In the field of real estate photography there are different schools of thought with regard to the best shooting and post processing techniques for interior images.
Very popular among some photographers, including many beginners, is a technique called High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. This technique involves shooting three to seven different exposures of a given scene...some are long exposures resulting in very bright images, and others very short resulting in very dark images. Next, the photographer processes these images by merging them together into a single image using software designed for this purpose. This software combines the best parts of all of these images resulting in a final image that looks, for the most part, properly exposed all over. While the merging software is impressive, we found that from our interior photography experience using HDR previously, the final image usually looks somewhat 'muddy', and the coloring is not quite realistic. Plus, the view through windows to the outside does not always look very clear. Using HDR is certainly an improvement over the washed out windows you would see from simply shooting a single exposure with your point and shoot camera, but the final results we saw did not meet our expectations. Additionally, while this technique requires no flash and minimal equipment, it does require extensive post processing.
Next, there are those photographers who prefer to shoot with multiple off camera flashes (speedlites). Sometimes these speedlites are placed on stands or tripods, sometimes not, and sometimes umbrellas may be used to either bounce the light or filter the light, depending on the situation. While multiple shots may be taken to get the settings just right, with this method the final image that is delivered to the customer is the result of a single image taken with the camera. The camera must be properly exposed to clearly show the brightest area in the scene, typically a window, and the off camera flashes/speedlites are used to light up the rest of the scene. If properly shot, minimal post processing is required.
In addition to these two primary methods, some use a single on camera flash, and others use some hybrid of these various techniques.
We find that, by far, the multiple off camera flashes method provides the very best results with true to life crisp images and natural colors. So, when we arrive for a shoot you will find that we travel heavy with a fair amount of supplemental lighting. And, as part of properly composing each shot we will also have to carefully decide exactly where to place speedlites or other supplemental lighting in each scene to get the very best end result. While usually little or no post processing is required with this technique, we do perform some editing on every image to enhance colors, correct white balance, sharpen, remove digital noise, ensure vertical lines are straight, etc.
The renowned photographer Mike Kelley discusses these various interior photography techniques in this article on his fstoppers.com website: https://fstoppers.com/strobe-light/hdr-vs-flash-interiors-and-real-estate-photography-3135 In the examples he provides one can clearly see the differences in the results from the various techniques.
We look forward to your call at 800.866.2362 and putting our interior photography skills to work for you.