How to Use HDR for Real Estate Photography (Fast and Easy)

Whether you are creating exterior or interior photos, HDR will always play a vital role in your shooting and editing. Learn how to use HDR real estate photography.

We have all heard a lot about HDR real estate photography, but not many people understand it well and know how to use it.

Understanding how to use HDR techniques correctly is necessary for shooting interior or real estate photos.

Whether you hire a professional photographer or doing real estate photography on your own, HDR always plays a vital role in perfect real estate images. Let’s explore what HDR is and how to use it for real estate photography.

What is HDR?

HDR is an abbreviation of High Dynamic Range. It is all about increasing the difference between the darkest dark and the lightest light on the photos. 

In other words, HDR pictures can handle a wide range of lighting conditions.

You may not know that our eyes have an ultra-HDR scale. A camera just can not evaluate and compensate for light the same way our eyes do. That is why we need to use HDR for real estate photography.

How to Capture HDR real estate photography?

Suppose you have to deal with a location or subject that needs to balance out dark and bright areas. In this case, you need to use HDR. To make an HDR image, you have to shoot multiple photos with different exposures. 

You will start by taking one shot with correct exposure. This image will work as the base of the photo. Then take at least one picture that is brighter to capture the dark areas at the desired exposure. 

Finally, take at least one image that is darker to capture the brighter areas at the desired exposure.

The base photo is the one that you will apply the lighting technique to. We recommend you doing your exposures in one-stop increments (-2; -1; 1; 2).

When you first start experimenting with HDR, you should take many shots in either direction. If you do that, you will have plenty of photos to layer them.

How to Create HDR Real Estate Photography in Photoshop CC 

There are many different ways to create HDR real estate photography. Although we have many apps out there that are particularly for HDR editing, you can still use Photoshop CC to create HDR images. 

It is still one of the best hdr software for real estate photography at the moment.

Let’s go step by step for basic HDR editing in Photoshop CC.

Step 1: Open All Your Photos

First, you have to open all photos you want to blend as individual layers in a file.

For Photoshop, that means you have to open the base photo first.

Once the photo is already opened, click and drag the additional images from the File Explorer / Finder window into the Photoshop window.

Or you can open all the layers individually in Photoshop CC. Then click ‘Select All’ -> ‘Copy’. Choose the base photo and paste.

You can import photos from Lightroom, too. Select all the layer photos you want to work with, then right-click (Command + click if you use a Mac) and select ‘Edit in’ -> ‘Open as Layers in Photoshop…’.

Step 2: Put the Layers in Order so That They are Easier to Work with

We recommend you put the darkest exposure on the top, then work your way down to the brightest.

Finally, put your base exposure at the very bottom.

Step 3: Add Layer Mask to Each Layer

To add different pieces of each layer to the picture, you need to add a layer mask to the layer first. Look at the bottom of the Layer panel, click on the ‘Add layer mask’ button.

Once you have done it, a mask will be created, where the mask thumbnail will appear as white. That indicates that the whole layer is visible now. 

But you need to make it invisible, so go ahead and press Ctrl + I (Cmd + I on Macs) to invert the layer. If successful, the thumbnail should be black. 

Repeat this process for all the rest of the layers.

Step 4: Brush on the Parts of the Mask That You Want to Make Visible

You should start by brushing the parts of the top layers that you want to apply.

To do this, you need to use the Eraser tool. You also need to make sure that the color of the eraser is black. White will make the layer disappear, while black will make it appear.

You can change the severity, opacity, and size of the brush with the top panel. Plus, you can change the overall opacity of the masked layer. This is good for producing a more subtle effect for the whole layer.

While doing the masking and revealing, you can always change the brush color to white to erase the masked layer.

Step 5: Repeat This Masking Effect with All the Rest of the Layers

Continue masking until you get to the layer that is for the outside scene (i.e., in through a window or door frame). 

This one needs to be treated differently because it has harder edges than what a brush can comfortably handle.

For the dark layer that has the outside scene

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, as you did with the others. But you need to use the Polygonal Lasso Tool before using the Erase tool. 

Choose the Polygonal Lasso Tool and carefully select the edges of the area that you want to expose.

When you are happy with the result, use the Eraser tool the same way as with the others. But you now can brush freely since it will only apply the effect to the part within the lasso-selected area.

Step 6: Save Your Work

Suppose you did all the above processes entirely in Photoshop CC. In that case, we suggest saving the final image as a Photoshop file so you will have it as a reference.

But if you started in Lightroom, a new layered file will be created when you save the file. Then, the file will be added to your Lightroom gallery so you can continue editing here.

Once you are happy with the result, convert it into a JPEG file so you can use it everywhere.

Final thoughts

HDR real estate photos always look more beautiful and attractive than regular ones. So you had better be familiar with it.

Keep in mind that there are numerous ways to apply HDR to your images. The way we share you only covers some fundamental aspects. Still, it is enough for you to create HDR real estate photography and HDR interior photography efficiently.

If you find it difficult, you can always rely on real estate hdr photo editing services.

As always, thanks for reading! If you have any questions, leave them below, and we will get back to you soon.

Read More: Use HDR for Real Estate Photography