We all start somewhere.
In the beginning I used a super wide angle lens in Real Estate. All the while I thought this lens and style being the bee’s knees. I stood in one corner of the room and captured the entire home. The lens made the smallest of homes as large as football fields. I’m in heaven. Well, at least that’s what I thought.
There are advantages to using a wide angle lens in Real Estate, also disadvantages.
The rooms appear larger.
This can attract more potential buyers to view the home. It’s also misleading. The potential buyers now upset when they tour the home because they now see it’s true dimensions and the lack of space.
The USS Sofa.
A wide angle lens can make the furniture and fixtures disproportionate to each other. Some furniture will even seem as large as a battleship.
Examine the window and fireplace in these two photos:
Do you notice the size differences between the two perspectives? In the first photograph the window is wide and the fireplace tiny. In the second photo the window is narrow while the fireplace stretches across the width of the sofa. Also, look at the left end table in both photographs. In one photo it’s long and the next, stout.
Did the table rotate between the two shots? No, this is the perspective distortion caused by a wide angle lens. The closer the object is to the lens, the larger it will become compared to objects in the distance. This is true even if the objects are the same size in reality.
Wide angle lenses also cause barrel distortion. This is due to the field of view on the lens being larger than the camera’s image sensor. It will squeeze the entire image to fit into the small sensor field. Straight lines near the edge of the photo curve outward, and the walls of the house will warp.
Some Real Estate Agents won’t mind or even notice these distortions. So by all means, shoot as wide as you want.
What can you do?
To minimize these distortions, there are a few methods in which you can use.
Don’t shoot lower than 24mm.
This is where you craft those composition skills. I have noticed that depending on the lens, right around 16mm is where the major distortion happens. You can get away with shooting a little under 24mm. Though, most professional Architectural and Real Estate Photographers try to shoot at, or above, 24mm.
Fix the distortion in post.
You can correct barrel distortion in most major graphic and design software. Both Photoshop and Lightroom have lens correction profiles. If your lens is too new, chances are the software won’t have a profile yet. You can adjust the photos by hand using other features within the software.
Keep all objects a equal distance away from the lens.
I know this may be close to impossible when photographing Real Estate and Architecture. The perspective and size distortion will be minimal if you manage to keep everything an equal distance from the lens.