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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Property Photography Lounge / window / view
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03/15/2009 03:31:07 AM · #1
An aspect of my job is to photograph property. Many times I need to take a shot of say, a lounge which has a huge feature window that looks out onto a lake and / or mountains. My question is, how do you take the shot which would incorporate the lounge and view in one photo ?

Whenever I try to incorporate the the window (for the view), what I get is a nice lounge shot which leads to a window full of glare?

Any Help would be greatly appreciated.

773436.jpg

773437.jpg

Message edited by author 2009-03-15 03:49:29.
03/15/2009 03:56:10 AM · #2
I was going to suggest a wideangle lens and a polarizing filter, but I see you use a fixed lens compact. A polarizing filter and a lens hood should cut a large amount of the glare and potentially reduce some flare. Does your Sony have filter threads?

Edited to add: Now that you posted some samples I see the problem. You have to expose for inside lighting and the windows is bright. My best suggestion is multiple exposures, bracketed at different levels, taken with a tripod so that you can line them up. You could layer the images and do a mask or erase where the window is. Alternatively, you could do an HDR merge of the bracketed exposures to get everything exposed properly. Does your camera have auto exposure bracketing?

Message edited by author 2009-03-15 04:01:50.
03/15/2009 04:01:36 AM · #3
This is an issue of post-processing magic.

Take two exposures on a tripod. One exposed to the interior, and one exposed to show detail from the windows.

Then, in post, simply put in the properly exposed window images into the frame.

In the second example, you can resize, crop, rotate, etc. and place the view into the window space once you've shot the interior.
03/15/2009 04:08:20 AM · #4
Thanks for your Comment Yo_spiff, I leave the wide angle function off on the camera and use a wide angle lens instead (lets me get more in the shot)I will need to find out more about filter threads on the camera and a lens hood is a good thought. Thank you!

Added, I have manual settings on my camera but will have to have a closer look to answer your question ;-)

Message edited by author 2009-03-15 04:29:47.
03/15/2009 04:14:46 AM · #5
Thanks K10DGuy for your comment / advice, I have seen this one used a lot, often wondered how they did it and thought I would love to do it better. I will give your comment ago. Thanks Mate!

03/15/2009 05:24:01 AM · #6
You may want to expose for the outside and use a fill-in flash for the inside.
03/15/2009 05:32:24 AM · #7
773445.jpg
This is clearly the easiest way.
;)

I think your best bet is combining multiple exposures. What 21.gif Yo_Spiff is referring to is can your camera take a sequence of images using different exposure compensation settings automatically. After consulting the rather cryptic online manual for your camera, you may or may not have an auto-bracketing feature. The wording and explanations are cryptic... Consult page 26 for the possibility of bracketing, called "REC Mode". You want a mode that has something having to do with exposure bracketing (it may be abbreviated as EV BRK or something like that). The other option is to manually set your exposure compensation (called EV on your camera) for each exposure. An explanation of how to do this can be found on pg 20. If you don't have your manual, here is a link to the online version. You will want to take an image where only the window is exposed properly, so everything else will be black or very dark, and then where everything except for the window is properly exposed, resulting in the window being totally blown out, and then combining them. Good luck!

Message edited by author 2009-03-15 05:36:52.
03/15/2009 05:33:35 AM · #8
Originally posted by mitalapo:

You may want to expose for the outside and use a fill-in flash for the inside.

This is true, but since he's doing such a large area it would be very hard to get the whole scene evenly lit and would take a lotta power to do so as well.
03/15/2009 05:39:08 AM · #9
I've been a real estate photographer 2 days a week for the past year or so. When I first started I thought it would be best to use fill flash, but got over that very quickly as I lost the natural light falling in through the windows, which can be a really attractive part of a house - plus it made everything look too flat for my taste. Then I decided to go with HDR, but I soon realised that I simply didn't have time to shoot 6-8 houses in 2 days and still do the post processing on all the images. I then looked through lots of real estate photography websites to see which methods I preferred, and came up with the natural lighting and tripod method. It really works - if you say you have manual on your camera, make sure you use a tripod and keep the ISO on 200 (any higher and what I'm about to tell you will ruin the shots with too much grain). Take your shots, but use 3 exposures per shot, starting at the camera's preferred exposure (usually too dark), then 2 more shots a stop higher on each. Then in post processing, if you have lightroom it really helps, or if you're able to shoot in RAW on your camera use camera raw - simply choose the best shot out of the 3 that retains the exterior detail while not making the interior detail black, then use the 'fill light' on lightroom/camera raw to bring up the interior. You may also have to use the recovery toggle as well, just enough to balance the light. And if none of that works, you still have 3 shots to merge. It really does cut down on guess work, its quick and easy, and instead of taking an hour per house, I now zip in and out within 20 and its all done, then post processing takes about 1/2 hour, which is great.
The only other thing I would suggest is that if you know you have the view of the century coming up, try not to take it at the brightest time of day, otherwise you'll have awful trouble balancing it. Using post processing merging is ok, but if the place isn't absolutely streamlined and free of any clutter around the windows, or worse, lace curtains on the edges, then it can make life hell.
The really expensive houses are always done at dusk, when the lights can be turned on, longer exposures can be used, and there is minimal difference between inside and out. But if you're like me, you can't use up every dinner hour on other people's houses, and have to work with deadlines and other people's schedules.
Hope that helps.
03/15/2009 06:08:42 AM · #10
Hey 21_F.gif jettyimages, how would you a shoot house at dusk using the indoor lights and the natural sunlight? Seems to me you would get the most nauseating WB conundrum possible. Am I missing something?

Message edited by author 2009-03-15 06:08:59.
03/15/2009 08:35:56 AM · #11
Originally posted by spiritualspatula:

Hey 21_F.gif jettyimages, how would you a shoot house at dusk using the indoor lights and the natural sunlight? Seems to me you would get the most nauseating WB conundrum possible. Am I missing something?


There's a short space of time available at dusk, but as I said, there's no actual sunlight there, the light turns relatively cold, and if they're using fluoro spots inside (which most new houses here have to according to govt legislation) then it all works well. If they're using tungsten spots, its better to get it before the sun disappears, while the outside light is still warm, then WB adjust later.
I don't do a lot of the dusk shots as I have 3 kids and am on my own, so I tend to push for early morning shots where I can - but most of the other guys in town are doing theirs at dusk with great success. Could depend on what you call 'dusk' though.....

03/16/2009 06:27:08 AM · #12
773885.jpg

A big thank you to all who gave advice on the above question, with your help I was able to produce this photo, Granted I still need practice but with a site like this the only way is up! ;-)
03/16/2009 10:54:43 AM · #13
I would definately do a HDR High Dynamic Range, set of 5 to 9 different exposures on a tripod or a stepladder. Seach for HDR on the forums here for more examples.

There are software like Photomatix and maybe Adobe Photoshop CS3/CS4 to combine them.
03/16/2009 11:07:16 AM · #14
Read strobist.com. The blog is probably the greatest lighting lesson blog in the world, but specifically you need this article here.

Combining stuff in HDR is good, but the turnaround time for clients not always the greatest, and it can add some grainy effects. You need to light the inside enough to balance the exposure, and create a file that your client can print at any size.
03/16/2009 12:01:33 PM · #15
So, I read somewhere (but cannot find a link now) that one can use flash to expose the interior, and adjust aperture to control that exposure. Once you have the interior looking the way you want, you can start slowing your shutter speed--it won't affect the flash exposure, which is over so quick, but will allow more and more light in from the windows as you open the shutter longer and longer. He had photos that demonstrated exactly the result you are looking for.

I also read in the same place that I can't find now that the guy (who does real estate photography) uses two or three flashes on optical slave triggers, so that he can conceal them around the scene and get some good coverage on the interiors.

The advantage here would be that you would end up with a single shot out of the camera that would not need an inordinate amount of PP. You likely would have to tote a tripod, of course :-)

ETA: I notice the link wavelength posted does address the technique....

Message edited by author 2009-03-16 12:10:03.
03/16/2009 12:22:41 PM · #16
I prefer lotsa flashes over post processing but you can do either or a bit of both.

Search for Scott on flicr or around the place as he does this very well => http://www.scotthargis.com/
03/17/2009 03:12:51 PM · #17
Thanks Robs, I will have a look at that site. The more ideas the better, I say. Thanks once again. Mike
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