Why is HDR shooting popular in real estate photography?

Retouching

2020/03/20

Why is HDR shooting popular in real estate photography?

HDR or High Dynamic Range can bring out the most beautiful feature of your photos. Like its name implies, the method aiming to add more dynamic range - the ratio of light/dark in a photograph. Out of everything that photographers take into consideration when going for a shoot, light is most important. You do not always have control over light unless you are in a studio. In most cases, photographers are required to work outdoors, with natural light.

HDR allows you to take different exposures. Afterward, you can merge those images into one through photo editing software, and it will provide you an overall correct exposure. HDR allows you to adjust it the way you want and highlight the best parts of each photo.

HDR helps to maximize the dynamic range in a highly contrasted scene. It is often adapted for indoor shoots like property, furniture and outdoor shoots like landscape images. Since HDR brings you the freedom to adjust color and light, editors can be more creative with the photos and maybe create a masterpiece even with a simple scene. However, there is a delicate line between an excellent HDR image and one that is overdone. It takes a highly-skilled editor to transform them into a treasure.

Real estate photography adaptation of HDR

1. Sunset/Sunrise shooting

This is the moment you have been looking forward to all day. Not like every time you go for a property shooting, you have a beautiful scene like this. The sky lights up with a majestic combination of color: red, yellow, orange, maybe purple and blue. The clouds floating softly and the whole thing creates a warm undertone. This is perfect.

However, this stunning moment might only last for a few minutes. You better not miss your chance. You wait for the right moment to come and hit the click button. Unfortunately, what you see is a disappointment. Where are all the colors?

Depend on how you shoot, 2 common scenarios are:  

  • Your foreground is well exposed, but your sky is completely washed out

  • The sky is perfect, but the foreground is solid black

It is clear that you can’t capture the whole dynamic range in one single photo. A high dynamic range can help you solve this issue.

2. Interiors

If you are a real estate photographer, most of your photos will be of the interior of the house. It is very easy to let furniture take up too much space and make the house seem to be small and more crowded than its actual appeal. 

Try to find the right angle, make each room look spacious, comfortable, and full of potential. The success of interiors shooting is to make customers see themselves living in that place. When a person is buying a house, they’re also buying a lifestyle. Therefore, it’s crucial to know the house’s strengths and weaknesses. One of the tips to make the house seem to be more lively is to add fire to a fireplace, add a TV screen, fill up an empty pool, and put suitable accessory, decorations.

With well-edited HDR with some furniture touch, the property will turn some heads for its amazing beauty.

3. Exteriors

Big landscape photos like a huge garden or a tremendous view from the house usually have a lot of contrast between the sky and land. As we learn at the beginning, with HDR, you can capture every detail with suitable light, highlight all your favorite spots.

Limitation of HDR

Everything has 2 sides and we should all consider the advantages and disadvantages. HDR is undoubtedly bringing many benefits to photographers, but please also consider the purpose of using it for your shoot.

Here are some types of photos you should consider using a different type of shooting;

1. Photos with movement

There is a high chance that your HDR photos will be blurry if there is movement in your subject. Remember, HDR takes several pictures, so if your subject moves between these shots, your final image will be hard to process.

2. High-contrast scenes

Some photos look better with a stark contrast between the dark and light parts of the photo as if you have a dark shadow or silhouette you want to highlight. HDR will make this less intense, resulting in a less interesting photo.

3. Vivid colors

If your scene is too dark or too light, HDR can bring some of the colors back. However, if you’re dealing with colors that are already very vivid, HDR can wash them out.

Besides the 3 factors, remember that the post process is equally important.

HDR was very popular among photographers a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, with automated tools, weak editors, HDR photos somehow receive a bad reputation. Surreal, fake, oversaturated and gritty HDR pictures are very unwanted.

The problem is that it is easy to over-process HDR images. There are many presets available in automated HDR software. They produce surreal and overcooked images. Good HDR photos are subtle and keep the natural, yet the richer, look of your images. Furthermore, you don’t need to remove all contrast. Contrast is what keeps things natural. The way you then manipulate the picture has little to do with HDR. You can opt for realistic editing, or you can go wild.

Put your concern at ease and spend more time on photography

There are various benefits when using an outsourcing service. It’s hard to do both photography and editing at the same time, especially when your reputation is now expanding. You got more job offers to shoot more properties, and the requirement from clients to receive the image quickly has taken all your time. Use outsourcing service instead. 

In the previous article, we had talked about how hiring an agent to edit your photos will bring lots of benefits (LINK) and one of them is to help photographers focus more on their professional.  For real estate agents, there’s hardly a more effective way to sell houses than showcasing photographs. That’s where real estate photographers are useful. Great shots make a house appealing to buyers, increasing the chance of a sale. Hiring a professional photographer is a must. The task of a professional photographer is to take natural-looking photos of a property that make it attractive to buyers.

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