Merrimack Valley Real Estate- Serving MA and Southern NH

Off Camera Flash- Improve Your Real Estate Photographs

Here is a technique I incorporate quite a bit in my real estate photography.  I blend a natural light photograph with a flash photograph to get a nice natural result.  

Available Light Shot- This was photographed on a tripod at f9 at a 1/4 of a second. 

I exposed for the overall interior scene.  The window was going to blow out but that is fine.  I do want to make sure there is detail in all of the interior. 

The main source of illumination was the window above the sink with a little bit of fill from an overhead light. 

Unfortunately there is no detail in the window and because the exposure of the window is so far off  from the interior, there is flair on the cabinets. This is an extremely difficult situation to  photograph without some sort of flash.  

The second shot is exposed for the window at f9 at 200th of a second.  The scene is obviously way to dark be able to use for the MLS.  In the end that is what I want for an exposure for the window.

Flash Shot- I want some detail coming through the window and I don't want the scene flaring.  I set the camera for the f9 at 200th of a second to get the exposure for the window.

I then set up a single flash on a tripod in the middle of the kitchen to match the roughly where the over head light was.  The flash was set at about waist height at the widest setting pointed straight up to bounce of the ceiling. 

While alright, I have overpowered the light coming through the window as the main source of light.  You can see the front edge of the counter is the brightest part of the counter and i have lost the glow of the reflection in the side of the cabinet from the window and the nice fall off of light on the ceiling.

The shot looks flashy.... you can tell that a flash was used and I don't have a natural looking scene.  Ideally if I could bounce a flash outside through the window I could get the results I want.  But that is certainly undoable. 

Combined- What I have done here is combined the two in Phtoshop.  I overalyed the flash shot over the available light shot and then let about 25% of the available light shot come through.

By doing this I get the best of both worlds.  The scene is well lit, I get the detail out the window I want, but I also make it seem that the window is still the main source of light. 

We have the glow on the side of the cabinet as well as the countertops having the reflection of the window in it. Each shot was adjusted in raw first for color balance and exposure. 

I also masked the window and kept that at a full exposure not letting the available light shot thru at all on the area.Ultimately what I am trying to do is match the scene the way  you see it when you walk into the room.  I have retained the view out the window, while giving the impression the main source of light is the window while being able to fill in and balance the rest of the scene.

The key is you need a sturdy tripod the camera cannot move so you can overlay the photos. The off camera flash is triggered by the little pop up flash on my camera.  You need to turn that flash all the way down so the light from the on camera flash does not effect teh scene in any way. 

I also use small portable tripods instead of light stands so I can put the flash almost anywhere.  Most light stands have a spread of about 24 inches for the legs.  A tripods legs can be pulled in so you can have a spread of about only 6 inches or so. 

The last point is I put the flashe height at about waist height so it has a wider spread on the ceiling.  The bounced llight on the ceiling becomes the light source.  Remember the larger the light source the softer the light will be lighting the scene.  If you want to take your photography to the next level try working with one off camera flash.  You can do a lot with one flash and a little bit of creativity.

Good Real Estate Photography Sells Homes__________________________________________________________________

This article, Show, Dont Tell- Real Estate Photography How Important Is It?, was provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate in Tewksbury MA.  Kevin is commited to bring professional level photography to each of his seller's homes.

Kevin Vitali
EXIT Group One Real Estate
Tewksbury MA 01876
office 978-851-3600 ex402
cell 978-360-0422
Merrimack Valley Real Estate
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20 commentsKevin Vitali • March 15 2014 01:54PM
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