Real estate twilight photography has many advantages. It can help you build your business and client base, and it can add a high-value product to your services. Let’s first take a look at some of the pros and cons of twilights for real estate photography. Then we’ll look at a video where I show how I edited a recent twilight photo for a property.

What is a Twilight Photo?

A twilight photo is taken usually of the exterior of the property, at dusk. It is used to showcase landscape/property lighting, pool lighting and features like fire pits, and also to showcase a beautiful sunset. Agents like twilight photos because they “look cool”, and they are different from the regular exterior shot. They are more likely to grab the attention of the buyer when a home search is performed and thumbnails of properties are returned.

Benefits of a Twilight Photo

  • They look cool. They just do. (Although they have to be done correctly!)
  • They showcase property lighting that a buyer generally doesn’t see because they most likely are viewing the home in daylight.
  • They allow you to stick out from your competition by offering a service they don’t offer.
  • They allow you to add a high-value (aka $$$) service to your product list.
  • They bring clients to you who normally list higher-end properties, and are more likely to use twilight photography services.

Disadvantages of a Twilight Photo

  • The end result can look so cool that it’s not very realistic to what buyers will see in person.
  • They take time.
  • They require you to schedule your shoot at sunset which could be rather late in the evening hours of summer months.
  • Because they are done so late in the day, you may need to lighten your schedule earlier in the day or lighten the following day so you have time to process shoots and meet deliverables.

How to Take a Twilight Photo for Real Estate

Twilight Real Estate Photo

The above photos is the end result. Click play on the video below for a behind-the-scenes look at the editing process when creating a twilight photo.

And here is a summary of the process explained in the video:

  • Best Time
    • I take the twilight photo around 15 minutes after “sunset time”. Sites like wunderground.com will show you when sunset is expected based off your area.
  • Have the agent/seller remove solar screens/window coverings, and open the blinds
  • Turn on all interior and exterior lighting
  • Shoot from tripod so the camera doesn’t move between exposures
  • Shoot at f/7.1 @ 320ISO
  • Chimp with the promote control, going from a dark exposure to a bright exposure
    • You want an exposure where you can see some of the interior through the windows, an exposure for a well-lit exterior and an exposure for a “white sky”
    • We use a “white sky” exposure to replace the sky with a new sunset
  • Pull the 3 selected exposures into Photoshop, via Edit In… Open as Layers in Photoshop.
  • Put the brightest exposure as the top layer, then medium, then dark should be bottom layer
  • Copy/paste a new sunset sky onto its own layer
  • Using layer masks, blend in sections of each layer where appropriate
  • Delete the white sky out of the top layer to allow the sunset sky to be visible
  • Flatten the image and close it, saving to Lightroom
  • Make final tweaks/adjustments where necessary

Enjoy shooting twilights!