Today we are going to discuss real estate photography with a wide angle lens. The focal length in photography is measure in millimeters (MM). The lower MM of a lens provides you with a wider shot. Some lenses have a variable focal range such as zoom lenses while others are fixed at a specific focal length. For extreme wide angle lenses, you want to look for in a lens that is anything less than 21mm for landscapes and architecture photography.
Real Estate photography with wide angle lenses have benefits and drawbacks, as photography is all about trade-offs. First we will start with the benefits.
Reveal more details around exterior of the home. Buyers not only want to see a prospective property but they also want to see the properties surroundings, such as the neighboring homes and street. Instead of letting your clients resort to Google Maps Street View, use a wide angle lens, and shoot the property from across the street with both neighboring houses in the shot. This is always depending on the condition of the neighboring homes so if they are an eyesore, then do not include them.
Wide angle lenses will reveal more of a rooms interior. This is different than using lenses that distort a cameras horizontal and vertical planes such as a fish eye lens to reveal more of a room. Avoid fish eye lenses, slap on your widest lens and shoot from a corner to reveal more of the room. The goal is to take one shot that captures the whole room.
Wide angle lenses are great for filming half baths. Half baths are challenging to shoot as there is not much room to capture the whole half bath in one shot. A wide angle lens will allow you to capture most of the bathroom in one shot.
Lenses are curved either as convex or concave and some telephoto lenses will have both in the barrel. Wide angle lenses create barrel distortion which is the off set angle of your horizontal and vertical lines due to the lens curvature. The wider the lens, the more barrel distortion. Thankfully, distortion can be corrected in post production software such as Photoshop and Lightroom. It is important to correct your distortion in real estate photography as our eyes are use to seeing straight lines in architecture.
We choose a wide angle lens in real estate and architecture photography to be able to capture more of a home or building. After straightening your horizontal and vertical lines you will image will be horizontally cropped on the left and right edges. Therefore you loose some of the width within your wide photo. You might be thinking, why use a wide angle lens to gain more area when after fixing your verticals in post production, you end up with a cropped image? Its ok, you will still end up with an image wider than one using a standard lens.
Wide angle lenses are not cheep, so expect to shell out roughly $500 or more. Our Sony Ziess lens was around $900. Keep in mind that manufactures consistently come up with new iterations of cameras but lenses remain the same and will last a lifetime with proper maintenance. Your investment will always be in lenses, not a DSLR camera body.
Below is a example of a kitchen shot with a wide angle lens and the verticals corrected.
Notice how the vertical lines are leaning? The walls and cabinets are like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Even the ceiling lamp hangs at an angle that goes against the laws of gravity. This may seem normal if you have not viewed a corrected image, as we are use to seeing the distortion caused by wide angle photography, it still creates an uneasy feeling in the viewer, especially when viewing multiple images of rooms with walls falling at an angle.
Shot With a 10-18mm Wide Angle Lens at 10mm
The Same Image With The Verticals Straighnened In Post Production
Even though the vertical lines are not perfectly straight, the correction is enough to take away the uneasy feeling that collapsing walls create within the viewer. Also note the crop on the left and right edges. The left edge lost most of the refrigerator and the right edge lost some of the hardwood flooring. Remember that with the crop, the image is still wider than what we would have received using a 28mm lens.
Now that you know the features, benefits and downsides to using a wide angle lens in real estate photography, we hope that you decide to add a wide angle lens to your photography arsenal. If you hire a professional photographer, make sure they are sending you images that have been through post production. Their are many other post production techniques that we perform such as noise reduction and imaging touch ups but we will discuss this in a later article.
If you are in need of real estate photography in the Columbus, Ohio area, contact us today for a free quote and consultation. At Design Sticky Media, we have all your multimedia realtor needs covered from photography, videography, print and marketing.