The other day I caught up with a friend of mine and we were you know... talking about life and work, then I mentioned about me doing interior design photography. My friend then said that she thought interior design and architectural photography were all classified within the Real Estate Photography genre. In my mind, I was dead shocked, feeling like someone just stabbed me in the heart and thinking "How could you say that!" but I knew better than to say that out loud and also because it's a common mistake, so instead, I educated her.
So what is the difference between interior design vs real estate photography?
It's exactly like a tax accountant is different to a financial planner. Both dealing with the same subject, but in a different way and outcome.
Below is a picture of a bathroom photographed for real estate listings:
Compare that to this one which is photographed for interior design:
There is a clear difference in composition, but that isn't always true between the two. The difference is that photos for real estate listings don't really have an emotional impact to the viewer. It's more so "make a small space look huge" and to show buyers every single feature possible of the room in one image. I'm not a big fan of it but it gets people through the doors for agents and that's what matters most for real estate.
Interior design photos on the other hand, shows off the details and design within the room. It's a very tight photo showing furniture, tabletops and accessories cohesively working together to create ambiance. It allows viewers to imagine themselves within that environment, not to mention, it takes that much more knowledge, planning and technique to create.
Here's another example of a living-room for a real estate listing:
Again, a very wide image showing the entire room.
Finally, here is what I would do if I was photographing for an interior designer:
There is mood and emotion, almost as if the room has it's own life.
Hope this gives you readers more of an understanding between the two photographic genres.