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Aperture Priority vs. Manual for Interiors5416

Southlake, TX
Metroplex360 private msg quote post Address this user
Hi All!

I shoot with Aperture Priority (Av) mode for my interiors, and manual for exteriors. Av does an amazing job inside, while it over exposes outside despite spot metering.

I was curious to know what you guys use for photography of homes -- do you also use Av, or do you use manual all the way? I'd love to hear some opinions, superstitions, and conversation on this.
Post 1 IP   flag post
Charleston, SC
JonJ private msg quote post Address this user
Hi Metroplex360!

I always shoot manual because I like to control all settings on the camera. I do not want the camera to adjust any settings without my explicit input. Also, this allows me to create a simple repeatable process that yields results that my clients love.

Here is a brief summary of what I use during a typical shoot:

Below is a list of equipment/software that I use when photographing for my clients.

Canon 700D - $430
Canon 10-18mm - $280
Extra Batteries - $14
Tripod - $67
Backpack - $27
Memory Card - $25
Photomatix Pro 6 - $99
Magic Lantern - Free

Total: $942

Camera settings:
Capture images in RAW
Shoot in Manual Mode
Apeture: 9.5
ISO: 100
White Balance: Auto
Metering: Evaluative

All of my images are HDR. I do not use a flash or other off camera lighting. This makes taking pictures quick and easy with no setup. Natively, the recommended camera will allow you to take 3 bracketed exposures, but once you install Magic Lantern, you will be able to take up to 11 bracketed exposures automatically. I usually use 5 images taken at -3, -1.5, 0, +1.5 +3. This will generally allow you to capture the entire dynamic range of a space. Once I have my images, I merge them in Photomatix using a custom preset that was built off of the interior 2 preset.

Here is a link to a shoot that I did yesterday: clickable text
Post 2 IP   flag post
Columbia, MO
Showcas3D private msg quote post Address this user
@JonJ how long does it take you to edit/merge them in Photomatix?
Post 3 IP   flag post
Charleston, SC
JonJ private msg quote post Address this user
I am not really sure. I bring my laptop with me and merge them in Photomatix on my way home. My guess, is it is about 45 seconds per set of 5 images.
Post 4 IP   flag post
NestorSarmiento private msg quote post Address this user
@JonJ Great tips! I will consider them for my personal work.

For the exterior images, do you use a tripod to lift the camera at that height?
Post 5 IP   flag post
DaK private msg quote post Address this user
The beauty of photomatix is once you get a preset that works well with your shooting style, you can batch process the images. Tell it where the images are and what preset and it goes to work. Of course there may be some touch up and lens fixed but that's really a photoshop job.
Post 6 IP   flag post
Charleston, SC
JonJ private msg quote post Address this user
For the elevated exterior photos, I mount my camera to a 24-foot pool and use that to elevate the shot. In these particular images, my camera height is at about 14 feet. I shoot these blind with my timer set to 10 seconds. Let me know if you have any additional questions.
Jon J
Post 7 IP   flag post
Helen private msg quote post Address this user
@JonJ Hi Jon, as you bring your laptop with you and merge while traveling I assume you are using your custom interior 2 preset for the exteriors as well? Would that be the case? Or are you processing interiors and exteriors separately.
Post 8 IP   flag post
Charleston, SC
JonJ private msg quote post Address this user
Hi @Helen,
I process all of my photos using the same preset for both interior and exterior stills.

I am sure you could yield better results if you used separate presets for interior and exterior images, but I am happy with the results that I am getting and it simplifies my workflow without having to add an additional step.
Post 9 IP   flag post
Helen private msg quote post Address this user
@JonJ I can see why your happy with the results they look great! Easier workflow is always the best! I will have to play around to try to get one I am happy with that works for both, unless of course you are willing to share your magic.
Post 10 IP   flag post
Charleston, SC
JonJ private msg quote post Address this user

I am actually working on a series of training videos that I have been developing to train photographers for my own business. Once I am done with them, I will let the community know. They should be pretty comprehensive and will cover the following topics, among other topics:

1) Introduction to real estate photography (overview)
2) Equipment used
3) Software used
4) Camera Settings
5) HDR
6) Staging a space
7) Framing an interior shot
8) Framing an exterior shot
9) Elevated photography
10) Shot List
11) Twilight Photography

My goal is to give anyone the confidence to invest in themselves and in their business by providing an easy to follow guide to photographing real estate. For me personally, it has been the most rewarding and profitable aspect of my business. My business would not be where it is today if I did not take the plunge into traditional photography. The addition of this service will open the door to additional revenue streams that are both complimentary to Matterport or can stand alone.

That being said, in the spirit of transparency, I am not claiming to be a great architectural photographer. I have not been published in any magazines or sold individual photos for $$$$. I have just figured out a system that works for me and has helped me to grow both my business and my client base.

As a final thought, if there are any topics that you (or anyone else) would like me to add to the video series, please let me know. Either post here or PM me.

Jon J
Post 11 IP   flag post
justinv private msg quote post Address this user

That is nice of you to put a video series together.

One thing I notice about new people is they are always worried about what brand of camera someone uses. At the end of the day, it is the photographer behind the camera.
Post 12 IP   flag post
Southlake, TX
Metroplex360 private msg quote post Address this user
@JonJ Thanks for sharing. The PhotoMatrix presets that you have seem to be producing pretty nice, consistent results too.

I have a preference for neutral color in my images. Perhaps you might think I'm weird, but when I'm not using a sevice like PhotoUp to process my photos, here's what I do:

I use the same settings as @JonJ, except Av indoors, and M outdoors. I'm shooting a Nikon D7000, so I'm limited to -2,0,+2 on my brackets. No custom firmware for me.

I open all RAW images into Photoshop, which launches the Camera RAW modal. I prefer the UI over Lightroom.

- I merge each set of 3 images with ACR (CTRL+SHIFT+M). There's no batch mode, so this takes a while - but I feel that the results are extremely natural and have yet to find a preset in PhotoMatrix or LR/Enfuse that I feel is natural -- and those don't really work with my workflow anyway.

- With the merged images, I generally boost the Dark levels, adjust the color temperature to be a bit warm to kill off any weird blue lighting, then pull out the yellow with the saturation slider. I use a lot of gradient filters to even out light. Then I bump up the Saturation a tiny bit and boost the vibrance a lot. Other tweaks are minor.


I'm a bit busy these days and 90% of my photos go to PhotoUp so that I can meet deadline and spend my free time on the we-get-around forum.

But even then - I usually do one more pass on them (as I'm silly) and warm the images a bit more and desaturate the yellow channel.

I just don't want any yellow in my images.
Post 13 IP   flag post
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