Ask if they can help you print brochures or fliers. Having them design and print marketing materials gives you a unique product to represent your listing, allows you to spend your time on something more important and guarantees the photos you paid for are going to be crystal clear on your print materials. Have you ever used a two-sided brochure where one side is a full 8.5” x 11” photo of the property and the other side has smaller photos plus supporting features? Wow your clients – ask your photographer to design your print material.

It is important sellers know you use a professional photographer. Ask them to give you brochures that showcase their work and show examples of their photos. Include a brochure in your marketing materials and leave it with the buyer so they can see the excellent product you are about to deliver if they choose you as their realtor.

Have an outdated headshot? Ask your professional real estate photographer to take a headshot and represent yourself online with a strong, professional photo.

Think outside the box and take your business to the next level. Ask your photographer if they shoot video. 73% of homeowners say they are more likely to list with a realtor offering to do video, yet only 12% of the real estate industry currently have YouTube accounts. Video is very powerful and can act as the first walk-through for a buyer. If they call to view the property, you know they are serious and interested in the property. Quality buyers matter!

8. How do you choose a professional real estate photographer?

  • Examine what they offer. Ask them if they are willing to work with you to create additional marketing materials.
  • Develop a relationship. If your photographer is shooting home after home and doesn’t have time to talk, they are more interested in getting paid. Find a photographer that wants to improve your business and is willing to listen to your ideas.
  • Look at their portfolio online and make sure you like the work they have posted.
  • Ask them what they wear. Your photographer is an extension of you and your business and they will be representing you at the property. If the seller is present, make sure your photographer dresses appropriately.
  • Find out if your photographer does anything to help out the community.
  • Decide what is more important to you. Cheaper up-front cost with inconsistent results, or a little more money up front with consistent, personal service and ultimately a better valued product.

What to avoid when choosing a professional real estate photographer:

  • Inconsistent results. Choosing a big photography company will most likely save you money, but you will not know who is shooting your properties and the results will not be consistent.
  • Distorted architectural features. Homes are built with vertical walls. If wall joints and ceiling joints are curved, the photographer is using a wide-angle lens incorrectly. Make sure all horizontal and vertical lines are straight.
  • Poor compositions. If the photographer is in a hurry, they will make poor composition choices. Your photo should not be of the back of a sofa. Your photographer should take enough time to examine the space and find the best compositions. Using composition correctly, a photographer can omit items from the home such as a dog kennel.
  • Fake “painting” photos. HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a process used to merge multiple photos together to create a great exposure. Although this process can be done correctly, many real estate photographers end up with a product that looks painted and fake. If their photos look painted, cartoon-like or “too good to be true”, you will want to avoid that photographer so buyers are not greeted by a home that does not appear to be like the photos they saw online.


Why should you hire a Real Estate Photographer

Real Estate Photography


1. Buyers are searching the Internet for their next home.

Home buyers are consumers that are increasingly competent with more technology devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones; This is where they want to shop, and how they prefer to search for homes. This trend shows that buyers recognize the usefulness of technology, and will notice professional photos versus point-and-shoot or cell phone pictures.

2. Professional photos get more clicks.

Having eye-catching professional photos will draw more attention to your listings, and as a result, will bring more clicks by potential home buyers. While more clicks don’t guarantee a sale, they do mean more potential buyers are looking at your listing. By reaching out to more buyers, your listing stands a better chance of finding the right buyer.

3. Having a professional take care of the photos saves you time, and stress.

Photographing a listing takes time. First you will drive to the property and go room by room taking photos, then when you get back to the office you have to take the pictures off of your camera (or phone!) and put them into your computer to be uploaded to the MLS. Often something can go wrong with the computer, or the device, and photos might not download correctly. If you realize some of the photos didn’t turn out, you have to go back and re-take the shot. If not, you stand the chance of posting a photo that advertises the listing – and your brand – badly when being viewed online.

A professional Real Estate Photographer on the other hand will take the photos, edit them to reflect the actual look and feel of the home (regardless of lighting challenges), resize them to ideal dimensions for MLS, and deliver them directly to you electronically, ready to be uploaded and marketed. They can also provide you with a virtual tour, and link it to syndicated sites for you.