When it comes to photographing your new project, you have some choices to make. The most important will be what type of photographer you hire.

Digital cameras get cheaper every year, and everyone who buys one says they’re a “photographer”. The thought might cross your mind to give your little cousin a chance at photographing that new project you’re so proud of. Good for you for being a supportive cousin…..but this will likely end up being a bad experience for you AND your cousin!

Photographing interior and architecture is one of the hardest genre’s of photography. To make your project shine, your photographer needs to know about lighting, composition, and extensive editing. Did I mention a a lot of patience? It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

When hiring a photographer, there are probably two types you are going to consider: The Interior Design / Architectural Photographer and the Real Estate Photographer.

In this article, I’ll break down the main difference between these types of photographers so you’ll know which to hire for that project you’re so proud of!

Quality over Quantity

One of the questions to ask yourself is “How many photos do I need?”. 

If you’re a real estate agent, the answer is often simple. Agents usually want the max amount that will fit into the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Most real estate photographers will offer packages that specify a quantity of photos that will be delivered. A typical shoot will deliver around 25 photos.

If you’re an architect or interior designer, the answer is a little more complicated. Where will be the photos be used? What do you really want to highlight when you market your project?

An Interior/Architectural Photographer will be vastly more concerned with the quality of each photo vs the quantity of photos. You might only get 10-12 photos in a day long shoot, but the photos will be far superior to that of a real estate photographer.

Longer Shooting Time

An REP (Real Estate Photographer) needs to be in and out of a property as fast as possible. Most real estate agents are really busy and don’t need to spend a lot of time at a photography shoot. On top of that, most of their clients don’t have the patience for it.

Therefore, an REP needs to get as many photos as possible in as little time as possible. A typical shoot can take between one to three hours.

An IAP (Interior/Architectural Photographer), is going to take his time for each photo to get the perfect shot. It doesn’t matter how long it takes him, he’s going to invest the time to make sure each and every photo is stunning. Each photo can take anywhere from 30 minute to 2 hours.

Attention to Detail

Real estate photography is meant to entice potential buyers to purchase a home. It’s the first step that leads buyers to viewing the home in person. 

An REP wants to show a home for what it is. Give the end viewers a good idea of the layout and the features of a home as it is. They’re not too concerned about moving a particular chair or the setting of the dining table. They need to photograph the home as it is, as fast as possible.

Interior and architectural photography is different. The viewers of this type of photography should in awe of the product. They should have a feeling of warmth and joy and say “I would LOVE to have something like that!”

In order to accomplish this, and IAP must pay attention to the minor details. Each stool under the bar should be perfectly spaced out. The faucet should be angled perfectly. The towels in the bathroom should be perfectly leveled.

Every detail counts in interior/architectural photographer to make the perfect photo. An experienced IAP will know how to change minor details so the end products feels emotional to the viewer (in a good way)!

Editing, Editing, and More Editing

You should get the point by now that REP’s work fast and IAP’s take their time. Same goes for the editing process.

An REP has a lot of ground to cover and their clients (real estate agents) want their photos real quick like. Therefore, the photographer should have a quick editing process to cover the basics. Basic color correction and lighting enhancements are usually the emphasis for real estate. Most REP’s take two business days to deliver their package of 25+ photos.

An IAP’s editing process is much more detailed and time consuming. For this type of photography, a typical photo is usually composited with anywhere from 3 to 10 photos. That’s right, the photographer took ten different photos of different lighting, color, etc…and merged them all in to get you the perfect photo!

After compositing them, the IAP will go through a long process of color correction, lighting, and clean up. They want to make sure the walls are the true colors of your design. That the features you spent a lot of time emphasizing as a professional are property depicted in a photo.

The editing process can take anywhere from one to three hours per photo for interior/architectural photography.


This is one of the biggest difference between these two types of photographers, and probably what brought you to read this article.

A real estate photographer is going to be much cheaper than an interior/architectural photographer. You should have a good idea why after reading this article.

Most REP’s offer packages that range from $100 - $300 for a shoot.

IAP’s are structured different. Most will have a day rate and an additional charge per photo. The price will vary based on your market and the photographer’s experience. A seasoned IAP in a large city will be around $1,000 day rate plus $100 per photo.

Make the Right Investment

You should have all the information you need to choose the right type of photographer for your project.

If you’re selling a home as an agent, more than likely you’ll choose an REP. You might want to consider an IAP for homes over $500k, as the quality will be MUCH better.

If you’re a designer or architect, I’d strong consider using an IAP. The photos will be more at the caliber of your project. Think about this, the photos will be used to market your services. Your investment into a good photographer will pay huge returns if the photos are stunning.

Remember, just like everything else in life: You get what you pay for!