Simple Choices Of Lens And POV Can Make A Huge Difference In An Image

August 4th, 2013

BeforeAfter400Scott Hargis sent me an example of two front exterior shots he did of a property he shot with different lenses and different POV that at first glance look the same, but on closer study show a completely different background. What’s going on here? Has he modified the background? I’ll let Scott explain:

Back in April I shot “Before” photos of a really badly run-down house in Berkeley. The agent was putting a lot of money and effort into a facelift and wanted to document it with “before/after” photos. Recently I returned and made “beauty” shots of the finished, staged house.

I didn’t realize it until someone pointed it out, but look at the difference between the surrounding trees in the two shots! I assure you that I didn’t add any foliage to the “after” photo or mess with the sky in any way other than simple RAW toning adjustments (my photoshop skills aren’t that good anyway). The only thing that changed was the camera POV and the focal length. Even the camera height and left-to-right position appear to be identical. Because of physical obstructions that existed at the time, I was standing much closer to the house (on the sidewalk) for the “Before” photo, and shooting at (gulp) 17mm. When I returned for the “After” photo I was able to back up into the street and shoot at 29mm. I find the difference to be startling.

I would not have said that it could have made that much difference, and yet there it is. I think it’s interesting in light of all the recent publicity over photo manipulation. Simple, basic choices in lens and POV can do more to alter a property than almost anything else, and yet how can that be called deceptive??

Amazing, the foliage on both the left and right side look completely different between before and after!

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10 Responses to “Simple Choices Of Lens And POV Can Make A Huge Difference In An Image”

  • That’s one of the biggest reasons I sold my Tokina 11-16 and bought the Tokina 12-24 (D300s). I use the 24mm end all the time for exterior fronts.

  • Full frame or 1.5-1.6 sensor?

  • Wow….Think I can get the background trees but the tree front left seems like a miracle tree. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have begun backing way up and using a longer lens especially on homes that are situated high up on a hill with no way to get eye level with it. That has really worked well for me.

  • Scott.
    What were the dates photos taken. The foilage is confusing me

  • Good, informative post. I normally take outside shots from two distances. But, now I think maybe that is not enough — should try 3-4 different distances. Thanks for the tip.

  • This is pretty amazing. Thanks for pointing this out to us, Scott.

  • The trees on either side do a nice job of masking the neighbor on the left and the antenna/power line on the right. Brand new paint, landscaping, and a front-lit house don’t hurt the image either. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • This is one of the reasons to hire a professional. I am also a real estate agent and I had a closing about a month ago. The agent was telling me that he was still using his point-and-shoot even though he had gone to the expense of getting a lower level DSLR. I was the buyers agent and I will bear witness that his point-and-shoot shots were not good even though he same camera body that I was using. He was not getting good results. Several reasons can account for this. First, using the built in flash is one reason why he didn’t get good results. Second, what about the camera lens? What about finding the best composition? The ability to do some post-processing is also important. You can have all the equipment that you want, but if you don’t know how to use it properly, you really should hire a professional. Agents resist this because of the expense, but sellers are getting less and less tolerant of so-so photography.

  • A striking and fantastic example of how POV is radically affected by the focal length of the lens. Thanks for posting this. This is one for the textbooks (or video…).

  • The biggest difference isn’t POV and lens, it’s time of day and the fact that the house has had a makeover

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