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Bracketing with Flash for Exposure Fusion and HDR – Revisited

March 20th, 2018

Jeff says:

I will start off by saying that I shoot in HDR (hoping to get into HDR/flash hybrid shooting eventually) the majority of the time. My question is, why do I still get glare from the windows around the edges? Even if its a cloudy day, I still get that kind of glowing blue-white around some or all of a window.

It doesn’t happen all the time (about 50 percent of the time), but it is really frustrating when I have this happen. The picture posted kind of shows what I am talking about but I took a lot of the blue out of it. Sometimes it isn’t as lens flarey as this and it’s more of an outline around the window I’m not a huge fan of going into Photoshop to fix things (HDR workflow is already slow enough). Is this something I can fix this by the way I am shooting instead of in post?

This is a classic problem if you shoot interiors by bracketing only and don’t use any flash. The artifacts around the windows will vary depending on the outside light. A quick and easy solution is to use a small manual flash. The process is explained in this post. This hybrid flash technique not only fixes the problem you are having around the windows but it gives you whiter whites and more accurate colors.

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6 Responses to “Bracketing with Flash for Exposure Fusion and HDR – Revisited”

  • I think the quality of the lens coating also has an effect.

  • For larger spaces or when your composition gives a view into an adjacent room, do you then need to use more than one speedlight to fill the farther spaces with flash?

  • @Andy – Personally, I always take an ambient shot in case my flash shadows are out of control and I can’t see that fact in the camera live view. You can do that to the same effect for distant background spaces or separate rooms that are visible in the photo. Shooting from the far corner of the living room with a view to the open kitchen? Take an ambient shot exposed for the room, and/or another exposed for the space you want to be lit. Take those into Ps layered with your fused flash bracket shot, and edit the ambient frame you exposed for the kitchen to match the WB of the bracketed frame. Brush in at low flow. You can do this with a flash and many do, but for me it’s a lot of trial and error before I can end up with a frame that doesn’t grossly overexpose that background room and make it look too flashy. Let an ambient frame light that room instead and save flash batteries and extra time on-site.

  • Rich Baum has a video dealing with just this topic.
    Don’t have the link but check YouTube.

  • Hi,
    Fairly new to real estate photraphy in the uk. I’ve had some good success and I am supplying a number of agencies.
    My work is high volume with limited time in each property and I have developed a way of working which delivers decent results with the time I have.
    I’m using a canon 80d with 10-18 canon lense with the in camera hdr feature for time saving and then post processing to a natural look.
    I’d like to take it up another level and think adding flash fill will do the trick. What’s would be the best recommendations?
    Also I get some slight lense flare issues particularly in high contract scenes such as round windows when the curtains are dark with bright windowl and can’t take an alternative angle. Would a better lense solve this issue?

  • I think without blending in a flash image, the HDR look has run its course. I cannot tell you how many agents I do reshoots for that don’t know the technique by name, but describe what an HDR image looks like and are unhappy with the product. Your HDR image looks really solid. Blending in flash layers should be an easy step for you. You don’t have to be super crazy with it either. Some people do and the realness of the image is lost. If you bounced a flash behind you and did an over all fill flash, you could use that layer for details in the wood and to get rid of that HDR haze look. You could also white balance an image for the ceiling and then blend that in to get more of a white color in the ceiling and cancel out the yellow light that big light is casting into the room.

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