5 Tips for Shooting a Real Estate Interior with Bright Windows

A room interior with a bright window view is one of the most challenging scenes to photograph, due to the large lighting differences between the darkest parts of the room and the view on the outside.

The simplest option to address this challenge without using expensive lighting equipment is to take multiple exposures. You take overexposed photos to capture the room interior, and underexposed ones for the window using the Automatic Exposure Bracketing function that is available on most DSLR cameras.

Follow the 5 tips below to get the best results for photographing a room interior with a bright window.

Tip 1: Turn on all lights in the room

Turning the lights on will make the room brighter, which will reduce the lighting differences in the scene.

Tip 2: Set the ISO to 400

Lower ISO settings will require long exposure times for the dark parts of the interior, which can easily result in blurry overexposed shots, even when using a tripod. However, we recommend using an ISO not higher than 400, as the higher the ISO, the noisier the photos will be.

Tip 3: Point at the interior, not the window, to set the shutter speed

The bright sunlight coming through the window will skew your camera's auto exposure towards underexposure, which will result in a merged image that is too dark.

To get a bright well-lit image, point your camera at some place in the interior that is sufficiently far away from the windows and any other source of lighting. Now use the shutter speed it reports to set the normal exposure (the 0EV photo) for your bracketed sequence.

Note that you will need to set your camera to Aperture priority before doing this. See the HDR Tutorial for real estate interior for more details.

Tip 4: Set the camera to manual mode

Manual mode allows you to choose the shutter speed for the normal exposure of your bracketed sequence and ensure that the aperture and ISO are kept the same in all bracketed shots.

Tip 5: Use a camera that can auto bracket 5 frames at 2 EV

You will get the best results if your bracketed exposures cover both the bright window views and the darkest parts of the interior. In most cases, this will require taking at least 5 bracketed photos in two-EV steps or 9 bracketed photos in one-EV steps.