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Old 12-16-2014, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Cape Cod
11,649 posts, read 8,163,045 times
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I work in real estate and I'm the resident photographer for our listings. I use a Nikon DSLR 3100 with a Nikon DX AF-s Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 G lens that came with the camera. I really like this camera and have taken some amazing shots for both business and fun with it but lately I have been noticing a few competitors photographs on the MLS that are simply stunning. Of course there is a limit to what I can do with my entry level camera gear and as far as I know the competition could be hiring a professional to take the photos for them.
Without being too technical about it what would be a nice lens that won't break the bank that I could use with my Nikon body to capture better quality photos that glow?
Take 2 photographers with the same eye and you would have 2 different photos. Is it the lens or the company that made the camera body?
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Old 12-16-2014, 05:53 PM
 
705 posts, read 1,429,121 times
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No doubt some of those "stunning" photos you've seen on MLS listings are a combination of photographic skill and superior post-processing ability. That said, post processing is key but starts with a technically solid photo.

You didn't mention anything about post processing your photos. Almost all digital images benefit from some software manipulation. There is no end to the enhancements a photographer can make in post, from the most subtle to the most dramatic.

I'm curious about your gear set up. Given the D3100's cropped sensor, I can't imagine an 18mm lens is sufficiently wide. Better yet, a tilt-shift lens is where it's at for real estate photography.
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Old 12-16-2014, 07:28 PM
 
Location: New Zealand
1,872 posts, read 5,778,642 times
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Without having seen any of your images (or the ones you're comparing against), I'd say that before you invest a lot of money in a new body or lens, looking into better shooting techniques, especially with regards to lighting. Yes, you could get a wider lens (especially a tilt-shift), but the better investment would probably be in lighting. A well-lit room can look great while the opposite can look uninviting and cramped.

By well-lit I don't mean just a lot of light, but rather properly lit, with a balance of natural/outdoor and artificial/indoor light. Usually this is accomplished by using off-camera flashes. Understanding how to use light, whether natural or artificial, is key to getting a good starting image.

After that, post-processing is almost always necessary. Some of the best real estate photography is typically done by taking many shots of one scene (i.e. not moving the camera), and lighting up different parts of the scene with a flash in each shot. Then, all those frames are blended into a single image where every relevant part of the room is lit properly.

Obviously making sure the interior is nice and presentable goes without saying.

Google real estate photography tutorial or tips to learn more. One real estate/architecture photographer that I really like is Mike Kelley. I just saw this video the other day -- it's an ad for Mike's tutorial/DVD, but still shows some great examples.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCaWYtPqcOM
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:29 PM
 
2,458 posts, read 3,005,308 times
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The most stunning Real Estate photos are likely HDR.
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:53 PM
 
Location: Encino, CA
3,508 posts, read 3,178,276 times
Reputation: 6040
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cape Cod Todd View Post
I work in real estate and I'm the resident photographer for our listings. I use a Nikon DSLR 3100 with a Nikon DX AF-s Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 G lens that came with the camera. I really like this camera and have taken some amazing shots for both business and fun with it but lately I have been noticing a few competitors photographs on the MLS that are simply stunning. Of course there is a limit to what I can do with my entry level camera gear and as far as I know the competition could be hiring a professional to take the photos for them.
Without being too technical about it what would be a nice lens that won't break the bank that I could use with my Nikon body to capture better quality photos that glow?
Take 2 photographers with the same eye and you would have 2 different photos. Is it the lens or the company that made the camera body?
$9.99 per month Photoshop and Lightroom on the cloud and you are all set. Seriously, if you picked up a couple of good PP books you would be able to put together some really nice stuff.
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:58 PM
 
28,430 posts, read 70,790,682 times
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Honestly, the best indoor stuff is really highly dependent on having a pro that understands how to setup auxillary lighting / reflectors and strobes. I don't care how many hours of training you have with Photoshop or how amazing your camera's built-n HDR is -- IF you do not get enough light into the darker area AND do it so the natural shadows emphasize the details of room you will never be able to "enhance" the images in post processing.

The basics of exposure control (adjusting ISO /aperture / shutter speed) as well carefully ensure focus is on the proper plane only go so far in capturing an accurate image of indoor scenes -- pretty quickly you learn that all the "photon" that you can pump out of a stobe / reflect off a mylar card really do land on the senor and create a signal in your storage card that no amount of Photoshop / HDR magic can replace...
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Old 12-17-2014, 07:18 AM
 
1 posts, read 607 times
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Cape Cod Todd, let's try to decompose the difference.
Take all the parameters of the both photos and elaborate them one by one. Colors, shades, depth, sharpness and so on should be studied separately.
The term "stunning" is quite subjective.

Have you taken any photography course? There is a bunch of them now, where you can work with a tutor online and ask him questions like "what is wrong with my photograph?"
Look at: nyip.com, howtophoto.com
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:03 AM
 
2,458 posts, read 3,005,308 times
Reputation: 3523
Multiple exposure HDR can create a very detailed and realistic looking image by blending different exposures during post processing.

For example take 3 exposures 1 or 2 stops apart -

Exposure 1 - for the shadows
Exposure 2 - for the midtones
Exposure 3 - for the highlights

If the dynamic range is very large it might take 5 exposures.

Note that one still might want to add lighting. That depends on the room, time of day, and what you want to emphasize.
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