What is the difference between architectural vs real estate photography? 

While both shooting styles can be used to capture a property for sale, there are some key distinctions between them. First, real estate photography is more about making a space attractive to potential buyers. In contrast, architectural photography is all about capturing the geometry and design of the building. 

Let’s take a closer look at these two genres of photography.

What is real estate photography?

Real estate photography

It’s no secret that real estate photography is a vast industry. 

In fact, according to statistics from The National Association of Realtors, 71% of home buyers say photos are essential when viewing homes online. So if you’re looking to sell your home, you must have great images from a  professional real estate photographer.

Real estate photography is the process of taking pictures of a property to be advertised for sale or rent. 

The pictures show the potential buyer or renter what the property looks like. Real estate photography is an integral part of the real estate process. The motive is to market the property, ensuring that the pictures show the property in the best possible light. 

What is architectural photography?

Architectural Photography

Architectural photography is the process of taking photographs of buildings and structures. It can be used for various purposes, including marketing, design documentation, and historic preservation.

There are many reasons to photograph architecture. For example, some people might want to document a building they have designed for future reference, while others might be interested in capturing the beauty of a well-crafted structure. 

Architects often use photographs as part of their portfolio, and real estate agents use architectural images to market the property. Journalists also sometimes use architectural photos in urban planning or historic preservation stories. 

Is real estate related to architecture?

While there is a significant difference between real estate and architecture, there is no denying the close relationship between architecture and real estate. Architecture is the design of buildings, while real estate is the business of buying, selling, or renting land, buildings, or housing.

There are some overlaps between the two genres. Still, generally speaking, architectural photographers are more concerned with the overall look and feel of a structure. In contrast, real estate photographers are more interested in highlighting specific features that could make a property appealing to buyers.

To understand the relationship better, picture the appealing house. So, before you move into interiors, the exteriors make the first impression. The overall design, structure, and the way the property stands tall attractively make you want to get a closer look inside, and take notice of all its hidden features as a buyer. 

What architectural photography does is highlights the physical structure of the building while creating a mystery and curiosity behind a property. On the other hand, real estate photography gives you features and highlights the essence of the property, making it appear liveable, lovely, and a worthy thing to possess. 

The difference between these two types of photography

Regarding taking photographs of buildings, there are two main types of photography: architectural and real estate.

Architectural photography is all about capturing the design and aesthetics of a building. In contrast, real estate photography focuses on showcasing the features of a property to generate interest in potential buyers.

One key difference between the two genres is that architectural photographers often work with clients who have commissioned them to create images for marketing or promotional purposes. In contrast, real estate photographers typically work for estate agents or property developers who want to sell a house or development.

The final images shot by an architectural photographer can be used for various purposes, such as marketing materials, magazine articles, or even as part of an exhibition. 

Real estate photographers typically produce images for online listings like Airbnb and VRBO and promotional materials like websites, real estate directories, and real estate agents’ portfolios for commercial or selling purposes.

How to choose the right type of photography for your needs?

Your photography needs depend on the purpose of the photography itself. However, before choosing the photographers for your individual needs, some factors are considered: your budget, requirements, photography goals, and time. 

Factor the following into your decision-making process before hiring the photographers: 

Budget:  Commercial architectural photography is expensive and can go anywhere from $3k-$5K to as much as $10K. These images are often commissioned by multi-million dollar corporations that can afford to pay top-notch photographers. 

On the other hand, Realtors hire Real Estate photographers because they have a limited photography budget. For real estate photography, budgets might range from $50 to $500, depending on market conditions and the level of competence of the shooter.

Time: Commercial architecture photography is time-consuming, with only 8 to 10 photographs taken in a full day of shooting.

Most shoots require an initial site visit and scouting to establish a shot list, which may make it necessary to clean and prep the location, hire personnel, and so on. Compositing, color correction, and retouching are standard post-production techniques used in Commercial Architecture Photography. 

Real Estate Photography is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Real estate photographers are expected to produce 15-25 photographs in as little as 60-90 minutes. 

Applications: Images shot for Commercial Architecture, and those shot for Real Estate have radically diverse applications for utilization. 

Architects who receive a Request For Proposal (RFP) must submit photos of recently completed projects of a similar nature. Most of the time, they cannot offer a bid on a project if they cannot show examples of recent, similar work. However, these images are licensed for an extended period for internal and external use.

On the other hand, real estate images are only utilized for a brief time before they are either sold or removed from the market. The fact is that these images can be sold to people like stagers, interior designers, and even home builders for a profit.

When you sort out your budget, photography purpose, time at hand, and applications of those photos, you can choose the right type of photography for your needs. 

The benefits of each type of photography

Both architectural and real estate photography have their benefits. Hiring photographers who understand your needs is essential, but you also should realize what both photographers can bring to the table at the end of the day. 

Benefits of architectural photography

There are many benefits to architectural photography. Some of the most notable benefits include:

1. Capturing the beauty of architecture

Architecture is often considered a work of art, and capturing its beauty through photography is a rewarding experience. However, architectural photography can make even the most mundane structures look beautiful, whether magnificent buildings or humble cottages.

2. Documenting the history

Many historic buildings are in danger of being demolished or lost forever. By photographing these buildings, we can document their existence and help to preserve their legacy.

3. Enhancing real estate listings

A well-done architectural photograph can make a property stand out from the competition and increase its chances of being sold. Such pictures are also popular among architects and interior designers who use them for inspiration.

4. Showcasing your skills

If you’re an architectural photographer, showcasing your skills can help you attract new clients and build your business. It can also be a great way to learn new techniques and experiment with different styles.

5. Preserving memories

People often take photographs of their favorite buildings to preserve memories. Capturing these memories through photography is a unique and memorable way to remember them.

Benefits of real estate photography

Commercial Photography

1. It shows the property in its best light.

Professional real estate photography showcases a property in its best light, making it look more appealing to potential buyers. Using natural light and highlighting the property’s features, a good photographer can make a house or apartment look like a dream home. This is especially important when selling a property that may not be in the best condition.

2. It generates more interest in the property.

Good real estate photography can generate a lot of interest in a property, as potential buyers will be able to see exactly what they’re buying. An attractive photo can also help to speed up the sale process, as interested buyers will be more likely to make an offer.

3. It creates a positive first impression.

The first impression is often the most important, and good real estate photography can positively impact potential buyers. An attractive photo will help create interest in the property and encourage people to learn more about it.

4. It adds value to the property.

A high-quality real estate photo can add value to a property by making it look more appealing to potential buyers. However, when it comes time to sell, a good photograph can be the difference between getting your asking price and lowering it.

5. It helps you stand out from the competition.

Good real estate photography can help you stand out from the competition by showing that you take your business seriously. An attractive photo will help you attract more buyers and generate more leads, which can help you sell your property faster and at a higher price.

Tips for choosing a photographer for your real estate or architectural photography project

When choosing a photographer for your real estate or architectural photography project, there are a few key things to keep in mind. 

Here are some tips to help you choose the right photographer for the job:

  1. Make sure the photographer has experience photographing buildings and real estate.
  2. Ask to see examples of their work in this genre.
  3. Ensure the photographer has good technical skills and knows how to use the right equipment for the job.
  4. Ask about their shooting style and what approach they would take to photographing your property.
  5. Find out if they have any insurance and whether they have any experience working with property managers or real estate agents.
  6. Ask for references from past clients.
  7. Get a quote from the photographer and ensure it fits your budget.

Final thoughts, 

Real estate photography and architectural photography are two very different types of photography. 

It is essential to understand the difference before deciding which type of photographer to hire for your project. For example, architectural photographers must have a strong understanding of design, while real estate photographers must capture a property’s essence to generate interest. 

We hope this post will help you determine which type of photography is best suited for your project. 

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