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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Architecture, Real-Estate & Buildings Talk
Thread started 09 Sep 2016 (Friday) 09:09
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Light RE interiors - a discussion.

 
rgs
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Post has been edited over 1 year ago by rgs.
Sep 09, 2016 09:09 |  #1

I would like to start a discussion about lighting real estate interiors. I photograph several houses a week using a variety of lighting techniques. I spend about 1-1.5 hours on site and about twice that in post for each house. That's a balance of time I am comfortable with because I often have a client or home owner waiting on me while in a house and I enjoy PP so I would rather gather as much good, unaltered image data as I can on site and put it together in post - adapting Ansel Adams adage about the negative being the score and the print the performance to the digital age.

That said, I use Exposure Fusion and HDR rather interchangeably - although I prefer EF to HDR, balanced ambient and flash, and single exposures where possible.

Of these three I find EF-HDR to be best at attractively blending natural light and it is especially good at lighting several rooms at once. Because I try to show the various rooms in their context with other rooms, being able to light foreground, middleground, and background naturally is important to my work. The drawback of EF - HDR is the slight softness (especially HDR but rarely EF), and the battle to get good color across and entire set-up. Here are a couple of HDR shots from a house I shot this week.

More on the next post.

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rgs
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Sep 09, 2016 09:17 |  #2

When blending flash with ambient light, I find it good at crisp details, window pulls are much easier, and there are far fewer color problems. But flash is harder to get a natural look with - especially when lighting several planes. Because I want to move quickly on site, I tend to use a single, off-camera flash and take care of any unevenness in post.

Single exposure images are the best but it is difficult to find view in an RE interior that can be shot best with just on ambient light exposure.

I hope there will be several comments on this thread with images and details of your working methods so we can all learn more about lighting RE interiors, so bring on the comments. I am posting a couple of flash/ambient images. They are from the same house as the ones in my first post.

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Canon 7d MkII, Canon 50D, Pentax 67, Canon 30D, Baker Custom 4x5, Canon EF 24-104mm f4, Canon EF 100mm f2.8 Macro, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC

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beano
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Sep 09, 2016 09:45 |  #3

Are you using modifiers with your flash, or are you blending exposures to get such soft shadows?


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rgs
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Sep 09, 2016 11:06 as a reply to beano's post |  #4

Just bouncing from walls or borders with ceilings but never ceilings alone. If there is nothing to bounce from I don't flash


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-Duck-
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Sep 09, 2016 11:58 |  #5

Real estate photography is something I have always thought about getting into but never made the move (not yet, at least). My first thought with your setup would be to gel the flash so it matches the available light to begin with. A straw or 1/4 CTO would probably do wonders to keep things even.

While I can't contribute much I'd be interested to see where this thread goes.

Thanks for the idea.


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rgs
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Sep 09, 2016 12:07 |  #6

-Duck- wrote in post #18122352 (external link)
Real estate photography is something I have always thought about getting into but never made the move (not yet, at least). My first thought with your setup would be to gel the flash so it matches the available light to begin with. A straw or 1/4 CTO would probably do wonders to keep things even.

While I can't contribute much I'd be interested to see where this thread goes.

Thanks for the idea.

Thanks for the response. Mixed light is generally not a concern when flash is used because most of the light will be either ambient daylight (cooler than direct) or flash. Bits of tungsten highlight are generally a plus as long as it's not too overpowering. Mixed light problems arise when blending daylight through windows and tungsten (or LED which is often a different color) room light in EF - HDR exposures. And a bit of fluorescent from the kitchen compounds the problem. I'm going to be getting a graphic pen soon which will, hopefully, allow for more subtlety when correcting local color variations.


Canon 7d MkII, Canon 50D, Pentax 67, Canon 30D, Baker Custom 4x5, Canon EF 24-104mm f4, Canon EF 100mm f2.8 Macro, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC

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joooowan
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Post has been edited over 1 year ago by joooowan.
Sep 09, 2016 12:17 |  #7

I've been experimenting between having 3 speedlites & having 1 big monolight.

Lately I've been having good results with popping the monolight in about 2 places in each room and blending those frames together. Typically if i pulled it off right I can just put 2 frames in layers in photoshop, brush out the hotspots and done. Or, I can HDR like 3-4 bracketed shots and brush in lighting.

When I have the 3 speedlite setup it's obviously takes a little more thought on how to bounce and where they should go, but when done correctly I've gotten away with using just 1 frame.

If I somehow messed up I have my bracketed shots to fall back on, and that drastically increases PP time, sometimes I mind, most times I don't.

#1 is 2 rovelight pops, #2 is using 2 (poorly controlled) speedlites

What are you guys' policies on windows & door views when there isn't anything great to look at outside?

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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Sep 09, 2016 12:26 |  #8

Thanks for starting this thread. I have a busy afternoon but will definitely join in soon.


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-Duck-
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Sep 09, 2016 12:36 |  #9

For the few interior shots I have done, I prefer HDR to get the balance between indoor/outdoor window shots. Personally I've never had to worry too much about what was/was not visible through the window. I will say this, however; I have seen some photographers/agents replace the views completely which, I feel, is a blatant lie. While it may make the property look more appealing it leads me to question the intentions of the agency selling the property and would make me not trust them. I would rather just have undesired views blow out than replace it with something bogus.

I'll be the first to tell you that I'm rather lazy about my workflow. So if I can get most of it done in camera to save me post time, all the better. I know you mentioned you don't mind PP but when push comes to shove, the less time spent on processing, for me, the better. Like you, I enjoy processing images but I find I usually don't have the luxury of time on my side. Most of my processing is automated on import into Lightroom. I find it saves me a lot of valuable time.


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Wilt
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Sep 10, 2016 11:05 |  #10

-Duck- wrote in post #18122385 (external link)
I have seen some photographers/agents replace the views completely which, I feel, is a blatant lie. While it may make the property look more appealing it leads me to question the intentions of the agency selling the property and would make me not trust them. I would rather just have undesired views blow out than replace it with something bogus.

..and then there is the issue about 'truth in advertising', using ultrawide FL (e.g. 16-22mm on FF) to shoot interior spaces, distorting the presentation with an impression of 'spaciousness' of an otherwise small and even cramped space, rather than a more 'realistic' portrayal as captured with a 24mm lens.


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beano
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Sep 10, 2016 11:09 |  #11

Wilt wrote in post #18123317 (external link)
..and then there is the issue about 'truth in advertising', using ultrawide FL (e.g. 16-22mm on FF) to shoot interior spaces, distorting the presentation with an impression of 'spaciousness' of an otherwise small and even cramped space, rather than a more 'realistic' portrayal as captured with a 24mm lens.

I think that's a different thing entirely.


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Wilt
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Sep 10, 2016 11:29 |  #12

beano wrote in post #18123320 (external link)
I think that's a different thing entirely.

yes, I made no effort to relate this to lighiting, but it definitely falls into the 'truth in advertising' issue which was raised by -Duck-


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rgs
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Sep 10, 2016 11:38 |  #13

Wilt wrote in post #18123317 (external link)
..and then there is the issue about 'truth in advertising', using ultrawide FL (e.g. 16-22mm on FF) to shoot interior spaces, distorting the presentation with an impression of 'spaciousness' of an otherwise small and even cramped space, rather than a more 'realistic' portrayal as captured with a 24mm lens.

The appropriate use of a wider lens is certainly something that has to be considered, but it's not always (or probably not even usually) an attempt to deceive. It's usually just to try to include as much as possible - sometimes in a very clumsy way. Most of my clients understand that and DON'T want to face a buyer who feels lied to.

Having said that, you may notice that two of the images I began this thread with were shot at 10mm (on a 7DII) while the others were slightly longer settings. If the shot looks good and represents the room, I will use it. If it only makes the room seem larger and does nothing else, I look for a different approach.


Canon 7d MkII, Canon 50D, Pentax 67, Canon 30D, Baker Custom 4x5, Canon EF 24-104mm f4, Canon EF 100mm f2.8 Macro, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC

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-Duck-
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Sep 10, 2016 19:12 |  #14

Most people (specially nowadays with wide focal length cell phone cameras) have a layman's understanding of lens distortion and can forgive its use. It's the bait and switch of photoshop cut and paste that really pushes the wrong buttons.

That said, I think choosing how to light (or use HDR) has a lot to do with whether the view out the window is worthy of display. A dilapidated wooden fence that is better served around a colonial fort six feet from a window is not the scene you want to capture and present to a client. A well manicured expanse of lawn, on the other hand... well, in that case it would deserve it's own photo, I suppose. :-D


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joooowan
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Post has been edited over 1 year ago by joooowan.
Sep 14, 2016 23:40 |  #15

Leaving this here in case anyone is slow like me to figure things out.


I'm editing some pictures right now and I'm thinking of different ways to deal with tungsten light color casting and I don't know why I haven't figured this out yet. Just move the yellow slider's saturation down and adjust the luminescence in lightroom on the base exposure, goes such a long way.


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