In this four-part series you will be introduced to the four basic elements of composition for real estate photography and Airbnb photography. The purpose of this series is to help you develop an understanding of how to photograph the interior and exterior spaces before we dive into more advanced technical elements in upcoming posts. There are several elements of composition when it comes to photography, however the fundamental elements that are discussed herein for this photography discipline are the rule of thirds, line, depth, and balance. In the previous article within this series we discussed the rule of thirds, and in this part of the series we discuss ‘line’ and how it applies to composing an image.
The four types of lines comprise of horizontal, vertical, diagonal, and irregular. When shooting interiors, lines are created by wall edges, furniture, cabinetry, and other structures within the home. Lines formed in exterior images are typically the details in a building’s façade, the outline of the building (walls, windows, and roofline), pool edges, driveways, landscaping, and surrounding structures.
Photographing a scene front-on will produce a less dynamic image by highlighting primarily vertical and horizontal lines.
Shooting at an angle will produces more dynamic tension and contrast to the composition. Using diagonal lines can also allow you to ‘lead the eye’ to certain features within image. For example, diagonal lines formed by the edges of a driveway will lead the eye of the viewer down to the façade of the home.
One of the most important things to remember in real estate photography is that the vertical lines in the composition need to be straight. Vertical lines include the edge of walls, window frames, benchtops, cupboard doors, and any other straight object in the frame.
The vertical lines will vary depending on the type of interior or exterior you are shooting. To achieve straight verticals, you should ensure your camera is level on the horizontal plane and that there is no tilt (camera’s lens is not pointing up or down).
Wide angle lenses will have a degree of lens distortion which causes some of the vertical lines on the outer edges to appear slightly curved. The shorter the focal length (or wider the lens), the greater the lens distortion will appear in the image. Lens distortion can be corrected with photo-retouching using apps or photo-editing software, so do not stress if you cannot achieve perfectly straight vertical lines.
The images below show a comparison of an image that was photographed slightly tilted back and an image that was photographed with the camera perfectly level.
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