We’ve all seen those real estate photos posted online that are supposed to make us want to buy that house, but for some reason that “deer in the headlights” looking flash effect doesn’t quite do it. I wonder why. Please understand that I’m not grilling anyone here. I realize that most listed homes don’t have the budget available to have a professional come in and shoot a house, but I often wonder if that really is a valid point.
I personally have toured homes that I first saw photos of and was pleasantly surprised to see that it looked way better in person than in the photos, which begs me to ask the question. How many people have passed up a property because the photos they found online didn’t accurately depict the space?
My assignment today was to get some interior shots of Copper Harbor Cabins for use as promo material on their website. This property is unique in that it has incredible views visible through its large windows. The challenge is that whenever you have large windows on a sunny, blue sky day you will be challenged with getting both the interior and exterior exposed properly in the same image.
Let’s look at an example. Below is a shot where I exposed for what was outside the windows. The water looks nice, but you can barely see what’s inside. This would have been great if we wanted to hide the inside, but it turns out that the interior has been completely remodeled so we wanted to show that as well.
This next image I exposed to show the interior. Now we can see that there are tables, chairs and a lamp, but the outside is well overexposed. In this image we need a little imagination to see the water outside.
In this next image I tried to increase the interior levels using the shadow/highlight tool in Adobe Lightroom. It’s looking much better. In fact I would say it’s a pretty good compromise. I can see water and I can see furniture. What more do we need? Actually, we can do better. Let’s try something else.
In this next image I added an externally mounted flash which I placed on the table to the left and pointed it towards the ceiling. I exposed for the water outside and then adjusted the flash power until I got a good balance between inside and outside. Now we can clearly see both the interior and exterior.
I was quite happy with this image and took quite a few images using this setup, but when I went for a wider view I ran into problems with getting enough interior light across the entire scene so I added a 2nd flash to the mix.
In this next image there is a flash located to the left on the floor aimed at the ceiling and another flash located off to the right on a cabinet also pointed at the ceiling. The white ceilings worked great for bouncing the light down creating a softer light source to illuminate the interior. This is one of my favorite shots. It looks warm and inviting just like it feels when there in person. After all isn’t that the idea of a photo?
To see more photos of Copper Harbor Cabins visit the photos link on their website.