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Why Is One-Point Perspective so Popular in Swedish Real Estate Photography?

Published: 08/05/2018
Episode 164: Composition Tip #8

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in Sweden asks:

This past year, I have seen quite a lot of real estate pictures being shot "straight on," with nothing but straight (or rather, as straight as they could get them aligned) lines. Is this some sort of new phase? Or why are they repeatedly doing this in the majority of the shots? You can see examples of this at the local real estate listing website.

Numerous local real estate photographers have started following this trend and I don't understand why. Please let me know if I am missing something here.

You pose a great question! Why are Swedish real estate photographers using more one point perspective than two-point perspective? I will give you my take on it but readers will for sure have many more opinions.

First of all, there are two basic kinds of composition used when shooting interiors:

  1. One-point perspective - The viewer's eye is drawn straight back to a single point usually at the center of the far wall.
  2. Two-point perspective - The viewer's eye is lead to either of two points on walls to the right and left of the viewer putting a room corner near the center of the photo.

Here is an article by Architectural photographer Bob Fortner which explains this in greater detail with examples. As Bob explains, interior compositions that use one-point perspective are usually stronger and more pleasing to the eye than two-point compositions and there is usually less perspective distortion in one-point compositions.

Also, as described in this video by Mike Miriello, interior designers tend to want one-point perspective images while two-point images are better suited to showing rooms for real estate agents.

I'm at a loss as to explain why Swedish real estate photographers appear to be using one-point perspective more. Perhaps they feel this gives a more elegant look to interior photos. I like one-point images better than two-point, but much of real estate is better done with two-point images. They both have strengths.

Larry Lohrman

7 comments on “Why Is One-Point Perspective so Popular in Swedish Real Estate Photography?”

  1. I know what you mean... I have seen a lot of great looking photos from Sweden Real Estate... seems to be a good deal of modern spaces that lend well to tight designer type compositions and natural light... also the look of the images seems to be very upscale fashion oriented which helps them stand out...

    I don't know if theres a "one point" trend happening or if it just tends to be a good angle for most listings there... but Ive seen that too.. Fantastic Frank has a lot of them. Like Larry said, one points hide the negative effects of wide angle lenses really well but at least here in the states, its impossible to say, "Im going to shoot everything one point"... just not always possible to show what needs to be shown in a given space... each space is different and I always let the room and its features and where I can get my camera with the least amount of work choose the angle for me lol! I just try to make that angle a good one!... err... or I break down and move something lol! Any other job outside of Real Estate is different... still letting the scope of the job dictate but much more time is given to compose and get the best angle ... looking through any shelter mag and you will see anything from one points to two and beyond.. but again, AD is a designers magazine and so that world mixes itself in... basically just find the angle that works for you and that you feel confidant about and one you know you can make look great!

  2. I think the 1 PP really suits the clean, modern Scandinavian style. Personally I’m a big fan and try to do this myself whenever I can. Unfortunately many rooms I shoot are just not suitable for a 1 PP. for the aim of showing the room in most cases I am forced to use a 2 PP.

  3. As I have no knowledge of the Swedish real estate market, I can comment on my own approach. I don't allow real estate or other norms determine the limits or approach for shooting my images. I actually don't consider myself a real estate photographer. Rather I am an advertising photographer who is shooting real estate and I call on my much varied background from photojournalism to product photography, from shooting food stories to annual reports and apply my career experience to each shoot I do and each property I shoot. So I may approach one property in one manner and another property with another and that varies from image to image, room to room, exterior to exterior. What I can say is that those clients who like my work like the more graphic and artistic approach I apply to the images. I am no artist but they like my eye. I don't see it myself. I just compose the way the image seems to speak to me. I shoot instinctively rather than consciously unless I have a particular problem to solve.

    So I find a discussion on one point to two point or however many points may be involved rather irrelevant. What I do think is relevant is just shoot a room (we are talking about interiors) however it looks best and most appealing. We are selling properties not documenting them. When I was teaching photography at a photography school, what got me fired was telling my students "the only rule is what works." This school liked to teach "by the book". So I would recommend to anyone, just shoot what makes the room look it's best while not misrepresenting the space in the process. For get about "trends" and "shoulds" - just shoot. And I shoot all around a room since I don't ever actually know what looks best until I am back at my digital darkroom. I do usually know what is not going to look good and can eliminate those view choices before wasting time on the shoot. And since we all work differently, I would just trust your gut.

  4. It's not just European, it's quite common when shooting for commercial and editorial assignments, because it's geometrically more sophisticated. But it does require architecture, furniture, and decor that lends itself to one point perspective, which isn't the norm in this country. It's not uncommon where an interior designer has been engaged to decorate, or an astute homeowner. It is my favorite perspective though.

  5. What Kelvin said. "It's geometrically sophisticated." I like that quote! I think the one-point perspective conveys luxurious, upscale living, provided that the aesthetics are there. It also accentuates lines and form and is best suited for spaces where these elements are strong. My favourite aspect of the one-point comp, though? It's much easier to light, in my humble opinion.

  6. I do not have a lot of experience in those parts over there or anything, so just a guess... but i feel like their judgement is just more sophisticated... meaning... photographers are allowed to take the photos they think look best, and the agents stay the heck out of their way to a greater extent. What you will get when this happens is better photographs... kinda like when you add 2+2 and get 4. It is not that complicated but we don't seem to be able to figure this out over here.

  7. Hi there. I drop in to this site once in a while to see whats going on. And its fun to see you guys looking into what we are doing in Sweden. I have been in the business for 13 years and before that shooting interiors for magazine etc.Now i work as head of photographers at one of this terrible big companies you guys compete with:) Our biggest way to success and to manage in the competion has for quite a long time been to strive for getting the Real estate images "Not to look as Real estate images"Just good images. There is no need to separate classic compositions like the straight image"One point" from Real estate. The opposite, we as photographers must use the skills we have in compositions and photography to get the best possible images. Thats how we stand out from others. This is for instance also why you see quite a lot of bright windows in our images, to get the sun in and make the windows big. We shoot to present and sell a place not to document it. But of course we use all sorts of images to get the best in each situation. So for quite some time we work very hard both wit ourselfs as photographers and also to teach our clients what we doo and why a good composition always will please an eye. Whether its on an byer, a seller or a future seller. Have a look at our instagram and see what we are doing.
    Or to some of our clients And i will be glad to get your respons.

    Greetings from Sweden

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