Schuster Photography | Photo Processing for Real Estate Agents

You Provide The Photos, I Help Make Them Eye-catching

About 75% of what makes great images is knowing how to post-process correctly. Post-processing is everything you do AFTER you take the photo. It can be highly technical, has a steep learning curve, and requires a lot of attention to detail learning to use programs like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

A new service I am now offering is to help real estate agents photograph their own listings and then let me do the "magic" in the computer, the post-processing, and inexpensively provide agents with much higher quality images. The cost is only $1.50 per image.

What the agent needs to do: Agents will provide me a set of bracketed images shot from a tripod for each room. I have instructions on how to take better photos ready for this service here: 

What I will do: After taking the images you will upload them to a cloud based file sharing service such as Dropbox, Microsoft SkyDrive, Box, or Google Drive. I will process the images into client attention grabbing awesomeness!

Here is an example of a series of bracketed exposures: 

Bracketed Images Illustration 1Bracketed Images Illustration 1An illustration of bracketed images.

The only difference in the photos is the amount of time the shutter is open. This allows the camera to collect more light. More light means more information, and I can use special software to translate that information into a good photo.

Here is an example of one of the images with a normal exposure straight out of the camera. This was shot with a full frame Nikon D700 and a Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 lens.

Unprocessed Kitchen PhotoUnprocessed Kitchen PhotoA single file to compare to a processed HDR

While this image isn't horrible, I will point out a few things wrong with it. First, there is a lot of perspective distortion. Vertical lines are not vertical and the eye is quick to notice something is not right. The lights in the room have an orange glow to them, although it is not as strong in this room as it may be in others. Also, the sunlight on the floor is very bright and loses detail. 

Now after post-processing:

Processed HDR photo of kitchenProcessed HDR photo of kitchenProcessed HDR photo of kitchen

The image looks sharper, shadows have more detail, and everything looks more natural. Also, the closer crop will look much better on the MLS.

Lets view another example:

Bracketed Images 2Bracketed Images 2Illustration of bracketed images for producing an HDR photo.

Above you see the bracketed photos made on a tripod. Below is what you would get straight out of the camera from a single image.

Unprocessed photo of barUnprocessed photo of bar

Here the camera was kept level, so the perspective distortion is not too bad, but the color balance is wrong (too yellow) and there isn't a lot of detail in the shadows, despite being taken with a professional camera. But after some post-processing notice the difference.

Processed HDR of barProcessed HDR of bar

The yellow light from the electric lights was corrected for and the bluish light coming in the windows was balanced. The crop takes out distracting items and the details in the shadows come out.

A few more examples. Note in these images the difference in the window detail comparing the before and after images.

Straight out of camera:

Unprocessed Dining Room PhotoUnprocessed Dining Room PhotoA single file to compare to a processed HDR

Processed image:

Processed Dining Room PhotoProcessed Dining Room PhotoProcessed HDR real estate photography photo

Straight out of camera:

Unprocessed photo of living roomUnprocessed photo of living roomA single file to compare to a processed HDR

Processed Image:

Processed HDR photoProcessed HDR photoProcessed HDR photo of living room

Straight out of camera:

Out of camera single fileOut of camera single fileA single file to compare to a processed HDR

Processed Image:

Processed HDR Real Estate PhotoProcessed HDR Real Estate PhotoProcessed HDR

Just a note, in the home in the example, the windows had not been cleaned recently. If they had been the detail in the exterior would have been even better. You may want to recommend that your clients have the windows cleaned before you take photos.

So what do you think? Would you like better photos for your listings? It does require some investment, but a very reasonable one. A decent camera, a good tripod, and some education.

Maybe you are wondering: I still have to take the pictures and I'm not a photographer, will I still get good results? It's complicated, will I be able to figure it out? Don't worry, I will be here to help you get it right. Follow the link below for some tips on how to take better photos and some basic instructions on how to take bracketed images.

7 Tips to Take Better Real Estate Photos