Real Estate Photography

How are photographers taking pictures indoors and the windows are so clear? A tip to creating real estate photography is use HDR bracketing and the right software to process the bracketed photos.
​What single photography software will return results like shown above on the right.That’s correct, no single software application will achieve results like shown above. HDR gets you close but it still requires a little tweak in Photoshop or fireworks photo editing software. The final image editing is easy and you don’t need to master Photoshop to do it.
Here is a photo without bracketing or HDR. Taken with a fisheye lens used to create virtual tours. It is blinding bright because to have the inside with good lighting you have to set the exposure longer time, which blinds out windows but makes everything else inside look great.

 

Here is one with bracketing and HDR

This is the same shot flattened out in the pre-final 360 pano and after merging the bracketed photos. It is much better but still washed out a bit. We really the vacation customers to see the beautiful gulf Florida beach outside.

 

Here is the same photo finished

There is no software that is going to be able to understand what is desirable in a photo and what is not. Software can only follow redundant instructions and hence the reason the beach scene was too bright with just HDR processing alone. What you are seeing here is hybrid of HDR processing and some simple, manual Photoshop work. Basically I create two HDR processing runs, one is perfect lighting inside while outside is a little too bright and the other is perfect lighting outside but having the inside a little too dark. This makes the photoshop work very easy and only takes 60 seconds or less to feather lasso cut the windows from the darker image with perfect windows into the brighter one with perfect indoor lighting.
Why can’t a camera just capture what is real as we see it?Answer​: Because what we see is not real.

That’s correct. What a camera captures is what is real. The human eye is actually a very poor optical device. The only reason we see so clearly with all colors is because the eye samples many low quality images every second. These are sent to the brain, the brain uses all of these images to produce what you think is the real world. A process known as sampling. In the end you see a beautiful world full of colors.
In order to make nice, realistic photos we need do something along the same process with cameras and software.
Using the camera, recreate what your brain does with the sample images.
We need to take some samples and merge them together. A very basic HDR would have, at minimum, 3 photos merged. There can be more than 3 and the more you use the more detail you can provide. I like to use 9 to 15. The samples are called Brackets.
There is also a increment of exposure time between each bracket. This is called the step measured in a unit of measurement called stops. A stop is just an increment in exposure time. The smaller the increment the more information there is for the final merge. I have found 1 stop is good and less than one just takes up space on your memory card with no noticeable improvement in your merged product. Here is more info on bracketing.

The bracketing range  most cameras is not very wide for doing nice HDR work so I use an add on device for the camera called Promote Control. If you get one of these make sure you get the one . This device will let you take many brackets at what ever increment you like.
If you don’t want to buy the Promote Control. That is pretty good and in hindsight if I was to start over with new equipment I would of went with Nikon over Canon just for that feature. Canon only does 5 brackets.
Merging your images.
Once you have the series of jpeg images you will want to merge them. There is only one software I highly recommend and that is Photomatix. Many HDR merging tools will produce a very surreal image like this one on the left. It is very artistic but for real estate you want something realistic looking.

Fusion vrs HDR merge.Photomatix has a blending function they call Fusion. For real looking photos this the only tool to use. It has less parameters than HDR blending and is easier to get a handle on. Basically you only have to set it up once and save your settings for the 3 blends you want.
You want one where the outdoor shots look natural and the sky is deep blue. Name this setting Outside and save it. You want another where the inside windows are very colorful and a little darker than brighter, deep in color. Finally another indoor setting where the inside is nice and bright but with no concern for the windows.
So is that all there is to it?Answer​: No, but almost there.
In order to get windows to look real like shown at the top of this post you need to take two runs with Fusion in Photomatix. One run you want bright but your windows will look washed somewhat. You also want to do a second run where the inside is too dark but windows look nice and you can see outside. Separate your outdoor shots from the indoor shots as you only need one run for outdoor shots. So in the end you would make 3 runs if you had a collection of indoor and outdoor shots. The porch and deck scenes are considered outdoors and not indoors.
PhotoMatix has a batch processor so you can process a folder of photos all the same which is much faster than doing each one individually. I can process an entire set of 5 condos in about an hour, walking back to the computer every 20 minutes or so to start my next run until all three runs are complete.

Experiment with the fusion settings and save them as your presets as shown to the left. You can see I have different presets for outdoor shots also. This will take some time at first but once saved you can reuse these and not have to go through this step again.

Now you have two fused (merged) images, what to do next?
Open the two image in a photo editing software. Photoshop is one option. I use Fireworks. I actually have the older Fireworks before Adobe bought them. Gimp is a free one but I don’t know how the feather cut works in that one.

You don’t need to be precise. Once you paste into your lighter image you use the transparency to blend in if it window looks too dark or unnatural. You can even do this where blinds are partially open. A good tip is to use the transparency to blend in those windows with blinds or may be a tad too dark. I tend to always use about a 80% transparency just to make the pasting job look more realistic.

The final product are windows you can see outside while still seeing the inside without the use of flash photography. Everything looks natural like you was standing there.

Hopefully this will help with your next real estate photography job.

This post was written by a professional virtual tour photographer.

Apartments Short Term Accomodations

Home Our Apartments Services Location Rates Make a reservation Contact

TERMS & CONDITIONS

1. Booking procedure

First Step: Select your travel dates, the destination, the amount of adults and the amount of children in the box that appears on the left side of  home. Second Step: a list of all the apartments available for your travel dates with the total price will appear. Click on the apartment’s details or on the picture to see more information about a specific apartment. Choose one apartment. Third step: Fill out the reservation form and click on Proceed. Fourth Step: Credit card payment.

 

2.Minimum stay

A minimum 2 days stay is required to reserve a Vacation Apartment.

 

3. What is included in the price?

The total price that appears during the reservation process includes all the applicable taxes in the country of destination. No extra costs exist besides the total price listed at the moment that you proceed with your reservation.. All of our apartments have a bathroom and a fully equipped kitchen that you are free to use during your stay, please see the “apartment details” to find out exactly what you’ll find in your apartment. When you book an apartment with us we provide you with 1 set of linens (towels & sheets) per person, also included in the price. The apartment will be cleaned shortly before the arrival of each new guest. Neither maid nor laundry service during your stay is included in the rental cost. Extra cleaning & laundry services are available upon request.

 

4.Payment Conditions

The full amount of your stay will be charged on your credit card at the moment of confirming this reservation. Space is only considered to be reserved upon receipt of full payment. We don’t accept traveler checks or checks from foreign banks.They accept Visa, MasterCard & Discover cards. You can make your payment in any currency.

 

5.Security Deposit

There is no security deposit required for stays from 2 days to 2 weeks of length for groups of less than 6 people. This doesn’t exempt the guest from being responsible of the valuable objects included in the apartment as well as the general maintenance of the apartment. If the guest causes damages inside the apartment or in the building legal actions may be taken. Please look at the groups special conditions to find out about the security deposit that applies. For stays longer than 2 weeks there is a security deposit of the equivalent of 1 week’s rent.

 

6.Cancellation and Refund

Cancellations are effective when received in writing. If cancellation is received 30 or more days prior to the first rental date, 70% of the amount paid is refunded. If cancellation is received between 30 and 15 days prior to the first rental date, 35% of the amount paid is refunded. If cancellation is not received 15 or more days prior to the first rental date no refund can be made.

 

7.Check-In

Check-in starts at 1PM. Our receptionist will be expecting you, will give you the keys and show you the apartment.

8.Check-Out

You are requested to check out by 11AM on the day of your departure. By prior arrangement, and if the apartment is not receiving new guests the same day, a late check-out is possible.

 

9.Group special conditions

There are some special conditions for groups of 6 or more people:

– Renters must make a cash security deposit of 50 €/person at the moment of entering the apartment.

– Cancellation and Refund: if cancellation is received 30 or more days prior to the first rental, 50% of the total amuont paid is refunded. If cancellation is not received 30 or more days prior to the first rental date no refund can be made.

– Renters must respect neightbour’s rest and keep the noise low specially from 10PM to 8AM. If this rules are not respected Happy Apartments has the right to make the renters leave without previous notice and without doing a refund.

– In case of groups of underage students: 1 adult for every 8 students is required to be responsible for the apartments. If when the group arrives to destination this rule is not respected Happy Apartments can make the renters leave.

10.Use of Site

You may only use the website to make legitimate enquiries or bookings. You will not make any speculative, false or fraudulent bookings or any booking in anticipation of demand. If we are reasonably of the opinion that such a booking has been made we shall be entitled to cancel the booking and inform the relevant authorities. You also undertake to provide correct and accurate e-mail, postal and/or other contact details to us and acknowledge that we may use these details to contact you in the event that this should prove necessary. If you do not give us all of the information that we need, we may not be able to complete your booking.

 

You agree not to upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable. Use of this website is subject to the acceptation of these terms & conditions.If you do not accept these terms then do not proceed to book and please exit this website now.

 

*These are just general terms and apply to all our apartments.

To find out about the terms regarding 11.Accuracy of Information, 12.Unavailability, 13.Complaints, 14. Limitation on liability, 15 Disclaimer, 16 Intellectual Property and 17 Governing Law read the specific “Terms & Conditions” of your reservation published during your reservation process.

Some Top Tips For Maintaining Decks and Patios

Decks and Patios

During the summer months, most people love to hang out on their decks and patios, catching the sun and talking with their friends. Decks and patios are one of the best forms of home extension in terms of the amount of enjoyment that they offer. If you want to enjoy your deck for many summers to come, be sure to take good care of it.

Winter weather conditions can do a lot of damage to even relatively new patios. It is important that you catch damage as soon as it occurs to stop it from spreading. Simple maintenance is the best form of insurance against severe damage. Replacing boards, touching up damaged paint and fixing loose screws is quick and easy and will save you a lot of expensive work in the future. Some forms of damage could even lead to problems in the adjoining wall of your house.

Basic Maintenance

Make basic preventative maintenance a part of your annual DIY Calendar so that you get into the habit of doing it automatically. Instead of waiting for visible damage to appear, check the condition of you patio regularly, and repair problems as soon as they arise. As soon as the weather starts to improve, wash your patio and give it a look over for damage.

Remember that damp proofing needs to be re-done every couple of years, and spring is a good time to do this. Make a list of every item that needs maintained. Don’t forget to check wiring, plumbing and any portable electrical appliances that you might use in the garden, because damaged wires can cost lives.

You should put together an end of summer routine too, which involves putting away any furniture that is likely to get damaged by wind, rain or snow, and cleaning out the conservatory and patio. It’s worth doing a quick structural check at the beginning of autumn too. Put away any items that you do not want to leave exposed to the elements, and make sure that garden appliances and tools are locked away securely. Never let damage spread unchecked.

Proper Cleanup

Debris and litter can cause moss or mold and collect damp. Clean up litter and debris as often as possible, even during the winter. It does not take long to sweep leaves away and it will save you a lot of hassle in the long term.

Always put safety first when doing any maintenance work. If you have a roof over your deck, take care when cleaning or fixing it. Do not try to work on a roof if you do not have the skills or safety equipment required to do so. it is best to have a friend with you while working on any potentially dangerous areas, just in case you need assistance. Never take risks with your life.

High quality decks and patios will last a lifetime. Protect your investment by keeping it clean, free of mold and mildew, and in a good state of repair for as long as possible. Some occasional repair work is well worth it for the number of enjoyable evenings that your deck or patio will give you.

What You Should Ask When Considering a Painting Contractor

Painting Your Living Spaces

There’s a room or two in your home or office that could use a fresh coat of paint, so you’ll need to hire a contractor to do the job. But before you make your choice, you should ask a few questions that will make you happy with your decision.

One of the first things to take care of is learning how long the painting company has been around. A business that has been established for years will probably have a list of clients. You can search through this online or in person, to decide whether the company is ideal for you. Experienced painting contractors are more likely to understand the job you want done, even if you have special requests.

Ask The Contractor

Ask the painting contractor how long the job will take. This will give you time to rearrange your schedule accordingly if you need to work in a new area while your business is being painted. Asking the contractor for a time estimate will also let you know whether you have to stop using a couple of the rooms in your home until the painting job is done—once you know how long it will take, you’ll be prepared.

Before you officially hire the contractor, you should view a detailed proposal. The document should detail all the materials that are needed for the painting job, and every task that will be completed. You and the painting contractor should both sign the proposal; this way, you won’t be responsible for buying additional supplies once the contractor has started the job.

To get the best painting contractor for the job, ask your friends and loved ones for a few recommendations. You can also search online for the websites and addresses of painting contractors that are close to your home or place of business.You can also visit Chudi Ejekam – a real estate expert at http://michaelchudiejekamrealestate.com/

What You Need to Know When Hiring a Home Inspector

If you are in the process of buying a home, the home inspection is one of the most valuable pieces of information. It gives you the ability to know about any issues the home may have, so you can back out if it is more than you can handle. Do not think that all home inspections are the same. To get the best inspection, you need to get the right inspector, which means you have to know the questions to ask.

First and foremost, make sure they are licensed and insured. Even if there are no requirements for inspectors, this can help you to find out if the person knows what they are doing. With this, ask about their experience with inspections. Look at the number of inspections they have done rather than the number of years they have been in the industry.

You will also need to find out how they work their inspections as well as how long it will take. The longer the inspection, generally the more thorough it will be. You should find out if they offer any additional services that are not required, such as radon testing. Find out if the inspector will allow you to go with them for the inspection so you can learn more about your new home.

Another aspect many people forget to find out about is the report, specifically how long it will take to get. This is especially important if this is the only thing you are waiting on to close on the house. It is a good idea to find out how they will send it as well, as some will send it through fax , while others may use different methods. It is also helpful to find out how long the report will be, as the longer it is the more thorough.

Finding the right inspector can help you to be sure that everything is in order. This is why you need to find a home inspector that will give you the highest quality inspection. This is why you do not want to focus on price. You should find the most comprehensive inspection for your home, rather than just a cheap one to help have peace of mind about the home.