Like any style of photography, real estate photography is tough. There is a lot more to it than having a nice camera and well cared for property to photograph. The countless amount of techniques and tricks you must know to pull off a great photo of a multi-million dollar property makes it a daunting task. Fortunately, Mike Kelley, an expert, if not pioneer, in real estate photography is willing to share a few of his tips:
To prove a point that a good photograph doesn’t have to be taken with the most expensive gear, Kelley works with an old Canon Rebel T1 and a 18-55mm kit lens. For his technique, he also works with a pair of Pocket Wizards to trigger his strobe, but he admits you could get away with a cheaper trigger. He also uses a tripod, a monopod for the strobe Nikon SB-80 DX, and an iPhone, which he uses to shoot “tethered” using a CamRanger.
Kelley frames his shot and leaves his camera on his tripod. He then takes his strobe mounted on a monopod and his iPhone, which controls his camera, to the front of the property. He starts “light painting” the house by taking bracketed shots of the house and moving the the strobe on five different occasions to make sure the entire house is lit evenly. This process is carried out throughout the course of the twilight hours, resulting in about 150 total images.
Next, Kelley takes his images into Photoshop, where he begins the process of editing them all together. Using advanced techniques, involving many, many layers, groups, masks, and smart objects, he produces a flattering image of the house. These sorts of amazing photos help houses sell quickly.
All in all, Kelley spent several hours setting up the shoot and taking the photos. A master at the game in Photoshop, he zipped right through post processing in about an hour’s time.
As you can see, there’s nothing simple about this masterful real estate photography technique.
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