Thursday, 14 October 2010

Big Flat property photography (gels to the resque)

Ok so today I was asked to take a photo of another flat in Edinburgh and make a shot that is better than the original shot on the Property management website, which was this shot here

And here is what I managed to turn it into

that, with just one flash.

Other shots and the breakdown of how i got to that final shot explained in the (read more button below)

Here is a selection of the horrible shots of the property before hand

They are not very good are they! 

So lets get started.

First was to get a good postion I like this angle, it is just at the door that you enter the room with, it shows you the whole room and the dinning table close to the camera and the bay windows away at the back, but there is a big issue, this is a big flat! a high ceiling and it is pretty long. My sb900 mounted ontop of my camera bouncing off the room is not filling the whole room (unlike in the previous properties) There is a clear white ligth from my flash then further down the room it gets darker and more orange with the horrible tungstan lights, it makes the place look like it is tobacco stained, Oh what to do?!


Try it first with no flash?  see how much ambiet light is made from the lights in the property and how much is coming in from outside

EEEEKKKK!!! thats what happens when you leave your camera white balance (WB) on flash and a room is light by these horrible low power eneregy saving lights.  its almost become a sepia photo! Terrible.
I am also not liking the reflection of the lights off the table,  time to move in a bit closer to the sofas.
Shot taken at f3.3 iso 1000 1.45th of a second, think I need to darken the outside a little as it is a bit too blown out for my likings.
Also are you noticing the 3 lights in this room that have not been turned on yet?  next step make sure all lights are on even if they are a horrible colour

This is where gels come in handy, these horrible tungstun lights are pretty much orange in colour for me to balance the colour of my flash with the colour of the lights in the property I will need to use a CTO (colour temprature orange) gel, but do I use a quarter or a half.....
well in this case I had to stack both off them on the camera and shoot 3/4 cto to have the same colour of light come out of my flash as what is in the property. this should mean that there is now not a bright white light in the first third of the room. followed by orange then blue from outside.

Now i have stuck on both the gells, set a positive 1 exposure bias, Manual exposure, spot metered for the table (not the window) bounced the flash off the ceiling, and set the in camera white balance to the little bulb sign (tungstun)
Shot taken at f4 iso 1000 shutter speed, 1/60th of a second. Shot taken with the tokina 11-16 at 11mm on the Fuji S5pro dslr.

Then there is the Kitchen,

the original shot was ok but I want to see if I can make it better but first there are some things I need to hide, the door to the washing machine is a bit.... fecked so that means I am going to have to stay low down and close the the work surface.

annoyingly some of the lights are not working in the ceiling, so have to make sure that doesnt become obvious in the photo

so by staying low and shooting pretty much straight on I manage to cut out both the ceiling and the washing machine issues, Here I bounce the flash off the ceiling still with the 3/4CTO gel on the flash.  and still with a positive 1 ev compensation so the flash is nice and bright. brigtening up the whole room.
later in photoshop ill straighten it so the walls are all at the correct angles.


Now to upstairs where there is a room with a very low ceiling

Check out the random colours, look at how blue the light is from outside (windo bottom left) and yet how orange the lights are. lots of shadows and pretty dark, no texture at teh front of the bed on the black box etc.

So stick on a super wide angle lens and get in the corner, and stick your flash on top (gell it up so it is roughly the same as the indoors lights) then fire away)

Shot taken at
1/60th of a second, iso 1000, f4, plus 0.5ev exposure balance.
Not tht great, there is a massive mirror to the left of me and you can see the reflection of my flash of the ceiling and the wall behind me is also bouncing off the mirror and causing a shadow which you can see coming from the bottom fo the chest of drawers at the left.
But all that is really brightened up is the floor right infront of me an the ceiling, this is pretty rubbish. its because the ceiling is so low, there is very little chance for the flash to disperse. I need more of the ambient light to come in.

so lets slow it down a little and open it up 
Shot taken @ 1/45th iso1000, f2.8 (so an extra stop in aperture and half a stop in shutterspeed)and +0.5 ev compensation to get the flash nice and poweful. The flash is still gelled with the 3/4cto combined gels

Here I am now pointing the flash at 90degress to the camera it is shooting the wall behind me and not the ceiling, effectivly making the whole wall behind me a giant softbox.
So that has slightly blown out the lights, but that just makes them look super powerful.
Thats me happy. you can see that there looks like vignetting at the corners especially to the right of the image but that can be easily corrected in
(ok thats me up to 1000 words and if you are printing this out it comes up to 8 pages)

You get the kind of idea of the stuff I am doing so here are the final photos from the rest of the property

White balance on this last one was a nightmare, there was an orange lamp with a green plant over it, the hall was orange, the bedroom to the right was blue with the sun light, the kitchen was also kind of orange.
Ceiling was low and the area crampt.
Straightening done in Picasa 3

Well thats been a lot for today!

hope you enjoyed and possibly learnt something.

here are some more shockers I rescued today





Oh so bad the agency

2 seconds pop my head in the door. me

1 comment:

  1. Wow!
    Dom, you've made a huge difference there! It's amazing that letting agencies take so little care with their photos.