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In real estate photography, a picture is worth more than a thousand words. A well-taken photograph of a property can make all the difference in attracting potential clients and selling a property. 

Flambient photography, also known as flash and ambient, is a technique that combines artificial and natural light to create stunning, balanced images that showcase the property in its best possible light. 

In this blog post, we’ll cover the basics of flambient photography, as well as provide you with some powerful tips on how to take and edit flambient real estate photos. 

Let’s get started by looking at what flambient real estate photography is and why it’s so effective.

What Is Flambient Real Estate Photography?

Flambient photography is the process of merging flash and ambient exposures to create a perfectly exposed image that captures the details of a property. 

When it comes to real estate photography, this method typically produces three final shots. It involves capturing two shots using both artificial and natural light, and finally, a compelling shot with a focus on the windows. 

The ambient exposure captures the light coming in from windows and doors, while the flash exposure adds light to shadowed areas and brings out the details of the property. 

It’s essential to understand how to use the flash and ambient exposures to create a balanced image that looks natural and appealing to potential buyers.

Why Is Flambient Real Estate Photography So Effective?

Flambient photography creates a natural-looking, balanced shot that is both vibrant and visually appealing.

In a recent study, 83% of buyers said pictures are very important in helping them choose which homes they will visit. So, creating a pleasing aesthetic in property photos is crucial for convincing buyers to invest in a home. 

Flambient photography gives you the ability to showcase important features within the house, such as hardwood floors and kitchen countertops, while providing a beautiful view of the surrounding landscape. 

Ultimately, this technique allows you to create an image that captures the full essence of the home, making it an essential tool for any real estate photographer.

7 Tips on How to Get Started With Flambient Photography

There are so many different ways to shoot and edit in the flambient style. 

This guide won’t cover them all, but it’ll give you a simple introduction to what flambient is and show you how to get started capturing amazing shots that will bring out the best features of homes.

Here are 7 useful tips to help you get started shooting flambient real estate photography.

1. Invest in High-Quality Equipment

Invest in High-Quality Equipment

The first step in mastering flambient photography is investing in quality equipment. Here’s the basic gear you’ll need:

Overall, the wide-angle lens will help you capture the whole room, the tripod will steady your camera while the flash will provide the necessary lighting. 

2. Ensuring Consistent Shots 

First off, you’ll want to make sure everything is fixed to ensure consistent shots for easy photo editing in Photoshop and Lightroom later. 

When starting, set up your camera on a tripod and take a test shot of an interior room during daylight hours. 

Secondly, you should preferably use a flash with a diffuser or softbox to get crisp and clear shots.

Also, using a remote trigger throughout the entire shooting process is super important, especially when working with a property in poor lighting conditions. 

This way, you can freely adjust the flash and other factors, knowing that with just a click, the camera will capture the shots instantly. It’s a game-changer.

The goal is to set the exposure so that the objects inside the room, such as furniture and curtains, are well-exposed but not overexposed, and the outside view is visible through the windows but not too bright. 

3. Compose the Shot Properly

Proper composition is essential for real estate photography. Include key features of the property in your photograph and make sure to show a clear view of the space.

Now that you know what gear to use and how to get prepared, let’s take a look at how to shoot flambient real estate photography.

4. The Flash Shot

When it comes to capturing the perfect image, our goal is a well-exposed shot with the view out the window looking fantastic, the interior brightened by the flash, and the walls showcasing their natural colors.

To achieve this, we recommend taking your flash off-camera and holding it 18 inches to 2 feet below a nice white ceiling, pointing it straight up.

The Flash Shot

This technique allows for a bounce effect, helping to avoid unwanted shadows in the room created by the flash.

Adjusting the flash power will depend on how you need to expose the window to achieve the desired result. 

Remember, the flash won’t reach outside, so ensure the view out the window is properly exposed and then calibrate the flash accordingly to capture the right interior feeling.

For our flambient style, which is an integral part of PhotoUp‘s master process, the primary aim of this flash shot is to restore the room’s natural colors. It’s crucial to bounce the flash off a white object within the room, usually the ceiling itself.

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5. The Ambient Shot

When capturing the ambient shot, it’s best to rely on natural lighting rather than using flash. Aim to expose the image in the middle to achieve a well-balanced overall picture of the room. 

The Ambient Shot

Additionally, shooting in RAW format allows you to leverage the dynamic range to its fullest potential.

Think of the exposure for this shoot as a “what if” scenario. Imagine if this one shot had to capture everything you need in the room, ensuring every detail is preserved.

In situations where the room has a wide range of lighting conditions, consider taking a bracket of three images. Use 0 as the exposure for the “what if” shot, and include -2 and +2 shots to ensure you capture the shadows and highlights effectively.

While PhotoUp’s master process typically relies on the ambient shot as a base for the final image, some photographers prefer to use the flash shot as their base image. 

It ultimately depends on personal preference and the desired outcome.

6. The Window Shot

The Window Shot

When you find yourself with a beautiful window view that you want to capture, we have a great tip for you. Take a third shot specifically for the windows.

Here’s what you can do: Expose the shot to the windows and use a high-powered flash directly aimed at the window frames. It may sound a little odd, but trust us, this will make the blending process during post-production much easier.

Ideally, it’s best to have the flash placed off-camera, but if that’s not possible, don’t worry! You can still make it work if your flash is powerful enough and the windows are within a reasonable distance.

Another thing you can try is experimenting with different angles. This will help you get a shot with minimal flash reflections, or better yet, eliminate them entirely. 

For an additional touch, turn off your flash and take one shot without it. Just remember not to adjust the camera exposure at all.

Overall, it’s important to have multiple flash and ambient exposures to merge in post-processing. Adjust the flash power, shutter speed, and aperture to get the best balance between the flash exposure and ambient exposure.

7. Practice and Patience

Flambient photography is a skill that requires practice and patience. It takes time to master the technique and understand how to create the perfect blend of flash and ambient exposures. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different settings, lighting, and post-processing techniques

Practice as often as you can and don’t be discouraged by any mistakes. Keep learning and growing, and soon you’ll be able to capture stunning, magazine-worthy shots of any property.

And there you have how to shoot flambient real estate photography. But how do you edit using the flambient method? Let’s take a look at that next.

How to Edit Flambient Real Estate Photos

Editing flambient images incorporates the use of layers, window pulls, and brushing out identified parts of the image.

To get started, you can either watch the video tutorial or continue reading the text below.

Flambient Real Estate Photo Editing Tutorial

Step 1. To begin, put your photos in Lightroom. Mostly, these are composed of 2 exposures – a flash photo and an ambient photo.

The ambient photo should have correct exposure and balance overall. And the flash photo should also have decent exposure as it affects the color when it is too dark or too light when you are done adjusting time to move them to Photoshop.

Step 2. Select the 2 photos, then right click, and open them as layers in Photoshop.

Step 3. In Photoshop in the layers panel, make sure that the ambient layer is on top of the flash layer. (It’s recommended to name your layers to easily recognize them).

Step 4. The next thing you need to do is change the blending mode of the ambient layer to luminosity. This will retain the exposure of the ambient layer and show only the colors. 

If you zoom in you will see the discoloration on the image due to the effect of the blending mode to the flash shadow layer.

Step 5. To fix this, all you have to do is add a blank new layer and change its blending mode to color.

Step 6. Then, by the use of the Brush Tool, select the surrounding color in the area and start painting on the part where the discoloration is visible. Make sure when doing this to not paint on the things that shouldn’t be painted on.

Step 7. If there is a window, then add masking to the ambient layer to mask the window view.

Step 8. And for the finishing touch, set your brush in zero percent hardness with 10-20% opacity and brush on areas that need recovery for the whole image excluding areas where the flash shadows are prominent.

This is to avoid recovering the shadows. Just brush it back if you happen to brush on the part where the shadow is.

Lastly, click save, and that’s how you edit flambiant real estate photos!

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Outsource Photo Editing?

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Outsource Your Flambient Real Estate Photo Editing to PhotoUp

Flambient photography is essential for any real estate photographer looking to showcase a property in the best possible light. It’s a skill that requires patience, practice, and a willingness to experiment. 

Instead of spending too much time learning advanced photo editing techniques, you may want to consider using a professional real estate photo editing service like PhotoUp.

This will help you free up time to shoot more properties and be out in the field building lasting relationships with clients.

PhotoUp has a team of highly talented photo editors who are ready and waiting to professionally edit your real estate photos at the low cost of $1.10 per image depending on the subscription.

Our skilled photo editors can help with the following issues:

  • Improper exposure levels
  • Harsh shadows, lack of light, etc.
  • Blurred images that were taken without a tripod
  • Images that need cropping or other effects
  • Lawn greening and sky replacements
  • Twilight editing and day-to-dusk conversions
  • HDR editing
  • Clutter and object removal
  • Line and angle corrections
  • And much more!

But that’s not all!

A One-Stop-Shop for Real Estate Marketing

PhotoUp is a complete one-stop-shop for real estate marketing and also offers services such as:

You’ll get access to our user-friendly photo management software, so you can upload and receive photos, send instructions and feedback, track and manage team members and clients, store final images, and more!

PhotoUp Real Estate Photo Editing Uploader Demo

Check out how easy it is to get started using PhotoUp’s software in our real estate photo editing uploader demo:

As simple as that!

Sign up for a free PhotoUp account today, and let our talented editors help you edit your flambient photos to perfection.

Plus, for a limited time, you even get 10 free edits when signing up!

We hope this blog post helped you learn how to master flambient real estate photography. Before you go, you may also want to check out the following resources:

Stina Pettersson

Professional Blogger

Stina is an entrepreneur, digital marketer, and professional blogger who's passionate about real estate photo editing, being outdoors with her pup, and sweaty gym sessions. She loves the written word and has been writing for publications like Forbes and Thrive Global. Originally from Sweden, she's called South Florida her home since 2013.

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