How to take better property photos with sunny weather

Finally! Spring has arrived so your property photos should look brighter and more cheerful shouldn’t they? I say, ‘should’ advisedly, because bright sunshine can either make or break a photo. At Doctor Photo we see thousands of images every month of over-exposed exteriors, strong shadows and glare. We do our best to fix them, inserting new blue skies and removing dark shadows… but often, if the glare is too bright there’s no data available to enhance the image. Take a read below and you’ll find out how you can Make or Break that all important exterior photo when it’s sunny…

ISSUE 1: SUN GLARE AND SHADOWS

A lot of it is timing…The right time would be when the sun’s lighting up the elevation you’re photographing. The wrong time is when it’s behind the property and shining into your lens. When that happens, you’re going to see something like below…
If the elevation faces due north, then unless you’re in mid-summer there probably won’t be a ‘right time’, because the sun will always be behind the house.

SOLUTION

How you can choose the right time
The best time to take your photo is when the sun’s shining ON the elevation. So, before you attend, work out what time of the day that’s going to happen and take it then. Also, try to avoid the sun shining through trees onto the elevation if that’s possible.
Your best bet for a north-facing elevation would be to take your photo when it’s slightly cloudy so that the sun is shaded. The sky may look white (unless the photo’s very under-exposed), but you can still have a blue sky by adding it afterwards.
We’ve shown you this great tool before but if you’ve missed it we recommend www.suncalc.net. It’s free and super useful for working out where the sun will be in relation to a property.

ISSUE 2: YOU LOSE DETAIL DUE TO OVER EXPOSURE

Another challenging situation would be when you’re photographing a white house where there’s heavy shadow on it – perhaps from sun shining through trees. Often, parts of the house elevation will be very bright next to heavy shadow. If it’s so bright that detail on the house (maybe a window) disappears, then you’ll have what we photographers call ‘a problem’. The problem is that when a photo is so over-exposed that it’s white, then there will be no detail and zero data there to be manipulated so it can’t be made darker. (Solutions below)

SOLUTION

⦁ EXPOSURE COMPENSATION BUTTON
When you look at the photo you’ve taken on your camera screen, if you think the house looks over-exposed, then take another and this time use the Exposure Compensation button to dial in a faster exposure, so that your photo will become a little darker. But be careful not to make it too dark, because when shadows are lightened in post, there’s not a lot of data in those either, so they can look speckly and lose quality. Heavy shadow can ruin a photo as much as a white sky might, so send it to Doctor Photo.
⦁ ISO SETTINGS
One of the settings that can cause the quality of your images to appear more ‘speckly’ in the shadow areas, is the ISO setting. I can teach you all about this if you have a workshop with me but suffice to say here, that you should try to use an ISO with a low number – 100 to 400 –  if you want your images to be of good quality.
You can use a higher number if you have a top of the range SLR, but agents mostly don’t use those, so try to use 100 to 400 if you can – never use Auto ISO.
So good luck! Next time it’s sunny remember to follow these instructions and your photos should look bright and cheerful – giving your properties that all important opportunity to sell faster and for more money.

Tom Durrant

Doctor Photo are a leading Image Enhancing Agency. We enhance and transform photos taken by leading estate agents, property developers and photographers, to maximise the appeal and value of their clients’ houses and commercial properties.

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