Friday, 24 May 2013

Managing expectations.....

Email recieved:


Could you try to reduce how wide the images are as people are turning up at properties and saying how disappointed they are as they thought it looked much bigger in the photos.

There is a fine line between making the properties look as good as possible to draw in enquiries, and ending up with underwhelmed tenants who are let down when they arrive to visit the property.

Let me know what you would recommend.

Thanks for all your help so far.

here is the reply so far

Hmmm struggling to think of how to respond...

Is there a couple of specific examples you can refer to so I can check the images that I delivered.  Is it more in reference to the smaller properties or the medium size properties or even specific rooms?

(How I shoot and edit)
I shoot the properties with a 16mm Wide Angle lens so that I can capture as much of the detail, 'fixtures and fittings' and shape of the room as possible. I almost always shoot from the corner of the rooms to make them looks as large and as appealing as possible, and shoot generally from a hip level which gives the room a much greater depth to it. It is the use of furniture within a room which helps dictate the viewers perception of the size of the room (ie almost impossible to guess the size of an unfurnished room without a object of reference of size) Which sometimes can be manipulated as with this full scale aeroplane in this giants house.

Even so when I edit the images there are usually minor corrections required (lens corrections rotational corrections and tilt adjustments) that actually crop in on the photo so already the images are not as wide angle as possible.

(Danger of less wide angles)
If I were to reduce the angle of the lens, then there is no way that I can expand the image after shooting it. So it is always best that I try and shoot as wide as possible. If a property is actually small, Cropping an image or shooting with a narrower lens angle will most likely remove details and make it harder to assess the size or layout of a room, it may put people off even inquiring about it in the first place. 
If there are images that you want to be cropped just let me know and I can easily re-edit the image and crop it, however in doing so, there may be details lost such as positions of beds, radiators against walls, heights of ceilings, etc.

(Benefits of Less than wide angle)
In some cases less than 'ultra wide angle' shots are taken, and these are used to emphasis the ambiance of a property and detail elements of the property such as how the evening light falls upon its internal architecture, or the interaction of room design with bespoke furniture placement, etc.  This is the kind of thing you see in Interior Design magazine , examples like
This kind of shooting is usually for the high end, professionally dressed and or massive rooms. (for example the Great King street property where its livingroom was split into 3 photos, one of the sitting area, one of the dining area and one of both together.)

(Other options)
The other option for a more realistic POV is to have a video of the property, that way, with the moving images, there is no guessing required on behalf of the viewer as it is clear when the camera moves.  However there is a charge for that.  This maybe something that you can offer to your landlord clients, just let them know that the photos are good and getting people in the door but that for more effective marketing it may be beneficial to have a video shot of the property as well.

(What I can do for you)
So in terms of cropping, that is not a problem, and can easily be done. Just let me know which properties it is and if I still have the original images then I can crop them in tighter to the room with no loss to the final exported resolution for your site or brochures.  I have attached a couple of examples. As you may see from the image attached, sometimes cropping the images can make things like the furniture looks larger and the rooms look less cluttered (ie the removal of a tree in the corner, or a plug socket by the fire etc) But may  not have a massive effect on reducing the percieved size of a room.   Sometimes cropping in an image doesn't stop it looking big.  Sometimes the wide angle-ness of the wide angle shots can make some elements of a room look smaller. (such as a kitchen in the background)

I think the best strategy from here on in is that I continue to try and make the rooms look large and appealing so that the images generate as much interest and booked viewings in the hope that once the viewer is at the property, other elements such as its location, amenities, and facilities help promote the property over the potential misperceptions of room size.  If, however, viewers are potentially feeling deceived by difference from the images to the real thing then please feedback to me regarding which properties and which rooms so as I can re-edit the images or if necessary re-shoot the property.
The more feedback you can give me regarding the images and viewers comments the better I can tailor the style to your client base.

Kind regards

Dom Bower



  1. Really Good answer Dom,try to get him to get property videos from you,casue this will be better for him and YOU ;)


  2. That's a fair reply, Dom

  3. Why don't you correct your converging vertical lines?

  4. I've just taken the first shots for a window makers web site and even though i only have a 24-70 2.8,i found many little niggles,as in distortion but thats over come in LR5 at the mo,and trying to get what the eye see's isnt easy as one would think so I know the difficulties of interior shots,its best to over shoot and get from ALL angles then let the client choose the shots that way at least one persons happy,the one that pays the cheque :)

  5. I would have thought that if the agent lists the sizes of the rooms in the property details that should give most people with an ounce of common sense an idea of how big the rooms are. Maybe people should spend more time studying the details before booking a viewing to save disappointment.