Architecture vs real estate vs fine art photography

What defines a photo to be architecture, real estate or fine art photography?

Although architectural photography and real estate photography looks similar there are plenty of differences when you look deeper. Fine art on the other hand is much more creative oriented and will represent itself a bit more. In this article I will go a little bit deeper as I see it and try to explain the differences.

Architecture photography

Architecture photography is about envisioning the architects vision and project philosophy. Working with the horizontal and vertical leading lines. Showing a property in a technical correct and pleasing manner.

Example Architecture Photography

Composition is key in architectural photogrgaphy. It not only allows you to focus on the lines that are present in every building but also allows you to shoot in a technical correct way.

Understanding the philosophy behind the design can contribute in better photographs. You will get more involved with the project from behind the camera.


Real estate photography

Real estate photography has mainly a commercial use. It needs to trigger the intention of the viewer, a potential property buyer in this case, to go out and see the house and eventually buy it. It is about showing the rooms, the surroundings, the atmosphere and showing the potential the property has.

Example Real Estate Photography

With the wide-angle lens a real estate photographer will focus on showing the property in full and most of the time from a certain angle. This allows the photographer to capture more and for the viewer it will create a certain depth especially for interior shots.

Example Real Estate Photography

Sometimes detailed photos are taken to show the atmosphere or to highlight certain aspects. Props can trigger the domestic feeling and resemble how you can live in the showcased property.

It is fair to state that regarding post-processing photos are much more commercially orientated.

Which means that dull grey skies are going to be replaced all the time by attractive blue skies with some white clouds. Brightness will be adjusted quite a lot and, depending on your taste, the contrast-rich photos will play a role as well.


Fine art photography

Fine art photography exceeds the vision of the creator and the commercialism. It is your vision that matters. It is your way of viewing towards the project. Interpreting it according to your standards and understanding.

Example Fine Art Photography

Fine art allows the photographer to be trully creative and create it's own vision. The vision of the architect is becoming irrelevant in a certain way. Additional techniques like long exposure or a slightly different composition can add to the artistic process. Of course, the post-processing will also make a major contribution.

But you can also create architectural fine art and respect the architecture and the vision of the architect. In that case we can speak of architectural fine art photograpy.

In a next blog article I will go in on this subject a little bit deeper and provide examples of fine art photography and architectural fine art photography.



There is no fixed, well-defined description of architecture, real estate or fine art photography. The broad outlines are somewhat fixed, but there are several nuances that come into play.

The concepts will also be slightly different for every photographer. Sometimes it can also be the case that an image is difficult to classify in architectural photography or real estate photography due to the composition, processing or the subject.

Also, over the years, you may change your point of view and definition through the practice and experience you gain. But that in itself is good. It allows you to grow in your own process.


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