Workshop Wednesday: Suburban Backyard

Workshop Wednesdays are a weekly segment where I provide a composition analysis of a real estate photograph. If you have a specific type of room or exterior space that you would like to see in this segment, please get in touch.

This week’s image was taken during a twilight real estate photo-shoot of an elevated single-story home in a suburban town. The image was captured towards the end of the shoot when the optimal exposure was 2 seconds at an aperture of f/11 and ISO of 640.  

The purpose of the image was to highlight the cozy fireplace setting in the backyard while also highlighting the ample green space. The other important feature in this image is the large outdoor deck that lights up nicely in the afternoons/evenings, creating the perfect place for sharing a drink (or two) with friends, or dining outside with the family.


The bulk of the foreground has been ‘placed’ in the bottom third of the image, with the rear façade of the house framed neatly in the top left (four squares) of the rule of thirds grid.


The plants surrounding the fireplace in the backyard contribute greatly towards the ‘cozy’ atmosphere, so they have been used to create a border on the left and right side of the composition. The plants also help hide some of the clutter in the backyard of the neighbouring property (on the right-hand side).


The converging diagonal lines of the wooden garden edges help lead the viewers eyes from the first feature of the image (the firepit/chill-out space/cozy outdoor area) and up towards the chairs, fireplace, green space and eventually to the house.

The image is cropped tightly to 30mm to keep the aforementioned features prominent within the image and to avoid the gardens surrounding the space filling too much of the frame.


The fireplace (although not a permanent feature of the property) will receive a lot of (viewer) attention in this image, so the camera was positioned so that the fireplace is in the centre of the image and contributes to the visual story telling.


The two outdoor chairs are balanced in the left and right-hand side of the image and point towards the centre of the image via the fireplace which complements the converging lines of the garden edges behind the two chairs.

Photograph Information

Camera: NIKON D750

Aperture (ƒ): 11

Focal Length (mm): 30

ISO: 640

Shutter Speed (s): 2s (5 Brackets)

Flash Fired: No

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