Updated: Jul 5, 2020
I thought I'd take a bit of time to write a blog on the property photography I do, and show an example shoot so you can see what my clients can expect to receive.
I've been shooting properties on and off in my photography business. It's not the thing I focus on, as I mainly focus on the commercial and advertising side of photography in and around the London area for airlines, railway companies, and other large scale businesses.
However, property photography is something that will always be needed.
People are always buying and selling homes no matter what economic time the world is in.
Also, the marketing of property is becoming increasingly important and something that's always getting higher and higher quality.
So estate agents, letting agents, property investors, or developers are always needing great high quality images for their marketing to help their properties sell or rent out faster. - This is where I come in!
I shoot properties differently.
The majority of property photographers use 2 main methods, both of which I'm more than capable of doing, however I just don't like the look of them.
They're usually used in a way that's too harsh and un-natural, making the photographs look like they're CGI (computer generated images), or cartoon like.
One method is HDR, this is where you take anywhere from 3 to 9 exposures of the same photo. So you'd have a normally exposed shot, then a very dark one, all the way up the scale until it's over exposed (see example below). You then layer these photos on top of each other to create a consistent exposer throughout the image.
Multiple Exposures for HDR Example
End result of most photographers using the HDR method
End Result of Stuart Bailey's method
None of these are wrong, they're both good images, however, I don't like the look of the usual HDR photography as it looks too fake and not how the property actually looks, so I shoot in a slightly different way.
Another method a lot of property photographers use is to use flash. Usually firing a light into the ceiling to bounce the light around a room to light it.
Sometimes you'd take multiple shots of the light in different positions, then bring them into photoshop and mask out parts to create a consistency lit image around the room.
I don't have an example to show you here, but here's a YouTube video explaining it with before and after shots in it (you can scrub through the video to see the example photos he shows).
If you watched the video you can see that the end result looks just a little fake, with the outside the same exposure as the inside and the consistent light throughout the photo.
That's another thing that I personally don't like about using the flash method in property photography.
I believe that houses have windows for a reason, and when buying a house you want to see how the light naturally fills and interacts with the rooms.
That's why I hardly use HDR or flash in my property photography unless it's absolutely necessary.
Flash and HDR makes the room look too fake and doesn't give a true representation of how the light really reacts and enters the room.
My method is to still take multiple exposures, as a safety net (I usually take 7 different exposures) and I always have a couple of flashes and lighting stands with me incase I need to use flash in a room.
However, I use natural window light as my main light source. I also turn all the lights on in the room to show how they interact with the ambiance and give the room warmth.
I take a couple of wide angle images from different parts of each room, and I also take a few little detail shots of areas of interest and to show the brand of ovens etc as people like to know that kind of thing.
I'm very careful and methodic when taking the shots in camera. I like to get the camera perfectly level horizontally and vertically on the tripod. - This takes a little time to get each shot set up right, but means it saves masses of time when coming back to the studio and editing them.
When editing, I use my own Adobe Lightroom preset that I've created over about 5 years of tweaking. So it's quite a simple process as 80% of the work is already done. Which means I can turn the images around fast for the estate agents to get the property on the market faster.