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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 17 Jul 2010 (Saturday) 08:56
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HDR House Shots

 
dsd17
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Jul 17, 2010 08:56 |  #1

We just finished listing our house for rent. I wanted to see what you guys thought of the photos I took. They were all 5-shot HDR images merged in photomatix pro. I tried not to cook them at all and make them look as real as possible. All were shot at 24mm

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nüborn
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Jul 17, 2010 09:00 |  #2

#3 too yellow. I love HDR when it's not overly processed like this, great job!


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Sharpshooter32
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Jul 17, 2010 10:17 |  #3

They look great.




  
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droberts
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Jul 17, 2010 13:58 |  #4

I agree that these are good...colors really stand out.


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Aliencry
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Jul 18, 2010 05:02 |  #5

I feel like I'm looking at photographs from a magazine on how to make your place look neat and organized :). Although I think there should be a painting above the bed and chair in #6, remove the one that is above the dresser, and replace the current flowers with a more vibrant flower with a longer stalk, to help elongate that left wall.




  
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crsnwby
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Jul 18, 2010 05:23 as a reply to  @ Aliencry's post |  #6

I keep seeing comments on HDR on photos not being overdone...

I cant see why the images above cant be taken with just the camera. What HDR is done on these? do you have an origional shot...

Every HDR image I have seen has been used to contrast adjust and bring out the shadows or colour.




  
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DetlevCM
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Jul 18, 2010 06:44 |  #7

crsnwby wrote in post #10557129 (external link)
I keep seeing comments on HDR on photos not being overdone...

I cant see why the images above cant be taken with just the camera. What HDR is done on these? do you have an origional shot...

Every HDR image I have seen has been used to contrast adjust and bring out the shadows or colour.

Its shadows below furniture - and the lit walls and ceilings next to the lamps - I've been to the Royal Palace in Amsterdam - horrible place in terms of lighting for a camera - but a lovely place to visit - and I really have to say a beautiful building.

To the OP:
I really like them - the only thing you may want to look at is the white balance on those images - some look a bit cold to me - some might be warm - but else they look great, I like them :)


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Walczak ­ Photo
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Jul 18, 2010 10:30 |  #8

crsnwby wrote in post #10557129 (external link)
I keep seeing comments on HDR on photos not being overdone...

I cant see why the images above cant be taken with just the camera. What HDR is done on these? do you have an origional shot...

Every HDR image I have seen has been used to contrast adjust and bring out the shadows or colour.


I would like to address the OP's shots from the view point of these comments. These are just my own personal opinions as always. Further, I really have little experience with HDR photography beyond looking at other people's work so these comments are more from the stand point of a person who simply enjoys "looking at pictures".

I've often said that I think once a person gets past the "snap shot" aspect of photography, there are two different mentalities...that of the photojournalist and that of the artist, and I absolutely feel this applies to HDR photography as well. To address your first comment about people saying things about HDR being "over done", I think a lot of people will look at a lot of HDR images and see them as being "unnatural"...very possibly not seeing the artistic aspect of it. In a great many cases, HDR images are often processed in a way, that despite the hype, does often appear in ways the human eye doesn't actually "see". Now I think this in and of itself is a bit subjective to begin with.

The point of HDR photography is to capture images that "the camera doesn't typically see". In most cases, a camera has a rather limited dynamic range...obviously if you capture all of the detail in highlights, you tend to loose detail in shadows and if you capture all of the detail in the shadows, you tend to blow out highlights, etc.. In theory, HDR photography is supposed to capture images more the way the human eye sees the scene as the human eye has a much wider dynamic range than a camera does (digital or film). However...I don't think that's the only thing that HDR is good for or should be used for.

For better or for worse, I think that a lot of people are starting to associate HDR with a certain "look" much the same way people associate tilt shift lens photography (and certainly other types of photography) with a certain and often specific look. That doesn't mean that you HAVE to achieve that look...but when you don't, people don't always "get it". Ultimately, HDR is a -tool-...another useful piece in the photographer's arsenal to achieve whatever it is that the individual wants to achieve. Any sense of "right" or "wrong" in relation to that is solely dependent on the photographer's intentions. As such, a person who may be more from a photojournalism type of mentality may see a typical HDR image as being "over done"...even though to others it may look quite lovely and artistic. -If- however, the photographer's goal in in fact something of a more photo-journalistic nature, then to others who are more used to the "artistic" view of HDR...you may also be missing something.

In regards to the OP's shot here, no - they do not look like your typical HDR images that many of us see...and I suspect that was the goal. Obviously a great many of us who would be interested in this type of work have seen similar shots quite often published in various magazines, LONG before the advent of HDR photography. In such cases, the images may have in fact used VERY elaborate lighting setups to achieve the same results with very specific and detailed attention given to light placement, light intensity, etc., etc., to make the given scene look "natural" (as apposed to looking like a snap shot). In this specific regard, I think that HDR has A LOT of potential as a photographer doesn't really need to bring in 5 or 6 or more lighting rigs...with little more than a good tripod, he/she could do it all from the camera with a bit of pp afterward.

In other words, I think it's a matter of intention and a matter of perspective. In this case, while I could certainly be wrong, I think the OP's intent was indeed to provide a more "documentary" illustration of these rooms...the goal was to create images that indeed look as though they should be in "Better Home & Gardens" and as such, I think he/she succeeded...at least as far as the processing goes (more on that in a bit). I don't believe the "intent" of these images was to create artistic images of these rooms, I think the intent was to create "natural" looking images that conveyed a sense of the rooms themselves. Could that have been done in other ways? Certainly. Could that have been done without some sort of elaborate lighting setup? That's a bit more dicey. So in this case I think the HDR was used to great effect to create the look the OP apparently intended.

Now as to the images themselves...I too agree that #3 needs a bit more color correction (too yellow) and #6 -really- needs something on those walls above the bed (perhaps a picture of the room itself? LOL!). Further, I'm seeing a good deal of lens/barrel distortion in most of these images. Look at #5...the right side of the image specifically. That wall is REALLY "bowed". It's rather evident in other images here as well but it really stands out in that image. I think the HDR was used very well here but I would pay A LOT more attention to doing some lens correction here.

Ok...as I said, just my own opinions here.
Jim


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dsd17
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Jul 18, 2010 12:17 |  #9

Thanks for all the comments guys. Yes, i agree about the post processing. My wife typically does all that for me, but she was already gone looking for a job/house when these were taken and posted. The goal of these was to make it look as close as what the eye could see so that people could get a real feel for how our house looks. Unfortunately, everything is out of the house now, so all the rooms would be bare if I were to retake these.

For comparison, here is a "correct exposure" of the living room. I don't have any lighting, so everything was done with the window and table lamp in the room.

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TGrundvig
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Jul 18, 2010 12:26 as a reply to  @ dsd17's post |  #10

To me, these aren't quite HDR. HDR should capture a wide DR IMO. Personally, I think you need a little more window view. Would you mind sharing your tone mapping settings from Photomatix? I'm wondering if maybe you could have brought out the windows more and then used LR or PS to adjust the exposure of the interior. There are times when Photomatix or Enfuse doesn't get the interior bright enough but it get's the windows. So, I will use fill light or select the interior and use curves to bring out a little more.

But, more importantly than that, is the verticle lines. They are not straight. I'm assuming you are probably taller than average. I say this because it looks like you are looking down in all the images. The verticle lines need to be parallel with the frame to give it a nice clean look to it. Here's an example of one of my HDR shots for RE....


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dsd17
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Jul 18, 2010 21:26 |  #11

TGrundvig wrote in post #10558496 (external link)
To me, these aren't quite HDR. HDR should capture a wide DR IMO. Personally, I think you need a little more window view. Would you mind sharing your tone mapping settings from Photomatix? I'm wondering if maybe you could have brought out the windows more and then used LR or PS to adjust the exposure of the interior. There are times when Photomatix or Enfuse doesn't get the interior bright enough but it get's the windows. So, I will use fill light or select the interior and use curves to bring out a little more.

But, more importantly than that, is the verticle lines. They are not straight. I'm assuming you are probably taller than average. I say this because it looks like you are looking down in all the images. The verticle lines need to be parallel with the frame to give it a nice clean look to it. Here's an example of one of my HDR shots for RE....

That's a possibility, but unlike the beautiful shot you posted, the outside of our house isn't quite as nice. What you would have seen were more houses, lots of concrete and lots of cars. I used a 24-105 on this. How could I have kept it from bowing so much?




  
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TGrundvig
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Jul 19, 2010 10:08 |  #12

dsd17 wrote in post #10560955 (external link)
That's a possibility, but unlike the beautiful shot you posted, the outside of our house isn't quite as nice. What you would have seen were more houses, lots of concrete and lots of cars. I used a 24-105 on this. How could I have kept it from bowing so much?

Ahhh....yes, I agree 100% with your logic there. There is a time for views through windows and there is a time to avoid those views. Anytime the window view is less than appealing, I do not expose as much for the window. Just enough to keep it from being blown out.

What I have learned from my experiences is that it usually takes more than one window view exposed shot to really get a good window view. I will typically take one where the window view is under exposed, one where it is exposed, and then work my way to the interior shadows being exposed. I personally prefer to use 1 stop seperation. I know there are a lot of people that will use just three shots, but I prefer more, as many as 7 sometimes. I also take more shots than I need. On a really bright day, I may take 9 shots and then when I get back to the computer I may delete one or two of them. I would rather delete the ones I dont need than wish I had them and then try to 'create' DNG files from existing files. It never produces the same thing. I've experimented with this where I would take three shots, 2 stops apart, and then take two of the images and adjust the exposure to make 5 shots 1 stop apart. Then, I would take the five shots with the camera and run both sets of 5 images through the HDR program and the one with 5 original shots always comes out a little better.

If you give the HDR program more than one image with window views it seems to help it produce a better final image in terms of window views. Living in CO, window views are a big deal because I shoot a lot of homes with views of the mountains. Very rarely do I get a good HDR with views from just three shots.


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Jul 19, 2010 17:21 |  #13

dsd17 wrote in post #10560955 (external link)
I used a 24-105 on this. How could I have kept it from bowing so much?

Doesn't DPP come with a distortion tool?

Hold on checking.......

yep, it's there, when you open a picture, you open up the tool palette then go under tab NR/Lens/ALO and click on the "tune" button at the bottom, there is a distortion correction

not sure of the quality that will come out of that thing, but might worth a try?


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TGrundvig
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Jul 19, 2010 18:10 |  #14

Ooops...sorry dsd17...I misread your question and thought you were asking about the windows being blown out.

Ok, the 'bowing' is from not keeping the camera level. As posted by nuborn, you can correct in PP, but it is much better to just avoid it in the first place. You do this by holding the camera level. When you look through the viewfinder you are looking through a rectangle. Make sure the verticle lines on walls, windows, etc are parallel with the sides of the viewfinder. If you are taller than 4 feet, then I suggest you squat down or get down on a knee if you are shooting hand held. If you are using a tripod, set the camera about 4-5 feet off the ground. If a ceiling is 8 feet tall, 4 feet from the floor would give you an even balance of floor and ceiling. If you have a room with nice flooring, lower the tripod to get a little more of the flooring. If you have a room with custom ceilings, raise the tripod to get a little more of the ceiling. But, you always keep the verticle lines parallel with the sides of the viewfinder frame.


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jantzer
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Jul 22, 2010 03:11 |  #15

TGrundvig wrote in post #10563736 (external link)
Ahhh....yes, I agree 100% with your logic there. There is a time for views through windows and there is a time to avoid those views. Anytime the window view is less than appealing, I do not expose as much for the window. Just enough to keep it from being blown out.

What I have learned from my experiences is that it usually takes more than one window view exposed shot to really get a good window view. I will typically take one where the window view is under exposed, one where it is exposed, and then work my way to the interior shadows being exposed. I personally prefer to use 1 stop seperation. I know there are a lot of people that will use just three shots, but I prefer more, as many as 7 sometimes. I also take more shots than I need. On a really bright day, I may take 9 shots and then when I get back to the computer I may delete one or two of them. I would rather delete the ones I dont need than wish I had them and then try to 'create' DNG files from existing files. It never produces the same thing. I've experimented with this where I would take three shots, 2 stops apart, and then take two of the images and adjust the exposure to make 5 shots 1 stop apart. Then, I would take the five shots with the camera and run both sets of 5 images through the HDR program and the one with 5 original shots always comes out a little better.

If you give the HDR program more than one image with window views it seems to help it produce a better final image in terms of window views. Living in CO, window views are a big deal because I shoot a lot of homes with views of the mountains. Very rarely do I get a good HDR with views from just three shots.

Do you use any artifical lighting? Nice shot btw.


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