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  • Writer's pictureMario Alfredo

Illuminating, the Debate: Lights On vs. Lights Off - Which is Better for Real Estate Interior Photo

When it comes to real estate interior photography, lighting can make or break your shots. One common debate among real estate photographers is whether it's better to shoot with the lights on or off. Let's dive into this discussion and ultimately determine which approach yields the best results.

Lights On:


1. Illumination: Turning on the lights throughout the house can provide consistent, even illumination. This can help brighten up the space and make it feel more inviting.

2. Easier Composition: With lights on, it's often easier to compose your shots because you can see everything clearly. This can result in well-framed, aesthetically pleasing photos.

3. Warmth and Ambiance: Lights add warmth and ambiance to the images, making the property feel cozier and more appealing.


1. Mixed Color Temperatures: Different light sources can have varying color temperatures (e.g., warm incandescent bulbs, cool daylight LEDs). This can create color imbalances in your photos.

2. Overexposure: Bright lights can lead to overexposure in some areas, causing loss of detail.

Lights Off:


1. Avoid Mixed Color Temperatures: Shooting with the lights off eliminates the issue of mixed color temperatures. This can result in more color-accurate photos.

2. Control Over Lighting: Without artificial lights, you have more control over the lighting. You can use external flashes or reflectors to create the desired lighting effects.

3. Reduced Glare: Turning off lights can reduce glare and reflections on shiny surfaces like glass or polished countertops.


1. Darkness: The most obvious drawback is that without the lights on, your photos can appear dark and uninviting.

2. Potential for Uneven Lighting: Achieving even lighting throughout the space can be challenging without the help of interior lights.

The Verdict:

So, which is better, lights on or lights off? The answer depends on the specific situation and your photography style.

For most real estate photographers, shooting with the lights on is the preferred choice. It's practical, efficient, and provides a consistent look. However, you should be cautious of mixed color temperatures and potential overexposure.

Shooting with the lights off can be advantageous when you have the time and equipment to control the lighting. It allows for greater creative control and avoids issues with mixed color temperatures. However, it may not be suitable for all situations, especially if the property is not well-lit naturally.

In conclusion, the best approach often involves a combination of both techniques. Use the existing lights to create a warm and inviting atmosphere, but be prepared to supplement with additional lighting (external flashes, reflectors) to overcome any challenges. Ultimately, the key is to adapt your strategy to the unique characteristics of each property to capture its best features in the most appealing way possible.

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