- When To Take Outdoor Photos of Real Estate
- Real Estate Photography Tip: How To Photography Exterior Elements
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As a professional photographer and a photography teacher, I get asked questions on subjects from portraits to landscapes to real estate photography, and everything in between. Which is nice because as much as I love photography itself, I also like talking about it with others.
How to photograph interiors for real estate, how to fix bright sunlight in listing photos, how to make real estate photos look better, and other real estate photography tips are on the minds of many realtors and beginner real estate photographers since the real estate market is super busy right now.
Exterior Real Estate Photography Techniques
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In real estate online listings, the first picture seen is often a view of the frontal exterior. If you’re a realtor shooting your own photos, you might have limited opportunity of specifying when to take the images. Depending on what direction the house is facing, bright sunlit areas and areas in deep shadow might be seen at the same time.
The bracket and merge technique of shooting for a wide range of brightness levels, also known as HDR for high dynamic range photography, is a method used by digital photographers to ensure you get good detail showing in the brightest parts of the image as well as those deep shadows.
Bracket and merge is one of the best answers I know for the problem of how to fix bright sunlight in listing photos. Several different frames, anywhere from 3 or 5 up to 9, are shot at differing exposure settings.
Some settings in this bracketed group are optimized for keeping the highlights from washing out, some are for ensuring getting adequate detail in the shadows, and then all are blended together in a post processing program. This YouTube video helps explain the idea and the technique itself.
Interior Real Estate Photography Techniques
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Inside the properties, there may be all sorts of different lighting conditions that cause a very wide range of exposure values. A common scenario is going to be a room with windows on one side of the room and the corners of other walls with almost no light hitting them.
One technique of how to shoot a house with bright windows and dark corners is to add lights such as a flash bounced off the ceiling or a couple of portable LED softbox lights pointed into the corners or other dark areas of a room.
With the advanced metering solutions of current digital cameras, it is easier than ever to add multiple lights and be able to calculate a decent exposure. Which will work in many situations, but it adds the complication of carrying around more equipment and still won’t solve the dynamic range issue we run into with bright windows.
An alternative for how to shoot a house with bright windows is to use the same bracket and merge HDR technique for blending the extremely bright window light with the darker further walls or cabinets.
This method of how to fix bright sunlight in listing photos has an interesting and beneficial side effect. It lets us see the scene through the window without blown out highlights. For some listings, this simultaneous view of what’s outside along with the inside shows off home features in a realistic view that mimics someone being in the house themselves, a valuable tool for real estate listings that result in showings.
Other Useful Techniques
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Real estate photography benefits from our having a good understanding of basic exposure, composition, lighting, and post processing methods, plus how certain tools work to enhance our photographic capabilities.
A circular polarizer is one of the most useful filters we can have for photographing exteriors since it can eliminate or reduce reflections in windows, water features, and other shiny elements.
A tripod is an essential piece of equipment for most real estate photography, especially if we’re using HDR photography. The technique uses multiple frames of the same view with different exposure settings. In order for the frames to register properly, there should be no movement between exposures.
Tripod use is also encouraged for real estate photography because the wide angle lenses used tend to make straight lines look off if the camera is tilted a little bit, so leveling out with a tripod is an important thing to keep in mind as we start shooting.
A checklist really helps, too, because we don’t want to miss any rooms, areas, or features as we shoot on the usually very limited schedule time available for taking pictures of the property.
That’s pretty much the basics for how to fix bright sunlight in listing photos and several other solutions concerning proper exposure. A couple of practice runs on your own home will likely show any areas where you might need to make use of other useful techniques for controlling exposure, composition, and processing.