Twilight Irvine Colonial Orange County Real Estate Photography

How Twilight Exterior Real Estate Photographs Bring Listings to Life

I don’t want to get too deep into real estate photography tips, tricks, and lingo here, but let’s talk about light.

Good light. Bad light. Bland light. Excellent Light.

There are a few times during the day that make natural light photographs look amazing.



Those few minutes or hours (depending on where you live) before and after the sun surfaces above or dips below the horizon.

A Tale of Two Hours

The golden hour, sometimes called the magic hour, is that time right after sunrise and right before sunset.

Spectacular golden hues and beautifully flowing light pour over your subject from a very low angle and make (nearly) anything photographed at that time look amazing.

However, if you wait a little longer after sunset or arrive a little earlier than sunrise, you’ll be at the blue hour.

This is the point where the sun is just below the horizon and you get a beautiful variation between yellows and oranges at the horizon, a deep blue sky, and touches of pinks, purples and oranges highlighting clouds overhead.

For real estate photography, you can get some stunning shots right around the later golden hours and the blue hour. We call them Twilight Exterior shots. Perfectly crafted, exceptionally lit shots that lead to listings that pop off the page.

Timing is Everything

But there’s a caveat.

The timing has to be perfect.

Shoot too soon and you get hard shadows and a very yellow/orange cast over the home. Sometimes that’s a really cool look that works for some houses. Check out an example here.

Shoot too late, though, and you’ll lose all the light and you’re left shooting in the dark with a black sky, a lost horizon, and just really bright lights imitating from the house. Disastrous.

Perfectly shot Twilight Exteriors are the pinnacle of real estate photography and architectural photography.

It allows a real estate photographer to really flex his or her muscles and make breathtaking photos that make the home look amazing and shows that you, as a real estate professional, really care about offering the best possible marking for your clients—and making their homes look the best they possibly can.

To be perfectly honest, an out of focus shot taken at noon on a bright summer day will still sell a house. But if you’re marketing a home in a crowded market or you’re working as hard as you can to grow your client list, the slight extra investment to have your photographer shoot a Twilight Exterior is well worth it.

And here’s a few reasons why.

Twilight Exterior Real Estate Photographs Make Your Listings Stand Out

Take a look at the list of current properties on the market in your area.

Go on. I’ll wait here.

Did you see one thing in common? Daylight shot. Daylight shot. Daylight shot. And on and on and on.

Do you want your listing to blend in with the crowd or do you want to make the home you’re selling explode off the page and pique a potential buyer’s interest?

I thought so.

In a market where your local competition are all selling houses the same way, over and over again, using the same old shots you’ve seen before, you need something that grabs the attention of local home buyers by standing out from the crowd.

Twilight Exterior Photographs Make the Home Look Elegant and Glamourous

A beautiful home’s image can be ruined by shoddy photographs.

Likewise, a mediocre home can look glamorous with a twilight image.


Because elegance and glamour can be created. It’s all about mood. It’s all about soft, serene lighting. It’s all about lavishing a potential buyer with imagery that makes them drool over your listing.

While I can’t go as far as to say that it will make the property look more expensive, the elegance created by a properly executed twilight photograph makes the property look more prestigious, so it feels like a better bang for your buyer’s buck.

Twilight Exterior Photographs Help Complete the Picture of the Home

If you’re only showing photographs of a listing taken during the day, are you really giving potential buyers the most complete feeling of a home?

Sure, you’re showing off the details of the interior and exterior, the size of the room, and the basic features of the home, but it’s all very clinical.

What happens if the buyer wants to to see how the home feels during the evening hours when they may be coming home from work?

What about homes that have a nighttime city lights view?

Isn’t it worthwhile to show that off to its fullest?

Twilight Exteriors Can Enhance Your Personal Brand and Grow Your Client List

There are probably a few real estate professionals reading this article that sell one or two homes a year and that’s all they’re interested in selling.

That’s totally fine.

But for those who are constantly looking to grow their client list, those who are gunning for properties that are double the price or triple the price of the homes they’re currently selling, and those who desire to be the top producers at their brokerage, marketing their personal brand is the key.

That involves taking advantage of every avenue possible to impress your next potential client.

When that client is comparing between your marketing strategy and that of your competition, and you have your photographer go that extra mile and shoot homes at twilight, it will make your marketing look superior to those of other agents in your area. It will blow your client’s mind.

The Setting Sun

So for your next listing, consider having your real estate photographer add on a twilight exterior photo session. Or if there’s an amazing view, a twilight interior photograph.

Expect to pay a little more than a daylight shoot since twilight images are technically difficult to pull off on location. If you’re hiring a photographer like me, for every twilight photograph I produce, I take dozens of images and then combine them all together in an artistic way.

But that small extra cost is well worth it to anyone who wants to go above and beyond for their current clients and make their marketing stand out amongst the competition.

And if you’re interested in hiring me to photograph your next real estate listing, you can contact me here.

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