Real Estate Photography: Using HDR Photography Techniques for Better Photos

Real estate photography, just like many other specialized kinds of photography, has its own quirks that one needs to be aware of before taking a leap into commercial photography in this genre. With real estate photography pricing getting higher and higher, you have to know how to improve your real estate photography before you can hope to make a career out of it.

Professional real estate photography demands that the property is showcased in a near-perfect way, with great lighting, composition, and details. But as many of you would know, that is not always the case because you cannot control every single situation while taking photos. Maybe the sun is very bright, or the sky is too overcast, or the interior lighting isn’t great. That is why one of the best real estate photography tips you will ever get is to shoot in HDR.

Why Shoot HDR?

Before we go any further with our real estate photography tips, you should know the answer to what is HDR? HDR photography or High Dynamic Range photography aims to enhance the dynamic range that an image possesses. In simple terms, it means that an HDR photo will have much more detail in its highlights as well as its shadows that a normal photograph.

That is the reason why real estate photographers rely on HDR architecture shots because they allow them to come back with images that can be manipulated in terms of their exposure in a more flexible way than simple images. Because of this amazing control, real estate photographers are able to pull back the highlights even if they were blown out in a normal photo, or bring back details from the shadows even if they were completely black.

Real Estate Drone Photography or Normal? No Special Equipment Required!

To become a real estate photographer, whether you want to do interior photography or real estate drone photography, you don’t need specialized equipment at all. Other than your camera and humble tripod, you will need an HDR software to help merge the photos you take. There are a lot of HDR software programs to choose from, so you don’t have to worry about it much. Another piece of equipment that could help you is a remote shutter release.

Now, of course, if you’re planning on taking your commercial photography even further by taking a shot at real estate drone photography, where you’ll be doing some aerial photography, then you’ll need specialized equipment like a drone.

The Process of Shooting HDR

Now that we know what is HDR and what equipment is needed to practice HDR photography, let’s go over the very simple process of creating HDR architecture photos so you can start securing read estate photography jobs without hesitation.

  1. The first step to shooting an HDR photo is to set up your scene. Using a tripod for setting up your camera is essential to real estate photography.
  2. Once your camera is set up for an HDR architecture shot, you need to take at least three photos. One of these photos should be exposed for the highlights of your scene, one for the shadows, and one for the mid-tones. So you’ll end up with an overexposed photo, an underexposed photo, and a ‘normal’ photo.

And in those two simple steps, your process of shooting to create high dynamic range real estate photography is done.

Merging Brackets with an HDR Software

For real estate photography done with this technique, you need to invest in the best HDR software you can buy. There are plenty of free HDR software programs available as well, but a free HDR software will not have the features and quality that a paid HDR software will give you. So, once you have a go-ahead for photography for real estate, you should get an HDR software before you settle on your real estate photography pricing and such.

Coming back to our process of developing commercial photography using HDR photography as a method, you will need to merge the three images you’ve taken with the help of whatever the best HDR software is for you. Combining these different exposures will essentially layer all the information into one single photo. That way, you’ll be able to control the exposure of your file in a much easier way, hence ending up with picture perfect real estate photography.

Do note that the best HDR software programs out there might also let you do some creative stuff with. For example, you could add a lens flare effect to outdoor shots or a vintage filter to your interior photography.

Real Estate Photography Tips

Now that you know the basics of real estate photography, taking on real estate photography jobs shouldn’t be an issue. If you want to learn even more before you start to work on the details of your real estate photography pricing and contracts, these tips will help you practice even better HDR photography.

  • Use Landscape Orientation

For real estate photography, especially in the case of real estate drone photography, working with a landscape orientation is generally better for HDR architecture shots. A landscape photo will ensure that you get most of your building or interior in the frame. So whether you are involved in photography for real estate purposes or general interior photography, try to keep it landscape.

  • Pay Attention to Distortion

If you do professional real estate photography, you most probably will already have a wide angle lens for your real estate photography. One thing to remember while using wide angle lenses is that many of them distort the very edges of your photos. So before submitting any HDR architecture photos, or selling your amazing real estate drone photography, be sure that your photos aren’t distorted. You can fix distortion in many of the best HDR software available.

  • Compose Your Pictures

A strong composition is one of the most important real estate photography tips we can give you. It doesn’t matter if you’re practicing HDR photography or not; a good composition is the first thing you should keep in mind when doing any kind of real estate photography. This is especially true for real estate drone photography because you may not want any extra objects like cars or animals in your frame when all you want to showcase is a house.

  • Get Your Lighting Right

As a real estate photographer, you can’t only rely on high dynamic range photos to secure real estate photography jobs. You need to be aware of good real estate photography lighting for your shots. Yes, sometimes it’s not possible to control the light but you can do so for interior shots. And even if you are taking high dynamic range photos, the better lit your scene is the better photos you’ll get. So, before getting started with photography for real estate, know that real estate photography lighting might be key to making or breaking your real estate photography.

  • Photos Should Look Natural

Perhaps the most important of all the real estate photography tips is that the photos should always look natural. To start practicing professional real estate photography, you need to be aware of what looks natural and what doesn’t. When working with free HDR software, it’s really easy to make your real estate photography look artificial and overprocessed. So, if you take one tip away from these real estate photography tips, it’s this one.

And with that, we conclude our guide to high dynamic range real estate photography as well as our real estate photography tips. If you’ve been wanting to get more real estate photography jobs, these tips are sure to help you out with your professional career.


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