I own a real estate management company. We currently provide tenants and owners with a set of images of the condition of our rental properties on a DVD. People like it because they feel they have a true record of the condition which is much better than a checklist. The images show sections of walls or inside cupboards and draws they are not real estate marketing images.

I am currently using a hand held Nikon D5200 with an AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, mostly shooting at 18mm f/3.5 and ISO 250.

For light, I have two professional standard units. One on the camera and one remote unit.

I would like to shoot at as lower ISO as possible to reduce granularity when the images are blown up on a screen. I have been looking at getting a Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens. Would I do better with a full frame camera?

Before I do make any new purchase, has someone tried something like this? Do you have any suggestions about equipment and/or techniques?


  • \$\begingroup\$ i suggest a prime lens for this duty. \$\endgroup\$
    – Skaperen
    Sep 9, 2016 at 8:01
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Why can't you use ISO 100 with your D5200? With two flashes you should have more than enough light. I'm guessing you are using Aperture Priority exposure mode? Is this correct? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Sep 9, 2016 at 8:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Try ISO 200 or 400, full stops often show less noise than intermediate ones. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Sep 9, 2016 at 17:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you use a tripod? \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Sep 9, 2016 at 18:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Inkista, I typically take between 300 and 500 shots for each house, time is a big issue. I have tried using a tripod, but returned to using hand held to get through faster. (If these images were for anything other than record keeping, I would be too embarrassed to let anyone ever see them!!) \$\endgroup\$
    – Ian
    Sep 12, 2016 at 1:27

1 Answer 1


Do you have any suggestions about equipment and/or techniques?

If your goal is to reveal damaged areas or truly demonstrate that a wall isn't damaged, aim your light so that it shines along the wall instead of straight at it, and aim the camera straight at the wall. In strong directional light coming shining along the wall, any holes or depressions in the wall will show up dark because the light won't fill them in, and anything proud of the wall (like nails or damaged areas) will cast long, noticeable shadows. Don't use a light mounted on the camera for this as it'll fill in the shadows and dark spots that indicate damage.

On the other hand, if you want to make the walls look as flat and damage free as possible, soft light shining toward the wall in the same direction that the camera is pointed will help fill in the shadows. You can buy a soft box or large umbrella to diffuse the light so that it's less directional.

Soft, even light probably makes sense for drawer interiors, where you probably just want to be able to see into all the corners and confirm that the drawers are empty and clean. On camera flash with a good flash diffuser or small soft box should work well here.

I would like to shoot at as lower ISO as possible to reduce granularity when the images are blown up on a screen.

The 24Mpx images from a D5200 have much greater resolution than any computer screen, so you should be able to zoom in quite a bit before any noise shows up. Also, you're probably not going to much noise at all shooting at ISO 250, so I don't think it probably makes sense to buy a faster lens just to shoot at slightly lower ISO.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Caleb, Thank you for your suggestions. Real estate agents have a dodgy enough reputation which out having to try to make walls look better than the really are. (LOL) Based on your suggestion, I may need to use a different set up for each type of mark; some are marks on paint without a shadow while others are dints that will show a strong shadow. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ian
    Sep 12, 2016 at 1:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a really good answer. Lighting. I would just suggest that you use a difusser. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Oct 10, 2016 at 14:21

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