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How We Shot It – Real-Estate Photography

By Leo Hoang on February 9th 2014

I recently was commissioned to photograph a house based in the Richmond area here in the UK. The property is over 2700sqft and is selling for £1.7m. The property has 5 bedrooms and is absolutely stunning.

Most people have a perception that real-estate photography is very easy, and that a simple bounce flash into the ceiling will suffice. In a lot of cases, they’re probably right. I have photographed many properties and have had satisfactory results with a simple bounce flash mounted to the camera, pointing up, but slightly behind me. However, for this property I was commissioned to photograph, it deserved a little more attention than that for the photos.

Nikon D7000
Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6
Nikon SB910 x 2
– Fotopro MGC-684 N+62 Q Tripod Carbon Black

How I Shot It
First off, I wanted to show how the camera in auto would expose the image with one flash.

I had my Nikon D7000 + Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 on my FotoPro Tripod with the Nikon SB910 mounted on top and everything set to Auto and TTL. I composed the image, set it to self-timer for 2 sec to avoid any shake and this is the resulting image.


As you can see, the camera exposed the image to look pretty dark.


The next image is an example of the camera now set to Aperture Priority with +1 EV. Overall, the image does look brighter, but to me, looks quite flat and boring.



The left side of the image also looks very dull as not much light from the flash can reach down that direction.

The above image is an ‘acceptable’ base to work from and you could probably get away with dodging and burning the above file to get a proper exposure. However, as before, I felt this property deserved a little more attention than that.

With keeping the exact same composition, I took the Nikon SB910 off camera and added an additional Nikon SB910 around the left hand corner.

Both flashes were set to ½ power with the camera set to ISO400, f/5.6 and 1/30sec.

This is the result of that image.



The extra flash has allowed the room to be more brightly lit, creating a much more even tone and natural look.

After correcting the reflections, glare, and perspective, this is the final submitted image.


The whole process is much more time consuming than a simple one-light on-camera flash solution, however, for high end properties, the extra work definitely pays off and will hopefully separate their listings from the competitors.

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Leo Hoang is a professional photographer based in London who shoots Weddings, Events and Real-Estate.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Puree Color

    You are a Vietnamese?

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  2. Basit Zargar


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  3. Chuck Eggen

    I’ve been shooting some real estate for a friend and every shoot is a learning experience. I agree it can be time consuming and that lends to lower profit. I’ve tried several techniques to lessen the editing but still spend a significant amount of time in front of the computer. I have found bracketing solves the shadow and highlight problem. My pet peeve is blown out windows. Recently I tried a pano in portrait mode to shoot tight rooms such as half baths. It takes a bit of work but is well received by the real estate agent.

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  4. Ra

    That was a great presentation.

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  5. Lance

    Good example. I haven’t been able to wrap my head around speed lights yet, especially in larger and dark rooms (like studies with lots of wood, etc). Love the more clear/crisp result you get though in comparison to blending via exposure fusion or HDR.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  6. abe

    Hi Leo,

    thank you for the article. Can you provide insight on using multi flash setup vs. composite HDR for interior shot? Which one is more practical or better? how’s the result different?

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    • Leo

      That article will be coming very soon… Thanks for the comment/suggestion :)

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  7. Fabiano Silva

    Did you just reduce the exposure on the mirror, on far left, and then masked?

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    • Leo

      Hi Fabiano, I actually did a separate long exposure shot to attain a glare free reflection in the mirror and to brighten up the door windows on the right. With this exposure, I then masked in the areas for the flashed version.

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  8. Oliver

    I was just wondering why you shot at f/5.6. Wouldn’t it be better to shoot at around f/8.0 (sharper point of the lens plus deeper depth of field) while compensating the drop in exposure of a stop by increasing the flashes to full power?

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    • Leo Hoang

      Hi Oliver, thanks for your comment/question.

      I shot it at f/5.6 for the specific reason of not wanting to throw my flashes at full power, nor did I want to increase ISO…

      I am generally a little concerned with pumping full power out of my flashes as I feel it speeds up wear and tear. I may not be correct in saying that, but it’s just one of those things for me.

      Hope that helps!


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  9. Stefano G

    Leo this is a very nice article indeed, but -being a novice on RE shooting- it would be nice if you could include a lighting scheme :-)



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    • Leo Hoang

      Thanks for your comment…

      I will be writing up more of these types of articles over the next few months, and will definitely keep your feedback in mind and include a lighting scheme ;)

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  10. Victor Aulestia

    Thank you for doing this article. Great demonstration. I am trying to get into the Real Estate photography.

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    • Leo Hoang

      Happy to help where I can, so feel free to hit me up with any questions you might have ;)

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