What is the Best Time of Day for Real Estate Photos

Discover the art of timing in real estate photography. Learn why early morning or late afternoon might be the best time of day for real estate photos.


In the world of real estate photography, timing is not just a factor; it’s everything. Capturing the perfect shot can significantly enhance the appeal of a property, and often, the magic lies in finding the best time of day for real estate photos. This article explores this crucial aspect, guiding you through the nuances of timing in real estate photography.

best time of day for realestate photographers

The Golden Hours: Morning and Late Afternoon

Morning Light: A Fresh Perspective

The early hours just after sunrise are often touted as the best time of day for real estate photos. This period, known for its soft, diffused light, offers a fresh and serene look. Morning light tends to be cooler in tone, giving the photos a crisp, clean feel. It’s ideal for capturing east-facing (or north-east and south-east) front or rear facades, depending on which is more important, as the rising sun bathes these facades in warm, welcoming light.

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In this image the morning light filters through the garden to bathe the outdoor patio and south-east side of the home and create a warm ambience perfect for enjoying a coffee before starting your day.

Late Afternoon: The Golden Glow

Conversely, late afternoon, especially the hour before sunset, is another contender for the best time of day for real estate photos. Known as the ‘golden hour,’ this time provides a warm, golden glow that can make any property look inviting and luxurious. The shadows are softer and longer, adding depth and dimension to the architecture. This time is perfect for properties with west-facing aspects, allowing the setting sun to highlight their best features.

Midday: High Sun Challenges and Solutions

Midday, particularly when the sun is at its zenith, is often avoided in real estate photography. The harsh light can create strong shadows in the exterior photos of the home. It can make balancing indoor and outdoor (windows) light challenging for interior shots. However, when dealing with tight schedules, there are ways to make midday work. Overcast days can be used to your advantage, as the clouds act like a natural diffuser, softening the sunlight and reducing the intensity of shadows. Additionally, capturing a extra set of brackets if you are using the HDR real estate photography technique, can help mitigate some of the harsher aspects of midday light.

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This building was captured in the middle of the day with the sun almost behind the building which created strong shadows on its facade. The HDR technique was used to capture bracketed exposures to reveal the details in the facade during the editing process.

Twilight: A Unique Appeal

Twilight, the time just after sunset, holds a unique place in real estate photography. This time creates a dramatic and sophisticated atmosphere, perfect for showcasing properties with great lighting fixtures or beautiful landscaping. The sky, painted in hues of pink, purple, and blue, provides a stunning backdrop only possible during the three stages of twilight photography. Twilight photos require skill and proper lighting but can result in some of the most striking images in real estate marketing. Twilight real estate photography can produce fantastic results for your client’s real estate listings, but they do come with some challenges.

best time of day for real estate photos
Image by Lubov Lisitsa from Pixabay

Seasonal Considerations

The best time of day for real estate photos can also vary with the seasons. Depending on your location, winter is typically renders better results for real estate photographers, as the sun is less intense, and the colors seem richer and less ‘washed out’ compared to hot summer days. Understanding how the position and angle of the sun change throughout the year is crucial for planning photo shoots.

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Inside Matters: Balancing Interior with Exterior Light

When photographing interiors, the best time of day for real estate photos depends on the position of the home, availability of natural and artificial lighting, and your own shooting schedule. Generally, shooting during the golden hours helps avoid stark contrasts between the bright outdoors and the darker interiors. This balance is key to capturing inviting interior shots that feel naturally lit.

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In this image, the availability of natural light has made it easy to balance the interior and exterior lighting.

Weather Factors

Weather plays a significant role in determining the best time of day for real estate photos. A bright, sunny day is not always ideal, especially for exterior shots. Sometimes, a slightly overcast sky can provide a more even light, reducing glare and harsh shadows. Monitoring weather forecasts is an integral part of planning a real estate photography shoot.

Conclusion: Best Time of Day for Real Estate Photos

Understanding the property’s orientation, the local weather patterns, and the season are all crucial in choosing the right time to book in a shoot. While there are preferred times like early morning or late afternoon for real estate photography, the best time of day for real estate photos often boils down to being flexible and adaptable. Obviously, you cannot shoot several homes at once during twilight or in the soft light a few hours after sunrise. You simply need to plan your day around the morning and/or afternoon light to generate the best results for your clients. On very busy days this may not be possible. Ultimately, the goal is to showcase the property in its best light, with careful planning and strategic scheduling.


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