Architectural photography is significantly more complex than it may appear to be. If your goal is to get “Architectural Digest” quality images, it requires an "artistic eye" to recognize the strongest vantage points that will best showcase a property, utilizing quality photographic equipment, specialized photographic techniques and mastery of Photoshop editing. Most pros use a specialized technique called high dynamic range (HDR) when shooting architectural images. HDR is a photographic technique that involves "bracketing" -- shooting the same image at various exposures which are later composited into a single, tonally balanced final image. To summarize — there is a lot more involved than just owning a nice camera, snapping away randomly and hoping you get a few good shots out of it. It’s also very helpful if the photographer has a lifelong passion for beautiful architectural images and has studied them in detail since childhood — as I have.
Since most real estate buyers or renters shop for properties online today, the photos are the single most critical element in a marketing campaign. It puzzles me why so many realtors and property managers (with no professional photography background) treat their all-important real estate photos as a DIY project. Sorry, but your iPhone photos aren’t going to attract anyone to your property!
When budgeting for architectural photography, it’s very important to recognize all of the hours of work and years of expertise that are required to produce professional quality images. For example, a typical 3 bedroom, 2 bath house takes me at least 3 hours to photograph, plus at least a couple days to edit in Photoshop. If there are a lot of view windows to composite, the editing could take 4 days. Yet, when I speak with newbie realtors and property managers, they often assume the photography will take only 45 minutes, with no consideration of the Photoshop/post-production time. Unfortunately, their photography budget reflects that misconception. I'm hoping this quick lesson in architectural photography will help to educate my future clients about the work I do and they'll adjust their budgets accordingly.