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05-18-2016, 09:29 AM   #1
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Real estate photography - photomatix hdr, flashes or simple hdr from camera

Hi all,

I would try to do some bussiness with real estate photography, and I can use some of your most precious advices.

I shoot with K3, and have the Sigma 17-70 mm, and I would buy some other lens for that purpose. Searching this forum, I found acceptable Sigma 10-20 mm ( 3.5 or 4.0 )
but I found also Pentax DA 10-17 mm fish which is a 30 % cheaper than Sigma 10-20.

----

Yes, I would like to buy qulity stuff, but yet, budget is everything for me, and I have to close watch what's the best deal though.

----

Another important question is WHAT IS YOUR PREFERENCES to do Real estate, if you're familiar with that kind of photography. ?

I found HDR gives best results, if you don't want to mess with atmosphere from lamps or windows.

Flashes help, but I personally dislike it, if the flash is just upper to celling, without creating any atmosphere, or even kill the existing one.

People on you tube often do Photomatix HDR, composing one photo from 3 different one. It's a process with full control, and I can see the results are just fine.

BUT....

I have on my K3 HDR option straight from camera, and I can set three shots in +/- 3 stops.

I playing it for now with mixed results. I try to set WB warmer or less warm, and in color filters can use Natural, or some other mode.


mY QUESTION - Does any of you do real estate STRAIGHT FROM CAMERA ?
And does it pleased your eyes without retouching it in Lightroom, or PS ?


THANK YOU ALL

05-18-2016, 09:42 AM - 1 Like   #2
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The best (i.e. most natural) HDR results are delivered by the built in function of Lightroom 6/Lightroom CC. Photomatix encourages this kind of surreal, 'tonemapped to death' approach that is very popular amongst many photographers, but I cannot see it being suitable for real estate. I have never used it though, only seen results of it, and it may be possible to get more 'normal' results.

LR 6, on the other hand, simply combines 3 (or better 5) images builds a 32-bit TIFF and gives you an amazing dynamic range. The resulting file doesn't look any different from the single middle RAW file, but you can bring down the lights way more and pull up shadows with pretty much no added noise at all. You can then edit the file however you like, in LR, or Photoshop or however.

To me that looks perfect for real estate stuff, because it still looks very natural.
05-18-2016, 09:51 AM - 1 Like   #3
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On a K-3 I have found the Auto HDR setting to look the most natural (compared to the 1 and 2 settings) but I still end up editing some for WB and usually brightening shadows. I always shoot RAW, fyi.

The last few RE shoots I've done I used LR6 to handle the HDR parts and did some editing too. Not sure if you can get away with good RE photos and no editing. I can't.
Besides shadow lifting stuff like a room that has artificial light on one side and natural on the other needs a graduated filter to correct WB in a way that doesn't look weird.

Also don't forget stitching which will produce less distorted images. I also use a Rokinon 8mm and de-fish it a bit in LR. That lens is a great value.
05-18-2016, 09:52 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Right now Nik Collection is free of charge and the HDR EFEX from it is pretty good, Photomatrix is still better however with small custom adjustments you can have the same results for no charge. Here is the link https://www.google.com/nikcollection/
Cheers,

05-18-2016, 12:04 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Best results are lighting & exposing the room properly in the first place, with a touch of post as needed.

It helps to be willing to switch lightbulbs out in the room to match the window light color, and to have lights you can hide behind furniture, etc.
05-18-2016, 12:30 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
The Pentax in-camera HDR is useless.
I used to believe that and for Real Estate this may be true but on HDR-Auto with raw files it's surprisingly natural, especially compared to the other two HDR modes. Those HRDs often just look like single exposure photos but with more shadow and highlight detail you can coax out.
05-20-2016, 01:05 AM   #7
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I would like to get optimal results, without many postprocessing that's all. In Lightroom ( mine is older version 3.3 ) I can get decent results even without shooting RAW, but here I would normally shoot in RAW. The best is the best, there is no room for experimentations here.

Besides all of this stuffs which where stated here, I must notice one important thing here.

K3 have built in, Shadow and Highlight correction. And when I turn shadow for instance on medium, I'm getting plenty of light in those areas.
On the other side,
highlight correction doesn't do it's job so obviously ( or I should say good enough ? ), so when it's turned on, there is no much improvement in higlight areas, just a little bit. ( correct me if I'm wrong here) .

So,

the play can begin !
05-20-2016, 10:26 AM - 1 Like   #8
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If you're shooting raw, you shouldn't need those settings. You can use them and at least one of them will come through in the raw file in lightroom (I think PDCU reads both of them), but it doesn't get you anything you couldn't have done with sliders or histogram.

Expose for the windows, light the room up to match. If you don't need the outside view, then turn off any bright lights and use a long exposure.

06-01-2016, 03:21 AM - 1 Like   #9
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I would just like to come to the defence of photomatix and point out that it is perfectly possible to get natural looking results as well as surreal ones - some people obviously haven't found the sliders or the self-control - but both are available.
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