March 16 2011 - Photo Jottings

March 16 2011


Here is another example of some work I did some time ago with the outdated Sony A700 and inexpensive Sigma 10-20mm lens,(review).  Any DSLR is plenty capable for this kind of work if you use it properly.  The image below is from a real estate shoot showing the dining room of a little ground floor condo, it’s a very small room, (about 10×12′ or 3.0-3.6m) and loaded with furniture and windows.

Shooting this room required three flashes.  Not seen, but just off to the right is a mirrored wall, and a doorway to the kitchen.  I didn’t have enough room for a flash on the right, (and I didn’t want to shoot into a mirror!), so I put a flash on a stand with a shoot-through umbrella in the kitchen doorway, high up, and pointed slightly down.  I also have a flash with umbrella located about 6′ (1.9m) to my left and behind the camera, set to about 1/4 power of the kitchen flash, and I’m hand-holding a flash with umbrella over the camera, also set to about 1/4 power of the kitchen light, (I think that flash was at 1/2 or 1/4 total power, and the other flashes are about two stops lower).  You can see the shadows formed from each flash, by looking at the chair legs, lamps and cabinetry.

Speaking of flashes and shadows, you might notice the chair legs shadows from the flash I was holding, which was closer than the left flash; I hand-held it because there wasn’t enough room for a stand, and I wanted more diffused fill light.  The china cabinet legs and buffet lamps show the kitchen light direction, but are also diffused, partly because of the window light.  My decision for the left flash behind the camera was too provide general fill light, and provide enough light to keep the window mullions from blowing out, without a reflection on the panes.  Usually you can bounce the flash off the ceiling or walls to diffuse it better and avoid shadows, but in this case there is a larger area behind me with no wall space to speak of, and there’s a ceiling beam too, upper left, so bouncing light off the ceiling into the dining room wouldn’t work, as you would wind up with a huge shadow extending way past the beam into the dining area.

Thoughts;  I’d turn down the flash power just a little, or close the aperture more, and slightly turn the two right chairs to minimize reflections.  Other than the color of the walls, (ode to vomit!) I like the way it turned out.  This shot took me about 10-15 minutes to figure out the lighting, with test shots, that’s really too long for real estate shooting, especially for one room, but taking the extra time results in a happy client, and additional jobs!

This image is a single shot. I think the camera data is F/7.1, ISO 200, WB 5700k, shutter 1/160sec.  No gels used.  Sony wireless flash system used to trigger flashes.

Post processing; I removed a shadow from the ceiling on the right side, heavily cropped off the left part of the image, (composition didn’t look good), and cloned out two small reflections from two window panes in the dead center from my hand-held flash.  I did the usual slight shadow/highlight
adjustments, and that’s it.

click for larger version
Scroll to Top