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Property photography

Discussion in 'Photography Chat Forum' started by arteta, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. arteta

    arteta Always on

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    Hi all

    I got asked last night by an old acquaintance who over the last couple of years has started his own Real estate business and if I'd be interested in doing the pics for him. I was a little bit hesitant at first because I know very little about Real estate photography, but I was honest and told him this. I also pointed out I don't have a specialist wide angle lens with my kit lens, a 24-105 being my widest. Okay, I know at 24mm that's considered wide angle but not the ideal 10mm Property photographers generally use. I only have a cheapo tripod which is okay indoors but a slight wind outside, forget it

    I do know one of the reasons a real wide angle lens is favourable as it distorts the image giving the impression the room is wider than it really is. But I'm not going to invest in one unless I'm making decent enough money from it to purchase one

    So how do I go about doing it to the best I can with what I have?

    Literally any information, tips you might have will be much appreciated thanks


    ps. They also use a 3d camera and pay a monthly subscription to Matterport which allows you to do a virtual tour of the property. Never seen this before. Awesome
     
  2. DonS

    DonS Stuck in Toronto Moderator

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    The 24 may not be wide enough, especially on an ASP-C camera. On a full frame it may be, I do not know what format of camera you have. The wide angle lenses do make the rooms seem a bit bigger but they also allow you to get the whole room in the photo, which is what people want to see. Look at used lenses, you can get a much better deal.
     
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  3. Snips

    Snips Always on

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    I don't do much property photography but am asked from time to time. I tend only to use the 24-105mm lens but have a 17-40mm which does come in handy sometimes especially in a tiny bathroom.

    What I have found is there's not usually a need to have the whole room in the photograph. Two or three photographs from different walls and corners can be effective. Photographing from an adjacent room - tripod on the landing pointing to a bedroom for example - can often work in your favour.

    For other tips, it's the detail that counts and details are so easy to miss. The crumpled cushion, the kink at the bottom of a curtain, a smudge on a window pane, tv remotes hidden, etc. Many estate agent photographs have the windows and doors closed even in the summer. I like to have them open as it looks more welcoming. I do turn on all lights and like to have the fire or log burner lit. Shelves and kitchen sides look much better with one or two things on them and not crowded with clutter. What I try and do is have the owner come round with me while I'm photographing as they spot things too! If it's a holiday home/B&B then a photograph of the welcoming gifts (teacups and saucers, teapot, biscuits, etc) is often used, glass of wine and book by an armchair and photographs of adjoining fields and views help too. Flowers make quite a difference.

    I hardly ever bother with flash but do take one just in case I need it. Just a tripod and three different exposures for most shots works for me. Sometimes I merge them into a natural looking HDR and sometimes I just work on my favourite of the three. Generally there's very little editing required.

    Finally, I try and photograph only when it's sunny as blue sky looks so much better in the windows than a bland white/grey look.
     
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  4. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    An ultra-wide angle is convenient but its use can introduce several issues - it reduces resolution and it may introduce distortion, typically volume distortion at the edges.

    Use what you have and do a panorama with the camera in portrait orientation. Once blended together you end up with an image with much greater resolution and less distortion than you'll get with an ultra-wide angle lens. I love my 15mm on a FF but if I want high resolution and no distortion I use a 50mm and do a panorama.

    Setting the camera/lens up so that there is no perspective distortion is critical - it must be perfectly level across the entire panorama. A leveling base and/or a panorama base is helpful below the tripod head. Be mindful of focus across the scene.

    Shooting raw is essential. Using a neutral white card for each room is essential. If a room contains a window then exposure must be correct for both the interior and exterior. Exposing to the right (ETTR) with interior shots is useful in that you'll have more data in the shadows to work with in post processing which means more detail and less noise. Using editing software that will correct lens distortion is important.

    When working in tight spaces, even small changes in composition can make a significant difference.
     
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  5. Snips

    Snips Always on

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    Good idea - not thought of that one as I'm frequently having to change the white balance settings.

    Last line is very true.
     
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  6. rebel06

    rebel06 Without a cause Moderator

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  7. Christopher

    Christopher Here a lot

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    You can get a Canon EFS 10-18 for £100 second hand from MPB or others. Depends on your camera.
     
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  8. Ogofmole

    Ogofmole Always on Moderator

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    Make sure that all lights are on in room including table top lights.

    562_4653.jpg 562_4697.jpg 562_4728.jpg
     
  9. arteta

    arteta Always on

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    A wide angle is definitely something to consider in the future but having made the mistake of buying lenses both cheap and not so cheap that I've not really got much value from, I'd prefer at this point to see how much work i get, is it something I'll like? and if so then I'll sell one of my lenses to help fund for something like the Canon 16-35mm or similar

    Sorry Don, yes I do have a FF sensor :)


    I've just watched a few vids online and they've said some of what you have eg HDR but with a more natural look

    The sunny and blue sky bit might be a problem for a while :)

    Thanks Ed much appreciated



    Interesting you say about less distortion there Mike cos I always thought that worked in your favour ie giving the appearence the room is bigger than it actually is

    great tip re shooting to the right for details in the shadows.

    In tight spaces such as bathrooms must pose a challenge as you lose that distance from camera to corner of the wall and of course, you behind the camera

    Great tips again Mike thank you





    I wasn't even looking at the photography here at first but more at how gorgeous the rooms are. Then I realised it wasn't just the rooms but how you've exposed it. Thanks Barry
     
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  10. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    You are correct, using the 50mm lens eliminates perspective distortion though what I was actually referring to was volume distortion which occurs near the outer area of ultra-wide lenses where subjects are stretched. Ultra wide angle lenses can also have significant barrel distortion but this can usually be corrected in a decent editor. Using your 24mm lens in the manner I suggested will allow you to do the panorama, have high resolution, and maintain some of that perspective distortion.
     
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  11. arteta

    arteta Always on

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    Ahh I see. Never used an ultra-wide lens before.

    What's your opinion on using flash? I know some photographers use it with fantastic results, but isn't that in some ways manipulating the scene by misleading the possible buyer into thinking there's more ambient daylight than there really is?
     
  12. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    Flash can work quite well using one flash and moving the flash around and blending the images or with multiple flashes. I don't really see a problem with manipulating the scene, the potential buyer will view the room personally if they are interested - you're just trying to show it in the best possible light.
     
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  13. Snips

    Snips Always on

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    +1 to Mike's reply which is why I mentioned carrying one just in case it comes in handy
     
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  14. arteta

    arteta Always on

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    good point.....and to kind of answer my own question, it also helps expose for both the interior and prevent blown out highlights from windows without bracketing
     
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  15. Taxboy

    Taxboy Well-Known Member

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    Well done on getting the job. I'm not going to offer any technical photography input as there are many much better qualified than me around here. However here are my thoughts
    1. You are now running a business so your mindset needs to change. You will need to be professional in your approach. This may be creating a list of must have images just so you don't forget. Making sure you turn up for appointments on time, deliverying images by the deadline etc. Take some indoor shoes to change into when you arrive. If the homeowner is present this shows you respect their property. Muddy footprints on a freshly cleaned floor possibly may not be well received !

    2. You are doing this as a business. Is your insurance sufficient. In addition to public liability you need to check your car insurance has business use ? Have you complied with all your legal requirements e.g. tax etc

    3. What style of photo is your acquaintance expecting. Remember they are now your client. It may be helpful to see the standard they are currently using and to check competitors web sites.

    4. Don't expect to get rich quickly ! It will probably take you a while on your first shoots plus post processing. Treat this time as paying for training and see if you can learn from mistakes.

    5. Enjoy
     
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  16. j.mac

    j.mac Member

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    I regularly shoot for Airbnb. I use a 17-40mm on a Canon FF and correct lens distortion etc via the RAW controls. Use a tripod, ISO 100, aperture at around f8 and shutter speed to match. Bracket if your window light is too strong although you can pull it back some with the 'Highlight' control in RAW. Keep camera at a 'middling' height ( around 4 - 5 feet) and level. If you have to point down to capture a low table, a bed etc correct verticals later in Pshop. All interior lights, lamps, under counter strips etc on, toilet seat down! If you are looking to do this regularly you need to find a fast, efficient workflow that you can trust will deliver without the need for excessive photo merging etc. I always use a blip of rear bounced flash as I find it warms the scene, but have the power low at around 1/32 on a Speedlight. You will find the wall furthest from the window will be dark ( obviously) you can use the RAW grading controls again here, go for a good balance left to right.
    As an opportunity to shoot something that may take off for you, hire a full frame camera for the job, don't mess about with a sub standard camera, you are never going to hit the mark. Just my opinion.
     
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