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HDR Real Estate Photography

Useful tips from pro photographers: how to take photos and how to merge them into one image.

With photography now becoming a prominent and integral part of the Real Estate business; one can only imagine the incredibly promising future that awaits Real Estate photographers. 

Looking at the recent market trend, it’s interesting how the increasing market forces of demand for Real Estate has a direct corresponding effect on the demand for photo contents. This is great news for photographers.

But typical of most businesses, competition is unavoidable. This invariably means that knowing how to do Real Estate photography in an exceptional way, relative to the competition, could be a necessary pre-requisite to being spotted from the crowd.

Real Estate: HDR photo

Why choosing HDR for Real Estate?

Looking at recent trends in the Real Estate Photography industry, it is only logical to say that newcomers would need a solid and definite roadmap in order to survive or become authorities in the field.

The process of image capture, however simple, requires a lot more than pushing the shutter button. Creativity is nonnegotiable. Knowing how to manipulate angles, composition and perspectives should be your greatest strength as well as competitive advantage.

Creativity and skill, notwithstanding, mastering the technical aspect of the game, like knowing when and how best to blend exposures, match colors, supplement lighting or do an HDR is important.

In an industry that places premium value on the worth of a photo because of its indispensable role, hiring the right Real Estate Photographer for a sale isn’t a task any Realtor wants to handle with kids’ gloves – a competitive marketplace indeed for Real Estate Photographers who may, if need be, have to market themselves, going from one Realtor’s firm to another, in order to remain in the game.

For most of these photographers, time and money are assets that need to be leveraged upon; incorporating High Dynamic Range (HDR) techniques into their Real Estate Photography workflow have been found to work great wonders with Realtors, time and time again.

If you’re new in the industry, or would like to improve the quality of your results, then this Real Estate tutorial is for you.

I understand there are those who argue that HDR is unprofessional, unethical and should be discouraged in Real Estate Photography, but that’s probably because they’ve never had or seen an HDR that was done in the Aurora HDR software program. The saying that “You don’t improve on perfect” couldn’t be truer with Aurora. The application is amazing; its natural and realistic results speak for themselves, especially if you know all tricks from HDR tutorial series.

This Real Estate Photography tutorial is focused on helping you become more proficient in your photography skills as it relates to how to photograph Real Estate in a professional manner. 

You’ll also be learning more about the High Dynamic Range (HDR) technique in Real Estate – what it is, how it operates and how any photographer can achieve stunning results, impress their clients, and of course, go past the first deal; landing more jobs.

An HDR photo of a building

Becoming More Proficient in Real Estate Photography

Just as we know that using a blunt ax could be equated to subjecting one’s self to self-torture and poor productivity, so it is with Real Estate photography. Having the right knowledge and toolset for the job is fundamental. Highlighted below are useful tips that would revolutionize your photography career in a tremendous way.

How to Take Great Real Estate Photographs?

Knowing how to do Real Estate Photography the right way cannot be overemphasized. It begins with simple, but very important things like your Camera gears – the camera, lens and tripod should get you started. Additionally, your proficiency in supplemental lighting and HDR techniques could stand you out from the crowd.

It’s nice when your camera is one that allows the inclusion of a cable release, wireless triggers, flash and changeable lenses; you’d need wide angle lenses.

A lens type of 10mm to 22mm or 12mm to 24mm would be great for cropped-sensor cameras; 16mm to 35mm is perfect for full-frame sensor cameras. Using tilt-shift or zoom lenses for your captures is the smartest way to handle converging vertical lines like wall edges or the unavoidable sight of leaning door and window frames.

Irrespective of your shooting style, using your tripod would guarantee consistent image alignment, particularly when shooting multiple exposures for HDR processing. Besides the tripod, utilizing your camera’s self-timer, wireless triggers or cable release are other ways to minimize camera movements.

**Remember to set your camera to AEB (Auto Exposure) mode; EV Spacing +/- 2 EV, or the maximum EV spacing your camera supports.

Shooting brackets for HDR

Capturing the Exteriors

Most outdoor structures, including Real Estate buildings, either enjoy early or late day-lighting. This is where using Google Maps/Earth could help determine whether a home is facing the sunrise, sunset or neither; searching only takes a couple of minutes, and does help in determining the most suitable time of the day for the photo shoot.

In winter seasons, many homes facing south are hardly exposed to direct sunlight from the front of the home. Since shooting into the sun isn’t an option, you may want to do your captures from the same end of the building as the sun.

If you ever have to shoot under poor day lighting, it’s always advisable you discuss with your Realtor. Interestingly, overcast skies have a nice way of eliminating possible problems with sun’s position; giving you the advantage of being able to shoot at any time of the day. The disadvantage, however, is that the shots may not be a perfect representation of the exterior, in terms of appeal.

The dusk technique:

The idea is to have all the lights turned on in the building during the capture. The dusk photograph, often requested by clients, does have a remarkable input in how it helps sell properties. The shoots are taken from outside – usually from the best angle in order to showcase the architectural design of the house.

Interior Real Estate Photography

It’s advisable to let your client know ahead of time that you’d like to have the home well cleaned out before your arrival. The idea is that you’re there to capture the building in its most appealing look – junks and dirt not inclusive.

Rooms to be photographed include the living room, dining area, kitchen, master bedroom, and master bath. Depending on your client’s request, you may also want to shoot the office, library, closets and other rooms that exist within the building. Always seek the best possible perspective for each capture.

Using inside elements like windows, furniture, and room layout, to create a natural visual flow might be worth considering.

Camera Height and Vertical Edges

Your verticals must be accurate. Most interiors have edges and wall corners; door frames and windows also have vertical sides and edges – all of which need to be truly vertical. Your best bet is to use a tilt-shift lens. 

Trying to manually tilt the camera with a non-tilt-shift wide-angle lens could give you vertically converging or diverging edges that wouldn’t appear straight. In any case, processing your exposures in Aurora HDR is one sure way of eliminating any remaining edge-inconsistencies that may have been captured.

Getting Good Exposures

Getting a perfect interior exposure can be challenging, particularly when you consider the fact that you’d have to find a balance between the contrasting bright lighting from the window and the darker interiors. 

One of the best ways to deal with this is to do your captures when the outdoor light levels are lower. Having all the lights turned on helps to increase the interior brightness which invariably gives you better captures, and a less demanding HDR processing, at the end the day.

Interior Lighting

Well-lit portraits and interiors are enhanced by nicely styled lighting. Although HDR technique helps in the management of scene contrast, it is not designed to create shadows or highlights in areas without directional light. 

There are photographers who have mastered the act of using their direct camera flash to balance scene’s lighting while others use it in a bounce capacity. Indifferent of the category you belong, it’s important to note that your camera’s flash isn’t a constant light, so adding supplemental lighting to a scene could remarkably help bring out the much-needed detail.

In situations where you have mixed lighting effects, depending on the intensity, you could control these effects by color-matching the lights in the room or simply use Aurora HDR color correction tools to make the necessary changes.Proper light for interior HDR photos

Wrapping up the Work: Making your HDR

Like all other fields of photography, getting your shootings right in HDR Real Estate Photography isn’t negotiable. There are certain things that cannot be replaced by HDR - Angles, Composition, and perspectives, just to mention a few. With your shoots in place, there’s no telling what you would achieve with HDR post processing.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography is fast becoming an applicable alternative to the conventional multiple lights and flash guns. Aurora HDR’s cutting edge solutions offer Professional Real Estate Photographers a convenient alternative of not having to carry unnecessary lighting, and extra gears for their Real Estate Photography services.

The Real Estate HDR photography technique starts off with several images with varying highlight, mid-tone, and shadow details, thus expanding the overall light range of each set of exposures. These exposures are eventually merged into sets of processed HDR images by means of a powerful HDR app like Aurora.

The resultant Aurora HDR Images are usually stunning enhanced versions of the original – distinctly revealing the hidden details in the shadows, tone, and highlights, unlike alternative HDR software like Luminance or others. Aurora is great at helping to accurately distribute lighting effects across the entire photo.

Enhance photos with Aurora HDR Pro

The industry is price, location, and time dependent. Real Estate Photographers who have incorporated Aurora HDR photography into their workflow, have remarkably cut down on their on-site shooting time, and increased the overall quality of their Real Estate Photography services.

Once you have everything in place, knowing your client’s preferred image resolution or intended use, web (low resolution) or print (high resolution), and delivering in the appropriate format and resolution, could determine whether or not you’d be getting another call.

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