G’day I’m Jade! Since last count I have photographed over 8200 properties!Based in Sydney, Australia I fell into architectural/property photography about 9 years ago, just after completing my Diploma in Photography. Since then I haven’t looked back.
I get to see some of Australia’s most exclusive properties and also the worst! I have photographed everything from a $40M Point Piper Estate all the way through to a $100K garage in North Sydney (and everything in between).
Whilst it’s not just the LUX properties that are well remembered it’s also the derelict ones, these have a rich history and that gets me excited! It’s now a rare opportunity to photograph these beauties… some are like an untouched time capsule!
Now for the tools…
Nikon D810 – great camera for real estate photography (see guide)
Nikon F100 (35mm Film/ where it all started!)
Nikon 16-35mm f/4
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8
Manfrotto 055/3-way head
Godox AD200 (packs a real punch)
Godox X1 Triggers
CF Cards/ 16GB
LaCie Porsche hard drives (2TB x2)
iMac 27inch (powerhouse machine)
MacBook Pro 15Inch (whilst on the road)
Transcend Card reader
Reliable daily ride
Epic tunes (boot subwoofer a must)
Sunnies (a lot of time is spent outdoors/ have to protect those valuable assets!!)
Boots (for quick doff/don and for those loved properties a bit rough around the edges)
Without a doubt, the most important tools that get used and abused are my Nikon 16-35mm f/4 & Manfrotto 055/3-way head. Whilst the Nikon 16-35mm is only an f/4 lens I am not limited by this when combined with its pal the Manfrotto. The Nikon 16-35mm provides a perfect focal length with almost no distortion!
Manfrotto 055/3-way head is a rigid, solid and heavy tripod which is a must in this industry. Whilst not ideal (working to tight campaign deadlines), we work rain hail or shine, and often battle some crazy winds. I need to know my camera isn’t going to move a millimetre when up against the elements. As I work with multi-layer exposures any tripod movement poses a huge headache!
Second to these tools is my Godox AD200. This unassuming flash packs a real punch. It’s vital to provide a nice balance of fill light and natural light when photographing internals. It can become quite difficult with strong directional light and large rooms, this is where the Godox AD200 takes a bow. The Lithium-ion battery lasts days of endless high-power pops, which is leaps ahead of the standard on shoe Speedlight (Nikon SB-5000 being my backup).
The Nikon D810 is a bulletproof camera, it has survived a number of drops and still kicks over no problems! I admit the RAW file sizes are on the higher end (approx. 50mb) and now set RAW to small (pumps out 30mb per image). It’s much easier to manage when uploading to FTP servers and more importantly makes the retouchers’ job much smoother when layering multiple exposures.
Honourable mention to the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, this is a favourite for editorial shots. It’s sharp and easy to handle. I find myself grabbing this lens more often in the last year with realtor’s keen (and daring) to showcase their properties in an editorial manor and leaving aside the “large spaces sell” kind of mentality.
Good quality gear makes the job easier but I want to highlight it’s not what’s in the bag that makes you a good architectural/property photographer, it’s a great eye, patience and good communication skills. We work with so many people onsite… real estate agents (see: how much does a real estate photographer make), vendors, interior stylists… sometimes that’s a lot of chefs in one kitchen. The most successful photographers are the ones that can take these 3 visions and frame the perfect happy medium! We are all working towards one goal, it’s very much a team effort!