Winter months create significant challenges for real estate photographers. The days are shorter, darker, colder and sometimes snowy.
Exterior images are the biggest challenge. This is a big deal because this is the primary image for almost every Real Estate Listing create.
Our basic rule of thumb for exterior photographs is to shoot them when the sun is on the front of the property. East facing homes in the morning, west in the afternoons.
This becomes a problem during the winter months when the arc of the sun is further south. During winter, it is not unusual for north and west facing homes to get no direct sunlight on the front of the house.
Exterior images with no sun on the front of the property result in shadowy or dark images. In some cases when the sun is behind the house extreme lens flare.
In order find the ideal time to take the exterior picture, we use a convenient app. “The Photographer’s Ephemeris”. This handy application shows us where the sun will be throughout the day. This app saves us from making unnecessary trips to the property to find the best time for pictures. Here’s how it works:
- Place the Red Pin in the middle of the scene you want to shoot.
- Use the slider underneath the timeline to track the sun’s path
- Look for full sun on the entire front of the house.
- Schedule your photo shoot for that time. It’s that simple!
During the winter the Ephemeris often shows us no ideal time (see above). The sun maybe behind the property all day. This creates a real problem if you are trying to get that bright, crisp, even look on your exterior image.
Although “dusk shots” seem like a good alternative, they can feel a little pretentious. Especially on a median priced home. These shots are generally reserved for the “Ultra-Luxury” listings.
Our solution is to take what we call a “pre-dusk”shot. This is a shot taken just as the sun goes behind the mountains/horizon. We take a set of bracketed images, usually 7 to 9 images. These images are then processed in Photomatix to create a single “Exposure Fusion” image.
Here is a finished “Pre-Dusk” image taken using the following tools:
I like this image because it shows the property in the best possible light. This home faces Northwest and never gets full sun on the front during the winter. This technique give us a nice even light so we can get a sense of how the home actually looks.
I also like the added perspective the drone gives, you get more of a sense of how the Home fits into the neighborhood.
Here’s how I created this image:
- I used the raw image from the DJI phantom 4.
- I brought the image into lightroom and output seven bracketed exposures to photomatrix.
- Once in photomatix I created an Exposure Fusion image. This image is then sent back into lightroom.
- In lightroom, we make any final adjustments and resize the photo for MLS and websites.
If you have any questions, feel free to get in contact with me (Contact)