January 11th, 2017
Fred in FL asks:
So the big question: I know that you’re high on both Scott Hargis’s and Simon Maxwell’s work. But they have totally different approaches to interior real estate photography. Scott is all about the lighting, whereas Simon is all about using LR/Enfuse to do the heavy lifting and then a little light. So what’s the deal?
Excellent question! This is a classic question and it is key to your understanding of photographing interiors.
The reason I publish and promote e-books and videos on both of these techniques (manual off camera flash and LR/Enfuse) is because these are the two primary techniques used in real estate photography today. See this poll. It’s worth pointing out here that technically HDR is not the same as LR/Enfuse. LR/Enfuse gives a more natural look and is more popular with interior photographers than HDR. But some use the term HDR and Enfuse interchangeably; they are not the same.
Recently many RE photographers are starting to hand blend flash and ambient frames in Photoshop. As we speak Simon is including this technique in his book and video series.
So which technique you use is a personal and aesthetic choice. There is no ONE RIGHT approach. Both work well and result in a particular look. Also, whichever you choose to use depends on a number of things:
- Your willingness to spend time doing post-processing. Some people like Scott hate doing post and want to get the image right in the camera and minimize the amount of time spent at a computer after the shoot.
- Your fear of learning flash. Some people don’t want to learn to light with flash because there is quite a lot to learn. I know this from first-hand experience. Even though I worked at using flash, I shot real estate for 9 years and never figured out flash until I met Scott in 2009.
What I suggest to beginners is to start out using LR/Enfuse with a single flash. What Simon calls Enfuse/Flash hybrid. This will allow you to shoot most any property with good results. Then, as you get more comfortable with the use of flash transition to using multiple flashes. In the end, you are better off if you know how to use both techniques.