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April 27, 2022

Understanding the Ins and Outs of Commercial Real Estate Photography

commercial real estate photography

Is real estate photography commercial photography?

Real estate photography has many subcategories, one of them being commercial real estate photography. Commercial real estate photography is another form of real estate photography in the same way architectural and interior design photography are also real estate photography. Real estate photography is images curated by a photographer and agent to display a listing to a marketable audience. Commercial real estate photography simply aims to sell commercial spaces and create a marketable toolbox of images.

In commercial real estate photography, under real estate photography, the main intention is to sell a product and create a timeless marketable image. Properties, whether they are commercial or residential, utilize commercial and real estate photography to better market the property, real estate agent, and sometimes the photographer.

What are examples of commercial real estate photography?

The scope of real estate photography is vast, and commercial real estate photography seems to be just as vast. As commercial real estate photography falls under the category of real estate photography, what are some commercial real estate photography properties?

Commercial real estate properties can range from anything like a chain restaurant marketing campaign, a small selection of images provided to a local boutique shop, or a grandiose picture package of a large mall. Commercial real estate photography, as a category, maybe a bit tricky to discern initially. To understand commercial real estate photography, it is essential to think of this as a marketing tool for businesses and non-residential spaces.

How to do Commercial Real Estate Photography versus Residential Real Estate Photography?

Every real estate photographer has an approach to how they conduct a real estate photography session. A photographer may enter the home and find themselves following a typical pattern of sorting for details amongst living room furnishings or highlighting prominent amenities in the kitchen. Just as there is an approach for shooting a residential space, there is an approach to shooting a commercial space.

In real estate photography, particularly residential real estate photography, details and personality are everything. In a residential space, a photographer seeks to convey the story of a home, in a commercial space, the photographer seeks to convey the potential of a story in a space. The most eye-catching and prominent parts to highlight in commercial real estate photography is the amenities and the exteriors. These parts of the space are what aid in appealing to buyers.

Beyond the content of the images, the quality of the images makes a distinct impact on clients, whether they be current or future tenants. Just as in residential real estate photography, commercial real estate photography will have greater success when utilizing a variety of tools. For example, drones are an excellent resource for shooting exteriors, and 3d real estate photography and virtual tours are a way to immerse clients beyond the walls of the space.

The approach to commercial real estate photography varies from residential real estate photography in the marketing approach. A residential space is marketing to a particular group of clients looking for a home whereas a commercial space is marketing an image to a wider range of people and businesses. Throughout a commercial real estate photography shoot, the main things that should be emphasized are amenities, a bigger property approach, and photo copyrights.


Amenities in commercial spaces will vary distinctly from residential spaces. The stoves in a restaurant kitchen, the shelving in a small bookstore, or even the fountains at the center of a mall are all examples of commercial real estate photography amenities. These parts of the commercial space should be highlighted in commercial real estate photography because the amenities are what make a commercial space stand out from another. The amenities of a space show the benefits of a space in the same way details show character in a residential home.

Bigger Property Approach

The reality of shooting commercial real estate photography is the larger properties that come with commercial spaces. Shooting a larger property also comes with a different approach than shooting a smaller venue. Though the photographer will follow similar patterns to portray amenities and the uniqueness of a state, the approach tends to require a bit more time and equipment. With larger properties, it will take more time to cover the square footage of a space let alone the details of a space.

With large properties, getting the entirety of a space into a singular shot might prove difficult. In the case of a large hallway in a mall, a creative approach may be necessary. It is necessary, regardless of how it is done, that there is at least one image that captures the entirety of a building or commercial space in a singular shot.

Photo Copyrights

A commercial space may want to use the photo for future clients or promotional highlights so it is essential to understand the copyright of the images. What is the copyright of the photographer over the images? What is the copyright of the photographer’s company over the images? What does the business purchasing the images have jurisdiction over the images? This is different than residential real estate photography because it moves an image beyond a simple marketing tool to a permanent promotional tool. This might result in licensing fees and additional costs to clients to obtain images.

How to approach commercial real estate photography pricing?

Commercial real estate photography rates are dependent on a variety of factors some of which are:

  • Location

    Where will the shoot be taking place? A commercial real estate photography shoot in New York City will have very different prices than a shoot in smaller towns outside of the city.

  • Photography Needs

    What kind of photography is needed? Packages with drone photography, time-lapse video, or, 3D real estate photography will cost a bit more than just traditional photography.

  • Photographer Experience

    How long has the photographer that is hired been in the industry? What does their portfolio look like?

  • Photo Packages

    How many photos are going to be bought from the shoot? Does the shoot include photo AND video?

  • Edit Needs

    What are the editing needs for the property’s images? Re-edits or strenuous edits like timelapse videos tend to cost more due to time dedicated to labor.

  • Location Size

    The larger a location, the more time it takes for a photographer to take images of the space. A larger location also means more images will need to be purchased so it gets a pricy there as well.