Real Estate in Portugal

Now let's be honest here, estate agents don't come with a great reputation in most countries and Portugal is no different in that respect. I estimate that in terms of photography, only 15% of my personal business comes from this sector. I tend to be very much the AirBnB type photographer. However, real estate is huge business in Portugal and property prices are soaring along with sales. I often look at photos on properties for sale, I look at the price and wonder why the photos are so poor. The fact is that the market here on the Algarve is so buoyant means property is selling fast, so do they need professional photos? A good number of individual agents are self employed and have to stand the cost of property photography themselves. Now most agents collect 5% of the property price here, so that's not a problem if the agent sells, but if it's listed with multiple agencies and another agent sells, they are often out of pocket. There is no doubt though that a good-looking property with professional photos is far more likely to get people viewing than a poorly photographed one. I have photographed properties here which have been sold from the listing, without being physically viewed. It's a cut throat market and the agents are in serious competition with each other and most understand that good photos and video sell properties.

Showing the client around

As we discovered in the last post, holiday rentals are centred around facilities and locations, about people seeing themselves there on holiday through your images. Real estate photography is about the property itself, a home or the bones for an investment. An example might be a really nice state-of-the-art coffee machine, I would photograph that for an Airbnb but not for a real estate shoot as the owner is almost certain to take his/her nice coffee machine with them when they leave! My job in real estate is to provide a guided tour in photos or video of the structure, not the trinkets. The above photos show how I would showcase the kitchen for example, I hope these shots cover all the angles in your view and answer many questions you may have. They are (each photo) a blend of 3 exposures to give good clarity, open up shade and reduce highlights. There is also a clear view of the outside, giving the viewer most of the information they need. So many 'homemade' shoots don't have straight walls, good exposure and have 'blown out' windows with no visibility outside. The light outside some properties can be 4 or 5 stops brighter than the inside. No camera can cope with that in a single exposure, hence my 3 shots, which are then blended in Photoshop. I can show you below the difference between a single camera exposure and the blended photo. On the left is the blended photo followed by the camera's normal exposure, the next is 2 stops of light under exposed and the 4th one is 2 stops over exposed.

Blended Photo

Middle exposure

-2 stops under exposure

+2 stops over exposure

What goes in an album and what doesn't

I tend to be strict with my clients over this subject. "Can you Photoshop out that radio mast please?", the answer will be no because it's dishonest and will reflect badly on the agent, the owner and most importantly on me and my reputation. Purchasing a home is one of the most important decisions most of us make. I want it to be made on sound advice and photos that have integrity. Here are some more photos showing bedrooms and bathrooms. The entire album, not shown here, had about 60 photos included.

Kerb appeal and outside living

Many people are looking for either a home, a second home abroad or an investment rental, either way the property will attract viewings if it has 'kerb appeal' or promotes the idea of outdoor living. This is so important if you come from colder and/or wetter climes!! This is sometimes an area where some properties fail and become untidy, it is important that all areas are carefully prepared, clean and tidy, especially if you have additional land. Below are some outside shots on what was pretty much the perfect property.


It makes absolute sense to have your property professionally photographed. In financial terms, the cost is a very small amount when set against the property price or rental potential. When people are on-line trawling through hundreds of properties, what makes your property stand out? It won't be grubby, poorly produced photos, but then you are sure to think I'm bound to say that, after all it's my job!! Don't take my word for it, check some websites, I think you'll find on this occasion I'm right!