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Keeping Real Estate photography real with Virtual Reality

In the real estate industry, a single photo can be literally worth millions of dollars. The best real estate agents and brokers have a whole bag of photographic tricks they use to make ordinary properties look more upscale and inviting.

One such trick involves the use of different focal lengths to make properties look more spacious than they actually are.

Focal length, usually represented in millimeters (mm), is the distance between the optical center of a lens to the focal point of the lens, which is the place where light beams converge, typically a digital sensor inside the camera.

You can also think of focal length as the Field of View (FOV). The longer the focal length, the narrower the field of view; the shorter the focal length, the wider the field of view. The focal length that feels closest to the perception provided by the human eye is 50 mm.

The image below shows camera’s FOV changes with changes in focal length of the lens.

However, most real estate photos are taken with much wider lenses. “For the bulk of property photos, lenses in the range of 20-25 mm are what most of the professionals tend to use,” writes photographer Ann Young in her guide to real estate photography. Some real estate photographers go wider still, using wide-angle lenses with a focal length as little as 11 mm.

Why is this? Because such wide angle lenses provide a perception that’s radically different from the perception provided by the human eye, and they can make any a room look larger and more spacious than it really is. This makes the property more attractive to the prospect.

At a 120° wide FOV, a room looks very spacious, as seen below.

But obviously, this doesn’t match with the reality of the property/room’s dimensions and sense of space because at a 60° FOV, as seen below, the same room looks much smaller but is a lot closer to how it would look in real life (because the human eye has around 45° FOV).

The deceptive nature of real estate photos can be bad news for buyers, who often travel hundreds and even thousands of miles just to discover that the house of their dreams looks nothing like it does in the photos. This has led to a quantified drop in trust in the real estate industry (that we covered in this post “Radical honesty in Real Estate through Virtual Reality”).

This is why Virtual Reality (VR) can be such a powerful game changer for real estate brokers and developers looking to build trust with customers.

VR doesn’t lie. When you create highly photo realistic, room scale, immersive VR walkthroughs of your unbuilt property,you are simulating reality, at true-to-life scale. What the customer sees in the VR experience is going to match the built property. And if the broker or developer radically and consciously manipulates scale in VR it will be readily apparent, as things like table tops or countertops have real-world standard heights, so if they’re out of proportion, the manipulation will be obvious when you’re in the virtual reality simulation.

VR is the ultimate What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG).

If you are seeking to build genuine relationships with your real estate prospects based on trust, VR is your best friend. The best VR experience requires a headset, so reach out to schedule a demo. Otherwise, to see some 2D visuals you can visit our website at:

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