Color, Lighting, And Finding the Right Exposure

In our line of work, lighting is everything. Light, and how we allow it into a shot, shows detail, character, and individuality in a photo that creates images that stand out. Let’s talk about light, and how it can be used to our advantage in creating awesome images.

First, not all light is good light. We photograph a lot of houses, and with different houses come many different types and amounts of light. Varying numbers and sizes of windows, as well as multiple different interior and exterior lights, create quite a blend of exposure possibilities in each home plus endless options of how that light can be used. Naturally, logic says that you should open all windows and turn on all lights to get the best photos possible, but that isn’t always the case. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve arrived at a house and immediately spent 10 minutes turning every light off after having been told “I’ve turned all the lights on for you, I’m sure you need that for your pictures!”

When I’m shooting, I try to create images that are as true to the real color of the subject as possible, and interior lights can often prevent that. In some situations, lights can be helpful, and the well-intentioned efforts to turn them on for us makes us feel super appreciated, but sometimes pretty lights can make for stinky photos. It’s easy to miss, but many bulbs produce harsh, yellow light, washing out colors and filling the frame with a tinted, flaxen hue.

“Most buyers look for color contrast and warmth,” said Kyle Morris, Senior Real Estate Specialist with Morris Property Group. “Pictures determine a lot about traffic for us. I know inventory is low so homes sell quick, but driving competition and offers start with photos.”

Luckily, there’s things that can be done to mitigate bummer yellows and maximize true tones. The simplest, and my most frequently used, method is to turn lights off and open the windows wide, letting in as much natural light as possible. Nothing creates unique, attractive lighting quite like sunlight naturally illuminating a room, allowing for perfect visibility of true color. Not only do windows show colors in the best light, they also create aesthetic shadows in each room, giving images a dimension not possible with all lights on.

In addition to windows, professional lighting equipment, such as a flash, can be used to spruce up an image and provide another angle to see the beauty in each home. Flashes make it easier to see colors as they truly are, and provide another tool to get the perfect exposure in each shot.

So next time, take it from us. Stifle the urge, kill the lights, and open those windows WIDE, baby! 😎

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