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Author Topic: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please  (Read 14891 times)

Madkrafter

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #45 on: December 27, 2011, 11:27:56 PM »
There is a lot of advice here to take in. I can tell you that I've done high-end RE photography for several years now on homes from $1 million - $50 million USD. I did it for a long time with a 50D and Tokina 12-24 crop lens. It's focal view was that of a 19mm on the 50D. I would shoot straight on to avoid post processing distortion if I could, but still had to correct for barrel distortion. You can correct for keystoning in post, but it just stretches everything out. Sometimes you have to do that to "see" over objects in the room. I've done it plenty (shame on me).

I just upgraded to a 5DmkII FF and 17mm TS-E. It has enough view to get the tightest of rooms. I think the 14mm would be too wide. I find that the 17mm TS-E distorts the view more than I sometimes like. The plus is it doesn't have the barrel distortion of my Tokina and I don't have to correct keystoning.

I use HDR techniques on a tripod at twilight when the ambient light of the house can take over. I bring a box of light bulbs and replace any compact fluorescent bulbs so my light balance is consistent. I lock my white balance down to about 3000K, F11 and use Exposure Blending in Photomatix Pro for a very natural, realistic view of the space. I have never had a client say anything other than they love the shots. They don't ask HOW I process the photos, they just love the results. Better than them coming in with an on-camera flash and snapping away.

Setting up lights would take too long and take away from what the lighting designer intended (on higher-end homes). I can shoot an average house in 45 minutes to an hour, but spend 2-3 hours in post. Some bigger places may take multiple trips because twilight only lasts about 45 minutes.

If you are not doing this full-time, on high-end properties, you would probably get the most benefit from the 17-40 or 16-35, as you could use it for more... enjoyable shoots. I've heard good things about both but don't own either. I'm surprised to hear that even the 16-35 is soft in the corners (I've read that about the 17-40). How much more than the 17-40?  I would rent both and see if one out-performs the other (I will).

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #45 on: December 27, 2011, 11:27:56 PM »

wickidwombat

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #46 on: December 28, 2011, 12:14:09 AM »
There is a lot of advice here to take in. I can tell you that I've done high-end RE photography for several years now on homes from $1 million - $50 million USD. I did it for a long time with a 50D and Tokina 12-24 crop lens. It's focal view was that of a 19mm on the 50D. I would shoot straight on to avoid post processing distortion if I could, but still had to correct for barrel distortion. You can correct for keystoning in post, but it just stretches everything out. Sometimes you have to do that to "see" over objects in the room. I've done it plenty (shame on me).

I just upgraded to a 5DmkII FF and 17mm TS-E. It has enough view to get the tightest of rooms. I think the 14mm would be too wide. I find that the 17mm TS-E distorts the view more than I sometimes like. The plus is it doesn't have the barrel distortion of my Tokina and I don't have to correct keystoning.

I use HDR techniques on a tripod at twilight when the ambient light of the house can take over. I bring a box of light bulbs and replace any compact fluorescent bulbs so my light balance is consistent. I lock my white balance down to about 3000K, F11 and use Exposure Blending in Photomatix Pro for a very natural, realistic view of the space. I have never had a client say anything other than they love the shots. They don't ask HOW I process the photos, they just love the results. Better than them coming in with an on-camera flash and snapping away.

Setting up lights would take too long and take away from what the lighting designer intended (on higher-end homes). I can shoot an average house in 45 minutes to an hour, but spend 2-3 hours in post. Some bigger places may take multiple trips because twilight only lasts about 45 minutes.

If you are not doing this full-time, on high-end properties, you would probably get the most benefit from the 17-40 or 16-35, as you could use it for more... enjoyable shoots. I've heard good things about both but don't own either. I'm surprised to hear that even the 16-35 is soft in the corners (I've read that about the 17-40). How much more than the 17-40?  I would rent both and see if one out-performs the other (I will).

I would be very interested to hear a detailed description of how you use photomatix to achieve realistic looking results setting etc. While i like HDR and have a fascination with it I am over photomatix and the sameness of the results, I've been using it for a while now. got any examples you would care to share?
also the 16-35 while one of my favourite lenses has too much distortion for this use without post correction
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Madkrafter

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #47 on: December 28, 2011, 10:42:30 PM »
@wickidwombat  I've posted some examples of one of my latest with the 5DmkII and 17mm TS-E. A photographer may look at them and notice that they are some kind of HDR, thankfully, customers don't. Photomatix seams to give me the most realistic look with the Exposure Fusion option (plus I'm most familier with it). I've also attached a snapshot of some of the settings I use.

I have multiple settings to deal with different lighting scenarios. In the snapshot you can see in the upper right corner some of the flare that can occur with the 17mm TS-E. It's easy enough to retouch out. On the lamp on the left, you can see the posterization that can occur in lamps. In both the shade and being too close to the wall. If I can, I will move them away from the wall to get better light falloff. I do some touchup in Photoshop for these circumstances.

The accentuation and shadow adjustments both play a big part in posterization. I shoot in 1-stop increments, anywhere from 4-12 exposures. A lower accentuation will keep the posterization at bay. The saturation is also one to look out for. I keep it about -1. Any more and it can really make the woodwork and fabrics glow.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 10:44:52 PM by Madkrafter »

wickidwombat

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #48 on: December 28, 2011, 10:54:24 PM »
Awesome thanks!
yes those pics look really good
it looks much more like an exposure blended scene than the enhancer pumps out
I will play with fusion a bit more and try some of your advice.
why so many exposures? even at 1 stop difference much more than 7 exposures is usually completely dark or completely blown out
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Madkrafter

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #49 on: December 28, 2011, 11:05:08 PM »
Two words: Bare Bulbs! If there are bare-bulb fixtures in the room, I will shoot from 1/250 or so to get my lamp highlights, up to 8-15 sec to get shadow detail. As great as HDR is, I don't believe the hype of "filament to shadow." Maybe using other HDR methods, but as you've pointed out, they can look pretty gnarly. At most I hope to retain a little detail of the glass scones or shades and pleasant shadow detail. As for too many exposures: Better to have them and not need them, then need them and not have them!

wickidwombat

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #50 on: December 29, 2011, 12:24:02 AM »
ok next question
how are you doing so many exposures with the 5DII which only has 3AEB
I am hoping this new upcoming magic lantern adds it back in an works better
the last one i tried was unstable at best
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Madkrafter

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #51 on: December 29, 2011, 01:14:59 PM »
ok next question
how are you doing so many exposures with the 5DII which only has 3AEB
I am hoping this new upcoming magic lantern adds it back in an works better
the last one i tried was unstable at best


I shoot in manual mode - f/11, ISO 400, Mirror lockup and Promote Control trigger. The Promote allows you to program in what exposure range you want, depending on whether you want to start with a highlight, shadow or mid-exposure value; program and hit Start. They're a bit pricey, but after I used one, I have to say it was worth it for as many houses as I shoot.

http://www.promotesystems.com/products/Promote-Control.html

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #51 on: December 29, 2011, 01:14:59 PM »

wickidwombat

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #52 on: December 29, 2011, 06:51:22 PM »
ok next question
how are you doing so many exposures with the 5DII which only has 3AEB
I am hoping this new upcoming magic lantern adds it back in an works better
the last one i tried was unstable at best


I shoot in manual mode - f/11, ISO 400, Mirror lockup and Promote Control trigger. The Promote allows you to program in what exposure range you want, depending on whether you want to start with a highlight, shadow or mid-exposure value; program and hit Start. They're a bit pricey, but after I used one, I have to say it was worth it for as many houses as I shoot.

http://www.promotesystems.com/products/Promote-Control.html


good to know I have actually been looking at these, currently i still use my 1D for HDR because it can do 7 AEB

also have you ever had a look at this method?
http://goodlight.us/writing/tutorials.html

it looks really good, totally impractical for RE of course due to the time it would take but I think its a pretty neat way to do HDR
APS-H Fanboy

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #52 on: December 29, 2011, 06:51:22 PM »