It’s been a while I have been doing Real Estate and Architectural Photography. All I have understood and realized is that along with good command over your photography and lighting skills, it requires some special techniques to shoot such projects. It is a specialisation. You may save little cost by hiring an un-skilled Real Estate & Architectural Photographer, but images provided by him/her may not justify the true essence of your property.
A significant difference between Real Estate Photography and Architectural Photography is often ignored by many photographers as well as clients. It is primarily because of lack of knowledge. A real estate photographs should always highlight the construction part of the area, i.e. windows, doors, open ness, airflow, direction of Sun etc. On the other hand an architect would always like to showcase the small little details he/she has designed to beautify the property. Therefore, Architectural Photographs should highlight the minute details and the artistic approach which are invested to decorate the setup.
This blog is not about the technical part of Real Estate and Architectural Photography. This blog is to educate people as to how to differentiate between a good and bad quality Real Estate and Architectural Photography.
Distortion: The walls, doors, windows, columns, beams etc. are often designed straight. And this should be the primary skill in Real Estate and Architectural Photography to show them straight. It looks unpleasant to see the images with crooked walls and lines. These are called distortions and is not acceptable under any circumstances. There are many reasons to such distortions including the lack of knowledge of the photographer. These distortions can be further divided into following categories.
- Optical Distortion happens due to the wide-angle lens. No matter how expensive your lens is, it is often required to correct such distortion in post. Optical distortions generally result to curved straight lines. Such Optical distortion can further be divided into two categories. Barrel Distortion & Pincushion Distortion.
- Geometric Distortion effects the subject in particular which is placed near to the edge of the lens. This results in the change in shape of that particular subject.
- Keystoning Distortion is the common issue with Real Estate and Architectural Photography. To cover the entire area a photographer often uses widest possible lens. This results in converging lines while tilting the lens upwards or downwards. For exterior the photographer tilts the lens upward, and for interior tilts downward. In both the cases the lines don’t remain straight. Whereas in reality the lines are straight and the photographer is unable to present straight due to ignorance of technique.
- Alignment Distortion occurs when the camera is not aligned properly to the ground. Which results in skewed lines.
Clutter: Often the photographer needs to rearrange the furniture and other fixture to look the place more attractive. Also, he should have clear idea about how much is too much. Over crowded space takes the focus away from the real subject.
Too Flashy: Use of flash or any other temporary light source used by the photographer is always essential to photograph interiors. However, the effect of those lights should not be apparent. The lights coming from the ambient lights such as windows, installed light source, lampshades should be prominently visible. This will help to get the real feel of the lighting arrangement of the setup.
Outside View: Window or outside view from the room always rinks you to the location. Window view along with the room view is often difficult (not impossible) to photograph. This is exactly the reason why photographer avoid to take such images. In stead they will prefer to close the window curtain and take photograph. This helps them to control the lights more easily. In my opinion it is very essential to show the outside view so that the occupants of the room or the user of the location can see and feel the entire environment.
Dirt on floor or wall: Although we put all our efforts to clean the location before taking the image, some of the dirt, on the floor or on the wall can not be avoided, which may have occurred over the time. Special emphasis should be given to analyze the image closely before delivering it to the client. Small dirt may not be visible on the small screen, but on a bigger screen or large print out it creates major issue.
Little Things make-or break-the photo: Small little things like untidy bed in the bed room, non-aligned furniture, non-symmetrical colors of the fixtures etc. can show the non-professionalism of the setup. Some errors can be corrected in post, some can’t. Rather then relying on post, a good Real Estate & Architectural Photographer will always emphasize to make it perfect in the camera itself.
Weather on the Big Day: The exterior of the main building is the identity of the property. The weather plays a major role while shooting the exterior. A good Real Estate & Architectural Photographer will always be watchful about the weather, direction of Sunrise or Sunset, Fog, Haze etc. Because weather changes the look and feel of the entire image.
Quality: To my mind, quality should not be compromised. Quality in terms of sharpness, color accuracy, resolution, web optimization, proper exposure etc. should be ensured. In general, Real Estate and Architectural Photography is done for website which does not require high resolution images. But what if the client wishes to get a large print out done? Downscaling the quality can be done easily, but upscaling is not possible. I have also seen many photographs when uploaded on the website does not look as sharp as it is actually. This is due to non-optimization of images for the website.
Don’t be a victim of drive-by Real Estate and Architectural Photography. From your perspective, photographs define your brand more than anything else when it comes to advertising. It defines your dedication and professionalism. In the digital era, professionally created quality images are another investment which can be a strength of your property, online as well as on printed merchandise. Do your homework before finalizing a photographer because a quality photographs can make or break the deal.