Architectural Photography: Magazine Quality at Real Estate Photo Prices

Architectural Photography: Magazine Quality at Real Estate Photo Prices
January 8, 2024 Braxton Wilhelmsen

Architectural Photography: Magazine Quality at Real Estate Prices


Open Homes isn’t your average real estate photography company. Our experience shooting over 100,000 listings has allowed  us to develop a way to deliver magazine-quality architectural  photos at real estate photography pricing. Specialized architectural photographers do incredible work, and can charge 8-10 times as much as typical real estate photography companies do. Images are buyers’ first touchpoint when shopping for homes. But how do you navigate all the aesthetic differences and hire the right shooter for your listing?  In this article, we’ll help you understand the difference between real estate photography and architectural photography, and why Open Homes is the clear choice for your next listing. 


Real Estate Photography
Architectural Photography

File Handling

The primary goal of real estate photography is to simply showcase a property for sale or rent. Real estate photographers focus on capturing the key features of a property, emphasizing its selling points, and providing a realistic representation to attract potential buyers or tenants. Sounds great, right? So what’s the difference between this and the goals of architectural photography?

Architectural photography aims to capture the artistic and structural elements of buildings. It goes beyond simply showcasing a property for sale and often focuses on highlighting the design, form, and details of architecture as an art form. Successful architectural photography creates “oohs” and “ahhs” which are usually absent when viewing typical real estate images. These images help viewers imagine themselves and their family living in the home.

At Open Homes, we’ve learned that both the technical and the emotional work best together to grab buyers’ attention and motivate them to take action. 

Real estate photo of back patio
Rooftop Twilight View

Let’s look at a few other differences between the typical and the extraordinary and see how these magazine quality elements can get you game-changing  results.


Real estate photography emphasizes wide-angle shots and often includes multiple rooms and exterior views to give viewers a comprehensive look at the entire property. The goal is to provide a clear and inviting representation of the space. Most shots are taken  from the corners of each room to fit as much in each shot as possible. Again, the focus is on technical representation of properties with efficiency as a primary motivation.

Architectural photography focuses on capturing specific design elements, angles, and details that showcase the unique architectural features of a building. It may involve more creative composition and artistic framing to highlight the design intent. 1-point perspective is used to isolate the viewer and simplify the view, creating a sense of stillness and presence. Rather than efficiency, these compositions are motivated by emotion, story and texture, which is what creates a connection between the buyer and a property.

Real estate photo of home facade
Twilight Back Yard With Umbrellas

Timing and Lighting

Real estate photography is typically shot during the day to take advantage of natural light. For the sake of efficiency, this allows photographers to avoid spending time setting up and using artificial lighting, or dealing with challenging low-light conditions.

Architectural photography can involve shooting at various times of the day, including dusk or dawn, to capture unique lighting conditions that enhance the architectural details. Sunshine cascading across architectural elements, or a cool dusk sky over a calming view of The Bay add a layer of emotion not typically felt in basic real estate images. Open Homes can even convert images shot in the day into dusk images during post-production.

Real Estate Photo of Kitchen
Sunny Kitchen Photo


Real estate photography post-processing tends to be more straightforward, with an emphasis on enhancing colors, brightness, and clarity to make the property look appealing. The goal is to present an accurate representation of the space. For efficiency, real estate photographers often use highly automated settings and editing processes. This is great for speed, but not always good for quality.

Architectural photography involves more advanced post-processing techniques to fine-tune details, correct perspective distortions, and create a visually striking image that emphasizes the artistic and architectural qualities of the structure. Open Homes works on each image individually, manually masking windows and ensuring excellence on each image. Quality is our priority.

Real Estate Photography Example
Architectural Photograph of Living Room


Standard real estate photography is for agents who just want to check the “photos” box and call it done so they can get their listing up asap.

Open Homes’ architectural photography approach is for agents who care about their brand and are willing to invest in superior quality to get superior results for themselves and their clients. These agents know that word of mouth is key to a thriving business, and each listing effectively marketed and sold is their ticket to getting the next listing. 

The ironic part is, we get our agents their images even more quickly than the “efficient” companies do so you can get your listing live quickly AND be confident it will get the results you want.

Real Estate Photo of Kitchen
Kitchen Detail Closeup Photo


When it comes to capturing properties for sale, the divergence between real estate photography and architectural photography becomes clear – one seeks only to record the property, the other to tell a story and create an emotional response in the buyer. Real estate photography focuses on speed and keeping things as cheap as possible. On the other hand, architectural photography, an artistic endeavor in its own right, delves into the soul of structures, revealing the design nuances and the interplay of light and form. 

Open Homes, with over 15 years of experience in the industry, has combined the best of both worlds, providing incredible, emotionally-captivating quality as well as efficiency. This means you can build your brand and your bottom line while feeling confident that working with Open Homes is worth every penny.