When it comes to real estate photography, residential listings like single-family houses, condos, and townhomes typically get all the attention.
But what about commercial properties? These types of listings — which can include anything from office buildings and shopping centers to apartment communities and senior living homes — often present their own unique challenges, from capturing a sense of depth and scale to highlighting the property’s amenities.
Fortunately, there are a few commercial real estate photography tools that can help you show off these spaces in a way that appeals to potential tenants, buyers, or investors without making them feel overwhelmed.
In this guide, we’ll share some of the best tips and techniques for taking stunning photos and videos of five common types of commercial real estate listings:
- Retail shopping centers
- Office buildings
- Apartment communities
- Senior living homes
- Industrial properties
But before we dive into each one, let’s take a quick look at a few of the tools that can help you make the most of your commercial real estate photography needs.
The Best Tools for Commercial Real Estate Photography
Aerial shots: Also known as drone photography, aerial shots are a must for commercial real estate listings, as they offer a unique perspective of the property that’s almost impossible to capture from the ground. Operating a drone may require a special license in some areas, as well as knowledge of no-fly zones, so it’s always best to check local rules and regulations before taking to the skies. Alternatively, you can hire a commercial real estate photographer to take the legwork out of it for you.
Walkthrough videos: These cinematic videos offer viewers a sense of what it would be like to walk through the property as if they were there in person. They’re especially effective for apartment communities and senior living homes, as they can help prospective residents get a feel for the layout, flow, and livability aspects of the space.
360 virtual tours with floor plan: 360 virtual tours are a great way to let potential tenants, buyers, and investors explore a property on their terms, without having to schedule an in-person tour. And when you add a floor plan to the mix, they can get an even better sense of the property’s layout and how the different spaces fit together.
Now that you know what the best tools for commercial real estate photography are, let’s take a closer look at how to use them for each listing type.
- Best Commercial Photography Tools for Retail Centers: Aerial Photos and Videos, HDR Photography.
Retail centers come in all shapes and sizes, from shopping plazas and strip malls to markets and emporiums. One thing they have in common is that they’re usually quite large, which can make them tricky to photograph.
The key is to focus on showing off the property’s size and scope, as well as its proximity to major roadways, public transportation, and other traffic patterns that will give visitors a sense of ease and accessibility.
Aerial photos and videos are a great way to do this. They not only give prospects a bird’s-eye view of the property, but they also help show off its location in relation to the surrounding area. This includes any parking lots, pedestrian walkways, and other features that will impact a shopper’s experience. Aerials can also build value for your commercial listing by highlighting its proximity to other businesses, how many cars pass by the property each day, and so on.
In addition to aerial shots, it’s also a good idea to take ground-level photos and videos of the retail center’s entrance and exit points, as well as any exterior features that make it stand out from other retail centers in the area. This includes photographing a unique facade, a well-landscaped garden, or an eye-catching mural.
Finally, don’t forget to take photos and videos of the interiors, too. This is important for retail centers that have a network of corridors, as it will give viewers a better sense of the layout and flow of the space.
- Best Commercial Photography Tools for Office Buildings: 360 Virtual Tour w/Floor Plan, HDR Photography.
Office buildings can be as big as shopping centers, but their marketing approach should differ slightly from their retail counterparts.
Listings for office spaces benefit greatly from virtual tools, such as 3D tours and professional floor plans. After all, when potential tenants, buyers, or investors are looking for office space, they’re not just interested in the size of the property or its location. They also want to know what the interiors are like and how the different spaces flow together.
A 360 virtual tour with a floor plan is one of the best ways to pull this off. It gives the viewer a detailed sense of the property’s layout, including its overall square footage, the number of conference rooms, shared workspaces, and more.
By clicking their way through a virtual tour and viewing the floor plan at the same time, prospects can gain a better sense of the overall utility of the space, which is an important factor in evaluating how the property would work for their business needs.
- Best Commercial Photography Tools for Apartment Communities: Walkthrough Videos, Aerial & HDR photography.
Apartment communities range in size from just a few residences to hundreds or even thousands. And while the larger ones may have all the amenities of a small town, the smaller ones can be just as cozy and charming.
No matter the size of the community, it’s important to market it in a way that emphasizes its livability and lifestyle appeal. This includes highlighting its physical features, such as the community’s location, the apartments’ interior finishes, the buildings’ common areas, and the on-site amenities that will make viewers feel welcome.
This is why walkthrough videos are a must when marketing an apartment complex. They allow prospective residents, buyers, and investors to view both the exterior and interior aspects of the community with ease, including the outdoor amenities and open spaces that could help renters envision themselves living there. Aerial photos and videos may capture these features from a bird’s-eye view while also providing the viewer with a better sense of the community’s scale.
However, showcasing the exterior components of an apartment community is only half the battle. To sell the lifestyle appeal, it’s important to show off the interior features as well, especially the residences themselves.
This is where a walkthrough video comes in handy, as it takes viewers on a seamless tour of the space, giving them a feel for the layout, finishes, and furnishings as if they were there in person. This is crucial for selling the lifestyle appeal and livability factor that is so important in the apartment rental market. And while a 360 tour might depict an interior space efficiently, nothing beats the allure of a well-produced walkthrough video set to music or voiceover.
Senior Living Communities
Best Commercial Photography Tools for Apartment Communities: Walkthrough Videos, 360 Virtual Tour w/Floor Plan, HDR Photography.
When marketing a senior living home, it’s important to focus on the needs and wants of the target demographic: those who are 55 years of age and older. This includes emphasizing the safety and security of the property, the convenience of its location, and the amenities that cater to an active lifestyle.
But you’re not just marketing to a 55+ demographic. You’re also marketing to their families. Because when it comes to senior living, potential residents aren’t the only ones making the decision. In many cases, it’s the children or grandchildren who are responsible for finding a safe and comfortable place for their loved ones to live.
This is why it’s important to have both a walkthrough video and a 360 virtual tour of the property that prominently features the floor plan. Prospective renters and their loved ones will be judging the senior home’s feasibility from a practical standpoint. They’ll want to know how easy it would be to get around the space. This includes access to the restrooms, bedrooms, common areas, and exits on the property, as well as any on-site amenities that would be beneficial to the resident’s well-being.
Best Commercial Photography Tools for Industrial Properties: Walkthrough Videos, 360 Virtual Tour w/Floor Plan, HDR Photography.
Warehouses, factories, and other industrial properties have long been some of the most difficult to market due to their size, scale, and often-unattractive exteriors. But with the right commercial real estate photographer, you can show potential buyers, renters, and investors just how versatile these spaces can be.
The key is to focus on the property’s potential rather than its current state. This means highlighting the features that make it unique, such as the high ceilings, exposed brick, or concrete floors. It’s also important to show how the space can be divided and used for different purposes, whether it’s for storage, manufacturing, or office space.
To do this, you’ll need a mix of aerial shots, walkthrough videos, and 360 virtual tours that capture the property from all angles and give viewers a sense of its potential. This combination illustrates all components of the property and the services inside, which is critical for a potential client who wants to see the full picture.
No matter what type of commercial property you’re marketing, it’s important to show potential buyers, renters, and investors just how expansive and versatile the space is. This can be done with a mix of aerial photography, walkthrough videos, and 360 virtual tours that highlight the property’s best features.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, marketing your commercial property effectively boils down to working with the best commercial real estate photographer near you.
With HomeJab, you can be confident you’re working with a team of professionals who understand the ins and outs of commercial real estate photography. We’ll work with you to create a custom package that meets your specific needs and budget, and then we’ll get to work capturing your property in all its glory.
To find the best commercial real estate photographers in your local area and nationwide, please click here.