01 May Property Photographer makes it look busy
Make it look busy. How often are we are asked this?
We are in the business of property photography generally for commercial premises. Our clients, generally are in the business of marketing these properties and guess what, they always want the place to look busy. Are we distorting reality using computer techniques and enhancements, I don’t think so. If we had visited, say a retail park on a bank holiday or three weekends before Christmas then our photographs would probably be far busier. We can’t be everywhere on the busiest shopping day of the year or bank holiday weekend. But on a cold Monday morning, when there are not quite so many people about, we do resort some simple computer manipulation to achieve the desired result and impact. That is by taking multiple shots from the same location and combining these together using Photoshop to achieve the property photograph our clients want.
The following video shows how this is done, very quickly and simply, using multiple exposures to achieve the desired result. The photo is of an office canteen where the occupiers probably quite sensibly stagger the times they come to the cafe/ restaurant down on the ground floor. Unfortunately I am not able to be there at 1.00pm when it is really busy and there is a bit of a queue, so I need at add a few photos together to create that impression!
In this instance four images are combined from layered files in Photoshop. The interesting parts are selected with layer masks and combined and flattened and then delivered to our clients as a single jpeg or tiff file. This is not strictly a multiple exposure photo, rather four individual images capture using a camera on a tripod which are then stacked in Photoshop.
This commission also included a virtual tour of the building and guess what, we did exactly the same with the restaurant 360 degree file. The images that make up a virtual tour are indeed still photographs stitched together seamlessly to make up a spherical photograph. All we had to do was be careful where we moved people around that bridged the seams in the adjacent photographs. A little work, sure, but I think it is worthwhile and certainly our client was happy.
We also combine multiple photographs for exposure too. Our eyes are very clever, the iris opening and closing to suitable the amount of available light. Unfortunately our cameras are not quite so clever, yet! In a photo that contains too much light and also very dark shadows the camera struggles. Technically speaking the dynamic range is too great. The camera can either capture lovely detail in the sunset sky say and the shadows will be completely black. Or vice versa and a little more exposure will render detail in the shadows but the sky will then be largely white with none of the detail we can see with our eyes. In property photography this massive dynamic range is common, in particular with internal shots with windows. Here we often combine multiple exposed shots to overcome the inadequacies of cameras today.