Author: Tony Colangelo
In a recent article here on PFRE, my friend, Pierre Galant made the case for the increased use of vertical images in real estate photography (e.g., captured in portrait orientation). He noted that many agents are reticent to do this because MLS portals are programmed to show images in landscape/horizontal orientation. In my own real estate photography career, I've only had a handful of clients who accepted vertical compositions. All the rest were absolutely dead-set against it. In fact, they weren’t even open to having a conversation about it; and despite my presenting a good case for certain shots in the house being captured in a vertical orientation, their trump card was always the MLS horizontal requirement.
In the comments section, at the end of Pierre’s article, Scott Hargis pointed out that one way to insert vertically oriented images in a landscape-driven MLS system was to create "a diptych out of two (preferably related) vertical compositions" and that doing so was "a simple way around the horizontal MLS issue." I think this is a great idea and in fact, I recently presented this concept in a composition webinar hosted by our friends at Shooting Spaces, Rich Baum and Brian Berkowitz.
Indeed, I think there is great potential for using diptychs in real estate photography because leveraging two-photos-in-one contributes to a better "story" about the house. It helps our agent clients to show off things they can easily “sell” as part of their listing, such as expensive appliances, distinctive finishes, quality workmanship and functional living space, all of which help to communicate the home's value. Taken collectively, these items can also serve to intrigue the prospective buyer by giving indication of the home's character, which allows them to infer a sense of the "lifestyle" they might have while living in the house.
To show you what I mean, the diptych on the right is one that I delivered to my longest-standing architect client, a couple of years ago. The homeowners wanted to renovate this lakeside cottage. However, given the zoning restrictions in the area, the cottage could not be built out. So, my client built up, producing that really funky "pyramid" looking room on the second level, with multiple, "mini-vaulted" ceilings! The images within this diptych, which were taken at similar camera angles, allow the viewer to see context between spaces (both zoomed-in and wider) and, in doing so, shows off highly functional living spaces, even in a relatively small home. If I were shooting this home for a RE agent, the next photo that I would've delivered would have been one taken from that upstairs space. Doing so contributes to the "flow" that I want to achieve in the images that I'd end up delivering to the agent ... almost as if I were taking the prospective buyers on a tour, via my photos.
While I'm pleased to say that my client really loved this diptych, the more important point I want to make is that I would also enthusiastically deliver this diptych to any real estate agent who might be selling this house; and I'm particularly pleased to say that this diptych is in a 3x2 aspect ratio, which aligns with my local MLS system.
So, what do you think? Do you offer diptychs when delivering images? If not, is this something that you would consider utilizing with your real estate agent clients?