Premium vs HDR photos. What's the difference and why would you spend the extra money?
Let me get this out of the way first. When it comes to photos, in a home with great natural light and bright spaces there won't be a much of a difference and you should probably go with my Basic HDR photos and maybe add the details package to get that editorial look for your Instagram posts. Premium will always be better but the differences will be subtle in homes with great light.
With that said, in real estate media there’s clearly a need for two distinct products. One is basic and affordable to help you market a listing and the other is much higher quality to help you market the listing and yourself.
With my old Realtor hat on (I was a full time agent from 2005 - 2017) I know that many properties need nice photos and maybe a simple video with a quick turnaround at a good price. Other more distinctive listings offer the opportunity to leverage the listing to grow your business. Here the Realtor will use the photos for years to come on your website, in print marketing and across social media.
My basic HDR (high dynamic range) photos are of similar quality (I like to think a little better, see some great examples on my home page) to any other vendor in town and are extremely affordable starting at just $150 for homes up to 3000 SF and $250 for homes 3001 - 7000 SF. I’m able to do this because after photographing thousands of homes since 2018 I’m extremely fast when I need to be while still maintaining quality. Also, it’s just me so I don’t have to mark up the photos to cover the cost of another photographers time. This provides a second benefit to you which is consistency. It will always be me, the owner of the business at your listings. Finally, I use a team of editors I’ve been working with from Vietnam since 2019 to deliver consistent edits, next day every time. If you weren’t aware, this is what every photo vendor does. Vietnam and India are generally 12 hours apart from us. While I sleep, they edit and you get your photos back the next morning. It takes around an hour to edit five HDR real estate photos and if I had to do it the price would be dramatically more and the turn around much longer. That said, I still review every photo and often will make additional tweaks before they are sent off to you.
HDR photography is great in many cases but the Premium style I developed over 2023 addresses issues that HDR can’t overcome. By taking flash photos as well as ambient photos (HDR is 100% ambient) and then blending them in Photoshop I can now deliver much more beautiful images in certain types of homes. For example, in listings with dark interiors or woodwork one big issue this technique solves is blooming around dark window frames (see below). Blooming is haze you get around window frames and walls near bright windows and it’s a byproduct of the HDR editing process. Adding flash eliminates this completely and allows the viewer to see the richness of the wood and colors in the space. This technique also reduces excessive glare on wood floors and lens flare caused by overhead lights (often an issue in basements with recessed can lights). The flash layers also provide much more accurate color which can be very important to owners in the luxury market. When Premium photos are ordered I also spend more time on compositions and use multiple lenses to deliver a selection of vertical as well as horizontal detail photos. These are great for social and gives your media a more editorial magazine quality look. The edit for these also takes much longer and for all these reasons my Premium photos are priced higher than the basic photos but in this case you’re truly paying for the very best quality available in the Twin Cities.
In the example above, notice the woodwork above the windows in the HDR vs Premium. The HDR is hazy, and the richness of the wood is completely lost. Also notice the colors are more accurate and vibrant in the Premium vs the HDR. Finally, the Premium technique allows me to add a bit of light where there may not have been any or enhance light that’s there but hard for the camera to see. In this case I popped flash in the bathroom hiding behind the fireplace to call attention to the hall to the left of the fireplace. The bathroom was in fact throwing light into that space, but the HDR process was not able to pick it up.
This style can be edited with a natural look to give more mood (as was done above) or can be made brighter if that’s what you prefer.
If you're not sure what would work best for your listing give me a call. I'm happy to talk you through it.