Verticals and horizontals

A checklist for photographing interiors
 
April 22, 2018 Apr 22, 2018
 
   Checklist, 20/2.8, Photography, HDR, Real estate
 
 
Last week I returned to my office with a set of real-estate photos and found I'd overlooked something, a camera setting. Damn. I knew I'd have to go back and re-shoot. But before I did that I developed this checklist for photographing interiors.

The challenge with interiors is small spaces, uneven lighting, and windows. Since these scenes are static the answer, of course, is to use HDR. You can do hand held HDR but a tripod allows the slow shutter speeds necessary include things that are dark or poorly illuminated.

Take:

  • Dark clothing to minimize reflections
  • Wide-angle lens, the wider the better. Ex: D800e 20mm; Fuji 12mm (=18mm FF) or 16mm (=24mm FF)
  • Remote control, the camera's timer will work in a pinch
  • Tripod + L-bracket
  • Circular polarizers: 20mm Nikon is 62, 12mm and 16mm for Fuji are 67.

Set up the camera:

  • Aperture priority
  • AE bracketing on, typically 5-shot brackets in intervals of 1
  • AF-S, focus priority.
  • Auto ISO off. Still subject + tripod means you don't need auto iso. In all other situations I depend on auto-iso.
  • Set white balance.
    • Fuji press the WB button (front) choose Custom then take white reference shot.
    • Nikon set WB to PRE 1-4. Press WB, release WB, press WB again but hold. Now dial in the slot (1-4) and frame and shoot to take the white reference shot. The word Good should appear after a moment.
  • Attach polarizer
  • Aperture set for maximum depth of focus and sharpness, f/8 is good
  • File type depends on processor. Photomatix can process Nikon raw.

Check the rooms:

  • Turn on all the lights
  • Look for reflections in mirrors, windows, cabinets
  • Look for anything out of place such as:
    • Clothes
    • Towels
    • Papers
    • Pillows
    • Wires, dishes, etc.

Back at the computer:

  1. Copy images to file-type-specific folder.
  2. Batch process with Photomatix after setting bracket number and output folder
  3. Bring results into Lightroom then develop as follows:
    • Fix verticals and horizontals
    • Sharpen
    • Adjust contrast, clarity, shadows, etc.
    • Crop

Photomatix processing speed depends on the computer, the files, and output type chosen. I've tended to generate several outputs but time and space can be saved by fine-tuning this.

2018-04-10: shot 34 scenes, each with a 5-shot bracket, so 170 files. Photomatix took 3 1/2 hours to process the 34 sets.

2019-12-06: 48 scenes. Photomatix processed 240 Nikon nef's, saved 5-versions per, and did it in 95min.

The last step for each HDR photo is a trip through Lightroom for sharpening, color adjustment, and to fix the verticals and horizontals. While you don't always have horizontal lines to fix vertical lines are really common, fixing them makes a big visual impact, and ot's ridiculously easy with a tool such as Lightroom.

This is also when I process the exterior shots, like stitching together several shots to create a panorama. Lightroom does well with panoramas.

 
 
 
Harbourside      

I'm only partially happy with this picture. Even with a polarizer it has reflections in the window and the glass shelves. But it's good enough for my needs which is to show the interior with a view out the window to the Sooke basin and the Strait of Juan De Fuca in the distance.

 
Harbourside      

I'm only partially happy with this picture. Even with a polarizer it has reflections in the window and the glass shelves. But it's good enough for my needs which is to show the interior with a view out the window to the Sooke basin and the Strait of Juan De Fuca in the distance.

 
Harbourside      

I'm only partially happy with this picture. Even with a polarizer it has reflections in the window and the glass shelves. But it's good enough for my needs which is to show the interior with a view out the window to the Sooke basin and the Strait of Juan De Fuca in the distance.

 
https://www.jamesgaston.ca/902