March 6th, 2007
Another common mistake Realtors make with marketing photos is to use images in which the walls don’t appear to be straight. Inexpensive wide-angle will lens and converters have what is called barrel distortion. That is, distortion will make straight lines near the edges of the frame look curved.
Why Not Having Perfectly Vertical Straight Walls is a Problem
Not having straight walls is very similar to having converging verticals. Curved walls distract from the purpose of real estate photographs. You want people to say “wow, that’s a beautiful room; I’d like to buy this home!” Anything in the image that takes attention away from this purpose is a problem.
How to Minimize Curved Verticals
Curved verticals result from inexpensive wide-angle lenses or wide-angle converters. For example, I have a Nikon WC-E63 screw on wide-angle converter (cost about $180 new) that screws on many older Nikon CoolPix cameras. It produces images that have a noticeable barrel distortion. On the other hand my Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM cost $1,300 still has barrel distortion if you look for it closely but most people will never notice it because it’s so slight. When you purchase a wide-angle lens or converter find out how much barrel distortion it has before you buy it.
The thing with barrel distortion is that it occurs most at the outer edges of the lens so if you keep straight lines away from the edges of the image you won’t be able to see the distortion.