Real Estate Photography – Trends in 2022

Oliver M. Zielinski Oliver M. Zielinski - 7. März 2022 - in: English

I did a little research to find out what are the real estate photography trends in 2022.

Of course, it helps a lot that through my workshops I am in close contact with real estate professionals from all over Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other neighboring countries and I keep hearing about their insights, opinions and entrepreneurial solutions.

It also makes sense to look around the American market. Because in the past 10 years, many of the visual trends established there have also caught on here with varying degrees of delay: virtual tours, video, drone flights, photographic techniques, photographic equipment, etc.

Here is a small selection that mainly deals with equipment, techniques, costs, marketing and a little bit of economy.


Possible Trends in 2022 and their Impact on Real Estate Photography

Full frame instead of APS-C

Full frame instead of APS-CBrokers who bought their photo equipment more than seven years ago are increasingly looking for a camera and lens upgrade. Because technical development has now progressed so far, the equipment needs to be refreshed. Because the images are sharper and more brilliant. One of the trends in 2022 points clearly in the direction of so-called full-frame cameras, which have a large image sensor. This allows images with less image noise and more detail in the brightest and darkest regions of the image. More and more participants take part in my workshops with such an upper middle class camera.

Mirrorless instead of DSLR

Mirrorless instead of DSLRWhereas cameras in this class used to be heavy DSLRs, they are now available as mirrorless system cameras with a very convenient form factor. The big manufacturers set the entry barriers  lower, but also ask for more money. However, the additional expense for the increase in quality is justified. But (almost) nothing changes in the photographic principles, the basic settings and the recording techniques. There has been an increase of system cameras in my workshops, especially since there are also cheaper models with excellent quality in this camera class. Since recently I carry such a camera with me to my workshops as a demo device and have now also noted it in my recommendations for basic equipment for real estate professionals.

More photos per listing

The pandemic and the associated restrictions have prompted many brokers to put more photos in their listings, probably with the thought in mind that this could replace some viewing appointments.

But psychological barriers are not so easy to open: it is still the case that after 25 photos in one listing, attention dwindles and initial interest even turns into rejection. Especially I like to doubt that only the best photos were actually used in each of these offers. My annual examination of real estate photos on online portals confirms this.

Prices for real estate photos are rising

US analyzes show that as costs increase in general, so do the prices for real estate photos. Cumulative inflation in Germany over the past seven years has been over 12 percent (2016: 0.5%, 2017: 1.5%, 2018: 1.8%; 2019: 1.4%; 2020: 0.5% ; 2021: 3.1%, 2022: 3.0%). At the same time, the first steps are currently being taken to raise the extremely low level of interest rates. So it is not surprising that service prices are also rising.

Prices for real estate photos, on the other hand, had fallen slightly over the same period. Professional real estate photographers have turned their backs on the market because they no longer want to be exposed to price dumping by photographic career changers and the real estate industry’s lack of (photo) quality awareness. What remains are a few really professional providers who point with consistently excellent quality – which, however, is not available at a discount rate.

Small consolation: At the same time, however, real estate prices and, hopefully, brokers‘ revenues have risen, so that investing in better photos should seem more bearable.

Virtual tours, videos and other ingredients

While they are experiencing a little hype in this country, the number of virtual tours across the pond is already decreasing again. This is justified with the decrease of the pandemic and regained freedom for viewing appointments. In addition, the knowledge has prevailed that „clicky-looky“ is not everyone’s mentality. That’s why many brokers are once again taking a multi-pronged approach in favor of photos and videos.

Real estate video is enjoying a true renaissance. Better mobile technology and powerful software allow for more impressive videos than was possible a few years ago with a comparable effort. Many photo professionals can provide this service because they have a considerable lead in terms of technology and know-how.

Both forms of interactive display had gained ground in the past. In the meantime, both have reached about the same price level, since a well-made interactive tour and a good real estate video require about the same costs and investments as well as time and production efforts.

Classic slide shows, on the other hand, in which individual photos are displayed one after the other, are practically dead. Special effects such as crossfades and Ken Burns animations don’t help either.

Floor plans are being shown less and less in online listings.

Special techniques when taking interior photos

The so-called flambient technique, in which several shots are taken with different light sources (flash & ambient) to be subsequently assembled in the software, is becoming increasingly popular among professional photographers. This allows strong differences in brightness between inside and outside to be evened out even better.

The classic HDR series, which are also part of my workshops, is still popular because it is quite easy to use.

Macro-Economic Factors for trends in 2022

However, even if the demand is there, implementation is made more difficult. In a listing, for example on real estate portals, longer standing times for properties for sale are to be expected. There are three reasons for this, which one of my German workshop participants recently analyzed, independently of the American market:

  • High prices due to strong demand generally lead to reluctance to buy.
  • Supply chain issues for renovation and construction materials are a deterrent to prospective buyers.  The majority of properties are re-modeled prior to occupancy.
  • Expected interest rate increases will make real estate more expensive.

Trends in 2022 – the conclusion

Product quality will become even more important in visual marketing in the not too distant future. This can often be observed in the high-tier sector. These trends will also prevail in other areas of real estate trade in 2022. This applies to both classic real estate photography and the various additional visual services for real estate marketing.

Due to rising prices and fewer prospective buyers, sellers think very carefully about who they let market their house. In conclusion: the best marketer is awarded the contract.

Good presentation is therefore becoming increasingly important.

This trend, fueled by inflation and the pandemic, is likely to continue beyond 2022. However, this may also cause more properties to show up onto the market. More owners need the capital for other porposes.