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Stunning Interior Images Without Lighting Equipment

March 18th, 2008

Think you need to use lighting equipment to get a bright interior? Think again! This tour is shot by a company based in Seattle called Vista Estate. Vista Estate’s approach is to shoot with no lighting equipment. This is one of their sample tours that shows what you can do without any extra lighting equipment, just a tripod and post processing work.

I can’t tell you exactly what techniques they are using. It’s obviously some derivative of HDR processing or blending. Most of the images are well done HDR because they don’t have the things tell tale HDR look. I’d love to reverse engineer exactly what techniques they are using.

Also the iFlyer tour format that Vista Estate Imaging is using is note worthy. It has a clean and elegant design and is the only tour I’ve seen that adapts (re-sizes the window) to vertical format images. Unfortunately, the only way to use this tour format is to have Vista Estate do you photos. Vicaso is the name of the company that does the web development for Vista Estate Imaging.

One of the interesting aspects of doing this blog has been seeing the different approaches photographers have to make interiors bright. Everyone that gets into this business seems to have a natural inclination to either use some form of lighting equipment or to do more or even all of the job in post processing. Scott Hargis, Thomas Grubba and M. James Northen are contributors to the PFRE flickr group that are notable practitioners lighting equipment approach while David Palermo and Vista Estate are practitioners of no or minimal lighting equipment approach.

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53 Responses to “Stunning Interior Images Without Lighting Equipment”

  • Mark, your work is very nice. It is at a level that is well above typical real estate photography; and, for those images that rely on daylight for part or all of the ambient lighting, I would bet that you have the luxury and budget to wait for those times when the daylight is most favorable. This is not the case for most real estate photography, so HDR/tonemapping can be helpful when not using supplementary lighting (because of HDR’s ability to deal with very high dynamic ranges that exposure fusion or Photoshop layering/masking may not be able to handle) and having to shoot the job as soon as possible, often without much choice about the time of day or the quality of the daylight. That said, in my experience, it is possible to avoid halos, muddiness and garish colors, etc., with HDR/tonemapping.

  • David,
    I am an absolute beginner. I’m using Efex for my HDR, I shoot in RAW and use Lightroom to develop. The results are underwhelming and I’m getting increasingly discouraged. What I find is that the effects presets are garish, the colors grey and the photo is overall grainy – windows blown and room dark. Can you help a beginner find their way to better interior real estate photography.

  • unreal looking… my clients would just laugh! I use minimal lighting and occasionally a bit of LR/enfuse. I generally omly use 3 exposures, about a stop apart. Thats about right… any more than 5 images takes too long on the computer!

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