How To Add Depth To Your Real Estate Photos

Present the space in the best possible way.


As a real estate photographer, your job is to present to your client the staged space in the best possible light. To show the room in the most appropriate way, you'll need to create more depth in your photos.

We've cut out the fluff and unnecessary theory for you. Today, we're going to dive right into practical and actionable tips that you can apply as soon as you book your next gig. Check out our recommendations below.

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Switch Out Lenses

One of the simplest things you can do to add more depth to your photos is to switch out your lens. Lenses in the 10 to 12mm range tend to come out with a "fisheye" look, showing distorted and warped lines. This distortion is not what you want when photographing staged spaces.

So, switch out your lens to something that isn't an ultra-wide-angle lens. For example, you could switch your 12mm lens for a 17 to 28mm lens. Doing so allows you to capture most of the room with less distortion.

Once you’ve switched out your lens, don’t go straight to shooting. You’re going to need to bring the camera back a few steps and zoom in on the space a little bit more.

If you don’t have a suitable lens, use the closest one that you have. You might have to work on some lens correction in post-processing, however.

An ultra-wide-angle lens creates images that are full of distortion. However, a lens in the 17 to 28mm lens will let you highlight the room in a more compressed shot, giving the space more depth.

Use Leading Lines and Vanishing Points

Besides switching out your lens, you can also create depth in an image by paying attention to the space's important lines.

Leading lines are the lines in images that guide the viewer’s eyes to a subject. On the other hand, vanishing points are the points that appear when two parallel lines come together. You can use both leading lines and vanishing points to guide viewers throughout the image and create more depth.

In images that make use of leading lines and vanishing points, you'll notice that you feel as though your eyes are "traveling" across the predetermined path. These images feel deeper and more three dimensional, rather than merely being a flat single-dimension image.

Make Use of Lighting

A little lighting goes a long way when it comes to adding depth to your photos. The right lighting can give your images a three-dimensional feel.

In the late afternoon, you can take more scenic shots by allowing the glow of the afternoon sun to shine on the elements in your image and make them stand out more.

If the sun doesn’t seem to be shining on a particular day, clouds and fog on an overcast day can also spruce images with a sense of depth by softening the lighting.

Change Your Viewpoint

In most cases, changing your viewpoint can drastically alter the depth of an image. Often, you can give a shot more depth by changing your perspective.

Consider setting up your camera lower to the ground to include some interesting foreground. You can then angle the camera up and find a way to make use of converging lines. Note that a lower point-of-view gives converging lines a different effect compared to photographing from a higher point-of-view.

Use Framing

Sometimes, you can use certain elements to frame your scene and add more depth. It’s rare to find a space indoors that allows for framing, but this technique works spectacularly when you can use furniture in the room to use the “frame in a frame” technique.

The "frame in a frame" technique involves using foreground elements to create a "frame" for the scene. Using this technique, you draw viewers in and make them feel as though they're inside the photo. This helps potential buyers better visualize themselves in the space.

Foreground, Middle Ground, and Background

To convey a sense of depth in the space, it's useful to break the photo into three different "stages." These stages are the foreground, middle ground, and background. You're going to want to find a way to connect the three spaces and pull the eye through the photo.

Leading lines, as mentioned earlier, are one way of doing this. But you won’t always find leading lines in a scene. When leading lines are absent, you need to look for something else. Most of the time, you’ll need to include something interesting in the foreground.

Follow the Rule of Thirds

Related to the last point is the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds helps you ensure you have a foreground and a background.

If you aren’t familiar with the rule of thirds, the rule dictates that you should split photos into nine equal parts, divided by two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. The principal elements in the image should intersect with these lines at any point.

If you keep the foreground on the right side of the image, there’s space on the left for the background. This creates a sense of depth.

Overlap & Layer Objects

Lastly, we will discuss overlapping or layering elements in a scene to show distance and create a sense of depth.

Overlapping elements in a photo convey to the viewer that the objects are positioned at different distances from your camera. These overlapping elements make the viewer perceive depth in the space.

Although layering objects works exceptionally well in landscape photography, you can also apply the technique to indoor photography. The viewer will recognize layers and naturally separate these layers in their mind, thus creating a sense of depth. The layers show how far apart the objects are from one another.

It would be best to remember always to look around and explore the space. Try taking shots at different viewpoints and use other elements to overlap one another. In some cases, a slight movement to the left or right can create a sense of depth and create more impact.

Final Thoughts

The tips we’ve listed above are practical, meaning you can apply them as soon as you head out for your next shoot.

Now, you can't use all the tips at the same time. Their usage depends on the situation, so you'll need to do some trial and error to figure out which tips work best for the space you're working with. But by applying even just a few of the tips we've listed above, you'll be well on your way to taking your photography to the next level.

For more tips and tricks on upping your photography game, check out our other guides on the site, or visit our YouTube channel.

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