I remember this challenge like it was yesterday. I also remember Trevor’s enthusiasm as I brought up the draft for this challenge. He was ecstatic as it was a photographic discipline he had been practicing in order to capture some of his mom’s interior design creations.

I had a completely different challenge in mind for this week but this challenge came to mind as I was shooting some real estate images yesterday. I did the unimaginable, I forgot my camera bag. Fortunately I had backup gear in the car and my partner had her gear as well. Faced with going back across town traveling over bridges and a tunnel on a Holiday Weekend Friday, I chose to complete the assignment with gear I’m not accustomed to working with. That’s when I remembered clear as day, Trevor’s challenges as he related to me his experiences delving into indoor real estate type photography.

We’ll be working off of the original challenge. There was, however, a lack of external resources to help achieve your best with this challenge. One article I find very informative is supplied by Photomatix, the makers of one of the best HDR software for real estate photography. I use it for photo-realistic renderings and their little tutorial should give you the necessary insight to get your challenge going in the right direction. https://www.hdrsoft.com/real-estate/

I also realize that the initial challenge was to get a view from within the room. Although I would like to stick with that ideal scenario with the challenge, many of us just don’t have access to a view. In that case I want to focus on getting a balanced lighting situation between the interior and the window illumination through the use of HDR. I put together a quick example of what can be achieved using PhotoShop to merge your images into an HDR image. I imagine LightRoom will give you similar results. It’s not a high end finished product but it should illustrate how we haven’t blown out windows as we maintain the detail of our exterior view.

The above image was my center exposure in a series of five images to be used for the HDR. It’s also taken with a camera and lens of inferior quality to what I’m used to working with so I have less dynamic range per image and a multitude of other issues that would generally not be as present in a professional setup.

I’m expanding the challenge a bit, the aim would be to get a view if possible, if not some nice balance between the interior and the exterior. The image below shows you the transition between the 5 images and the end result.

Here’s the original challenge. It also includes a 360 Photosphere / Panosphere image for those daring to go a step further.


If you don’t have Lightroom or Photoshop and also have no HDR software, you can try some of these.

  1. Easy HDR (Free Basic Edition for Windows)
  2. Luminance HDR (Free or Donation for all OS)
  3. Photomatix (Not Free / Many options)
  4. DXO (New Nik Software Suite with HDR for $49 promo)
  5. Aurora HDR (Paid version often has promos)

I often use the HDR mode in PTGUI Pro as I usually take panoramas of interiors. I’m sure you can do a quick Google Search and find a few more options. Remember to be prudent and only download from reputable websites.

Tools you may need

Apart from the basic HDR software you may need some more tools to complete this challenge.

  • A tripod or some other way of keeping your camera steady. We’re shooting 3 to 7 images and they need to align. You may also be shooting at speeds that are too slow for handheld shooting.
  • A circular polarizer. If there’s glass or other reflections, you may also want to use a polarizing filter to control glare and reflections. This will also augment your color contrasts.
  • A digital gray card can help you achieve a proper white balance. However we must take into consideration that many homes will have a variety of lighting with different colors ranging from the 2000Ks to the 6000Ks.

The sample image I submitted took me at best 5 minutes to process. A typical high end real estate image can take me up to an hour to post processes as I calibrate different lighting sources. When shooting model homes, we use specific colored lighting throughout the home. Windows and interior white balance can be adjusted separately in post processing to maintain a balanced look.

This challenge can be taken from within any interior. It can be a restaurant, an office building or any other interior with at least one window showing in the image.

To Complete your Challenge

You will need to take a minimum of two identical images with two different exposures to get one image with balanced lighting inside as you do outside through a window, a door or even a hole in the wall. It can be any location. It doesn’t have to be your home, it can be any type of interior with any type of exterior.


The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to our active community on our Facebook GroupFlickr Groupor 500PX group (or all three). Tag the photo:  #10thanniversaryphotochallenge #2018photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2018 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

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About Steve Troletti

I'm a Location Scout, Editorial, Nature, Wildlife and Environmental Photographer based in Malibu, California. I specialize in Nature and Urban Nature photography including Infrared Landscapes. The Bulk of my work takes place in the Los Angeles, California area, Greater Montreal Region, Canada, Switzerland, France and Varese in Northern Italy. Ethical wildlife photography is the main priority and focus of my work. A minimum disturbance of the animals, their habitat and the environment is my top priority. This applies as much to total wilderness areas as it does to urban nature environments. Ongoing education of environmental issues and building awareness for the protection of wildlife and wilderness areas around the world is what drives me to document the beauty that surrounds us.