Lynda.com just published two more courses in my Real Estate Photography series — “Kitchens” and “Twilight Exteriors“.
These are arguably the 2 most important shots a real estate photographer makes. The kitchen is certainly the room where the most remodeling dollars get spent, and it’s nearly always a “money shot” even when it’s not snazzy. And for sheer sex appeal, it’s hard to beat a good twilight exterior with a vivid deep saturated sky and glowing windows and soft glamour light everywhere.
Perversely, these are often the two shots photographers struggle with the most, and so in these two courses I’ve laid out the strategies I follow to really make the most of these opportunities. In the kitchen episode we discuss styling, lighting, and composition to show off the room at it’s best, and (dare I say it) we get a pretty doggone good result, in a kitchen that is frankly not a prize-winner. And in the twilight episode (which I have not yet watched….maybe this weekend) I go for two photos in one night, which involves (literally) some running around.
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Here’s an image that’s a good example of a technique I’ve been working on. I had both interior and exterior issues to deal with here. The outside areas ranged from blindingly bright concrete in the foreground (about f/3 billion) to the deep shadows in front of the rear structure. The interior was a good one and a half stops below my darkest exposure for the outside.
While this might have been a good candidate for a hand blend, I opted instead to shoot it as a 3-exposure Photomatix blend (I prefer Blends over HDR), and flash the interiors. Two lights were used, both of them SB-80s triggered by Pocket Wizards. One is directly behind the nearest vertical windowframe (those little video-tripod lightstands have tiny profiles) and is aimed straight into the room, with the Wide Angle Diffuser (WAD) lens down. The second light is bounced in from the right side. My exposures were -2, 0, +2, and the lights fired on all three.
After Photomatix did the blend, I layered in the darkest exposure to gain more detail in the foreground. I’m going to continue working on this technique, as it can really rescue a shot when there’s a serious time-of-day problem!
Click to see bigger.
Recently I had the opportunity to photograph a stunning residence in Stanislaus County, California. This place was certainly one of the best put-together houses I’ve ever seen; everything was done to a high degree of quality. Inside and out, the design/architecture was outstanding and needless to say I had a great time photographing it!
I spent two days and two nights on location, along with Quentin Bacon, who was shooting video. I returned twice more to capture aerials (first flight we didn’t get good stuff due to haze).
During the planning sessions with the creative team, the descriptions of the stars kept coming up. “You should see the stars out there!” one person gushed. “The stars are incredible,” said another. The homeowners also brought this up repeatedly. As we discussed shot lists and logistics, this photograph slowly evolved in my head. read about the technique after the jump