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Real Estate Photography Syndrome (REPS)
Real Estate Photography Syndrome (REPS)

This is an epidemic in some parts of the architecture and interiors sector. In short: engage an architectural photographer, not the cheapest

Ben G Morgan avatar
Written by Ben G Morgan
Updated over a week ago

What is Real Estate Photography Syndrome (or REPS)?

Have you ever toured a home that you found online? You arrive only to find that the place is dark, and tiny, not at all like the photos on the real estate listing. This is the frustration of 'real estate photography syndrome'.

Generally, real estate photography:

  • Is brightly lit (all the lights are on internally)

  • Uses poor artificial light

  • Has overexposure added in post-production

  • Uses wide-angle lenses used to make internal and external spaces seem bigger

  • Adds bright blue sky (usually poorly)


In a way, we've all accepted this deceit, and it generally doesn't fool us. But, architects can get caught out.

This is an epidemic in some parts of the architecture and interiors sector, where architects and interior designers look for the cheapest option, which is often a quick in-and-out shoot-and-leave real estate photographer. This is a false economy.

What's wrong with real estate photography?

To put it simply, you won't get published.

If all you're looking for from your photography is documentation (you won't put it on your website or try to get it published), then go for it – although, you may as well just pop along with your iPhone camera.

If you want to have it on your website, and get published, you must hire an architectural photographer. It's worth every cent.

Why are architectural or interiors photographers so good?

Avoiding value judgements (though we would argue they are objectively better for architecture), architecture and interiors photographers are generally more aware of what gets published, and what most publications are looking for. They can even prepare photography to appeal to specific titles.

Because their life is spent in great architecture, they have skills to capture the feeling of architecture in a 2D format.

If for no other reason, they will allow you to get your work published.

How do I avoid hiring a real estate photographer?

Don't Google

Don't google your photographer and go with the ad at the top. This could be dangerous.

Who's being published?

Instead, look on the platforms and in the publications you'd like to be featured. Also, checking out other architects and interior designers you know and love is a good start. You can also use BowerBird to search for photographers in your region.

Basically, if a photographer has been featured on a great website or in a magazine you think your clients might be reading, they're probably a safe bet.

Don't skimp

If you've got four projects to get photographed, but you've only got budget to photograph one, don't find a real estate photographer (or cheaper photographer) to do four for the price of one, instead find the best project, and hire one architectural photographer to capture it perfectly. This is a much better investment, and when you have the budget, you may be able to return to the other projects at a later date.

If you're just starting out, budget for your photographer from the beginning. Your first project is the only way you can market your practice effectively, so think about it early. If you need help finding a photographer, you can send us a message using the chat box to your right ⤵

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