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The Render Flames tool in Photoshop is a very powerful and dynamic tool that lets you add fire in just a few steps where there otherwise wasn't one in your photo. In this video, I demonstrate step by step how you can have Photoshop render a fire into a ...
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I'd like to find a way to improve the views through the windows of houses I shoot and I was wondering what the best way to do that is and if there are some tutorials on how to do it?
This is a classic real estate photography problem: How do you capture the view outside and the room inside when the brightness range is way beyond what your camera can capture. In fact, this very problem lead to my starting this blog! In 2000 my wife listed a $2 million property on Lake Sammamish in Issaquah, WA. Mrs. Seller demanded that I come up with photos that showed her beautiful home interior and also showed the great view of the lake. I couldn't do it, and at the time I couldn't find any books that explained how to do it either.
Ok, so now that I've had 17 years to figure this out, how do you do it? There are several ways:
Shoot at sunset: Shortly after I shot this listing I realized that if you shoot at sunrise or sunset when the brightness levels are the same inside and outside and the problem almost disappears. So back in 2000, I used this approach. This is not an effective solution that works for every shoot! You only have 20 to 30 minutes each day where the light is right. Forget about sunrise!
Shoot with flash: I learned from Scott Hargis that the way to do this is to use a few manual flashes. Expose for the window to make it look like you want and then light the room with a couple of manual flashes bounced off walls. Scott would argue that this is the easiest, most effective solution. He's probably right. Takes the least amount of time.
Shoot RAW and adjust in Lightroom: Nowadays depending on the particular situation you can usually shoot one RAW image and simply use the Highlights and Shadows sliders to get the windows to look like you want. This is possible because of improvements in Lightroom and cameras in the last few years.
Use LR/Enfuse: Shooting brackets and processing with LR/Enfuse software is better than not bracketing but it doesn't completely solve the problem. Usually, the best you can get is the windows with partial detail. What most want is an unrealistic level of window detail.
Mask the windows in Photoshop: Take one or more shots exposed for the windows and one or more shots exposed for the interior. Then stack them in Photoshop and hand blend them to get the look you want. This approach of masking in perfectly exposed windows makes windows look totally unrealistic, but that's what most people are looking for. Here are some tutorials on how to do this: