Larry in Pennsylvania asked:
Nearly all the nice photos I see on the Flickr site are constructed by "brushing in ambient (blending layers). Rick Baum has a number of YouTube videos which show the "process" of him brushing in the ambient to his flash layer in order to get rid of unwanted shadows or to put shadows in to stress the natural direction of light entering a room. However, in his video, he states that his shots are not very good, but instead he is just showing the "process" of how to brush in the ambient. My question is, Now that I have learned how to perform this process in PS, "What are the goals of a good ambient shot and its accompanying good flash shot?
First of all, yes, the process of blending flash and ambient layers together is very popular with real estate photographers. It allows you to make an interior image look natural and remove any harsh effects from flash. I would say looking bright natural is the main overall goal.
But your question goes to the root of interior photography. That is, what is the result supposed to look like? I think the best way of getting the answer to that question is to look the work of the best interiors photographers in our business. There is no one answer. There are many answers and styles to do interiors photography.
The PFRE Flickr group generally illustrates a high level of interiors photography. But another group of interiors photographers you should look at and study is the work and portfolios of past winners of the PFRE photographer of the month contest. These are interior photographers chosen by the PFRE community as the best of the best. Their work is a good example of what your end result can look like.
And if you'd like to get personal coaching, many of photographers that are contest winners are PFRE coaches that can help you raise the level or your work. Also, both Scott Hargis's and Simon Maxwell's books cover this subject.