HDR Photography better than Tinder

by Eric Swain

For those of you who don’t know what tinder is, it is an online dating app that allows you to “like” or “dislike” another member by swiping either right or left, left being dislike. Now we don’t mean that we are going to upload your home as your profile photo but we are seeing an ever changing landscape in how potential buys are looking at property. Over this last few years we have finally seen a big push in Real Estate companies hiring professional photographers to shoot Real Estate over having the agents shoot the selfie photos themselves. This trend has demonstrated an uptick in the amount of potential buyers who look online first and swipe left or right before making their visit to the property, (I couldn’t help it, I had to throw that Tinder reference in there again).

Human Eye vs. Camera Lens

In photography we calculate the darkest darks, (shadows) to the absolute white, (highlights) in a series of stops also known as Dynamic Range. Our eyes are the most amazing lenses to the world and have an extraordinary ability to see and adjust to different lighting situations giving our expectation to capture what we see through using a camera lens all the more difficult. Why? Well because the human eye has a dynamic range of 14 stops of light while our best camera on the market captures around 12 with most point and shoots or camera phones capturing around 8-9 stops. With the limitations of camera sensors and their inability to completely capture what the human eye can see, we as photographers have to use a formula to make up for the missing segments of light, this is called HDR Shooting or “High Dynamic Range”.

High Dynamic Range

High Dynamic Range or HDR as it is coined is the processes of shooting the subject with multiple exposures and then stitching them together in post processing (software) so that the total range of light is captured. Some DSLR’s have these features built into the camera but most professionals will do this manually so that fine adjustments can me made.

“A good HDR photo is one where the entire range is captured but the viewer cannot see the over compression or intensity applied to the image to create an extremely false looking image unless this is the artistic look you are trying to achieve” – Eric Swain

Photo Stacking

Another form of photography used to capture the full detail as well as keep everything in focus is to use a technique known as photo stacking. As we look at the details of the layout we determine which way will help tells the photos story, sometimes that means taking a series of shots and then in post processing blend each one of them together.

Exposure Blending

Our final trick that we use on all shots is to blend lighting combinations from natural light, artificial lighting and multiple speed lights, (off camera flash). By adjusting for the available lighting conditions we can expose to bring in those see through window shots while still illuminating the interior of the property. We understand the limitations of our equipment and how to work around them so that we may produce well lit, clean, sharp images that will allow us to take the next step and develop eye catching imagery.

Just like your Online Tinder profile, we take our time to make sure we have the right photos to tell the story. There are times when we will blend several of the mentioned techniques to capture the environment the way it was meant to be seen. When shooting things like property our job is to tell the story of the enhancements and features and do so in a way that makes the viewer want to know more about it and in turn giving just enough for the potential buyer to contacting the agent to view the property in person and hopefully close the deal.

SwainBros works with Real Estate agents in the Southern California and Arizona area, for more information please contact us at 760-693-3742 or email us atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.