Secrets of Real Estate Interior Photography

4. The View Is Ugly - Solutions

Burn out Windows, Hide Neighbors
Sometimes the nicest interior can have a horrendous view outside the window or door. Or you want to de-emphasize the proximity of the neighbor's house is, as with the shot on the left.

Obviously you should consider excluding the ugly view from the shot. But this might rule out the best interior angle.

Blow it. Overexpose the view so that bright daylight outside burns out enough detail of whatever's ugly out there. This is very easy to accomplish... just leave the shutter open long enough. Unfortunately, you'll still have to get a good exposure indoors and that can involve some compromise. You may elect to have overexposed highlights inside the room (typically the lamps) in order to guarantee burnout of the outdoor ugliness. This is a good case for bracketing exposures. It might be a good situation for shooting when it's bright outside. The photo above is made with midday sunshine outside, which helps to hide the view outside the window in a single, straightforward shot. This way, we don't notice that the neighboring house is almost within touching distance.

Shade it. Sheer curtains can obscure the outdoor problem while letting in plenty of light. Various other blinds and translucent shades can also work, though I avoid drawing shades fully closed. Watch out for blinds with defects (bent slats) and dirt, or that cast unwanted shadow patterns.

Diffuse it. There are translucent films you can apply to windows so that details outside are blocked. If using the permanent type (for bathroom privacy), be sure you'll be able to remove the film afterwards. You can also hang a large photo diffuser outside a problem window as long as it covers the unshaded part of the window.

For an example of masterful interior photography, check out the amazing work my friend Tom Sullam does in London:

Updated 19-aug-11   Contents copyright © 2001 - 2011 PhotoCentric.Net, All Rights Reserved