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Elevate Your Real Estate Photography with the Flambient Method

CEO Khai Intela
Without flambient shots, real estate photographers miss out on creating optimal interior images that balance flash lighting and ambient illumination to highlight a home's best features. In this guide, you will learn how to master...

Without flambient shots, real estate photographers miss out on creating optimal interior images that balance flash lighting and ambient illumination to highlight a home's best features. In this guide, you will learn how to master the flambient method and use it to stand out in the competitive real estate photo editing industry.

What is Flambient Real Estate Photo Editing?

The flambient technique involves layering a photo of the home's natural ambient light with a photo taken with flash, then selectively adjusting the layers during post-processing. This method facilitates precise control over both the lighting balance and colors independently, creating pristine interiors where the space and attributes shine.

Aspect

  • Blending ambient light and flash photo

Goal

  • Balance artificial and natural lighting

Process

  • Take multiple exposures, layer in editing

Lighting control

  • Adjust ambient and flash brightness separately

Color control

  • Correct colors independently without affecting light

Ideal for

  • Real estate interior photos

Benefits

  • Reveals all details, creates clean/bright shots

Challenges

  • Requires bracketing skills and some post-work

Details sell in real estate photography. As a real estate photographer, mastering the nuances of flambient photography and real estate photo editing allows you to push images to the next level.

Using the Flambient Method

When practicing the flambient method, we recommend using a top-notch tripod to ensure that every ambient photo remains aligned. You can also get a remote trigger to improve stability. This takes your hands off the camera and allows it to be free of any source of movement that may lead to blurring or misalignments.

A DSLR camera is also essential for taking multiple shots or bracketed images and detecting different light levels. Throughout this shot, you might also want to establish your ISO, aperture, and shutter speed to get consistent exposure throughout the ambient and flash photos.

Last but not least, the flash. Using the flash is tricky. You must point it up to the ceiling and allow the light to bounce off evenly, giving you a nice spread-out visibility across the image. This will allow real estate photo editing to adjust the image with sharper details and allow a better distribution of illumination.

Working With Flash and Ambient Shots

The flambient method may sound challenging, yet it effectively combines window, flash, and ambient shots to achieve the final image. When you shoot flambient using both sets of shots, the next step is diving into the editing process for a flambient photo.

The Ambient Shot

Begin by using an ambient photo as the foundation, and expand upon it. We recommend capturing a minimum of three ambient photos for constructing your final image. Designate the initial one as your base to pair with the flash layer and window shot.

Living room with white couch and gray rug Living room with white couch and gray rug

We like maintaining a fixed camera position while capturing an image with a lower F-stop and another with a higher F-stop. Simplify this process by automating it through bracketing.

The Flash Shot

Moving to the flash shot in flambient real estate, we often position the flash away from the camera, directing it toward the ceiling for even light distribution. We also ensure that the flash is aimed at a white surface to preserve natural light and colors when blending the flash shot with ambient shots.

In some instances, an extra flash shot may be necessary, especially when capturing stunning views outside windows, a technique often known as window masking. This approach can help you produce clean, crisp, and natural-looking shots that emphasize the key features of the space.

Editing Real Estate Photos Using the Flambient Method

Editing flambient images is similar to the real estate photo editing techniques we know of. It incorporates layers, window pulls, and brushing out identified parts of the image.

1. Layer Up for HDR

Remember the bracketed shots you took with ambient lighting and with a flash? You can produce flambient real estate photos with the correct exposure using these steps:

  • Right-click your chosen photos in Lightroom
  • Go to Menu, click on Edit In, and choose Open as Layers in Photoshop
  • In Photoshop, check if the ambient layer is on top of the flash layer
  • Switch the Blending Mode to Luminosity
  • Add a new blank layer. Change the Blending Mode to Color
  • Launch the Brush tool and select the surrounding color in the section you want to work on
  • Paint the sections with visible discoloration
  • Add a mask to the window view on the ambient layer
  • Set the Brush Hardness to 0% with 10% to 20% Opacity
  • Brush over the areas you need to recover, except those with permanent flash shadows.
  • Click on Save

2. Edit the Color and Mask

The blending mode of color allows you to perform much-needed color correction methods while ensuring the light is not impacted. Real estate photo editing dictates that the need to correct the color is equivalent to building a foundation for a stunning image.

Add a layer mask to the ambient layer where the window is visible. Create the selection area of the window and make sure it appears white in the layers panel, where it will be removed when brushed on.

You may need to make an inverted selection to protect the outer layer. Do this by pressing CTRL + I.

3. Retouch and Repair

The last step in real estate photo editing using the flambient method is making a flawless mask. From afar, your real estate image editing output will be stunning, although a closer look will reveal marks where the brush strokes have gone out of line or window sills appear unnatural.

The flambient method requires the utmost detail. Our editors have an eye for ironing out these little details and delivering flambient photos that look flawless.

What Is the Flambient Method?

The flambient method involves blending a photo's natural light with controlled flash lighting in separate layers, then selectively editing those layers to achieve a balanced, detailed image. The technique of editing flambient photos gives precise control over the lighting and colors independently in real estate photo editing.

How Do You Take Flambient Photography?

To practice flambient real estate photography, capture multiple bracketed exposures in the same framing. First, it should be naturally lit, then repeat with a bounced external flash. This creates paired ambient and flashed images ready for layered blending and editing.

Why Shoot and Edit Flambient?

When you shoot flambient, you can edit and create clean, bright interior shots with vibrant colors and visible details. Separate control over the ambient and flash lighting layers facilitates optimal real estate photo editing to make spaces look stunning.

This real estate photo editing technique is not achieved during post-processing alone and is complemented by the right real estate photography setup. Taking the time to learn flambient real estate photography and editing abilities pays dividends in showcasing listings more strikingly to extract maximum perceived value.

[Relevant Quick Links]

  • Real Estate Photo Editing
  • Real Estate Image Editing
  • Knowledge Base
  • Workflow Tutorial for Real Estate Photography Editing in Lightroom
  • Which Camera is Better for Real Estate Photography Editing: Nikon or Canon?
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