Understanding Exposure: Listing Interiors (Part 2)
The downside to having full control is that the gear is pricey – I’d estimate about $4,500 minimum for everything, unless you were able to find some used items or opt for lower quality gear. The other thing is that all of the gear can be a bit cumbersome to lug around. A decent-size lighting bag and another camera/lens bag should be expected. Batteries, memory cards, clamps, filters, adapters, editing software and other random gadgets/gizmos can add up too.
Option #2 – Basic Control
A basic setup involves two or three strobes, a DSLR camera body, wide angle lens, light stands, and a tripod. Gels are optional, but you might have to do a slightcolor correction afterwards if you choose not to use them. Instead of reflectors, light can be bounced off of ceilings, walls, or even sheets of paper. Pocket Wizardsare best, but new flashes have built-in, infrared communication, so for simple setups that works fine. You may choose to pick up a commander unit if you want to avoid using on-camera flash. Also, a little trial and error will allow you to eliminate the light meter if you have to. It’s important to note that the quality of the photo will suffer after cutting out equipment, but sometimes it’s better to learn using the essentials, then add equipment as required.
The basic setup still allows us to get a nice wide view of the room, and target our light at dim areas in an attempt to balance the intensity of interior and exterior light. You might have a hard time getting perfectly balanced light in all areas of the room, but it will still be far better than using no lighting at all.
Option #3 – HDR (High Dynamic Range) Processing
HDR for interior listing photos requires a camera with a wide-angle lens (not necessarily a DSLR), editing software, and a sturdy tripod. It is by far the least expensive of the options, but not always the easiest. HDR images require practice, and may suffer from noise, color inaccuracy, and/or tone issues.
There are some HDR real estate photos out there that are stunning, and others that look like quaint little homes from M83. I highly suggest tackling HDR photography only if you have a good eye for realistic color and tone.
Next, we’ll discuss setup and some issues to watch for while shooting.
Bryan Larson, Media Production Technician
Point2 Technologies Inc
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