Reading
blue-triangle-element

Articles

PFRE is the original online resource for real estate and interior photographers. Since 2006, it has been a community hub where like-minded professionals from around the world gather to share information with a common goal of improving their work and advancing their business. With thousands of articles, covering hundreds of topics, PFRE offers the most robust collection of educational material in our field. The history of real estate photography has been documented within these pages.
All Articles
blue-triangle-element

Latest

The roster of presenters is full, and the PFRE Virtual Conference is officially on for November 20-21, 2020! We're excited to get technical this year and help you take your real estate photography business to the next level! Last year we sold out all o ...

COMMUNITY
blue-triangle-element

Forum

The PFRE Community Forum is an online resource for discussing the art and business of Real Estate and Interior Photography.
Join The Discussion
blue-triangle-element

Latest

View Now
Contest
blue-triangle-element

OVERVIEW

For over a decade, photographers from around the world have participated in PFRE’s monthly photography contests, culminating in the year-end crowning of PFRE’s Photographer of the Year. With a new theme each month and commentary offered by some of the finest real estate & interior photographers anywhere, these contests offer a fun, competitive environment with rich learning opportunities. 

Contest Rules
blue-triangle-element

CURRENT CONTESTS

View / Submit
blue-triangle-element

PAST CONTESTS

View Archive
Conference
blue-triangle-element

Conference

PFRE’s Annual Conference in Las Vegas provides real estate and interior photographers from around the world an opportunity to meet on an annual basis, to learn, share best practices and make connections. Many of the leading names in our field are selected to speak on topics aimed at improving our craft and advancing our business. It’s a comfortable, relaxed environment that is fun, easy to get to, and affordable.
blue-triangle-element

Upcoming

PFRE Conference 2020

Register Now
blue-triangle-element

Latest News

Limited Early Bird Spots on Sale Now! PFRE Virtual Conference 2020

The roster of presenters is full, and the PFRE Virtual Conference is o ...

PFRE Virtual Conference 2020 Announcement: Presenter Line Up Part 2 of 2

*Early bird tickets go on sale September 28th* Here are the remaining ...

PFRE Virtual Conference 2020 Announcement: Presenter Line Up Part 1 of 2

We're a few short months away from the PFRE Virtual Conference 2020 an ...

Reader Poll: Which Topics Should Be Covered at the 2020 PFRE Virtual Conference?

Planning is well underway for the 2020 PFRE Virtual Conference and we' ...

Podcast
blue-triangle-element

Podcasts

The PFRE podcast is focused on having meaningful conversations with world-class photographers, business professionals and industry leaders, with the goal to inform and inspire.
All Podcasts

Coming Soon...

Resources
blue-triangle-element

Resources

PFRE prides itself on the depth and breadth of the information and professional development resources it makes available to our community. Our goal is to help real estate and interior photographers be successful while bringing the community together and elevating the industry as a whole.
blue-triangle-element

Directory

Coming Soon...

Manual Exposure Blending With Photoshop

Published: 11/07/2016
By: larry

Last week Andi, a beginning photographer in Australia, asked me to identify what technique one of his competitors was using. It didn't look like an ambient shot, it looked a little like flash but not completely. It was clearly flash and ambient blend. Some call it exposure blending in Photoshop.

You will see people in the PFRE Flickr forum talk about this technique or refer to blending an ambient image and one or more flash images together. As you can see from the tutorial above this is a very powerful technique. You can combine the best aspects of several images into one image.

The YouTube video above is by Simon Maxwell, an Architectural photographer working in the UK illustrates how to use exposure blending to carefully control the color balance in an interior shot. Simon now has 4 chapters in the newest version of Enfuse and Hand Blending in Photoshop For Real Estate Photography that go into detail on this powerful and popular manual blending technique. Controlling color balance is just one aspect of this technique.

Exposure blending is something you typically use for a project where you have plenty of time for post-processing. Since you could spend 30 minutes or more on a single image so this is not a technique I recommend for a typical real estate shoot where you are under tight time constraints. That said, I hear a surprising number of folks talk about blending images.

5 comments on “Manual Exposure Blending With Photoshop”

  1. Rich Baum has been doing some short tutorial videos that he's posted on YouTube. Search for "Rich Baum" and he'll probably be the first listing.

    Rich's approach is quick to do in post production if you have a speedy computer and preferably a Solid State Hard Drive (SSD) to move photos rapidly between Lightroom and Photoshop. The tutorials are geared towards RE photography and the issues that come up frequently.

    Getting the image finished in camera or at least close enough that only a few tweaks are needed in LR is the best way to work. There are times where blending multiple exposures in post will be quicker than trying to get the lighting perfect on site. Experience will tell the photographer what approach is going to be best for a given image.

  2. The power of not having to open or move a single lightstand or modifier on a real estate shoot is highly underrated in my estimation. Every single photograph I produce, I use only a single, handheld light. Time in post consists of not much more than laying one layer on top of another, and with some thoughtful use of PS actions you can be rolling through images in less overall time I believe, and attain comparable quality.

    Let's think about it in a different context. A product photographer has a client who wants a very complicated lighting setup to illuminate a cell phone from all sides. What's going to be faster, squeezing 12 lights with grids and lightstands all around a little cell phone, or getting a set of base lighting in there, and compositing in pieces that work accordingly? Not only is my money on the compositing, but the amount of equipment needed for a beginner is going to be quite the advantage as well. Truth is, I don't converse with many high end product photographers, but I'd guess that almost everything they do involves compositing, whether they are in a hurry or not.

    Point being, I think the same is true of real estate photography. Whether you need to move quickly or not, I think the real power lies in compositing when considering the quality vs time spent ratio.

  3. I agree with Andrew that moving through a house with one wireless handheld speedlight to capture all of the fill-ins, windows blinds, dark corners, sensor flare spots, color mixes etc. is an efficient way to go provided you also get the good ambient exposure. It is so important to learn the skills of PS blending which can be very fast at about 5 minutes per photo as you get more proficient.

  4. While I agree with Andrew that it can be very helpful to be more mobile with just a handheld light, I also have found that in some cases I take way more shots than I really need to, which keeps me on site longer. When lighting rooms in pieces, I think it can be very difficult to be sure you've got enough pieces to nail the shot, whereas using lighting to capture shots in a single exposure, you know for sure. Of course, that also makes it easier for the client to preview the image since they won't have to imagine what the final assembled image will look like.

    The biggest advantage I find in manually blending flashed and ambient frames is that I don't have to worry about hiding the lights. I'm always relieved when I find out one of my clients doesn't insist on super-wide compositions, but even when they don't, there are some rooms where it's still impractical to hide lights out of frame. Being able to just brush myself out actually saves time for me in many cases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

magnifiercrossmenucross-circle