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What Is a Focal Point in Photography?

Published: 29/08/2021

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What is a focal point in photography? This is a common question when learning how to highlight subjects in a creative way. In this article, we're going to know the value of focus points and how you can use them to elevate your real estate images.

What Is a Focal Point in Photography?

The focal point refers to the point of interest or activity that leads the viewer's eye to the image. Whether it takes up the majority of the frame or not, it is the principal focus that aims to tell what the real estate photo is all about.

Your point of view dictates whether the focal points can make or break a real estate photo. Thus, it's crucial that you understand how a focus point works and utilize it best in creating well-composed images.

High ceiling living room with glass windows

Importance of Focal Point in Real Estate Photos

The focal point serves as the point of focus that captures the bulk of the attention in a picture. It also acts as the convergence point to ensure the other parts of the photo look connected. 

If there's no structure, a person's interest will fade away. Hence, the focus points retain attention so a person would continue to digest an image's story or meaning.

Focal points also bring scale to a real estate photo, making a property look more dramatic or interesting. If a person knows how tall a person is when placed next to the door, the focal point helps homebuyers visualize a property feature's size.

Effects of Focus Points in an Image

Since the focal point is an element that attracts a homebuyer's attention, it also has a great relationship with other components in a frame. For instance, the focus point in the foreground can be in sharp focus, while the background is blurrier.

As you can see, the points of focus provide balance, proportion, emphasis, rhythm, and harmony. These focal points ensure you follow the principles of art to give objective reasoning to a real estate image.

Examples of Focal Point in Real Estate Photography

One of the challenging things about real estate photography is that a wide-angle shot can show many objects in a scene. The goal of a focal point is to provide a place of rest for a buyer's eyes so that the person won't have to wander across the photo. 

Including a focal point is also a way to direct a person's vision. The point of interest helps a buyer's eye transition from the green lawn to the brick patio in a minimalistic space.

If an interior has lots of colors and texture, focal points also serve as a pattern brake. It could be a majestic fireplace or chandelier amidst a sea of furniture and plants in an interior setup.

Tips on Creating the Perfect Focal Point in a Photo

When you're composing a shot, ask yourself, what is it that I want homebuyers to notice in the picture right away? If you don't choose the point of interest right away, the buyer might feel confused and won't understand the message you want to convey.

There will always be a dominant focal point, even if you put several points of focus in a real estate photo. However, as a real estate photographer, you have complete control over placing or arranging the focus points in an image.

Bedroom with gray interior motif with a touch of red accent colors

About 65% of the population are visual learners, so they need visual imagery to gather and retain information. An effective way to do that is to set focus points in the right place. 

  • Focus on a color: A brightly colored or deeply toned focus point would have a striking effect on an image. In real estate photography, it could be the bright yellow wall in the kid's bedroom or a luscious red couch in the living room.
  • Use light contrast: Underexpose some parts of the real estate photo to make well-lit areas stand out. 
  • Change the depth of field: Use a narrow depth of field to focus on one subject, then put the others in a blur.
  • Put visual weight: Some elements are more prominent or taller than others. Place the focal points in objects such as furniture, plants, or even an animal.

Related Questions

What Is the Rule of Thirds in Photography?

The rule of thirds is a composition guideline that positions the subject at any point where the lines of a 3x3 grid intersect. A viewer's eye naturally gets drawn in the intersecting points.

What's the Difference Between Focus Points and Composition?

Composition is the way you compose elements in a picture. Compositions include focal points and other photography elements you would like to use. Meanwhile, the focus point is the area in a composition where you're drawing a person's eye. 


A focal point in photography is the portion in an image that captures and retains a person's attention. The point of focus is vital in ensuring you have well-composed real estate photos with identifiable subjects. Keep practicing until you find the best areas to place the focus points.

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