Mastering real estate photography lighting is fundamental for high-level interior photos.
You can create magazine quality images without complicated settings or expensive gear.
Master Natural Light for Magazine-Worthy Shots
If you look through an interior design magazine, you can notice most of the shots use natural light.
Natural light is the best source of lighting for interiors. Just open the windows and curtains and let the sun in.
There are some tips for shooting with natural light:
- Choose the best hour of the day. It’s usually around midday, but some properties get the most light in the morning or afternoon. Be sure to have enough time to shoot with constant light. Avoid shooting interiors at sunset, when the light quickly changes color.
- Open all the blinds . Make the sunlight fill the room as best as possible. You can use net curtains to mitigate the contrast from the windows.
- Turn off every light in the room . One of the most significant advantages of turning the lights off is that you avoid color casts. You can also get uniform white walls with simple editing.
Use a Bounced Flash to Reveal Details in the Shadows
One of the downsides of natural light is that it can produce strong shadows that require extensive processing.
The solution comes from a single flash. This can be cleverly used in combination with the largest reflectors available: the walls and ceiling.
The flash must never be pointed forward, or it will produce hard shadows. You can keep it on the camera, tilting the bulb toward the ceiling and slightly backward. Or use it with a radio trigger for more accurate positioning.
When you use a flash, you should be able to produce an image that doesn’t have the “flash look”.
First, you need to adjust camera settings to get the correct exposure. Next, you can adjust the flash power so that only the shadows are affected. In this way, the main light will be the one coming from the window, and the image will look natural.
Use a Flash to Mimic Natural Light
As a real estate photographer, your purpose is to enhance the natural beauty of any space, without altering the real perception.
Sometimes the light in a room can be dull and flat. You can improve this by mimicking natural light.
The principle is to imitate natural light that comes from a definite direction. If the room has a window that is not bright enough, point the flash on the same wall to get a soft large diffused light coming from that direction.
Make sure that the flash and the bright spot on the wall are not in your framing. If you can’t avoid it, make a second identical shot without the flash and mask the unwanted elements.
Turn on the Lights if They Add Value and Character to the Room
Sometimes light fixtures can be a feature of the property. You need to turn on the lights in order to appreciate them.
In these cases, a simple shot will not be enough to capture all the details in the shadows and highlights. There are two ways to get the right exposure, which one to follow is a matter of personal taste and style.
The first is to use natural light and a bounced flash to fill the shadows in the room. The hardest part is to balance three sources of light: the light fixtures, the light coming from the windows, and the flash.
You can close the curtains if the light from the window is too strong. Then you can set the exposure by looking at the histogram on the camera. The highlights should just touch the right side to avoid a complete blowout of the area around the lamps.