Off Camera Flash for Real Estate & Interior Photography, by Taylor Brown

This video provides a detailed tutorial on how to do professional interior photography using just one off-camera flash. It starts by explaining the basic gear needed – a camera, flash trigger system, and a flash unit.

The key steps covered include:

– Setting up the flash off-camera at waist height pointed at a wall or corner to bounce light and make it look soft and natural. Adjust flash power so room looks properly exposed. – Take a safety shot with just ambient light, then one with just the fill flash. This provides the base images to work with later.

– Walk around the room taking shots with the flash pointed at different areas to selectively light parts of the scene. This adds shape, shadows and depth.

– Bring images into Lightroom, apply profile corrections and adjust exposure/white balance so images match.

– Open images as layers in Photoshop. Stack the images and remove/keep portions of each layer to build up the look you want. Dark to light.

– Flatten image once complete and do final tweaks in Lightroom

– rotate, crop, contrast, etc.

– Export final image.

The video explains how this technique lets you shape the light and shadows precisely how you want to make the space look its best. It’s like collecting data and painting your own picture. This works great for interior photography, product shots, automotive, and more. Just think through lighting the scene strategically. The video shows how to apply this to shoot and edit a hotel room. While it may seem complicated at first, once you understand the process it is straightforward.


So I’m back in Houston for the weekend for a cool video project and I found the perfect example to show you guys how to do interior photography using just one off -camera flash. So I’m staying at a Marriott Hotel in the medical district.

We’ve got Energy Stadium and the Astrodome right down the street. Pretty cool. Their website, their photos for this room are just like really not that great. They didn’t do the room justice. So I thought this would be a great example to show what we can do with just a pretty simple setup to do even better pictures than a professional website for a hotel.

So here’s my setup for today. I’ve got the Flashpoint trigger system and then I’ve got this flash that works with it. Pretty much any tripod will work as long as it holds your camera steady. So I know that this is a pretty nice flash, but whenever I started I used one that was like $50, $75 or $100 for the whole set for a long time and it worked great.

So you can pretty much use any flash for this as long as it’s powerful enough and doesn’t need that much power for interiors. So as always, I’ll make sure to link in my description a cheap setup and the setup of music right now.

So you can know depending on where you’re at, you can have something that works for you. So we’re just going to set this up about waist height towards just a little bit above the top of the bed. So what you’re going to want to do is set your exposure to where the rooms filled about a half to two thirds filled with the ambient light to where pretty much like lamps and your windows are not really blown out, but they’re still bright.

That way it’s going to give your end image the most natural look and it’s going to look more realistic to what it actually looks like in real life. All right, so for flash settings, what you’re going to do is just look on your screen.

and see what it says and figure out how to adjust the intensity of the flash. Depending on how powerful your flash is, it’s going to be somewhere between like an eighth power or a fourth power, depending on like how big the room is and just how much you’re compensating for like the windows or natural light and stuff like that.

Keep in mind the bigger the light source is, the softer the light is. So the more surface area you hit with your flash, the softer it’s going to end up. We’re just going to bounce the flash back to the corner that’s right behind us and I’m going to hold my arm as far away from the wall as possible so that it’ll make the surface area that the flash hits as big as possible.

So we’re going to do it off axis to the right or to the left, depending on what you want. That just makes a little bit less obvious that you’re using a flash and it just gives it a little bit more of a natural dynamic look.

with some more shadows and stuff. All right, so here’s what that looks like with our main fill flash added. If you’re trying to do a really fast job and get it back to your client super fast, this is a really easy way because basically, you’re pretty much done and it’s in camera.

You’re pretty much just gonna do a little bit of color balance and a little bit of exposure tweaks and stuff like that and then you’re good to go. So if you wanna get really into it, especially for higher end projects that you wanna be a little bit more creative, a little bit more dynamic, a little bit more artsy.

You can do that with the same tools. All you just need to do is change your mindset a little bit about what a photograph is, if that makes sense. So the easiest way I’ve been able to explain it in the past is that you almost have to start thinking about it as a design or data that you’re collecting.

So basically, you’ve got your composition and you’re gonna be creating pieces that fill it in and make the complete image that you want. So I know this sounds super complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy.

You just have to kinda change your mindset just a little bit and then it all makes sense and I’d love to see what you guys do with this. So let’s start building our image by shaping the light with our flash.

So next, I wanna add some light as if it’s coming in from the window. So I’ll walk across the room with my 10 second timer on now and set it just to and bounce my flash from the other corners or from above the window to where the light direction will create some shadows and add depth to the photo.

We wanna do this especially on the TV console and the bed setup. So fun fact, a lot of people use the same type of method for product photography, car photography, pretty much anything where you want light in like really specific spots, that would be kind of impossible with just using like actual flashes.

You’d have to like have crazy spotlights and stuff. Since it’s all being the shots, that’s why it’s always good to have the safety photos that we did first, where it’s either the ambient only or the fill flash only.

You’ll see later, but in Photoshop, it makes it super easy to just literally pick and choose which parts of the photo you want to keep and layer them to make your image. Alright, so let’s get into the editing.

So first thing we’re going to do is get all your images in the Lightroom, add your profile correction so there’s no vignetting on the corners, and then we’re going to also go in and we are going to Exposure.

We’re going to tweak the exposure just a little bit. We’re going to take down the highlights a little bit if anything’s a little bit too hot, and then we’re going to just balance all the pictures to where they have an even color temperature.

We’re going for a natural and neutral look. Alright, so to get me out of all the pictures and get it looking how we want to, we got to get it into Photoshop. So what we need to do is highlight all the pictures and then we’re going to click open as layers in Photoshop.

So what that’ll do is it’ll pop it over to Photoshop and just have all your layers lined up. So because of the way we shot it, you’re going to have all the information you can need to basically make this picture look kind of however you want it to look with the shadows and the highlights, which is really cool.

So now what we’re going to do is go through each layer from bottom to top, darkest to brightest and basically we’re just going to cut out all the stuff that we don’t want and then keep the stuff we do want.

By the time you get to the end, you’ll see the way they stack and add light and contrast and shadows and stuff on top of each other. We pretty much just build the custom image the way we want it. Whatever works best to showcase the space.

That’s what I go for. So you can literally just go in and erase the stuff you don’t want. That’s what I do a lot of times. It’s a bit faster, but you can also do a layer mask if you’re into that. Alright, so we’re just going to work through that until we get where we want with the edit.

So whenever I’m doing like a big set of these, I like to go ahead and just do all my Lightroom edits, straighten everything, all that stuff. And then I will just layer my JPEGs that I export from Lightroom in Photoshop just because it speeds up the process a little bit and it’s a little bit easier for your computer to handle the JPEGs instead of the raw files.

But since we’re just doing this one image, it works. And if you’re doing stuff that you need a really, really high quality image, it might be better to do it this way anyways. So that’s it for this video.

Thanks for watching. I So once we get our image how we want it to be in Photoshop We’re gonna flatten the image and then save it and that’s gonna pop it back over into lightroom where we’re gonna do our final rotation adjustments and just little tweaking with all the combined images.

We’re gonna tweak the contrast and exposure and stuff like that just a bit. I like to do all these last because then you have kind of the most information to work with for your final adjustments and then it kind of makes it look a little bit more cohesive if you do some adjustments to it as a whole image.

And then we’re gonna export it and we’re done. So, see? Not too hard. Let me know what you guys think about it. I think it’s pretty easy. I’ve got it down to like a kind of simple way and the one thing you take away from this video is to shoot to edit and to think about your images as just like an overall composition and like information that you’re gathering as opposed to just a picture that you captured.

What we’re doing with this type of shooting is we’re kind of shaping and we’re kind of like painting our own picture, which is, it’s unique. And you can’t do that with everything obviously, but this is an industry where it makes sense and it works.

All right, so here’s another shot that has several rooms. I wanted to show you guys that you can use this technique to pretty much light any situation strategically. All you gotta do is think about your filling in your composition with nice lights.

And if you pretty much work through the composition and make sure you cover all your areas, you’re gonna be good to go. So, this is pretty much all you need to know about this. know for doing this type of work.

You don’t need to have like a ton of flashes. You can really just get away with one flash, maybe a flash stand if you want to, and you can go a long way with this. Alright guys, that’s about it for this one.

I hope this is helpful. I know a lot of you guys were asking about this and I thought this would be a good example of just a simple way to show you guys how to do this stuff. So make sure you subscribe, turn on your notifications, and I’ll see you guys in the next one.