Lighting Basics for Real Estate Photography
Let's talk about lighting in future lessons. You're going to see all of this in demonstration mode me in the rooms doing this. But first let's learn the basics. There are three basic types of light to understand you have your natural light. This is the sunlight coming in through windows and doors. You have your house lights also known as the ambient lights. These are the ceiling lights can lights, fans, lamps in the background candles, whatever is in your room from the house itself. Those are your ambient lights and then artificial lights. These are your flashes, your strobes, your video lights that you're using in terms of taking photos. There's a few options. So first you can do just a natural lights off approach. This is just light coming in from the outside. You can see that light kind of brighten up clouds went by and this video itself is getting a little bit brighter as I record this. So that's just using the natural light. You can also have the lights on. So of course, you're go...
ing to be getting the natural light from the window, but I'm gonna call this the ami light shot this is where you turn on the ceiling lights or any lights in the room and then you have the combination of that. So taking it a step further lights on in the room and then you're adding flash and this is called flaming. So what's the comparison between lights on or off with it off? You're going to get that much more natural style. It's going to be the color temperature of natural light. You're not dealing with a combination of different color temperatures which can be nice. And this is more of a designer, look, think of like a pottery barn catalog. Go to their website, look at photos, you'll kind of see that this is a very nice style. However, this is not possible in a lot of homes because most homes don't have big bright airy windows that let in enough light to get that sort of style. Here's what an example of that these big windows taken at the right time of day where you all you need is that natural light to make this room look amazing. And that goes to say that sometimes you're locked down at a particular time of day. I wish that you could pick the time of day to shoot and you should try to and you might need to go to a location, go to a house at different times of day, depending on if it's a north facing south facing west east, depending on what rooms are facing which direction at that time of day, you'll need to pay attention to it. You don't want harsh shadows in your shots. One of the reasons I'm shooting this video in this room right now is because while I do have north facing here in California, meaning I'm not going to have a ton of direct sunlight into this room. I do get direct sunlight in the morning and I don't want those harsh shadows for this video shot. Similarly, I would take these real estate photos at this time as well. Let's talk about lights on. This is a common approach. This is the style that you'll see for most real estate photographers and this is what we're going to be covering in this class. You turn on the ambient lights if they act, add something to the room, sometimes this means leaving the can lights on the ceiling off, just turning on lamps and lights that actually look good. Generally though we're going to be turning on everything unless it's something that detracts from the room. So if it's like a weird off-putting light, too harsh, too, too warm, you might not want it. But generally we're going to be turning on most of the lights. Here's an example of that where the photographer is shooting with the ambient lamps in the background as well as the natural light and it looks like some flash potentially as well. Here's a shot where ceiling light lamps are on even though, they probably don't add a ton of light. It creates this overall style to, to the photo. Here we have all the lights on. We've got the pendant lights on over the counter island. We've got the lights by the oven. We've got the lights in the background in the ceiling, even in the bottom. Right. You can see on that countertop, you have some lights underneath the upper cabinets which just adds a little pop to this photo. This one you can see really the contrast between the exterior natural bluish daylight versus the warmer interior lights. There's ways we're going to be able to fix this and post. So we don't have this weird color casts that are competing. We're gonna want it to look a little bit more natural and cohesive. But this example shows the combination and here even in this photo, the light is on, you can't even see it except in the reflection of the mirror, but you have that one can light on and it just adds a little bit of light even though the photo is definitely using a flash as well to light up this interior space. So right now, I want to show you an example of one space that I'm going to photograph later in this course with the lights on lights off. So you can see the difference. So here it is with the light lights off. Supernatural nicely photo. And here it is with the lights on ambient lights overhead and here's a side by side comparison, totally different style. I think that lights add a lot to this example and you'll see a lot more of this in the live demonstrations in the future of this class. Now let's put it all together into the flambe shot. So what does this actually mean? I know I've already said that it's a photo where you're shooting with your flash, you're also shooting with the ambient lights on. But in terms of technically how, what photos do we need to take? You have to take one photo with just ambient lights, so no flash. So just the ambient lights on also, of course, you're getting natural light from the windows shot one, you're then turning on your flash and taking a photo with the flash and sometimes this is multiple photos depending on how big the room is. And then oftentimes you're shooting what's called a window pull and this is a photo exposed to the exterior window. You can see behind me that the window is quite overexposed. If I exposed to that window, everything inside this room would be too dark, too under exposed. And you don't want to do that. You want to generally exposed to the interior of the room. But what's called the window pull is where you're exposing to what's outside and you'll see this go through Zillow, go look on airbnb, look at other real estate photographers. This is a very popular style here. You can see some examples of this where this is not a naturally occurring photo with one frame, the photographer is exposing to the interior and then taking a separate photo exposed to the exterior or doing some heavy editing of a raw photo depending on the situation. But oftentimes it's a separate photo that's later combined. Now you only want to do this if it adds something to the photo, if it sells that room more, if you are taking something and there's like a trash truck or just like a weird building outside, you probably want to overexpose that photo. You don't want to show what's outside. Here's an example of where this is an exterior patio, but this is likely a combination of two photos. If not, it might just be a raw photo or a bracketed photo. But an example of where we're exposing to the interior lights on using a flash as well. And then we're also getting a shot exposed to the exterior because it adds so much what's outside that balcony. And there is a technical approach to how we actually shoot these to be able to combine it later on in post. That's coming up in the next lesson.