George Crudo Photography | Good vs Bad HDR for Real Estate

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.


Rob Stathem(non-registered)
Thanks very much, George! I have your course and instruction to thank for helping me fine tune my food photography skills. I'm glad to have found your site and look forward to your upcoming blog posts. I also can't wait to see what you're cooking and photographing next! I'm ready to eat!

:) Rob
George Crudo Photography

WOOOOOOW! Those images are spectacular! The lighting, the textures, the colors and styling are all EXCELLENT! You really took the ball and ran as fast as you could after our class.

Outstanding work. From the very first images you submitted in class I knew you were going to go far.

Thanks for writing and keeping me up to date on your progress. You definitely have a bright future in whatever you choose to do; and it looks like you can go very far in food photography should you choose that route.

Good luck and stay in touch!

Rob Stathem(non-registered)
Hi George, Wow!! 10 years in the real estate photography business is amazing! Your images (both food and homes) are always beautiful. Keep up the fantastic work!

I'm doing well. I'm a designer/developer by profession, but, I've gotten a few opportunities on the side to work with food professionals on food photography assignments. Food photography is a great creative release for me. It allows me hone in on the skills I learned in art school, and then fine tune my lighting/composition skills. It's great fun. I love food and eating and I enjoy photography, so, it's a "win-win" situation.

Although I'm in the process of changing my website, you can view my images at:

I'm hoping when time permits that I can take another photography course at PPSOP. Your course (by far) has been the best instruction out there on food photography.

Good chatting with you,

:) Rob
George Crudo Photography
Hi Rob,

Good to talk with you again! Thanks for the kind words.

How's your food photography career going? You were doing fantastic the last time we chatted.

I got into real estate photography about 10 years ago. I am also a licensed Realtor, working with my wife. She does most of the heavy lifting. I mostly do the marketing, photography and website management. I can't say whether or not I like it more than food but I do love it.

Thanks for your comments!

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