I have posted before here about the technology referred to as HDR, (High Definition Resolution), and in still life situations, where there is am abundance of direct natural light, a lot of color and contrast, & no motion it really comes into it’s own.
Using a technique known as “bracketing” (multiple exposures of the same scene using different exposure values), and then feeding those results into development software specially built to create HDR images from those bracketed shots produces really rich results. Colors pop and saturate, light twinkles off the chrome, reflections in the multi-layer paint jobs and chrome provide extra depth, shape & contrast to the images making them full of spectacular detail and incredibly interesting, at least to me.
The same sort of technique can and is being used for Real Estate photography. It is what has allowed for the elimination of blown-out window light overtaking a darker room scene exposure, by taking multiple exposures, and combining them all into a single image. This process used to require hours of photoshop work to add layers of masks in the right places, and light and shadow to others to create an evenly lit and balanced image, now, with HDR processing, all the best parts of all the pixels from every exposure is available to the development software to use, and the developer just has to give it a few tweaks based on the overall image, and viola! The scene outside the picture window is as easy to see as if you were standing there, sometimes even easier to see, if development is done well. Learning what works with differing combinations of bracketed inputs is a process, but once you’ve got it, you can whip out beautiful images if the bracketed exposures are all properly aligned.
The alignment bit is why this works so much better for still life than it does for shots of animated and moving subjects. It is difficult, or impossible, to capture three exposures of a moving object that are all exactly alike in terms of the subjects position, or objects in the background for that matter. But in Real Estate, as in stationary automobile photos, everything holds still pretty well, except the camera, which necessitates the use of a tripod or other stabilizing mechanism for the camera. Adding light from multiple angles also adds to the richness of the pixels captured in bracketed shots, and so the use of multiple speed lights, or flashes, or strobes, depending on the setting and location, can really bring a lot of detail and richness to the multiple bracketed shots for the HDR software to combine into a richly colored and crisp image. But objects have to remain still and aligned in order to execute multiple exposures of the same scene.
I’ve added the technology to my business this past spring, and have now spent enough time with it to be proficient, but I intend to take a few on-line courses to enhance my skills and provide even better and hopefully more valuable images to my clients. whether they be vehicle enthusiasts, or Purveyors of Real Estate, Food, Beer, or other objects. Perhaps even customers shopping for landscapes, I am always looking for innovations that add to the quality and “wow” factor of my photographs without adding hours or days to the turn-around time for my clients. Working on refining my techniques at the Hot Rod shows this summer has been tremendously invaluable in building my understanding of the technology, and I’ve had an excuse to go see some really beautiful and revered vehicles and talk with their owners about the history of the vehicle and the root of their passion for it and that is always invaluable life experience.