So how much effort goes into a real estate photo? The difference between a quick iPhone snap and a fully processed professional image is pretty significant...it takes time and effort to get the final image conveying the best the property has to offer. Even a kitchen photo has a fair bit of processing behind it!
There are various methods real estate photographers use to get a great final image. I commonly use a HDR method - it allows me to get in and out of the property quickly (many agents and owners like this!), keep my prices down (good in a low to moderate cost real estate market), and provide a great image quality. Here's an example of what goes into producing a nice kitchen image using my version of the HDR method.
1) Straight out of the camera - 5 images with different exposure levels. I use a tripod to keep the camera perfectly still...some of these shots can take up to 30 seconds depending on the light levels.
2) I then blend these images together to create a high dynamic range image - this image has a much more 'even' exposure than is possible with a single image. For this room, I could have gotten away with fewer images, but I've gotten into the habit of using 5 images 'just in case' - more images helps when there are very bright windows and you can always leave a few out...much harder to go back and take more pics!