What is HDR photography?

April 04, 2018  •  5 Comments

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. 

In photography, a setting with a high dynamic range is one where there is a very wide range of lights to darks. For instance if you are in a home with large windows on a bright sunny day, there is a huge difference between the light coming in from the windows compared to the ambient light given off by fixtures in the home. Our eyes and mind do a terrific job adapting and balancing that range of light. We usually can still see the detail in the room even though there is bright light coming in from the windows. However the sensor on a camera, even some of the most sophisticated cameras in the world, still have a hard time doing what our brain and eyes do. How many pictures in real estate listings have you seen where it looks like a nuclear blast is occurring through the window; or the outside looks fine and the room is almost totally black?

This is where HDR photography can be used effectively to give a good view of the interior and exterior of a home.

The process of HDR involves taking multiple exposures that cover the entire gamut of light and then blending those images  in a specific HDR blending software. Today we have cameras that can do this automatically but I am not aware of one that produces clean, good quality images directly out of camera.

As you can see from the image above, a prospective buyer can see the view from the doors instead of just bright daylight. 


Stories Behind the Recipes

April 15, 2016  •  1 Comment

central, florida, food, "food industry", orlando, photography My  love for food has often had me wondering  how a specific recipe originated.  I found the story behind Pasta Puttanesca to be both interesting and humorous!

The Italian recipe for Pasta Puttanesca dates back to the 1950's in Ischia. Puttanesca is derived from the word puttanata, which means worthless or garbage.

It was invented late at night, near closing time, when a group of patrons in a restaurant wanted something to eat. The owner Sandro Petti, told them he was low on ingredients. They replied "Facci una puttanata qualsiasi (make any kind of garbage)". The only ingredients he had were a few tomatoes, capers and some olives.

When I decided to create an image of pasta puttanesca I wanted to capture the mood of the original recipe. So I envisioned a late night meal in a dimly lit restaurant in Ischia in the 1950's.

Eating Healthy Does Not Have to be Boring!

April 13, 2016  •  3 Comments

bowl of fruit salad with blackberries, strawberries, heirloom tomatoes and a balsamic reductionSeasonal Fruit Salad When we think about healthy eating many of us think of boring, unappetizing, minuscule portions of foods, that even Scarlett, (my 80 lb lab who eats everything) would probably refuse. However, with the right combinations of quality ingredients, eating healthy can be a thoroughly satisfying taste explosion for the palate.

The Italians have been known for substituting ingredients for recipes based on what was in season and not strictly  

When I lived in New York I had a vegetable garden every summer. I grew the hearty beefsteak type as well as cherry tomatoes. I have yet to have a tomato that ever compared to the ones I grew in my garden. In fact, the best tomato sauce I ever made (and I make it every week) was from tomatoes grown in my backyard. I tried growing them here in Florida with very unsatisfactory results. I am not sure if it's the climate or the soil but they are not the same.

When I first got into photographing food a number of years ago, I discovered the heirloom tomato. It is a pretty good alternative to the often flat, bland tasting tomatoes we find in the grocery stores. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. I find them pretty tasty and have rarely, if ever, experienced them to be mushy or bland.

The dish pictured above is a combination of heirloom tomatoes, strawberries, blackberries and red onions. There is a splash of high quality extra virgin olive oil and a balsamic reduction*. 

As long as you stick to high quality ingredients that are fresh and in peak season, you will soon realize that eating healthy is definitely not boring. It can be very tasty, satisfying and, not to mention, a feast for the eyes!  Orlando food photographer george crudo's photograph of fresh blueberries, strawberries and pomegranates

*To make a balsamic reduction, pour about 3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar in a pan and bring to a boil. Let simmer for a few minutes until it thickens slightly. Remove it from the heat and let cool a bit. It should be the consistency of chocolate syrup. 

Make Sure You're Comparing Apples to Apples When Hiring Photographers

October 15, 2015  •  2 Comments


There are a number of photography companies out there who "specialize" in real estate photography. However many Realtors, who are not photographers themselves, are spending their hard earned dollars on pictures and tours that really do not live up to the term "professional". When choosing a photographer make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

The images below are good examples that can help the average Realtor distinguish between a true professional photographer as opposed to someone who just takes pictures and charges money for it.

Real estate listing image and example of converging verticalsConverging Verticals

In the image above, notice how the lines are converging towards the center of the picture and not straight. The term we use to describe this is "converging verticals". The proper way to shoot architecture is to have the camera attached to a tripod along with some sort of leveling device (preferably attached to the camera) to make sure the camera is totally level.

 Now look at the second image and notice the lines on the walls and edges of the shot are straight. This allows the viewer to see the home as if they were seeing it with their own eyes and without distortion of the room.  

Again look at image one. Notice the harsh shadows and the unbalanced light throughout the image. Lighting like this emits a cold harsh feeling for the viewer. Emotion is what sells homes; and pictures are where the emotion begins. You want your buyers to say WE MUST SEE THIS HOUSE NOW as opposed to LET'S PASS ON THIS ONE. IT LOOKS SO COLD AND DREARY! 


Good vs Bad HDR for Real Estate

April 02, 2015  •  6 Comments

When I began photographing homes in HDR I was totally amazed at what I saw. It gave a whole new look that seemed to be an improvement to some of my shots with an on camera flash.

But as time went on, and as the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt, I soon realized that my HDR images lacked that clean crisp look. They looked somewhat surreal. This was not the look I was after and I felt it did not provide a proper representation of the homes I was photographing.

When camera makers began introducing in camera HDR, a number of Realtors jumped on board and were then suddenly adding their own HDR images to the Multiple Listing. 

No longer impressed with what I was producing, I started looking for an alternative to HDR. I thought about bringing strobes, softboxes, reflectors and a whole bunch of equipment to do my shoots. But then I realized this can be troublesome when going in someone's home that they are still living in. Many times there are young children and pets present and this could be a hazard waiting to happen.

Then after much experimentation and trial and error I came up with a method of HDR processing that I believe, gives a much cleaner and professional look without having to bring a boat load of equipment in people's homes. 

If you look at the door and ceiling in the image above it actually looks dirty. Of course it was not dirty at all. This is due to the extreme HDR processing. The image below is the same series of exposures as the image above but processed differently. The only lighting used is the ambient light from the light fixtures in the room and the daylight coming in from the windows

HDR has gotten a bad name and there are a number of photographers that claim they do not like it. I, on the other hand, believe that is has its place when used properly.

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