Blue Sky Replacement

Blue-Sky Replacement can be very tricky and there a few different ways you can do it. The easiest way I’ve found is to get a blue sky photo, I just googled “blue sky”, and follow these steps:

  • Place that image on top of the one you want to get replaced as a layer in photoshop.
  • Set the opacity of the bluesky layer to around 50% so that you can see and move it around to line it up on the bottom (photo) layer.
  • Once you have it where you want double click the blue sky layer and drag the underlying layer slider (bottom of blending style) from left to right.
  • You’ll be able to see the blue sky disappear until it’s essentially gone.
  • You want to find the point where you have the sky covering the old one and there may be bits and pieces of the photo that need to be masked out.
  • Click okay and add a layer mask.
  • Get a black brush set to hard and 100% flow/opacity to color over the remaining parts of the photo that aren’t part of the sky.

Note that this works best when the sky is completely blown out and white. It may take a couple times to get perfect and if you’re drawing straight lines over rooftops or windows – press a starting point to paint and hold shift then press along the other end of where you want the straight line.

By | 2017-05-18T16:23:45+00:00 April 28th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Hire The Right Photographer

Here is an article from the Boston Globe called “Advice on taking knockout real estate photos from a Pulitzer-winning photographer“, and there are some interesting points about how to shoot real estate. The piece is written by Stan Grossfeld, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer who shoots photojournalism. Stan has done a lot of terrific work, and should be commended for his contribution.

Here’s the bit I want to focus on, Stan writes:

“Because in America, everyone who has a cellphone thinks they are a professional photographer.

They are not.”

It’s true, most homeowners and real estate agents are not professional photographers, despite what they might think about their photos. Stan Grossfeld included some samples of real estate photos he’d taken inside a home for sale in Quincy, and unfortunately they are not very good. I mean, seriously, they’re not good at all.

The images are taken at a bad angle, the verticals and windows are converging on each other, they’re poorly lit, and surprisingly disappointing.

This does not in any way take away from the brilliant work Stan Grossfeld does when shooting areas hit by war, or famine-affected children in Ethiopia. His images are full of emotion and he does a fine job as a photojournalist. I could not hope to do as well as he does in that area of photography, because that is not my area of expertise.

Hire the right person for the job

We need to recognize that just because a photographer might be specialized in one area of photography – such as photojournalism, weddings, or pets – that does not mean they’re good at all forms of photography.

When it comes to shooting interiors and exteriors of property, it takes a LOT of hours behind the camera shooting and at the computer editing. It’s a very technical form of photography – the composition and lighting has to be just right, and everyone gets it wrong when they’re first getting started.

That’s why it’s important that you hire a photographer who is experienced in the field you’re promoting. Get an architectural photographer to shoot your new architectural project. Bring in a real estate photographer to take photos of your latest property listing. Have a wedding photographer shoot your wedding.

In other words, bring in the right photographer for the right job, pay them whatever it is you need to get them there, and you’ll get the result you want.

By | 2017-05-18T16:23:45+00:00 April 23rd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Building Your Brand

Building your brand is about using the power of visual social marketing. When first starting a career in photography I was told, “Wedding Photography is 90% looking the part and 10% of actual photography.” Translate that into Real Estate and you get the same general principle Building yourself in the way that captivates audiences and makes them want to trust and listen to you.

According to Pia Silver, author of Badass Your Brand, she says:

” Gorgeous photos present you as a thought leader. You could be the most badass thought leader in your industry, [but] if you don’t look it, if you don’t present like it, no one’s going to listen to you.

… If you want to be a thought leader in your industry, you’re going to want to invest in your brand. And that means investing in photos, videos, social media and your writing.”

Check out her video:

By | 2017-05-18T16:23:45+00:00 April 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Small Details

Composing shots, placing external light sources, and capturing multiple exposures are all small details of a great Real Estate photograph. Don’t let these steps get in the way of what you’re on site to do. Showing the potential buyers exactly what a home represents. All too often we get caught up in what the customer wants, and forget the real one – the home purchaser. It’s quite unethical to fix major paint spots, scratches/dings on the wall, or even carpet stains just to make the home appear more attractive than it really is.

Now that we’ve covered that – it’s also important to ensure you’re correcting the distortion effects of the lens. This means correcting verticals and using a lens profile to fix any known warping issues. If you’re unsure how to do this – be sure to check out Rich Baum’s great tutorials on Youtube…

By | 2017-05-18T16:23:45+00:00 November 30th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Ambient Masking

Flashes are great for interior – but there is something that really makes photos pop. Ambient layer masking is when you take a longer exposure (no flash) with the intention to lighten the photo and ease harsh shadows in Photoshop. Typically, the windows and lights are blown out but we’re concerned with the walls and ambient shadows. Once you have the flash and/or HDR shot of the interior edited, bring it and the color corrected ambient shot into Photoshop as layers. Then create an inverted (option) layer mask and use a 0% hardness brush with a 3% flow and brighten the harsh shadows while adding smooth ones to the obvious flashed areas. There are some great videos that demonstrate this – I would recommend Rich Baum on Youtube. Good luck and happy shooting!

By | 2016-11-09T22:00:55+00:00 November 9th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Light-Saber Flash

While the flash did compensate for some of the orange hue given off by ambient lighting, it was a little over dramatic. Adjusting the flash power and instead of directly facing it to the subject, bouncing it from a corner or wall was much more effective. Setting up the tripod and leaving it in place was taking too much time, it was easier to walk around with the units in hand and “light-pant” by pointing the light away from the subject and let the light flood off a wall/corners.

Instead of the typical 1 base flash shot and 5 bracketed shots for HDR – I did 5 bracketed shots that all had the flash bounce. Not only that but most interior photographers keep their aperture set around f8-f9 creating a decent depth of field – I was shooting at F16! This meant I spent a lot more time on site AND off site in post production. The amount of spots shown (from sensor or lens) was significant and the time it took for the shutter speed to compensate for the smaller aperture was likely increased by double!

Is the depth of field that much better at F16 than F8 or is it considered time wasted? You decide and tell your story.

 

By | 2016-10-16T11:14:53+00:00 October 16th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

HDR + Flash

Starting Real Estate Photography with nothing more than a tripod and camera, I was unaware of the ramifications of only using HDR with only ambient lighting. Muddy images – grainy and mis-colored edging combined with something that just looks off. It’s not crisp and clean like some photos you see in magazine articles.

Well no more I say! Tomorrow is the day flash photography will be integrated with HDR to bring out those crisp edges and clear whites. Simply by going on Amazon and looking for the highest rated flashes + radio transmitter/receiver, my post production time should be reduced by 60%.

Here is the technique I’ll be using in numbered steps:

  1. Frame the shot and spot meter the darkest area. Using an aperture (priority) of around f8-f9 finding the correct shutter speed. (ISO hopefully at 200 or less)
  2. Using the shutter speed suggested, go ahead and bring that up 1 stop to ensure the darks will actually be dark enough to compensate for the flash.
  3. Setup flashes accordingly on tripods. More than likely there will be 1 next to the camera and others in viewable rooms or highlighting areas that we want to showoff.
  4. Take a few test shots identifying any changes that need to be made. This will be the baseline shot with proper color balance and detail.
  5. Next I’ll probably turn the flashes off and bracket 5-7 shots starting with the fastest shutter speed (from item 2).
  6. In post production I’ll then process the bracketed images using Photomatix or similar followed by using layer masks on the HDR image and baseline (flash) image.
  7. Using the brush tool I’ll then put in the details that were muddled by HDR while still retaining the correct ambiance.
By | 2017-05-18T16:23:45+00:00 October 7th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments