Real Estate Pics

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by linda_baker|1, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. How do you take an interior shot of a room but also have the outdoor view from the windows in the shot as well? My shots always have the windows with just light coming in, not the scene.
  2. What is happening is that normally bright outside light and dim inside light are beyond the range of the sensor so one is burned out or the other is too dark.
    One way around it is to set up the camera on a tripod, make one exposure for the outside light and another for the inside dimness. Then combine (there are programs for so-called HDR that will do this more-or-less automatically).
    If the difference is less in some cases, sometimes a single exposure can be tweaked into revealing both (e.g., such as is done by Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 plugin)
  3. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Another method is to use (usually) Flash to illuminate the interior of the room, such that there is little EV difference, between the outside scene through the windows an the inside of the room.
    In this case one only needs to make one exposure.
    The example above was made to show students how the Flash Sync Speed must be observed - but the first frame shows you how the Flash illuminates the interior of the room to be in balance with the Ambient Exposure of the scene outside.
    Lighting a whole room can be tricky and it is best to begin with fewer Flash Heads add more as one gets more proficient.
    A good start for a beginner would be to use TWO flash heads set just behind the camera and bouncing in from the ceiling at 45 degrees. ensure that the camera's FoV (Field of View) does not encroach on the ceiling such that there is an hot spot where the Flash is bounced off.
  4. Thank you! I'm assuming, William W, that this is additional lighting other than the flash attachment purchased for my camera? Sorry, I don't know a lot about the technical stuff. :)
  5. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I don't know what flash you have for your camera, or what camera that you have?
    If you have a "speedilite" (that's a removable flash that sits on the top of your camera on the 'hotshoe') then you could make a reasonable result by using only the one Flash - bouncing it up to the ceiling at 45 degrees and using the camera in the LANDSCAPE ORIENTATION.
    The trick is to get the Flash (interior) Exposure the same as the Outside (ambient) Exposure for a nice 'balance'.
    So as a tutorial for you:
    Make a meter reading of the outside scene and then choose an ISO so you can have a shutter speed at or slower than your Maximum Flash Sync Speed and also a small Aperture for a good Depth of Field (let's say F/11).
    Then use the Flash in Auto Mode and that will take care of the interior exposure - but this is a trial run. You then need to critically observe the result and you can fine tune the FLASH exposure by using FEC (Flash Exposure Compensation).
  6. Wow, this is so helpful! One more question...I have a Canon EOS T2i with a Speedlite flash...what setting should I be in?
  7. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Manual Camera Mode and Automatic Flash would be best.
    But you need to understand the relationship between the ISO / Aperture / and Shutter Speed, because you will meter the OUTSIDE scene and then you need make sure that you adjust the shutter speed and aperture to fit.
    Try using ISO 200 and F/16 as a starting point ot make the Outdoor exposure reading.
    You need to know the Max Flash Sync Speed of the T2i - I expect that is around 1/200s.
    I trust this all makes sense to you as I am speed typing and I have to go now: any further unanswered questions I'll be back later tonight, my time.
    I am sure that you will have other useful responses.
  8. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    The flash sync speed of your camera is 1/250 sec.

    See what aperture setting you would need outdoors to get a good exposure using 1/250 shutter speed. If it is sunny outside with 200 ISO a good outside exposure should be f/16 at 1/250 sec.

    Set the aperture to f/16 in manual mode, put the flash on AUTO and take the photo inside. The inside exposure and outside exposure should match.

    The flash will give the correct amount of light for f/16 indoors and the camera at f/16 and 1/250 shutter speed will give the correct amount of light for the outdoors.

    Note: I have often found that too much equal balance of indoor and outdoor looks phony. Because the light is the same it often looks like there was no roof or ceiling on the room and equal amount of daylight was shining into the room as was falling outside. YMMV
  9. WW's phots also demonstrates what happens when you do use faster shutter speed .... the flash only illuminates part of the picture becuase of the design and use of the focal plane shutter that the DSLR uses .... you would not have this problem with a 'compur' type shutter in a quality P&S or bridge camera.
    The main reason why a long time ago I forsoke my Leica with its 1/30 'sync speed' for a Japanese import. :) [ before Japan became leaders in camera design ] Even my later SLRs only had 1/60 sync speeds.
    The focal plane shutter has two blinds and first one uncovers the sensor and the second covers it up .... this happens at a 'relatively slow' shutter speed [ your camera apparently 1/250 ] so when you use a faster shutter speed the second blind starts to cover the sensor before the first blind has fully uncovered it and while the camera records the ambient light over the whole frame the flash only lights that part uncovered by the first blind and not covered by the second as in WW's 1/500 and faster exposures. The flash normally fires when the first blind has fully uncovered the sensor [ though there are other settings avialable for special effects which would not help you for this exercise].
    That is a great demonstration image you have there WW :)
  10. You need a small pile of slave flashes, fired by remote triggers. You are working with two exposures--the exposure of the window and the exposure of the interior. The idea is to make them match. To do this, you use enough flash to match the outside exposure. The trick is to make the flash very subtle, so it doesn't look like a flash shot. Diffusers are very useful for this. Watch for flash hot spots in glass, windows, shiney metal etc. The key to exposure is: aperature controls flash, shutter controls ambient.
    Kent in SD
  11. IMHO, look, look and practice, practice. You should look at home decor magazines, real estate ads and websites and judge for yourself what looks best. I think in the real world the outside is brighter than the inside and a photo should reflect that to a large extent. To me, JDM's photo of the classroom at the top of this page is what you should be aiming for. But you should practice to get a look that is right for you.
  12. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    "To do this, you use enough flash to match the outside exposure."

    You haven't answered the OP's question - How?
  13. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    You need a small pile of slave flashes, fired by remote triggers.​

    Most real estate jobs don't support this type of shoot. You typically have 15-20 interior shots, using multiple views of the same room. It takes time to move all the lights so that each shot is balanced and the lights aren't in it.

    While William's single flash can work, I find HDR to be the best way to get good shots in a reasonable amount of time. I use five exposures typically bracketed to include two or three stops. HDR has the added benefit of opening up dark areas created by shadows or poor indoor lighting.
    But you should practice to get a look that is right for you.​

    If this is for real estate listings, which the title implies, this is not about the right look for the photographer. Real estate photos have specific looks that the agents want. The goal of the photos is to get people to come look at the property, not see photos that a photographer likes. The "right look" is the one the agent wants.
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "While William's single flash can work, I find HDR to be the best way to get good shots in a reasonable amount of time."​
    Yes. Thanks. My first comment about using Flash was meant to suggest the most common general alternative to JDM von W's suggestion to use Bracketing for the shoot and HDR in Post Production. As I mentioned "Lighting a whole room can be tricky . . ."

    My subsequent comments about using one flash were directly addressing Linda's questions about using the one flash that she has: and not meant to suggest it would be the best/quickest method to shoot (ongoing) real-estate interiors for a real estate listings.
    Also, if the question is about shooting ongoing real estate work, then an efficient workflow should be developed for a quick turn around (and efficiency of time for the monies paid) and this would imply learning to become efficient at HDR Post Production work.
  15. You can find much more on the use of flesh and/or HDR (and many other real estate photography issues) at

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