Are you a wedding or family-portrait photographer thinking of branching out into the real estate niche? That’s not a bad idea! Real estate, or architectural photography, is lucrative, is not an entire day affair, you’ll get to see a ton of stunning houses, and you won’t have to bring your squeaky toy for the naughty two-year old. However, you will need to make sure your lenses are suited for this type of photography. Here are the 6 best lenses for real estate photography.
Tips For Real Estate Photography
Before I get to the lenses, I want to briefly discuss camera equipment in general. Besides your camera, take a peek at what your camera bag should include:
- A sturdy tripod: You won’t be able to keep your camera stable, without a tripod, when shooting indoors. You’ll also want to take advantage of the ambient light, requiring a slow-shutter speed. Do this and your shots will be naturally lit and in focus. Just what we want! This is a good one.
- A heavy-duty flash: If window light is scarce, you’ll need a flash. I always bounce mine off the ceiling to get soft, natural-looking shots.
- One or two wide-angle zoom lenses: I love zoom lenses for any kind of photography, including real estate.
- A prime 50mm lens: A fixed lens at this focal length is great for detail shots, adding interest and depth. See the fireplace and bathtub pictures below.
- Extra camera and flash batteries: This goes without saying. What good is a camera or flash without working batteries?
If you want to get some spectacular, panoramic aerial shots, take it one step further, and go for a drone!
[Read More: DJI Mavic 2 Pro Review]
All About Lenses
I have just one word for you when it comes to real estate photography; Go wide, but not too wide. I mean that in regards to lens choice. Wide-angle lenses make it possible to capture the details of an entire room, making it look as spacious as possible. This applies to every space you’re photographing, but especially tight areas.
Most real estate photographers agree that 20-25mm is the perfect focal length for this type of photography, but we’re not talking about an exact science here. Your personal shooting style will always be a factor, and a range of 15-40mm may work great for your needs.
Here’s an amazing article on real estate photography by Rohan Arora from pixpa:
However, too wide of a lens will distort the foreground and not properly display the background. The goal isn’t necessarily to capture a room with just one shot. Two shots, that aren’t so wide, will most likely be better in most cases. You want your composition to be as realistic as possible.
And don’t be tempted to use a fish-eye lens. You’ll hate the results so forego the temptation. Distortion has no place when photographing interiors. Please do take your 50mm fixed lens with you as it will be perfect for photographing detail shots like ornate fireplaces, custom furniture, or unique light fixtures.
What About Fast Lenses?
Save your fast lenses for portraiture and low-light situations. When photographing interiors you’ll want the entire shot to be laser sharp from front to back. F7 -11 is going to be the sweet spot. This is great news because fast lenses come with a hefty price tag.
If you don’t have any specialty lens, you can use the kit lens that came with your camera. Mine is a 24-70. I have used it many times to shoot interiors, and it works great if I keep it at 24. It is possible to shoot real estate with a kit lens.
Here’s another example:
The reason I’m including this section on tilt-shift lenses is because many architectural photographers use them, however, they are expensive and not a requirement for this type of photography, even though you can get some pretty darn cool shots. If your budget allows, definitely check them out. I would look around for a used one.
A tilt-shift lens includes optics that can be both tilted or shifted in relation to the image sensor. These lenses are also designed to rotate in a variety of directions. The advantage of using this type of lens, when shooting inside spaces, is the ability to tilt the lens up or down in order to manipulate depth of field with minimal distortion.
Another great thing about this specialty lens is the ability to alter the focal plane. With normal lenses, this plane runs parallel, but with a tilt-shift lens, the focal plane can run perpendicular to the sensor, running vertically through the frame. The image will be sharp from foreground to background, even if you’re using a fairly wide aperature due to the large image circle.
This center and corner-to-corner sharpness is a big advantage to using a tilt-shift lenses, allowing you to control the edge sharpness depending on what aperature you use.
Using the tilt and shift features together allows for even greater image control in terms of perspective and plane of focus. This combination is terrific if your goal is to create unique images. Tilt-shift lenses are versatile and awesome for panoramic shots.
Full-Frame Lens Choices For Architecture Photography
1. Canon 10-22mm: All you Canon users out there will appreciate this lens.
2. Canon 17-40mm – f/4: Check it out here.
3. Nikon 16-35mm – f/4: If you’re a Nikon user, you’ll love this.
4. Nikon 10-24mm DX: Check out this lens.
5. Tokina 17-35mm f/4 (Canon and Nikon): This one is under $500.
6. Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 (Canon and Nikon): Read the reviews on this lens.
I really enjoy real estate photography. It has a much different feel than family portraiture or wedding photography. Having the right equipment ensures your images will be well lit, in focus, and realistically portray the property you’re photographing. I hope you found this post helpful on what lenses are the most suitable for shooting interiors.
Are you a real estate photographer? What is your favorite lens? Let me know in the comments:)