Luxury Real Estate

Capturing the Perfect Twilight Shot for Real Estate: A Quick Guide

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Real estate photography can often be drab and unvaried making it difficult to stand out on a listing page. Twilight shots are the perfect way to turn your real estate listing into an appealing piece of art that will capture the attention of your audience. Photos taken within a 20-25 minute time frame of the sunset are usually more vibrant because of the special light and warmth the sun gives off as it goes down. The perfect twilight shot can be difficult to capture, but is well worth the effort. By using specific flash exposures and the right equipment you can create a stunning image that is sure to attract interest to your listing.

Types of Twilight Shots

The best time to snap a twilight shot is approximately 20-25 minutes before sunset. This usually falls anywhere between 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm depending on the time of year and region. There are three different types of twilight and understanding these types will help you light your photos correctly.

Civil twilight

At civil twilight the center of the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon and occurs right after the sun sets. The setting sun colors the clouds in the sky with warm light. This position is recommended for shooting twilight landscape pictures so it’s perfect for real-estate shots. However, be mindful of the position of the clouds because if they are low, then you have only about 15 minutes to get a shot. If the clouds are higher in the sky, the effect of the light from the sunset will last a little longer.

Nautical twilight

During nautical twilight, the center of the sun is 12 degrees below the horizon and is often referred to as “blue hour”. Nautical twilight occurs after civil twilight and can last up to 40 minutes. Shooting at this time will give your photos a soft blue tint.

Astronomical twilight

Astronomical twilight occurs about an hour and a half after the sun sets and the center of the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon. At this time, the sky is much darker making it a great time to take pictures of a star-filled sky or shoot bright illumination in big cities.


Capturing twilight photos does not require nearly as much special equipment as people may think. To get a high quality twilight shot all you really need is:

  • Camera with manual and bulb-mode to take photos with exposure over 30 seconds
  • Wide-angle lens to enhance perspective
  • Tripod to stabilize the camera during slow shutter speed shots
  • Lens hood to block unwanted light and add image contrast

Camera Settings

Selecting the correct camera setting for your real estate listing photo is fundamental to getting a great shot. Architecture photos should be shot with aperture f:4.0, ISO 3200, and a shutter speed of 1/40. It’s also important to switch your camera to manual focus. We recommend shooting in the Aperture and Shutter priority modes on your camera for the best results.

Additional Tips

  1. Steady your Camera: Using a tripod or other stable surface to steady your camera will ensure that your photo doesn’t blur during the slow shutter speed.
  2. Reduce Exposure: The exposure of your shot affects the brightness and color of the photo so it’s important to manipulate the exposure so you can see the bright details of the subject.
  3. Limit Graniness: Play with exposure on your camera to avoid excessive grain in your photos.
  4. Use Long Exposure: Set your camera to a slow shutter speed to smoothly combine multiple shots

Get Started

Shooting the perfect twilight shot for your real estate listing may seem daunting, but it is actually quite simple. With the right equipment, camera settings and knowledge, you can capture a stunning twilight shot that will drastically improve your real estate listing.

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