Real Estate vs Architectural Photography: Are They the Same?

By the RPP Team
April 20, 2022
Real estate and architectural photography both involve photographing a type of property (whether it be a house, apartment, hotel or office) – so shouldn’t they result in the same imagery? Surprisingly, this is not the case. Real estate photographers and architectural photographers have different clients, which therefor leads usually to a different type of brief.

The Client

A real estate photographer has the homeowner and agent as clients, and both of their needs must be met. Generally, the property will be photographed for the basis of advertising the sale or rental of a property to prospective buyers/ tenants.

In comparison, an architectural photographer’s client is the architect. An architect can be working on a project for months or years, and photography is a means to document their craftsmanship & vision, turning this into a visually compelling story.

Aim and Result

When listing a property, the agent aims to capture as much information about the property into limited photographs; the number and size of bedrooms/bathrooms/living spaces, how these spaces interact and connect (layout of the house), and the size of the entire property must be conveyed. Wide angled shots are not only favoured by real estate professionals, but also by those who are actively searching for the ideal property. It allows the viewer to understand the layout and features of the property and make quick decisions as to whether it suits their future or immediate needs.

A real estate image showing the layout of a house

On the other hand, an architectural photographer is aiming to capture the design, craftsmanship and story of the space. The photographer is wanting to translate the architects ideas to the viewer. This results in a catalogue of images which can often include a mix between detailed (tight & cropped) and wide, but for a different type of purpose.

An architectural photograph showcasing soft lighting creeping in a master bedroom

Real estate and architectural photography both create beautiful imagery for the client. However, their aim and results are entirely different. With the demand for visually compelling photography for the purposes of selling a property, we just might see a fusion between the two types of photography.