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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Good Lighting for Real Estate..a Difficult Window Done the Hard Way

If you have seen the information sheet we mail or take to real estate agencies, then you have seen these two photos.  What that info sheet does not reveal is how the photo was edited in digital software to become the pleasing interior shot it is.  These pictures are also on the page "Free Photo Shoot" tabbed just under the heading photograph of the blog site.

Take a look at this first photo, an effort to emphasize and show the attractive main window from the open living area of the home.  Look at the photo and you might see more missing and more wanted than the text on the photo says.  This photo was to be one of the listing photos on the mls for the residence and property. The intent is to honestly show the home as it is...not exaggerated as to what is actually there and not less than the eye actually sees.  As it is below, the photo fails to show either the home or the window well. Really, no photo will match the human eye in dynamic range and ability to see things nicely. What we do as professionals is size up the situation as best we can then go to the editing room.  We know matching the actual eye view is not possible but we want to get close enough to show the home interior fairly. 

Real estate photo, main window overexposed

The eye would not see this first photo as did the camera.  Our eyes take in a much wider range of light intensities and then balance it all together..that is what the brain does and what we see.  Thank our God, our creator, for the ways we compensate for color and lighting to see as well as we do.  Now, off we go to the computer to edit the photo to look as it really should.
Overexposed window corrected with overlay, thomas haynes photoshoot

After editing, this is the photo used on the real estate listing. The picture shows an inviting and comfortable room with good openness to the outside. Outside light was slightly brighter than the interior and is shown that way to display the window and not detract from the room itself.

OK, so what did you do to make this photo look right?
There are generally two ways to take a photo like the one at the top and come up with the second one. 1. Have enough light in the room to expose the interior and what is outside the window in a natural balance:   In this room, that was not going to happen.  Available lighting was not strong enough and supplemental lighting with photo strobes would be very difficult and time consuming to set up to get this look.  

We took the other option. 2. Take more than  one photo from the same spot(tripod needed!) and combine the parts of the photos needed to make the final image. This is what Photoshop™ people call "making a selection" and "layering" of parts together.  None of this was done to deceive..keep that in mind. What is in the second photo was in the original view but the camera could not see it all in one shot. The purpose of this time consuming photo editing was to provide an image closer to what the eye actually sees than a camera is able to capture in one shot with available lighting.

Why is this example of photo editing posted here in the first place?
The answer is simple.  On occasion it is necessary to go extra steps at the editing desk to get a photo right for public view: An honest and effective marketing product..i.e. real estate photo.  We do that when needed. It should be part of the job.

Comments or questions are invited. Join in!     Email preferred for longer comments and thoughts we may post for discussion.
ThomasHaynesPhotoshoot Works out of Clinton, Tennessee

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