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The Need for Speed (and quality) — HDR Photography for Real Estate


The Photography for Real Estate blog is the creation of Larry Lohrman and it focuses on the unique needs of fast-moving real estate photographers. Not to be confused with architectural photographers, real estate photographers shoot a lot - as many as six homes in a day. The goal is to make the property look great on websites and brochures and to do it fast. The client wants to sell that property as quickly as possible and the real estate photographer cannot be bogged down doing post production on photo files from six different locations. The photos have to be delivered now.

Speed isn't the only issue in real estate photography. Smoothly and rapidly managing the wide range of brightness in both interior and exterior scenes is critical. Interior scenes have to hold detail in both the bright windows and the interior shadows. For exterior scenes, the brightness levels range from bright sun to shady covered porches. This is mission critical HDR photography and there's just no time for lots of post processing.

Lohrman spent some quality time with HDR Express and he was impressed:

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"(HDR Express) has an intuitive interface and a straight forward two step process of first choosing a tone mapping preset that sets the highlight/shadow values and then selecting a image style preset that controls the overall style of the image.

I tested HDR Express with a set of brackets from a bright red living room and fairly bright windows. I use this living room as a test case for HDR and Exposure Fusion processing because I originally found it was quite a challenge processing this set of brackets with Photomatix when I originally shot this room... I found with HDR Express, that on the first try I could very quickly get a...natural looking image."

John Omvik Says - Shoot With Manual Settings

In order to capture the dynamic range of an HDR scene you need to bracket several exposures. For the best results you must ensure, that with the exception of exposure times, little varies from frame to frame. The best way to do this is to lock your settings in manual mode.

Most modern cameras allow you to save custom user settings in the camera so that they are easy to recall when you need them. If you are serious about HDR photography it makes sense to dedicate one of these custom user settings for HDR.

Here is the list of settings I recommend.

HDR In Montana - by Night

We always like to see new work from pro Reed Hoffmann This is a particularly interesting use of HDR Expose 3 in a shooting situation at East Glacier Lodge, Montana that blends natural evening light with streetlights!



Here's Reed's perspective:


"Nikon D600, 24-120mm f/f Nikkor lens, three frames, 1/2 to 30-seconds, f/5, 400 ISO. I was teaching a workshop in Glacier National Park, and in the lawn of our lodge were two teepees. With the moon rising, and nice clouds, I went out to try an HDR of the scene. I had a flashlight to paint the teepee, but it wasn't necessary as the streetlights in the area did a nice job of adding some shadows and bringing detail out on the canvas. Shot on a tripod, I particularly liked the corona around the moon. White balance was set to daylight for the moon, and the warmth added by the streetlights gave the scene a nice feel.

You can see the workshops Reed currently has planned at http://reedhoffmann.com/training/workshops

Gorgeous B&W HDR by Will Austin

We're fans of Seattle-area based pro Will Austin. He was an early adopter of HDR techniques who has contributed to this blog from as far away as Paris. A while back he was working on a shoot at the Sea-Tac airport and came up with this neat image of the Duwamish River. This image demonstrates some neat stitching and HDR work. Read Will's description of his process below the image.



Will Austin: "I had a sunrise commercial shoot at Sea-Tac Airport and after I was done I spotted this Duwamish River scene on the way home. I had rented a Nikkor PC-E Micro 85mm f/2.8D Lens for the shoot and it was perfect for this shot as well. I made three shifted horizontal images and stitched them together into a vertical. Each horizontal was a 3 shot bracket which I processed in HDR Expose 3 and then I converted the final image to black and white. The light was very contrasty and you can see from the crepuscular rays that the sun was high and to the left. I love how HDR Expose 3 brought out the detail throughout the scene and it was so quick and easy. Another great trick is to make a preset with the first image and then use it for the subsequent images so everything matches."

Great stuff Will!!!

HDR On Vacation In Mexico

We all take our cameras on vacation and it's really neat when we produce a great HDR image like this one from Steve Flowers. Shot on the beaches of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico this image really shows HDR Expose 3 at it's best. We especially like the shadow detail Steve was able to produce. Read Steve's account below.



Here's Steve:

"Earlier this month I spent a wonderful week in Puerto Vallarta Mexico with my wife. Every afternoon clouds would form over the mountains giving hint to a killer sunset only to completely block the sunset all together. On the sixth and final night of our trip the conditions looked slightly different. The promising clouds got me moving down to Los Muertos beach where there is an amazing seahorse statue. The sun dipped below the horizon and 5 minutes later the sky came alive. I merged four frames in HDR Expose 3 that were shot on a Nikon D7100."

Meet The New Pinnacle!



Photographers We Like

We're always on the hunt for great photographers. This week we found Max Rive on Google+. Visit his Facebook page



See Our Pano Assist Feature In Action

Our Pano Assist Batch Processing mode in HDR Expose 3 makes the time-consuming process of managing the creation of HDR panoramas faster and easier. V.P. of marketing at Pinnacle Imaging Systems John Omvik takes you through the new feature in this informative video.

RESPECT

Sometimes the old Rodney Dangerfield line comes to mind; "I tell ya, I just don't get no respect...". Certainly, this wonderful image by Sankar Raman that was entered in the 2015 HDR Contest could have used more respect. We provide that respect now by highlighting it and saying "Well Done!"



Interview With Vic Moss - 2015 HDR Contest Winner



"Without HDR Expose, I just wouldn’t be able to get the images I need for my clients."



Vic Moss is a prolific, working arcitectural photographer based in Denver, CO. He creates compositionally beautiful and technically superior images for his commercial and residential clients. Vic employs HDR techniques heavily in his work and his results are inspiring. We caught up with him in the middle of a working trip and he gave us an insight into his art and business.

Here's Vic:

UCT: Vic, congratulations again on winning this year's HDR contest. Can you tell us how your location in Denver affects your work?
Moss: Obviously, the winter months are quite limiting for exterior photography, but I’m blessed in that I also have a number of national clients. Denver is a centrally located city, and I can get just about anywhere in the country in less than 4 hours.

UCT: What kind of lighting challenges do architecture and corporate photography present that are not present in landscape or news photography?

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