Scott 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!