Why do we shoot HDR photography?
We shoot HDR for real estate photos because when shooting a house’s interior, there are extreme Lee different shades of light throughout the photo. Usually, if it’s a daytime photo, the outside is super bright, while the interior is not as bright. To make a seamless photo with such a dynamic range, we must shoot HDR. We do this by doing AEB, which stands for Auto Exposure Bracketing. This takes three shots per photo, one bright, one dark, and one middle. This week, we have all of the exposures that we need. We then take these photos and edit them together manually to make the seamless photo we originally desired; this is known as Naturally-Blended HDR.
Window pulls are a major part of real estate photography and editing. This is the main reason to hire a photographer because when you take a single shot of a room with bright windows, you will not see what is outside. When selling a house, the viewer almost always wants to see what is outside the window. Instead, they will be waking up to that view or cooking to the view, especially if the house is in Malibu or Hollywood, where there are incredible ocean views of the city.
Pretty much anything that is blown out can be solved by HDR photography. Even if it’s a super bright lightbulb in the property, you can shoot multiple exposures so the dark image can compensate for the super bright areas, and the middle image can compensate for the regularly lit areas.
How to take the Best HDR Real Estate Photos?
The best way to shoot HDR is with a tripod. You want to use a tripod so the images align correctly, and none of the three photos are misaligned. If they are misaligned, you might not be able to edit them together in the future because as you layer them on top of each other and select different parts of the image to include in the final product, they might need to align.
You can also throw in a flash exposure to create a flambient effect. Flambient stands for flash + ambient (HDR). This might help, but it is unnecessary since it takes much longer on-site (at the photo shoot), and the result doesn’t look much different. It also creates more moving parts and more room for error.
For very high shoots, sometimes flambient is a better option. Luxury hotels and homes above $20 million usually can benefit from packages like this which we offer in our ReveLux Luxury Photoshoot Packages. If you want to learn how to shoot this way, you can check out our YouTube, as we will continue uploading videos related to the topic. With this method, editing can make or break the quality of your work.
Since you are doing HDR already, you will have three brackets, but you might have another three different flash brackets along with those three brackets. The flash brackets will be angled and bounced off different room parts.
There might be different rooms in the back that need their flash frame or bathrooms in the back that need their flash frame. A great benefit of shooting this way as you can do flash window pulls, which tend to be the most precise and accurate window pull editing method. To do this, you must open Photoshop and add the flash layer on top, and with one click of a button, it will do the window pull for you. Finally, you need to ensure the rest of the wall is extremely blown out, so you must put your flash on high power and say your ISO is a bit higher than normal to achieve that.
Determining a suitable situation for Real Estate HDR Photography
When to use HDR for Real Estate Photography?
Exterior photos work with a single exposure, especially if it’s a cloudy day. When it is cloudy, you can replace the sky, and the soft light does the job. But you might need real estate HDR Photography if it’s a super bright day with harsh shadows and different patio-covered backyard areas. So here at Revepix, we like to play it safe and shoot HDR regardless if the shots are inside or outside.
I have attached images to help you visualize the types of outcomes you can achieve with this shooting. You can check out our Instagram to see more of our shots.
We have taken great real estate photos over the 7 years and 5,000 houses we have photographed. You can also check our Facebook and our YouTube.
Here is an example of a flambient shot. If you can’t tell, this was a very dark room, but with a few flash brackets and the Stereotypical HDR brackets, we achieved the flambient look.
Here is a twilight shot that was taken with HDR. We did your sky replacements to get the natural-looking pink sunset. The clients and the homeowners fell in love with the photos, and the home flew off the market.
Do you need a tripod for HDR?
Some might see us shooting without a tripod and question us since we stated earlier that you must have a tripod. With the newer equipment, especially the ones we use, cameras have evolved, and technology has progressed to a point where HDR can be achievable via handheld photography. Therefore, we recommend using a Sony a7iii or a Sony a7iv for handheld HDR photography. The method to the madness here is that you wind up your ISO high enough and set it on automatic shutter speed.
If a photographer shoots at anything faster than 1/30 of a second, that usually does the trick for us. We preach that anything slower than that will cause motion blur, and if you can play it safe, I recommend doing a minimum of 1/60, but if you could lean on a wall or if you feel that you have steady hands, then 1/30 is good enough.
I highly recommend you Naturally Blend your HDR. If you need editing services, you can also reach out to us for advice and peer review. We have been doing this for over 7 years and have always been building out our processes to make our workflow as streamlined as possible. The goal is to help agents get more listings by taking magnificent photographs of their current listings so they can display them on their portfolios for future listing presentations.
I hope this helps you understand real estate photography and HDR bracketing.