Friday, September 29, 2017

The Secret of Great Architectural Photography



Occasionally we shoot architecture and residential properties for architects and REALTORS®. The whole idea of making a successful image of a home interior is to make certain the light and subject matter seen through the windows of the home are properly illuminated and that the exposure is evenly balanced with the light in the room.

Lately we've been getting emails from real estate agents and a few photographers asking for our "secret"... how we get the light right in our photographs. so, here's the secret: expose the frame for the ambient (exterior) light, then use strobes, flash or constant light to bring the interior lighting up to the same level of exposure as the exterior. The same goes for dark rooms which can be seen from the main area being photographed. Just add light in the dark areas until the exposure is balanced. That's it!

Of course, you could use high dynamic range (HDR) techniques to equalize the exposure, but that involves a lot of work, and (in my opinion) does not yield a realistic photograph. At least three, and preferably five frames are needed to get a decent HDR image, and the blending and fusion process can create a somewhat surreal picture.

The third (and equally labor-intensive) option is to take one photo with the interior properly exposed, and another with the exterior properly exposed. The photos can then be manipulated to yield an acceptable image, but to me they never look quite right.

There is really no substitute for proper lighting.

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