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Orange County Interior Real Estate and Architectural Photographer

Tips on Choosing the Best Interior Real Estate and Architectural Photographer

“No one really cares about how your photographs were made or what tools you’ve used. They just care that the end results are remarkable.” ~ Well, that’s my opinion

While the foregoing statement is pretty accurate, here’s a bit of info you may benefit from. What follows is a little bit of inside information on the process of creating superior Interior Real Estate and Architectural Photography. My hopes is that this blog post will assist you in hiring the best Interior Real Estate and Architectural Photographer for your project. As an Orange County Real Estate Photographer from Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, California, I have the pleasure of photographing some of the finest homes in Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Coto de Caza, Corona Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, La Jolla and Los have to offer. If there is one thing I have learned photographing homes for sale in Orange County, San Diego, and Los Angeles County, is each piece of real estate and home I photograph is different and each has its own story to tell. How that story is told is what makes the difference.
A real estate photographer or a real estate photography service provider may offer anything from glorified snapshots to commercial quality work to tell that story. One should not assume that anyone with a camera in the Orange County Real Estate Photography field is a Professional Real Estate Photographer. More likely they are a camera owner.
True specialists in the field of Photography for Real Estate have a very specific skill set. Real Estate Photography, especially Architectural and Interior Real Estate Photography requires more than the newest camera and some fancy lenses. Best time of day to photograph, composition, architectural aesthetics, dynamic range captured {highlights to shadows}, strobe lighting, and the ability to balance ambient interior light and show the outside view are some of the skills an Architectural and Interior Real Estate Photographer posses. At the end of the day, it is the skill and talent of the person behind the lens that is capable of capturing and creating images of the highest caliber.
Too many “faux-real-estate-photographers,” arrive at a property and are gone in thirty minutes to an hour, and employ a technique knows as HDR imaging. HDR imaging or High Dynamic Range photography is accomplished by creating multiple exposures from a single scene and with the use of computer software, compositing the multiple exposures into one image. The problem with solely using HDR for Orange County Interior Real Estate Photography and Architectural Photography is that HDR creates ghosting, halos around windows, trees and the edges of objects, cannot capture the true color range of interior and building materials and typically can not correctly capture true looking skies. HDR makes images look cartoonish, looks muddy, and nowhere near as crisp when compared with Architectural and Real Estate Photography that is professionally lit. Photography is all about light. A skilled Interior Real Estate and Architectural Photographer is a master of Additive Lighting. In other words, they know how much light to add and where to add it. HDR tends to be used as a shortcut. HDR does have its place and uses. In several real-world tests that I’ve performed, HDR is not a catch-all and cannot replace Additive Lighting when photographing magazine quality Interior Real Estate and Architectural Photography. A close second is Fusion Photography, where HDR is used together with Additive Lighting. This blending of HDR and Additive Lighting can be used as a tool to pick and choose elements to create composited imager for remarkable outcomes. Fusion Photography takes both Additive Lighting techniques and bracketed exposures {HDR} and combines the best elements of each. It’s a strategy that requires postproduction time in front of a computer and a compositing skill, that I’ve taught myself over the years, a skill set many “faux” Interior Real Estate and Architectural Photographers do not possess.

Interior Real Estate and Architectural Photography

Image Above: Most interior real state photographers might be satisfied with the interior image on the left, or use HDR to create the image, which would result in a problematic image with ghosting, halos, and other color issues. Because of a well-rounded skill set that includes magazine quality interior real estate and architectural photography coupled with top draw compositing skills, I was able to produce a flawless true to life image of a properly exposed interior image combined with a properly exposed exterior image. Its worth noting that the light outside is eight times brighter than the interior light. Only the human eye is capable of capturing a dynamic range of highlight to shadow and the tonal range like the image below. Today’s cameras as amazing as they are are simply not able to record the massive difference in dynamic range. So, top-notch compositing skills are mandatory to create the composited image below.

Laguna Beach Interior Real Estate and Architectural Photographer

Image Above: To create this final image, each window was painstakingly selected and meticulously placed on to the perfectly lit interior image as seen here. Notice how crisp and natural the image looks. Additionally, more flames were added to the fireplace to give it more of a cozy feeling. Santa Ana winds were blowing down the chimney and pushing the flames to the left. The selling factor here is the unobstructed canyon views and the light airy feeling of the interior.

What is the difference between Orange County real estate photography services? Does it matter which Orange County real estate photographer you use?
Choosing the right real estate and architectural photographer is not an easy task. There are hundreds to choose from. So how do you choose the right one? Below are four tips to keep in mind when choosing an Interior Real Estate and Architectural Photographer. A photographer that will nail the shoot the first time so you won’t have to hire a second photographer to come in and shoot it again to get the desired results {this happens more time than you’d think}. A real estate and architectural photographer that will produce, clean, crisp work that is print ready, and that will beautifully showcase the current project and bring your real property or architectural product to market quickly. There are several factors to choosing the right interior real estate and architectural photographer.

  1. Is their portfolio consistent? Have they demonstrated the highest caliber imagery over a range of shoots, morning, noon, twilight?
  2. Have they photographed the type of project that you need to be photographed?
  3. Look at their work in print too. It’s one thing to see small images on the screen. It’s another to see their interior real estate and architectural photography in print. My real estate and architectural photographer print portfolio is printed in 11×14 format. Shortcuts, and photography errors may not show in small screen images but they certainly will stand out when your show the images in print. And if you intend like many Real Estate Agents, Home Stagers, Home Builders, and Architects, to print the images for advertising and display it will serve you well asking to see their images in print.
  4. Ask to see their before and after images of interiors with views. While this may seem to be an unusual request. A great compositor/retoucher is proud to show you their before and after images. This is what separates an amateur from a pro. Notice if the windows are all blown out {you are not able to see detail in the view only white}. Sometimes the photographer may want to blow out the window if the view is undesirable. However when the view is a selling point…’ll want to see what the initial capture looks like and what the final capture looks like. Why? a) You’ll quickly get an idea of the interior real estate and architectural photographer’s skill set and, b) You’ll be able to see if they are able to capture the entire tonal range of the interior and exterior view. Keeping color, highlights and shadows in check.

Orange County real estate photography services vary wildly by the time spent on-site and in time spent in post-production, and the skill a photographer possesses and is able to devote to the project at hand. As a professional real estate photographer in Orange County, I know that the work done after the shoot is just as critical as capturing the initial images on site. In order to get the most out of any image, there must be substantial face time spent behind a computer, often as much time that is spent on location photographing.
Real Estate Agents, Home Stagers, Home Builders and Architects often assume that professional interior real estate and architectural photographers show up with their gear, shoot the job, download the images and simply hand the images off to their clients. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. The process is more like this: The job is shot in RAW mode, not Jpeg. Images are downloaded onto the computer. They are then culled, keeping the best of the best and deleting the test exposures. Then they are transferred into Adobe Lightroom, where they are color and density corrected {lights and darks}, perspective is corrected and about five to ten other minute adjustment can be made for each exposure. After that the images are exported from Adobe Lightroom. Then Post Production begins. Optimizing the photos can range from making a couple of fine adjustments to elaborate multi-exposure compositing skills. In the right hands, post-processing can mean the difference between a marginal image and a remarkable magazine quality image. This process takes time and talent, not to mention top of the line computer equipment, color calibrated monitors {that ensure industry standard color control and reliable print color,} and the latest imaging software. While the typical HDR real estate photographer will cuts corners and uses shortcuts by being on location a minimal amount of time, HDR Photography is capable of the subtlety and finesse required to produce the highest caliber real estate and architectural imagery. This is an important distinction that separates this Orange County Interior Real Estate and Architectural photographer’s services from others and something you should consider when choosing an Orange County Interior Real Estate and Architectural photographer to work with.