Here at Nikki Cole Photography, we love to take photos outside and inside of buildings and homes. In a broad sense, this is called architectural photography. We then branch out into two very distinctive arms of this service: real estate and commercial.
At first glance, real estate photography and commercial architectural photography appear quite similar. Both focus on photographing exteriors and interiors of buildings. But, when it comes down to it, the two are actually quite different.
The biggest difference is the goal of the photos. But, time, equipment and editing is also very different for these two services.
Both are very rewarding, as both involve bringing a space, filled with inanimate objects, to life. But, both serve very different purposes.
Real Estate Photography - Let’s Sell This House!
Real Estate photography is designed to sell a house. A photographer tries to capture the details and nuances within the structure of a home. The goal is to make the house look bright, spacious and inviting.
These photographs will be used in print, brochures, on a website and social media. They are to provide a thorough overview of the home at a quick glance. In addition, they should entice people to want more information or to want to see the home in detail. That being said, some out-of-town-buyers may house shop solely from the comfort of their computer; therefore, a suite of real estate photos for a home should provide enough detail for these buyers as well. And, all of this needs to be done in 20 or 30 photos (or so) captured in just a few hours!
Generally, a photographer will utilize a wide angle lens in order to capture a wider shot, rather than to focus on the intimate details of a space. For instance, a photographer will look to showcase how the kitchen flows into the dining room and into the living room. Or how gathering spaces transition into the more private family spaces in a home.
The photographer will use the photos to tell an idealized story about what it might be like to live in that home. The goal is to show rooms and spaces in their entirety. The photographer is basically taking the potential buyer on a tour through the home, via photos.
The difficulty in real estate photography is two-fold. The first is that budgets tend to be smaller for real estate shoots; therefore, the photographer needs to have an eye to really hone in on what’s important in the home. Sometimes compromises must be made. Secondly, composition can be challenging, due in part to using a wide-angle lens. A photographer is challenged to capture the appropriate perspective and depth within the frame and focus.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) is commonly used in real estate photography as a way to try and have a space look closer to what our human eye sees. These images are more crisp and pop, and competing light sources are balanced out.
When a real estate photographer has HDR skills in his or her digital editing arsenal, they don’t have to spend a lot of time on location with getting light sources just right. This saves time, which is important in a quick home shoot. An experienced photographer will know the sweet spot when it comes to HDR, so their photos avoid looking over processed or over edited.
Commercial Architectural Photography - A Piece of Artwork
Commercial architectural photography is designed to showcase a stunning visual. In other words, the photographer is aiming to bring out the subtle details or frame a photo in a way that draws the viewer into the art. The photographer does not need to capture the entire space, but rather is aiming to convey a feeling or draw out an emotion.
These photographs may grace magazines, brochures, websites, billboards, advertising and posters. A photographer generally has more budget and time to complete the shoot and can spend more time to capture the true essence of the shot or brand.
Generally, the goal is to provide a more natural perspective in the frame which is achieved with a more narrow lens. This allows for a less distracting composition since more things in the periphery can be easily excluded. The photographer can also experiment more with depth-of-field. By heavily focusing on one item or area of the space, the background can be blurred to further draw attention to what’s in focus. This can be a very powerful way to control what the viewer will look at.
A commercial architecture shoot generally has a bigger budget which means the photographer has more time to get the shots just right. They can spend more time with their lighting and composition, as well as on editing if required.
In Conclusion - Let’s Recap!
While both types of architectural photography shoot the exterior and interior of buildings they are quite different in scope. Real estate photography is designed to help sell a house or market an Airbnb while commercial photography generally has a purpose to provide a stunning visual portrayal of the nuances and emotion of a building.
At Nikki Cole Photography, we do both and love it. If you have a home or building that you’d like to have photographed, please give us a call so we can discuss the scope of the project with you.