Monday, August 23, 2010
Real Estate Photos - Part 1: Strobist Style (Intermediate)
I took some real estate photos today for a friend who's a broker. When I got to the house, it was midday with the sun almost directly overhead. I would have preferred to take photos close to the golden hour, but I had a scheduling conflict. The overhead sun though, was perfect for one of the rooms - a hallway with a skylight.
Here is the first test shot - all ambient (ISO: 200, f/4, 1/60):
The first thing I tried to improve the shot was to add more light in the green room. I set the YN-560 in the green room on a window sill (so that it would be consistent with the natural light), bouncing to the white ceiling. I used the YN-560 in optical slave mode and triggered it with the D300's popup flash in manual mode. The YN-560 triggered successfully even though it was not in the line of sight, and the popup was on 1/128 power. I kept the exposure value the same but used f/8 for sharpness (ISO: 200, f/8, 1/15), and I used the YN-560 on 1/4 power.
I didn't like how the popup lit the balustrade, so I attached an SG-3IR infrared filter to cover the popup flash. This time, 1/128 power did not work. With the SG-3IR, however, I could use the popup flash on full power without affecting the exposure. So that's what I did:
Next, I wanted to brighten the hallway a bit without destroying the ambience from the ambient :) I tried putting an SB-800 in the room at camera left, aimed at the ceiling. The SB-800 was on manual, in SU-4 mode, I believe at 1/8 power. I again kept the exposure the same.
It created a shadow on the ceiling that I found distracting. I tried bouncing it instead, behind me.
The brightening effect on the room was enough but I felt that the balustrade was illuminated too much. I reduced the power on the SB-800 by a stop:
A crude lighting diagram (the red flash is the YN-560 and the green flash is the SB-800):
I tried taking a shot of the same hallway from a different angle. This time I tried putting the Sb-800 on the window sill of the room on camera left, bouncing to the ceiling. A lighting diagram:
I adjusted power so that its shadow would be almost invisible.
(Darn - I forgot to turn on the lights in both shots...)
For my other shots, I tried a different technique (HDR), which I'll post about next.