Don’t Charge For Real Estate Photography Until Your Verticals are Vertical

December 7th, 2015

Recently my wife Levi (a Realtor for 26 years) erupted in laughter at her computer and showed me these photos on an email flyer she for a listing in Tacoma, WA. What my wife was laughing about is the row of little photos along the bottom that all have wacky verticals. When you line them up together you get a particularly strange effect. It makes my stomach queasy!

The fact is photographers skilled in other types of photography that have never shot interiors with a wide angle lens never think about verticals. And most never figure out, by themselves, that it’s important to have verticals parallel with the left and right edge of the frame. They have to be told. And some will even argue that it’s not important. There is a very accomplished and successful real estate photographer in Australia (that will remain unnamed) that it took me several months in 2007 to convince him that verticals should always be rendered vertical. It’s just a concept beginners have a struggle with, but once they become believers they end up spreading the gospel.

Understanding the vertical issue is sort of rite of initiation in interior photography. Once you get your verticals, vertical you can start charging money to shoot interiors!

If you are one of the newbies that still need to know why and how here are some older posts on the subject:

  1. To be a real estate photographer you need to get some things straight
  2. PTlens: Correct Verticals, Barrel Distortion, Vignetting, Chromatic Aberration
  3. Straightening Verticals and Horizontals with Photoshop Elements
  4. Correcting Verticals -Redux (by Scott Hargis)
  5. Let’s Get This Straight (By Scott Hargis)
  6. What Everybody Ought to Know About Verticals
  7. My Mission: To Straighten All Walls in the Realm!
  8. More on Straightening Walls
  9. Another Way to Keep the Walls Straight

Wow, I didn’t realize I’d written so much on this subject.

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7 Responses to “Don’t Charge For Real Estate Photography Until Your Verticals are Vertical”

  • Larry, you wrote a lot on this subject because it’s SO VERY important to get right.
    If it’s not right, it’s a dead “give-a-way” that a rookie’s at the helm.

  • Very true, however when photographing tall houses where I’m standing relatively close to, I do like a (very) small slope in post in order to give an impression of height.

  • I totally agree! Professional pictures make a huge difference.

  • What I find somewhat ironic is that Realtors, almost universally, will rail against misrepresentation and correctly so. Some even demonstrate their cluelessness taking it to the extreme that any Photoshop is misrepresentation. Within that setting, I love to ask Realtors why they are misrepresenting a perfectly sound home, presenting it as structurally unsound with the walls falling over. And how do dishes fit in those cabinets? Deer in headlights look raising awareness or self serving replies “people know otherwise”) On listing appointments of expired listing the competition is the ‘comfort’ of re-listing with the same agent which I need to demonstrate a viable alternative. When reviewing the photos of the prior agent, I note that is only take 3 seconds to correct in Photoshop…inferring that the prior Realtor didn’t have 3 seconds to invest in them. Hardball…yes, then move on to the dark rooms with blown out windows asking which buyer wants to live in a dungeon – would they? It leads nicely into finishing positive with a marketing plan they can identify with while seeing the shortcoming of the prior plan that ‘cost’ the same commission.

  • Because of the fact 98% of the MLS listings in my neck of the woods are of houses with leaning walls and ugly HDR, the brokers and agents seem to think that’s the way houses are suppose to look to get buyer’s attention. When I show them my photos of houses with verticals that are vertical and they do not look smoke damaged, they say my photos are boring and old fashioned. I’ve only found two agents who can see the difference.

  • Verticals were the first thing Larry pointed out when he so, graciously, mentored me as I began learning this business a few years ago. I just purchased a Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head, on sale at Amazon for $170 which should even make it easier.

  • When I don’t get it right DXO Viewpoint 2 is so much easier than Photoshop for straightening verticals and horizontals.

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