Real estate photography, a niche that not a lot of photographers choose to work within, can be one of the more complicated types of photography. After all, houses are filled with lots of shadows, corners, and the most uncooperative or unforgiving things to try to photograph. Light is a premium, but some real estate photographers have found a solution by using HDR for real estate photography.

HDR Interior
The interior of this room was shot using a 5 exposure bracket and converted to HDR in Photomatix Pro 4.

[REWIND: HDR Photography Cameras Lenses Software and Other Gear]

HDR, or High Dynamic Range, images are emerging as a viable alternative to multiple lights or flash guns in a home. Photographers that have no desire to haul around and set up all the lighting are using HDR to create 3, 5, or even 7 exposures of a room and merging them into one HDR image. It can offer a great looking image with what some believe is a more natural feel to it.

In order to produce HDR images of a home, you will need a few things. You may already have some or all of these things, but if you don’t, none of them require an overly large investment. This list assumes that you already have a DSLR, lenses, and media cards.

  • Remote Trigger – You need to have a way to trigger the camera without touching it. A remote trigger is the best way to do this but you can set the self-timer on the camera if you do not have a trigger.
  • Tripod – This is not an option. You MUST have a solid tripod if you are going to create bracketed exposures of a room. If you move the camera, even a little, the shot is ruined and you will have to start again.
  • Software – There is some discussion in the HDR circle about this one. Adobe’s Photoshop software does produce HDR images, but the preferred software continues to be Photomatix Pro 5.0 from HDRsoft right now. It is cheaper than Photoshop and is a stand-alone application. It also offers a plugin to work with Adobe Lightroom.

[Tip: Click here for a 15% Photomatix Discount Code]

After you capture the images of the home, they have to be processed through your HDR software. The images, once merged, will result in a new image that takes advantage of the entire dynamic range of the originals. This will bring out details that were hidden in the shadows, tone down the highlights, and allow proper exposure across the entire image.


The processing takes a little longer on these images, but with Adobe Photoshop or HDRSoft’s PhotomatixPro, it can be accomplished pretty quickly. If you have considered real estate photography and do not have a lot to invest on lighting, HDR for real estate photography could be the way to go.

[Related Article: How to Become a Real Estate Photographer]

If you are interested in more about processing, I will be talking about that in more detail in another article. Be sure to come back and check it out.