Better Looking Exterior Photos
How can you shoot better looking exterior photos like the one below?
How to Shoot Better Looking Exterior Photos
What catches your eye in this real estate photo? For me it’s the lights outside the home, the beautiful looking palm tree with flood light, and the warm glowing lights inside the home. The cool blue sky complements very well with the warm yellow / orange lights. The special time of day when this photo was shot is called Blue Hour.
Composing Better Looking Outdoor Photos
How is this outdoor real estate photo composed? Looking at the photo as a whole you can divide it into thirds. The front yard and house contains the bottom 2/3 and the sky contains the remaining 1/3. This follows the photography composition called Rule of Thirds. Another way to view this real estate photo is to look for diagonals which coincide with elements of the photo. Imagine a diagonal line running from bottom left corner to top right corner. This diagonal is called the Baroque Diagonal and it coincides with the edge of the garage roof. Therefore, it has dynamic symmetry. You see how the edges of the driveway lead to the house. These are what photographers call Leading Lines and direct your eyes straight to the house which is the subject of the photo.
Shoot Better Looking Photos at the Blue Hour
The photo was shot at a certain time of day that lasts only about 20 – 30 minutes in Florida. That time of day is called Blue Hour. It occurs twice in a 24 hour period. The first opportunity arrives early morning 20 – 30 minutes before sunrise. Specifically, it’s called Civil Twilight and starts when the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon until sunrise. The last opportunity occurs 20 – 30 minutes after sunset. This Civil Twilight period starts at sunset and ends with the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon. When you add up this two Civil Twilight periods you get the Blue Hour.
Camera Settings for Blue Hour Photos
This blue hour photo was shot using a tripod with Nikon D750 camera and Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VC lens. If you don’t have this expensive prime lens that sells for $600 in 2019, you can use an affordable 50mm f/1.8 lens for a similar shot. You will just need to step back a several feet and you’ll have the same framing and since you’re outside this shouldn’t be a problem. The VC on this lens stands for vibration compensation and is used to minimize image blur due to camera shake with hand holding. Since I’m using a tripod I turned VC off. If your camera has VC or IS on Canon cameras and you’re using a tripod, turn this off. If you don’t, the image won’t be sharp.
The reason I used a tripod is to shoot at relatively low ISO for a sharper image with less noise. My camera settings f/2.8 opening the aperture to let in more light, ISO 400, and shutter speed of .4 seconds. I shot in manual mode and used the built-in light meter in the viewfinder for a correct exposure.
Tip on Shooting at Blue Hour
When you shoot Blue Hour real estate photo like this one, make sure you turn on the lights inside the home. Turn on any landscaping lights and remove any cars from driveway. You will need to plan ahead because you’ll only have about 20 minutes to capture this Civil Twilight shot.
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