Real estate photographers looking for the best photo gear know they need their equipment to be three things: portable, adaptable, and affordable. The reason why is shooting real estate photos can present unique challenges for you as a photographer and for your gear, including cramped locations, bad lighting, and meager client budgets.
You need to be able to get in, get out, and get paid so you can move on to the next real estate photography assignment. So, what’s the best gear for real estate photography? That, of course, depends on a lot of factors. But to help you make informed buying decisions for your real estate photography equipment, we’ve chosen five of our favorite pieces of gear for capturing houses, apartments, and buildings in their best light.
If you’re looking for the ideal camera, lens, tripod, lighting gear or a drone for real estate photography, chances are you’ll find something you need on our list. If you’re looking for more photo gear recommendations, check out our story on the best equipment for event photography here.
Camera: Sony Alpha a7 III
The Sony a7 III has been available for a few years and is likely due to be replaced very soon but all that means is you can get this high-quality camera for a great price right now. Indeed, this 24-megapixel, mirrorless model is currently selling for around $1800 at both B&H and Amazon, which is a bit of a steal. For real estate photography, we like how compact and portable the a7 III is while still providing crisp photos even in low light. And since it’s a full-frame camera, you’ll be able to enjoy the true, wide focal range of your zoom lenses to capture rooms and exteriors in their full glory. Sony’s tried-and-true five-axis image stabilization is also available on the a7 III for when you want to keep things steady and might not have a tripod handy. If you need to shoot some video for a real estate client, the A7 III can capture 4K at 30p, which is more than enough for a web listing. Other real estate-friendly features we like include the a7 III’s 3-inch folding rear screen, which will help you capture low or high angles, and the camera’s dual SD cards slots for backing up your real estate photos instantly, or for shooting images to one card and videos to another.
Also Good: Two other cameras we recommend for real estate photography are the 20MP Canon EOS R6 ($2499) and the 24.5MP Nikon Z6 II ($1996), two relatively lightweight full frame models that perform well in challenging lighting.
A Houston-based wedding photographer has suffered a huge setback to his career after thieves broke into his car and stole over $20,000 worth of camera equipment.
Photographer Gaurav Hariyani had just finished up a wedding photo shoot last Monday when he parked at a Costco and walked into a Buffalo Wild Wings to grab some food with friends. When he went back out to his car afterward, he found that someone had shattered his car windows and stolen all of his gear.
“When I came out to my car, I saw that my car window was shattered,” Hariyani writes. “The first thing that came to mind was my camera bag which I had a gut feeling that was gone.”
The photographer says he lost some brand-new equipment that he had worked hard and saved up for to invest in.
Lost were a Sony Alpha 1 full-frame mirrorless camera worth $6,500 (bought just three months ago), a $2,500 Sigma lens, a Canon 5D Mark IV worth about $2,700, and more.
“[The Sony Alpha 1] was my dream camera,” Hariyani continues. “I bought it after working for eight years as a photographer and videographer in the wedding industry.”
“It was definitely a heartbreaking moment for me,” Hariyani tells Click2Houston. “[…] I’ve been working for several years to get this basic equipment first and then I just invested a good amount of money with new equipment and now I see there is nothing for me.”
The photographer says that while he had some insurance that protected his property, he found that his policy didn’t cover this type of theft.
If you’re a photographer, make sure your insurance policy covers car break-ins, and always try to keep equipment and photos from shoots with you (though that brings on its own set of risks).
“If you are trying to go out or going to restaurants make sure you have your belongings with you, don’t keep it in your car,” Hariyani tells Click2Houston. “[…] It can happen anywhere.”
Read also: Steps You Can Take to Help Prevent Camera Theft
There’s a silver lining to this story, though: others are now rallying around Hariyani to help the photographer get back on his feet. After receiving local news coverage and starting a GoFundMe fundraising campaign, Hariyani has already received over $4,500 in donations to buy new camera equipment.
Traditional glass filters are useful tools for landscape photography, but you need to pack them carefully to avoid breaking or scratching them. Many of the filter cases I’ve tried before are heavy, bulky, and fairly expensive. Today, I’ll review the Filter Hive Mini from MindShift Gear, which aims to fix those issues.
These days – no judgment – a lot of landscape photographers don’t carry around big filter kits and prefer to replicate everything in post-production (except probably a polarizer). For my own photography, I admit that I’ve had a set of NDs and graduated filters for years but would often leave them behind and just bring a polarizer to the field instead. If that applies to you, you may not need a dedicated filter holding pouch like this.
However, as I mentioned recently, I’ve now switched most of my landscape photography kit over from digital to film. Filters matter a lot more in analog photography, especially when shooting slide film or black and white, and I’m currently carrying along a lot more filters than I used to. Plenty of digital photographers rely on extensive filter kits, too. In either case, it’s important to store your filters somewhere that’s lightweight, well-protected, and easy to access.
My previous solution was to use NiSi’s hard-shell storage case that I’ve had for years (shown below). And while this case is perfectly fine and does a good job protecting filters from being crushed, it’s heavier than I’d like and has scratched the edges of my softer resin filters over time. Also, the slots in the NiSi case are too small for a specialty “orange polarizer” filter that I’ve been using with film, since it’s thicker than a modern filter. I felt like I needed a different solution.
I didn’t directly seek out the MindShift Gear Filter Hive Mini, but it popped up as a “suggested accessory” while I was buying a separate filter. Since it looked well-made and was only $32, I decided to add it to my cart. It’s since become one of my most-used accessories.
Product Type: Filter holding pouch
Capacity: Four internal sections
Max Filter Size: 100x150mm
External Material: Nylon with water-repellant coating and polyurethane coating
Internal Material: Plush nylex lining
Dimensions (WxHxD): 18.5 x 11.5 x 4.0 centimeters / 7.3 x 4.5 x 1.6 inches
Weight: 97 grams / 3.4 ounces
Price: $32 at publication of this review
One of the main features of the MindShift Filter Hive Mini is that it’s much lighter than a hard-shell filter holding case at just 97 grams / 3.4 ounces (measured). It also takes up very little space in a bag because of how flat it folds.
Yet the pouch is still quite sturdy. The front and back “walls” of the Filter Hive Mini have a protective insert that makes the whole thing reasonably rigid – not 100% resistant to bending, but not bad. It’s solid enough that I don’t feel worried about my filters when I throw the Mini into my backpack, which is what I care about. Of course, photographers who need something fully crush-proof would be better off with a hard-shell case instead.
Upon opening the Filter Hive Mini, the first thing that stood out to me is that the internal dividers are as soft as a microfiber cloth (though not exactly the same material as one). Rather than scratching your filters, they’re more likely to clean them. And this held true in practice; none of my filters so far have gotten scratched in the Filter Hive Mini after several months of use.
Another feature to note is that the Filter Hive Mini’s four internal sections are color-coded with blue, green, red, and orange. This makes it easy to organize your filters so long as you remember to put them back into the same color-coded section each time.
There’s a larger version of the Filter Hive Mini which is simply called the Filter Hive, but it’s too big for my needs. It has six rectangular filter sections and six circular filter sections, but as you can see below, it’s not nearly as compact as the Mini. Although the larger capacity can be nice if you’re carrying a bigger filter system, I also wish that MindShift made a “medium” size that carried 6-7 filters but still folded small like the Mini.
A slightly hidden feature of the Filter Hive Mini is that there are small openings at the bottom of both sides. Your filters themselves are never exposed to the outside world (they’re held in place by a lining higher up), but this is an elegant solution to the problem of dirt and debris getting trapped in the filter holder over time. Even in sandy conditions, grit won’t collect in the pouch, because it falls out of the openings instead.
Other features of the Filter Hive Mini include the velcro flap attachment (no zippers that could scratch the filters) and a handle at the top if you want to attach the case to the outside of your bag. Lastly, the Filter Hive Mini is made of water resistant fabric, which isn’t really necessary for this type of product but I suppose is better than the alternative.
Overall, the Filter Hive Mini feels like it was designed, or at least refined, by working photographers. It’s not flashy, but it is extremely functional and gets out of your way while shooting. The build quality is excellent, and I’ve had no issues with fabric tearing or fraying so far. If the baseline specifications work for you – four 100x150mm filter holding sections and a semi-hard-shell protective lining – the Filter Hive Mini is hard to beat.
I enjoy it when I can review a piece of gear that isn’t hundreds or thousands of dollars but still makes our lives easier as photographers. And while not everyone these days shoots with a kit of traditional glass filters, those who do will find the MindShift Filter Hive Mini to be an excellent way to carry them. It’s a well-designed product that packs along easily and will protect your filters in everyday situations.
That said, I wouldn’t recommend it if you expect your filter kit to be subjected to big crushing forces (maybe falling off an airplane’s cargo ramp) or if you simply need to carry more than four rectangular filters. A hard-shell case has compromises of its own but does offer more extreme protection, whereas the bigger MindShift Hive has more than double the capacity of the Mini.
Otherwise, the Filter Hive Mini is an excellent product. I’ve personally been using it for the past few months and consider it one of my new favorite pieces of gear. The balance of weight, capacity, and protection are spot-on for my landscape photography needs, and I’d recommend it very highly to any photographer in a similar situation.
With the current supply chain issues, the MindShift Gear Filter Hive Mini may not be available at all retailers at the time I publish this review. However, it has been cycling in and out of stock at various stores in recent months, so I’ll put a link to several different places to buy it below. At the time of publication, the Filter Hive Mini costs $32 regardless of where you get it, and you should be able to find it in stock somewhere.
Today was yet another grey day. Not quite so bad as last week, when the rain set in almost as soon as we set off on the walk, and I got no usable photographs at all. I did do a little better this week.
I am still without my Olympus. I am told that it may take a month to repair. So, once again, I am using my Panasonic TZ70, which has made today a real getting to know my equipment day.
I am often quite curious as to why designers make the decisions they do, when the logic of the decision is not at all obvious. For instance, the TZ70 has a ‘Dynamic Monochrome’ mode, which I use for this project. If I use this mode, I have no control over when the flash will fire. I fancied trying daylight flash in the gloom, so tried to set the camera so the flash always fired. This would potentially have made some interesting shots with a highly illuminated foreground against a dark background. I would have thought such a shot was dynamic. But I am denied any such control. Why? The same mode also seems to accentuate the contrast. To get a decent monochrome from a lot of the images I took today, I would definitely need to go back to the raw file and do the conversion myself.
On the plus side, the TZ70 has a tiny sensor ( I believe the crop factor is over 5), which gives great depth of field, which is ideal for macro work. My lead image of a teasel head is a fine example of this.
Perhaps, not surprisingly, given the prevailing lighting conditions, all my successful shots today were made keeping the camera very close to the subject.
This next shot is of some late flowering dandelions. It is the kind of situation that interests me – the different shapes and textures in the undergrowth. Here, the nettles contrast nicely with the grass, while the dandelions themselves provide focus. For someone like me, who is interested in natural history, this is a picture of ecology in action, as the three plants fight it out, each having its own strategy for hogging the light, inhibiting other competing plants, and dealing with marauding herbivores. I have thought of making a false colour image, such as NASA images of a distant planet. I haven’t yet tried though.
This image is also all about differing textures. This field was just a mass of hawkweed (I think). Now late in the season, there are just a few flowers left among the grey feathery seed heads.
When I first set out, I intended to photograph fungi. But it wasn’t until nearly the end of the walk that I found any. I liked this one with a strong contrast in both lightness and texture to the surrounding ivy.
My final image if of an inkcap toadstool. Taking this picture made me really miss the fully articulated screen of my Olympus. Not being able (or willing) to lie down on the boggy ground, this image was made with quite a lot of guess work. This is also a nice illustration of the depth of field with the TZ70, sharpness extends for inches beyond the fungus.
Overall, I feel this has been my most successful foray yet.
This week joined by Mrs T I went in search of Dartmoors southernmost Tor which some say is Ugborough Beacon but Western Beacon is almost as high and is further south. A quick Google finds both Wikipedia and Tors of Dartmoor listing Western Beacon as the southernmost hill (Wiki) Tor (Tors of Dartmoor). Furthering the confusion is that in the Dartmoor 365 Book by John Hayward he states that Ugborough Beacon is the southernmost Tor and that Western Beacon isnt formally a Tor (but he does say that it is the southernmost hill) also in the Dartmoor Tors pocket guide by Janet and Ossie Palmer the Gazetteer of Dartmoor Tors only lists Ugborough Beacon. ??
Our walk started below Western Beacon but I had seen a disused Quarry marked on the map so we went to have a look at that before setting off up Western Beacon. It turned out to be a lot less of a Quarry than I had expected.
On the way to the Quarry we passed what appeared to be an old bridge long since disused/derelicted. Had we not got a long hike ahead of us I would have liked to go down to explore it but it will have to wait for another visit.
We had more pressing matters (the beacons) so we went back to the Moor Gate and headed up Western Beacon.
On the way up the first slopes we could see the rather quaint looking Mooraven Village.
Western Beacon itself has been quarried but that isnt evident from the map.
It also has a rather odd group of rock piles on the Cairn.
Once over Western Beacon we headed for Butterdon Hill which is also further south than Ugborough Beacon and is also known as Black Tor by some.
The Stone Row points the way which takes you past the Longstone beside Black Pool (not the seaside town). This view looking back towards Western Beacon.
On Butterdon Hill there is a Trig Point and from that point we could see across to Ugborough Beacon.
But sadly looking to the West we could also see the scar of the Clayworks at Lee Mill.
From here we could see Hangershell Rock, this was not on the original route plan but we decided to go over and have a look.
Once at the Hangershell Rocks we took time out to have lunch in the lee of the rocks.
From our lunch spot we could see across to Tristis Rock which is on my list of sites to visit but not for this trip, it sits on the opposite bank of the River Erme and needs to be approached from that side. Another day.
As we moved away towards Ugborough Beacon looking back we could see all the way to Plymouth Sound.
We made our way towards Ugborough Beacon.
Passing Main Head which is the start of the spring/stream.
Ugborough Beacon isnt the biggest Tor I have visited but it does have some interesting rock formations.
And some nice views.
I spotted a Kestrel out looking for lunch, I managed to get a shot but I really dont have the right kit for these kinds of shots (Im a landscaper not a wildlifer).
Anyway, it was now time to head off back to the car.
On the way back we saw some curious things, this water hole seemed to be a natural drain for the rainwater into the stream below.
We also passed this derelict building, not sure what it used to be though.
Finally we got back to the Moor Gate and the car.
We did see some Ponies on this trip though.
Thats all for this week folks. As always, comments welcome.
New Swedish company CRDBAG has set out to create better storage solutions for photographers and videographers. Its system is based on a set of durable bags that can eventually be laid out on a studio wall for easy access.
The company has started with two products available in multiple sizes: the CRDPOUCH and CRDWALL.
The CRDBAG lineup seems to combine tactical features with the world of high-end outdoor equipment and the company says it set out to create the ultimate tool for sub-packing and storing camera equipment for filmmakers and photographers. Taking a page from the cable management bags from Think Tank and ramping it up a notch, the CRDPOUCH system is designed to be tagged and labeled for easy identification of all the items and grip in a photographer’s kit.
The system is quite the departure from either open-shelf storage when at home or velcro dividers inside of bags when taking equipment on the road.
The CRDPOUCH bags are closed by a weather-resistant YKK zipper and are made with Cordura — which is a very durable material — and integrate a semi-transparent panel in the front to make visual identification of what is inside in the bags easy (if the label isn’t enough).
The system is currently available in four sizes ranging from the 10x23x0.5 centimeter small pouches capable of storing a portable hard drive or some batteries, to the 25x43x0.5 centimeter extra-large pouches that are capable of storing a gaff kit and or smaller drones and accessories. The entire lineup of pouches is only 0.5 centimeters (0.2 inches) thick making them ideal for storing in a pelican case, rolling bags, or even backpacks.
The inside of the bags features small zipped organizer pockets that the company sees as useful for smaller loose items like batteries and memory cards, while the exterior features small pockets made especially for Apple AirTags or similar tracking products such as a Tile, and a “tactical hook” designed for hanging the pouches in a variety of ways, including connecting them to the upcoming CRDWALL which the company plans to launch towards the end of 2021.
The CRDWALL is a wall-mounted modular system meant to hang the CRDPOUCH bags for easy access. The setup is made up of two bars and eight hooks on each that have a crisscrossed cord that runs between them to attach the pouches and other gear too. The design of the system is certainly unique, and while aesthetically it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, there is definitely something intriguing about a studio setup that allows easy access to the various items a photographer might need, all at arms length.
The CRDPOUCH from CRDBAG is available in four different kits ranging from $108 for a four-pack of Small bags to $149 for a four-pack of Extra Large bags. The CRDWALL will be available near the end of the year and is expected to cost around $200. Full details on the CRDBAG system cam be found on the company’s website.
I think I’ve found my calling! Well, at least for this particular time in my life. In the last few months I’ve been engaged in flower photography and loving it. Who would have thought. Here’s just one of my images for you to enjoy.
There is a strange phenomenon when Sue and I go on holiday. All roads lead upwards. How it is that we can choose routes that we have to walk up and then find we’re still walking upwards on the way back is one of those mysteries of the universe….well the ideal place to suffer from this is Cragside. Take two thoroughly unfit photographers (I blame Covid19 restrictions) and place them in an environment chosen for its suitability for hydro-electric power then it’s a perfect result, I won’t say exactly wheezing and gasping up the hills, but it was hard work. Now we’re back and hills don’t seem to exist around here, so I assume we are now toned and fit.
So, a few pictures from the outside areas of Cragside, a huge estate, and actually it’s a pretty good day out.
Fujifilm’s new smartphone-friendly Instax printer—the Instax Link Wide—has officially landed. As the name suggests, it makes use of the brand’s largest format instant film, Instax Wide, and is the first Fujifilm printer to do so. It’s designed to be complementary to 2019’s Instax Mini Link, and so many of the specs are the same, just bigger.
Instax Link Wide Key Features
The Instax Link Wide smartphone printer makes prints in approximately 12 seconds and can generate about 100 prints per charge. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and within its dedicated “Instax Link Wide” app, you can choose a variety of printing options. Options include access to editing tools and 30 different filters. You can also use the app to choose and print still frames from a video and/or add text or a QR code to an image.
Additionally, it allows users to choose between two printing modes: “Instax Rich,” which boosts deep, warm colors, or “Instax Natural,” which emphasizes the image’s natural tones.
Although it’s bigger than the original Instax Mini Link, it’s still compact and lightweight enough to make it easy to travel with. At 5.5 inches by 5 inches by 1.3 inches, the printer it’s only slightly larger than a portable hard drive and comes with a convenient stand for your desk.
Prior to launch, we got our hands on an Instax Link Wide and so far we’re impressed. The “Instax Rich” printing mode makes the colors on the final prints pop considerably. And the ability to print larger (than Instax Mini) gives users more flexibility when collaging images together or adding text elements (see below).
The premade editable templates within the app make it easy to create elegant-looking prints that could easily double as thank you cards, wedding announcements or holiday cards. And if you are design-savvy, you can import your own text elements. Although the collage modes and ability to add text to the images is fun, where the Instax Link Wide really shines is in simple print mode.
In terms of operation, the Instax Link Wide is incredibly easy to use. You load the film in through the back of the printer, charge via USB and press the large button on the top of the printer to turn it on. Everything else is done through the app which has intuitive edit modes and shows you how many pieces of film are left in the printer, as well as how much battery is left.
Within the app’s menus, you will also find options for selecting print modes and Bluetooth settings. There’s also the option to create and print QR codes onto your images. These can link to a Website, location tag or audio recording.
Instax Wide cost per print
Expect to pay about $1 per print with the Instax Link Wide printer. Color film packs contain ten shots and film tends to be sold in a 2-pack (20 shots) for $20. However, there are deals to be had on bulk pack purchases. Black-and-white Instax Wide tends to be a bit pricier at $15 for a single pack (10 shots).
Instax Link Wide price and availability
There’s a lot to love about the Instax Link Wide and we suspect this smartphone printer will be highly sought after this holiday season. It comes in Ash White or Mocha Grey and will be available by the end of the month for $149.95.
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