In real estate photography, many professional photographers swear by the lenses they use, more so than the cameras, tripods, and lighting gear that are also key tools of the trade. Among the many attributes that the pros consider, some of the main specs involve the lens’s low-light capability, focal length, level of distortion, optical stabilization, and more.
Below, seven professional real estate photographers share which lens is their favorite to use in the field and why.
I love shooting interiors with my Canon 24mm tilt-shift. It’s a real workhorse and is sharp as a tack. It’s a wide lens, but not obnoxiously so, and let’s me capture a space realistically. The ability to shift the lens to avoid vents in a ceiling or some distracting element on a floor is just icing on the cake.
My favorite lens for Real Estate Photography is Canon’s 17-40mm F4L. It is more than enough lens for residential real estate. I shoot with that lens 95% of the time. It is a sharp lens with a lot of focal leverage to please any client.
[Relevant Reading: Real Estate Photography Pricing | Ten Tips To Being Profitable]
I have shot real estate for over a decade. I’ve worked with many 3rd-party branded lenses, and had a lot of success with them. That said, several years ago, I photographed the home of a prominent hand-surgeon. He was present at the time of our shoot. He looked at my gear, told me he was a hobbyist, and proceeded to present a kit that was top of the line. It totally blew mine out of the water. This shook my confidence, so I purchased the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 the next day.
Having the most expensive gear certainly doesn’t improve the photographer or guarantee better images, but it sure does help one’s professionalism/confidence/swagger.
My favorite lens is Canon’s TS-E 24mm f3.5L II. I started off using Canon’s first version of this 24mm tilt-shift back in 1999 and I thought it was great then because of its large image circle and its ability to provide shifts and tilts in a 35mm format. I used the shift feature when shooting architecture and considering that I was mostly shooting film then, it was essential to correct for parallax error in-camera since I really didn’t have a ‘second chance’ to correct for it in post processing like we do in digital today.
Despite the digital effects available today this lens is still relevant – enough so, that when Canon came out with a version II of this lens in 2009 I rented it once and realized how much sharper they’d engineered the glass that I bought it immediately.
I’m shooting mostly architecture and interiors these days and this lens is ideal for that type of work. I find the field of view with the 24mm on a 35mm sensor to be wide enough in most interior situations without being so wide that it causes spaces to feel vast and distant.
Mindie Ballard: Website
Calling this my favorite lens for real estate photography may be an understatement, because I couldn’t function without my Canon 16-35mm f/4 lens. It allows me to capture an entire room, large or small, without the space looking distorted or unrealistic. My favorite use of this lens is to stand back and zoom in on a particular area like a fireplace mantel or living room vignette. It just gives the perfect perspective.
My go-to lens for everyday real estate photography is my trusty Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L. For real estate, I’m trying to be as efficient as possible, and for me that means moving quickly. I don’t have the time to fuss with tilt-shift ridiculousness for run-of-the-mill real estate work and the 16-35mm gives me all the coverage I generally need for a real estate shoot. Most of my best stuff happens right around 24mm, and that seems to be right in this lens’ sweet spot. Plus, if I need to crank it out to 16mm, it’s there if I need it (I’m shooting on a full frame Canon 6D to get the true 16mm). I feel the f/4 version of the lens is just as good (if not slightly sharper) than the f/2.8 version and it’s significantly less expensive, which scores points with a cheap guy like me! Distortion is very manageable in post. The thing is just a beast! For 95% of my everyday real estate work, this lens does the heavy lifting. I’d buy it again in a second if I had to.
As a professional real estate photographer, I’m often asked about my work, especially my lens preferences. Choosing the right lens for real estate photography can be tough. My favorite lens is the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM. This is because it fits my full-frame Canon perfectly, and it offers great wide-angle performance, even in low-light conditions. In some situations, I simply can’t get ideal lighting in a home. It’s good to have a lens that can handle lower-light scenes and still maintain clarity without too much fuzz and distortion.
Here’s a recap of these seven photographers’ favorite lenses for photographing real estate:
- Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift Lens
- Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Lens
- Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens
- Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens
All photos are displayed with permission from the photographers. Do not copy or distribute without direct consent from the photographers.