May 11th, 2015
I study photos on Houzz frequently. I notice how sharp many of these photos are and wonder how they achieve that level of sharpness. I’m using a 5D3 and a Canon 17-40 and I’m not even close to these. Are they using large format, fixed lenses, some special sharpening software, or all the above.
I think what you will find is that even if you shoot with a great lens and quality DSLR, images need a little sharpening for the specific device they are being displayed on. For real estate images that device is a computer display. Images intended for printed media require different sharpening than a computer display.
Sharpening is a fairly complex subject and is related to noise reduction. Anthony Morganti goes through in the accompanying tutorial. Anthony’s tutorial covers the basics for any image but it all applies to real estate work. A classic resource for sharpening is Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw, and Lightroom, by Bruce Fraser and Jeff Schewe.
Here are some sharpness considerations specifically related to shooting real estate:
- Shooting and processing brackets is prone to resulting in a final image that is slightly soft (not sharp). Here are some ways to maximize sharpness when shooting brackets:
- Use a remote shutter release and don’t touch the camera
- Use mirror lockup and timed shutter release
- Keep your ISO as low as your camera will go.
- Avoid using really over-exposed brackets.
- Use a fill flash when shooting brackets.
- Shooting with flash in general will produce a sharper image than processed bracketed shot.
- Camera movement when using slow shutter speeds will cause soft images.
- The Clarity slider in Lightroom/PS/ACR appears to sharpen an image. It’s really changing the mid-tone contrast.
- As a final step in post processing sharpen your image.
- On1 Perfect Photo Suite 9 has some great built-in aids that sharpens for the type of display the image is intended for. Greg ended up using the HighPass sharpening in On1 Perfect Photo Suite 9 and got results he was pleased with.
Have I missed something? What do you do to keep your real estate photography results sharp?