The following photos are a series of photographs and various techniques to photograph real estate. From a simple point and shoot style shot to a more complex multipflash/blended shot.... and everything in between. In fairness to the process all shots were post processed (but one) in Photoshop so they all had a fair shake.
Whether you use a point and shoot camera or a DSLR, there is something for everyone to learn in this post.
This scenes difficulty was the mixed lighting source between florurescent and daylight. The front of the shot is lit by two large windows the middle is lit by flourescent and we had a window in the back that was daylight balanced.
As I write this post and start looking at the pictures, the biggest take away, is you need a tripod. Plain and simple a tripod is very small investment to really improve your real estate photography. Second consider a photo manipulation program. A tripod will:
- Get your camera at the right height. I find most real estate interiors are best shot at about 4 to 4 1/2 feet off the ground. It very awkward to get that height with a point and shoot.
- The tripod will allow you to "drag your shutter speed" to get the proper exposure. With out it the shutter speed would be to slow and you would get camera shake.
- It allows you to get your verticals vertical!
Complete Auto, Built in Flash, No tripod (unprocessed)
While this was taken with a DSLR it was set up just like a point and shoot camera. It was also hand held. The camera could not expose for it properly and the flash was not powerful enough. Lets face it our MLS,s are filled with shots like this, underexposed and crooked.
Complete Auto, Built in Flash, No tripod (processed)
This is the exact same shot as above except I used Photoshop to help correct exposure shadow and highlights. With Photoshop we actually were able to edit to a fairly decent shot. This shot did have to have much heavier adjustment then any of the other shots.
This was a tough scene for exposure fusion. I have been getting away from exposure fusion because of color problems that I have. I find one available light exposure can be manipulated in Photoshop for what I usually need with out the color problems, though the exposure fusion will give a good overall scene usually.
Avaible Light Only- On tripod
Taken on a tripod and the only exposure is for the available light. Not bad either. Why do we need to use a tripod? The shutter speed is so low that you could not hand hold with out camera shake. This was taken at 1/6th of a second. When I do available light shots I expose for the general interior, but the highlights do blow out, as in the back window and flourescent lights.
Quite frankly this is a pretty acceptable shot and far better then the snap and grab many agents will use, and....
This shot can be taken with a point and shoot or a DSLR. With a point and shoot you may have to trick the scene with exposure lock. Every point and shoot has that capability. Controlling the exposure is definitely easier with a DSLR camera.
Available Light with Fill From Built in Flash
This is available light with the built in flash turned on to help fill. In this case this could have used a little more post processing to tone down the front counter. The problem being that corner was the closest point in the scene to the flash. While it was processed in Photoshop, I really would have had to work hard to get the exposure down on that front corner. It would have required making a duplicate layer and then correcting the exposure for that corner. I really wanted to keep the photo processing to a minimum. But It definitely could be fixed in post processing.
One Flash off Camera
So with this I set the exposure for where I want the window detail to be, then bring up the exposure of the room with the flash. Also note the flouresent lights are not blown out, you see detail. The light is bounced in the corner of the room just to the left and behind the camera. Having the flash off camera allows me toposition the light so I don't blast that front corner of the counter and I can control where shadows fall.
I did try the flash bounced camera right but then I did not like the shadow created by the front counter on the red wall and floor.
3 Flash Shot
I added two more falshes- one behind the counter bouncing straight up, just adding a kiss of light and one in the hall way pointing straight up. (the light and stand were coned out) The multiple flashes give more dimension to the scene. I actually could have added one more flash to this shot at the end of the hallway and the hallway to the left to get rid of the harsh shadow from the hallway flash. Heresa recent article completely going through a 3 flash set up.
3 Flash Shot Blended with Available Light
This is my typical scenario these days. I either use a multiple flash shot or a multiple flash shot blended with an available light or exposure fusion shot. I did not love the hallway on this one so I blended that part of the scene with an available light shot to get a final result.
Improve your Real Estate Photography
So no matter where you are at in your listing photography there is something here to be learned. I have listed in order of importance.
- A tripod is a must! whether you have a point and shoot or a DSLR.... Get a Tripod! Every point and shoot camera has a nightime mode where you can tell the camera to do longer exposures. You can also do night time with flash.
- If you do not have photo processing software get one. Adobe Elements is only $100. You can see waht a little post processing can do even in the worst shot of the series.
- If you are thinking of a new camera upgrade from a point and shoot to a DSLR. In most point and shoots it is hard to manually set the exposure.
- If you own a DSLR think of buying a flash to get off your camera and bounce!!
- If you own a DSLR and a flash, think about getting a 2nd and third flash.
Point and Shot Mode Point and Shoot Processed Exposure Fusion
Available Light Available Light with Flash Fill One off Camera Flash
Multipl Flash Multiple Flash Blended with available light
Now more then ever, good listing photographs sell homes. You need to choose a listing agent that utilizes professional photographic services or has the ability to take their own great photos. Home buyers are making decisions based on what they see on the internet. If they don't like what they see.... they dont call on a house. Get the best real estate photography for your home. Call Kevin at 978-360-0422