May 2 2011 - Photo Jottings

May 2 2011


Make sure you get (and keep) the details in your Real Estate picture.

Here’s another installment of the Sony A700, and Sigma 10-20mm lens picture chronicles.

A Realtor called and asked if I’d take a quick shot of a living-room in an expensive home that was already up for sale.  In this case, she took her own shots (one shown below), and was unhappy with a couple of them.  Actually, her living-room shot is pretty good for a Realtor, but it omits an important detail, and has a few other problems that are easy to fix with the right software, although most people don’t notice them until you point them out.

When you take pictures of architecture, interiors or Real estate, you need to show the interesting details.  You might notice the Realtor’s shot omits the tray ceiling with fan and recessed lighting,
it’s mostly because the shot was taken with the camera pointed down at the couch, instead of level, or taken vertically, which is what I would’ve done if I couldn’t get it in the shot horizontally.

It looks like the Realtor used the pop-up flash, which is good, but that doesn’t illuminate the other rooms that are inside the image.  Also, since the camera is pointed down, the walls appear to be falling over near the image edges.  One other problem is the color is off, I’m not sure what happened here, but a good guess is the camera was used in AUTO mode in a relatively dark room, and automatically raised the ISO so much that color noise is being reduced, and causing the colors to be dull, and the detail is soft from excessive smearing, again, from high ISO use.

My version of this shot uses plenty of outdoor light from big windows to the right, plus three flashes; one, (with umbrella) placed to the left of the camera and pointed towards the center, see the shadows from the coffee table legs; another hidden at the left of the kitchen using an umbrella, and pointed to sweep down the center aisle (to the right) and hidden behind the wall (with the pink matted picture); and finally, a flash in the back family room, hidden behind the kitchen wall and bounced up at the ceiling/wall joint and reflected back to the right far corner of the room.  I dragged the shutter (extended the shutter time) to use more ambient light, which helps properly illuminate the other rooms.  If there were windows included inside the image, I wouldn’t be able to do that, and would’ve had to use more flashes and a faster shutter speed to properly light each room, so the windows wouldn’t be blown out.

A couple of small things I did was to de-clutter the kitchen breakfast bar, which make that part of the picture less “busy,” and I slightly re-arranged the knick knacks and pillows so the tags don’t show!

As I said at the top, this was a quick job; I took this shot and a couple of others, and spent about 20 minutes in the house total.  In the end, the Realtor was happy and I picked up enough money for a nice Sunday dinner for two!

I don’t have the image specs, but I think I used about 16mm (24mm equiv) F/7.1, approx. 1/10 sec at ISO 200. 

Click for larger version
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