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Iran Watson Explains His Magnificent Twilight Exterior Shot In PFRE Flickr Group

Published: 07/03/2013
By: larry

"Iran Watson, the 2012 PFRE Photographer of the year, proceeded to illustrate the point I was making yesterday about the PFRE flickr group being a great place to learn real estate photography. Iran posted this great example of a elevated twilight shot he did in the Atlanta area.

First of all, Iran's shot is a wonderful example of how to shoot a twilight shot! Great, composition with a three-quarter angle (off to the right rather than straight on), slight bit of elevation and total control of the lighting. Furthermore, where else are you going to see and shot like by one of the best photographers in the business with a complete explanation of the lighting technique explained where you can ask the photographer questions? Pretty amazing stuff! And this goes on every day 365 days a year in the PFRE Flickr group. Iran, thanks for posting and explaining this great shot!

20 comments on “Iran Watson Explains His Magnificent Twilight Exterior Shot In PFRE Flickr Group”

  1. Hey, thanks Larry! This image was kind of a concept thing for the builder. As I mentioned in the Flickr image description this was my first time using the Camranger to control the camera from the ground. I wouldnt have been able to capture everything I did without being able to control and view the camera remotely. Of course half the time was spent fumbling through the app but in the end it confirmed that this freedom to move around a scene like this, even with the camera 12' up in the area, is a real game changer.

    One thing I have found to be most helpful when doing shots like this is to setup early and take several bracketed exposures all the way through sunset. You can use those earlier exposures to correct all kinds of issues inherent in letting all the lights overexpose to light up the scene. This is especially true if you have a street light close by (which this one did...) and its one of those nasty LPS, orange-ish red lights that just murder a WB...

  2. Hi Iran, stunning shot, love it. Would you mind sharing how you get that nice whiteish light in your twilights? My twilights are always yellowish light but if I set wbalance to tungsten that is too blue. Would love some insight into how you get that beautiful cool white. thanks in advance, Avril

  3. Great photo! The lighting on the house is spot on. I have the same issue as Avril - getting the WB dialled for brickwork is a nightmare when tungsten lights are involved. It's good to know you have blended a few exposures. It's a technique I've only just started playing with.

  4. I appreciate Ira's magnificent work, but am I the only one that thinks this image looks like something generated by AutoCad ? For me its just not visually realistic. It looks like a model of a home that was dropped into an environmental picture. I've seen architectural renderings that look like this. For me a photo has to look realistic, this looks like too much HDR manipulation. Ira, you are an excellent photographer, this particular image just doesn't to it for me...sorry.

  5. Iran's great photograph and his willingness to share is a example of why so many real estate photographers lurk around here. There's great information, to be sure. But Ron Rosenzweig's comments are a great example of why many people don't participate. Too many Ron's out there. "Gee, thanks for letting us know you don't like it Ron. That was helpful." Duh!

    Sure, his comments reveal that he doesn't know what he's talking about, and we all chuckle in our minds. Especially after looking at his own website. But who wants to cast their pearls before swine? Iran probably has a thicker skin than I do. 🙂

    I know that most users provide constructive advice, it's just that negative - unhelpful comments are usually the ones that stand out, and I feel like PFRE has become a place where many photographers compete for who has the most destructive wit. Not as much about photos probably, but certainly in the group discussions. People that have no business giving their opinions, do, and those that should, often don't.

  6. @Damien - I don't think that Ron is being negative so much as he is just saying that the lighting is so perfect that it doesn't look real... that's OK! For me that perfect lighting look makes me look twice just to make sure it is real and if you look close there's no mistake... it's just great lighting.

    @Andrew - one way I've used to fasten a tripod to the top of a ladder is bungy cords. Works great! Notice that when using a CamRanger the way Iran was once you put the camera up there you just walk around on the ground and control everything with out even touching the ladder/tripod/camera. Perfect use of the CamRanger.

  7. @Avril - because the exterior was painted with tungsten light, similar color to the interior, then the whole dwelling could be WB together. Usually our exteriors are only lit by fading daylight and so if you pull yellow out of the scene to adjust the interior, the exterior has blue added to it.

  8. Hi Damien,
    As Larry and others will attest I am very encouraging toward others. As Larry said, I think its almost too perfect that in "my" eyes it looks unrealistic. As you may have noticed in my comments that twice I acknowledged Ira's professional acumen and accomplishments. Without any constructive criticism none of us could share images and ideas that all of us can learn from. One thing I never do is shoot from the hip. Thank you for your kind understanding.

  9. I appreciate the hard work that goes into a single shot like this and I like it a lot! From a business point of view my clients want a combination of 25 interior and exterior shots all during twilight in a single visit. How many photographers have the luxury of spending an evening on a single shot? I'm curious!

    Keep up the great work!

  10. @Riron- From a business point of view this kind of shot is an extra trip and a extra charge. I've tried many times to shoot the interior and a twilight in the same trip and I takes someone faster and better than I am to do the whole thing in one trip. You only have about 30 minutes or less when the light is close. Best to just charge extra for a twilight shot. Also my personal experience as a listing agent is that a twilight shot like this will get you several other listings in the neighborhood so to the listing agent it is easily worth paying an extra charge.

  11. Ron, I probably picked on you a bit more than I should have. I don't know you, and certainly my response was a bit ad hominem. I actually think your photography is very good, but worthy of your own criticism. Regardless, I shouldn't have gone there.

    Your comment IS a good example of a problem with this site. The purpose of this post was about someone (Larry) who think this IS a great photo, by a great photographer. He wanted to praise Iran for it and for sharing, so that others can benefit and learn from it. It wasn't a solicitation to criticize the photo, and shouldn't be used to put Iran in a position of having to defend his work. This post simply isn't about that. And my point is that others may not participate in discussions, because they may not want to open themselves up to unwelcome criticism. That is in line with the purpose of Larry's post.

    You sound like someone who can do better and will. We all say stupid stuff sometimes. I just hope we'll all start behaving ourselves a little more around here and try to be more encouraging. Thanks for your kind understanding.

  12. @ Ron - I wasnt offended by your comment in the least. In fact, I thank you for taking the time to look closely at the image and give your honest feedback. It was people such as yourself that helped me make the biggest gains in my work because so often people just say, "Great job!" or "Way to go!". Don't get me wrong, I value every comment, good and bad, its just the constructive criticisms that help me grow. I still have a lot to learn and there are many areas in my work where Im still not happy.

    By the way, your comment was spot on. This image is unrealistic and borderline on being a render but that was the goal. My client and I compared the image against a purely ambient version of the scene and then they were able to tell me what they liked and didnt like. It was easy for them because they had a reference point of both a fully and 'perfectly' lit scene as well as what it looked like naturally. This exercise allows me to truly hone in on what my client wants and I dont have to rely on their knowledge of photography concepts and lingo. They simple point to what they like and I work it into the finished image.

    @ Avril - Most of the time I use a frame from just before sunset to force the WB on the scene shot later during the twilight window. I also use the light painted frames in which I lit the scene with the halogen work light. I use various blend modes in CS6 to fine tune the WB from there.

    @ Damien - Skin like a rhino... Ive been in sales for most of my life so there aren't too many things that can be said to me that havent been already. I dont think Ron was trying to belittle me or my work. Sometimes its very hard to judge intentions on the internet. I appreciate your kind words though.

    @ Andrew - Gravity and friction mostly... No seriously, I have a cheap aluminum Sunpack tripod that has a little give in the legs when fully extended. I wedge them between the top two rungs of the ladder and the spreader bars keep it from sliding down any further. Its remarkably stable for such an impromptu solution to securing the tripod way up there.

    @ Riron - I only shot 3-5 images, primarily exteriors, when Im hired to do twilight shots. Most of the time Im running two, and sometimes three cameras, simultaneously and just hop back forth between each one bracketing all the way through sunset. I charge extra for these images. The rest of the property I typically shoot during the day.

  13. Iran - I'll simply repeat what I wrote on the flickr site - WOW!. This is a great image by one of the best in our industry. All of the photos you post are an inspiration to all of us and you are very kind in sharing your methods.

  14. "...Others may not participate in discussions, because they may not want to open themselves up to unwelcome criticism..."

    Eh? If you see criticism as unwelcome, it signifies that you are unwilling to grow or improve. Constructive criticism (and I do believe Damien was being constructive because he was able to articulate WHY he didn't care for that image) is one of the most beneficial tools we have to improve our craft.

    I personally can find no fault in any of Iran's published work, and I'm glad to learn from him. If I ever get to the point where I feel I can teach or provide useful criticism to other photographers, I will not be bullied out of it by those with "thin skin."

  15. Hi Iran,
    Thank you for your comments. I agree with you and your client when considering photographs for marketing. So often an unusual image will draw greater response than the standard presentation. Your image above is an attention getter ... and I mean that very positively ! Everyone , have a great and peaceful weekend!
    Best Regards,

  16. I've followed Iran's work for some time now. My personal bias is toward one exposure photography but I have learned quite a bit from Iran with regard to RE photography and it's opened me up to a few things. Iran's temperament is as well balanced as his abilities in photography and, in the end, probably more fundamental to his success. Thanks for sharing Iran.

  17. Iran's image, what I would call near perfect, certainly got the attention of photographers, so it is getting the attention of potential buyers. Isn't that our purpose? If not, we need to shoot something else.

  18. Iran i think the shot looks fantastic mate you've done a great job and it's great to hear a new way of getting a shot up higher like this. i may have to invest in the technology myself so i can run around on the ground and get great shots while painting the house etc too. sounds like a fun shoot when you have the time to concentrate on the outside.

    great stuff, cheers Grant

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