Creating even, realistic, and balanced lighting when shooting interiors for real estate can be tough. One route is to light an interior with flash and balance it against the ambient light outside. Another option is to use HDR to blend a number of bracketed images together. Which gives better results?
This short video from Mike Burke at Inside Real Estate Photography looks at the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. Within HDR, Burke also looks at two different methods: using software to automate the blending of the bracketed images versus manually blending the images together in Photoshop in order to avoid some of the pitfalls.
Personally, while overpowering the ambient light and filling a room with flash will avoid strange color casts, taking the flambient route can risk flattening the image, exaggerating contrast, and removing some of the sense of depth from a room. If you decide that flambient works best, there’s no substitute for good lighting technique to avoid creating images that feel unrealistic.
In terms of cost, investing in lighting gear can be expensive but keep in mind that, given how much better hand-blended HDR is over automated HDR, you may end up saving yourself a lot of time in the edit, making it more economically viable in the long run.
Which is your preferred method? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.