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Tiny Rooms - Real-Estate photography question

fruska

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Hi all, new to the group here. I'm shooting on a Sony A7III, it's my first DSLR, and after a year of researching cameras I decided it was the one for me. I currently only have a Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. I've started doing real-estate photography as , and I'm running into trouble photographing the really small rooms, bathrooms in particular, in small homes, are a nightmare. I'm looking for tips or recommendations for a (cost effective) wide angle lens that will allow me to capture tiny rooms like that. I am doing most of my post processing in Lightroom, but slowly learning lightroom classic, photoshop, and Skylum's Luminar 4 as well.
Thanks!
 

Snips

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In my experience 24mm is plenty as any wider and the photographs become too distorted which, in turn, leads buyers to wonder whether there is some trickery going on. The lens should be an excellent choice but try not to use the wide aperture too much as most people like to see everything in focus in property photography. Keep the f/2.8 setting for a few select, arty sort of photographs.

I make extensive use of a tripod. Most small rooms don't really need photographing (e.g. a small utility room, downstairs loo) but obviously bedrooms and bathrooms require this.

I frequently photograph from outside the room through the open door and I don't try and have the complete room in a single photograph. A bare corner, for example, can be ignored, you don't really need to photograph the loo itself in a bathroom. Trying to have a shower, bath, basin, towel rail and so on in one photograph might be near on impossible so you might simply photograph the basin and mirror if they are set against some attractive tiles. The details of the fixtures and fittings (e.g. bath or shower) will be in the estate agent's brochure.

A small bedroom can also be a challenge but you don't need to have the whole bed in the photograph - the human eye will make up the rest of the image.

One trick I use is to photograph rooms at about 1m up from the ground but this does vary from room to room. A kitchen counter is around 90cm high so photographing just about this might present problems if you're using the counter as a lead in to the photograph, so you'd need to raise the camera more.

Another trick that many use, including estate agents, is to clear any clutter, especially in kitchens - a plainer room just looks better and tidier. Hide tv remotes, plump up cushions, check the curtains are straight, turn on lights (for atmosphere) and they look better when turned on, check pictures are straight, check nothing is reflecting the camera/tripod or you, use the odd props for some photographs, e.g. a glass of wine (either wine or squash), flowers, and the list goes on and on. Check all details before you leave the property and go through your photographs carefully in case you need to re-photograph a room.

Re the processing, I take three exposures, one 0 stop, one at about -1 1/3rd stop and one at +1 1/3rd stop then in Lightroom I merge them as an HDR image and tweak the result if required. Frequently the resulting HDR image is all that is required with no further editing.

I've photographed a few properties over the years and as long as you don't rush, it's not too difficult in all honesty. Don't forget outside too, the garden, the best view of the house, etc and while others have the doors and windows closed, I prefer to have them open on a sunny day so the house looks much more inviting.

Finally, try photographing your own house first, see how long it takes and then be Really Critical with the resulting photographs.
 

JonathanJones

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A friend who has her house on the market hated the realtors photos and retook them all with her iPhone in panorama. Her photos look so much better than what the real estate photographer took. I suggest you start in your own home and photograph it and compare those to listings you see online and then adjust until you get the desired look. Rent lenses until you find what works best for you.
 

fruska

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Thanks for the tips. Snips, the agent I've been working for is super happy with all of my exterior shots, I'm shooting panoramas with both my A7iii and my drone, and using tripod for interiors, but even at 24mm the properties I'm shooting are tiny. Maybe I need to try for different angles, but on my last shoot I had less than 2 ft of space between open door and bathroom to position the tripod. House was seriously small. I figure I can correct for distortion in post, but maybe I should try doing panoramas instead? We're talking 3ftx5ft bathrooms. If you're okay with it, if like to pm you the address so you can see my photos on Zillow, maybe you see some better angles for me to use. Thanks so much for the replies!
 

Mj224

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Good luck with the work. A 3 by 5 foot bathroom, now that is Wee...:)
 

Minor Problem

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My day job is bathroom and kitchen refurb. Whilst I completely agree with most of what Snips has said above I would maintain that there is a need for a wider lens in some situations. I shoot any rooms I refurb that are a bit unusual to go on my website and I use my 14-24 (on full frame). 24mm just isn't wide enough for a tiny room no matter how arty you get with the contextual shots you still need a visual idea of the overall layout for potential customers to relate to.

If I were in the market for a new UWA I wouldn't hesitate to get the Tamron 15-30, it's better in almost every way than my most excellent Nikon and 2/3 of the price.
 

RyanB

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I don't do this sort of stuff but it strikes me if tripod space is limited a bird hide clamp might come in handy in your kit. Gives you a stable platform from anywhere sturdy enough to clamp to and might be a cheap way to give you some more room for framing shots.

I have one of these with a different make's head on it and find it very sturdy but there are plenty out there.
Cullman Clamp Magic
 

fruska

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So, okay, I'm feeling kind of dumb here, snips, how do I send a pm through this forum?
 

Minor Problem

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So, okay, I'm feeling kind of dumb here, snips, how do I send a pm through this forum?
You need to be a premium member to have the PM facility.
 

Snips

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So, okay, I'm feeling kind of dumb here, snips, how do I send a pm through this forum?
Or you can contact me via my website - I'm working long days though so it might take a while for me to respond
 

fruska

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So, as an update, I finally got my Sony to Canon lens mount adapter. I bought a 6.8mm fish-eye lens (that fits on a Canon Rebel T6i(750 D)) for 100 bucks at the pawn shop before even owning my camera, because the guy I was working with was doing our interiors on his Canon and I didn't really know anything about lenses yet. Honestly, I don't even know who the manufacturer is, I thought maybe it was a Rokinon, but it doesn't have any markings on it except "6.8mm Fish-Eye".

But I thought, "What the hell, I've got it, I'll test it"

Notably, the image was terrible (1st image), and would need HEAVY post processing to be usable. Then I was going through all of Lightrooms lens profiles to correct the distortion, and none of them did anything EXCEPT... the GoPro Fusion lens profile. It was like looking at a whole new image! Just thought that was weird and kind of fun. The second is edited with the lens correction and auto-settings from lightroom. Both are the same base photo of my downstairs half-bath.

I don't know why it worked, but I'll take it! Lol
 

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