It's now June 1 UTC/GMT, so I'd like to congratulate Briana Gray of San Diego, CA for her winning master bedroom image. Briana's image won the vote by six votes.
For the last two years I have been shooting properties for Flash it First, a San Diego-based real estate production company that operates in San Diego, Orange County and Palm Springs. The variety of mediums (both still and video) and locations we shoot in, has provided me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and to shoot quite a few fantastic homes in some very nice areas.
When I am in a home, I approach each room looking for the best angle to showcase its features. When I approached this particular room, the fabulous ocean view was the obvious focal point. One of the most significant challenges I have found for shooting homes along the coast is timing shoots to account for the marine layer. Even with timing, I was very lucky to catch this view on such a clear day. That, however, presented my largest challenge in shooting this room – the reflection of the sun off of the water.
My lens (a Canon EF 17-35mm f/2.8 USM L) had to be at the right angle to capture the beautiful reflection without creating too much glare in the lens. I also used several different exposures; I exposed the room with my 750w off-camera strobe and exposed the windows and water with natural light. I then retouched, using layering and masking to bring in the exposures for the room and the exposure for the windows. This is slightly more time consuming than HDR, but we try to avoid using HDR for inside shots due to the artifacts that tend to occur in the process.
The variety of challenges is my favorite part of shooting real estate. No matter how many properties you shoot, you are regularly faced with vastly different challenges. This allows me opportunity to explore and to contribute to our company’s product, which we are constantly striving to improve by tweaking processes both at the shoot and during retouching.
Note that we are accepting entries for June's photographer of the month. The theme for June is elevated exterior photos. That is, photos taken from poles of various heights, RC model devices, balloons, standing on your vehicle or low flying aircraft. See the PFRE Photographer of The Month page for details of how to submit photos.