When shooting real estate you never know what sort of challenges you’re going to face until you arrive on site and being shooting. There’s usually one room in every house where I find myself confronted with some sort of problem that has to be solved quickly and on the spot – it’s often a bathroom or a kitchen with reflective surfaces that creates the problem.
With that being said, It’s also one of the things I love most about my job. I love having to flex my brain to make a shot that will work. There’s no such thing as retakes in real estate photography – I have about 90 minutes to make 15-20 photos and that’s that. If I mess things up in the field I can usually rescue things in Photoshop, but it’s something that I hate doing.
Through trial and error I’ve come up with some creative ways to overcome the challenges that I face on a daily basis and I’ve decided to start a bi-weekly behind the scenes to share how I do it.
This master bathroom from a recent shoot provided me with zero options to hide myself, my lights, or my camera from the massive mirror at the end of the entrance way. The bathroom was shaped like an L so I had to get my light past the wall on the right hand side to illuminate the majority of the room.
In this first shot I’m holding my “light on a stick” and bouncing it high into left side wall. This created a nice big light that illuminated most of the bathroom and put some nice shadows and detail on the lower cabinets – notice how the shower stall and the bedroom behind me are still very dark.
In this next shot I’m holding my light as high as I can and bouncing it above the mirror. This light fills the entrance way in the reflection and the shower stall. Notice how I also placed lights in the bedroom behind the camera. Now I have both of the shots I need to complete my composite.
Below is the final composite. To Make the final image I simply opened the first shot in Photoshop and pasted the second shot on top. Next, I created a layer mask for the second shot and inverted the layer. The final step is to take a white brush and paint over the layer mask – for this one I only painted over the left hand side wall and the mirror. I also cloned out the camera and the reflection from my shirt in the chrome on the shower doors. Total time invested: 5 minutes in the field and 10 in the computer.
Over and out.