Twilight Photography for Real Estate – 3 Unique Challenges

Unlock the full potential of twilight photography for real estate with practical tips, mastering challenges to capture captivating shots.

Twilight Photography for Real Estate: Intro

Twilight photography for real estate is an essential service to add to your business offerings, as it is a premium product that is great for boosting your revenue. Shooting real estate at twilight is also a lot of fun to carry out. This article discusses the three most common challenges faced by real estate photographers while onsite during a twilight shoot, and how the challenges can be easily overcome with a few simple tricks.

Tips for twilight real estate photography
An exterior image of a front facade captured during the twilight window.

Reflection of Interior Lights on Windows

One of the main challenges associated with twilight photography for real estate is light reflections on glass windows. This occurs when the light outside the windows is slightly darker than the interior, creating reflections from the interior lights on the windows. As you near the end of the ‘twilight window,’ the reflection of the interior lights on the window glass will be even more noticeable. In most cases you will want the view outside the window (or glass patio doors) to be clearly visible, and not distorted by the reflections of the lamps, and other interior lights.

It is possible to eliminate these reflections by capturing one set of multiple bracketed exposures with the lights on (to capture the interior exposures) and then collect another exposure with the interiors light switched off to capture the windows and doors without reflections. Your editor will need to blend these exposures in post production, so the windows visible in the correctly exposed image of the room display no reflections.

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An example of an interior twilight shot where one set of exposures were captured with interior lights off and another set captured with lights off. Furniture renderings added by

Exteriors Look Dull and Lifeless

Not every home has thousands of dollars’ worth of exterior lighting for you get the most out of exterior photographs during a twilight shoot. To combat poor exterior lighting and give your exterior images an amazing glow, you will need to get creative. Purchase a hand held spotlight to ‘paint’ the home’s façade, lawn and foreground features.

Utilizing a spotlight will produce a pleasant glow in your twilight images when combined with the long exposure times (aka shutter speeds) you will be using. You can also experiment by placing these spotlights in different parts of the property and shining them upwards into trees, gardens, or walls for different effects. 

twiligh real estate shooting tips
A hand held flood-light was used to further illuminate the grass, driveway and the flowering tree (on the left).

Difficulty Focussing the Exterior

When shooting the exterior of a home towards the end of the nautical twilight phase, your camera may struggle to auto-focus on the home due to lack of available light. In this situation you may need to switch to manual focus mode so that you can manually focus on the subject.

When manually focussing on the subject that is difficult to see, you should take a couple of test shots to check you have correctly focused the image. When you take these test shots you can boost the ISO temporarily. Boosting the ISO will allow a faster shutter speed to be used so you won’t need to wait so long to see the test images. Remember, ‘time is of the essence’ during a twilight photo-shoot! When the subject is looking nice and sharp, bring the ISO back down and carry out your set of bracketed exposures of the composition.

twilight photography for real estate

One way to assist in the manual focus process is to use a handheld floodlight (like the one below) so that you can actually see the house/subject more clearly. If you are still having trouble manually focussing the image, you may have started exterior shoot a little too late. Try to capture the exterior images of the home during the Nautical phase.

An example of a spotlight suitable for twilight real estate photography

Twilight Photography for Real Estate: Conclusion

tips for real estate photographers shooting at twilight
An interior image of a parent’s retreat captured during the twilight window.

Mastering twilight photography for real estate opens doors to a new service offering that many elite real estate agents will require on a regular basis. By applying these tips, you can navigate challenges, experiment creatively, and deliver compelling images that showcase both interiors and exteriors in the soft glow of twilight. Elevate your twilight photography game and make every property shine, even as the sun sets.

tips for real estate photographers shooting at twilight
An interior image of an ensuite captured during a twilight real estate phot-shoot.
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