A few weeks ago I was called upon to fill in as a real estate photographer. It’s something I’d never done before and with basic equipment I was a bit hesitant. Nevertheless I gave it a shot, and with a bit of experimentation I found a way to ‘fake’ having a wide-angle lens.
In this guide we’ll go through a makeshift method to taking wide-angle photographs with even the most basic equipment. In a few simple steps you can be taking incredibly spacious real estate photographs or expansive wide-angle panoramas with a standard camera and a stock lens.
1. Take 3 portrait photographs
This is probably my favourite ‘trick of the trade’, normally reserved for panoramic photography. Instead of taking one single landscape oriented photo, flip your camera to the portrait orientation and take three successive photographs just like below.
Indoors, this technique works remarkably well. With a normally oriented photograph you’d barely get the walls in the frame. In portrait though you’re extending your viewing angle by 50%, capturing the walls, roof, floor and everything between them.
Here are a few things to consider when taking these photographs:
Avoid clipping significant objects: If there’s a window beaming with light in your scene or a complex object, try to keep it all in the one frame. This way when you stitch your photos together you will have seamlessly blended edges.
Switch to manual to keep your exposure consistent: Having a consistent exposure will again allow your photos to be seamlessly blended together. The aim is for these photos to look like a single wide-angle photos, so if any join lines can be seen it will damage the effect.
2. Photomerge in Photoshop
You can use Photoshop to automatically stitch your three photographs together to create one seamless, well blended landscape photograph. To do this:
- Open up your three photographs in Photoshop
- File > Automate > Photomerge…
- Select the ‘Auto’ layout, click ‘Add open files’ (or browse for your photographs) and hit OK
Photoshop will tick away and stitch your photographs together and present you with an incredible wide angle photograph.
3. Crop and tweak!
Once the photomerge is complete, simply crop your photo into a landscape orientation. Most times the photomerge blends the photos together smoothly, but if not you can use the healing brush and stamp tool to remove defects and smooth out the joints.
Admittedly this method takes a little bit more effort than just fitting a lens and taking a photo. With this technique though you can capture incredibly wide-angled photographs with anything form a phone camera to an SLR. Better still, as you’re joining multiple photographs together, the resolution of your end photograph will be over double that of a single photograph.
Below are a few of the spacious real estate photographs I took using this technique. Feel free to share your own makeshift wide-angle shots or leave tips in the comments!
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