In the area of virtual tours and image presentation for realtors and businesses, people tend to focus heavily on composition of a photograph and less on other just as important areas of presentation. Some of these areas are tonal balance, saturation of color, level of detail and effective contrast of an image. While composition defines the image from a messaging standpoint and the level of detail helps with the credibility of a quality image and even the saturation of color presents a life like experience probably the most important of these is the tonal balance of an image because it affects all of the other areas in some way and is the most challenging to control precisely at the camera level. By tonal balance I mean how the light in the picture is balanced between the shadows and the highlights.
Image editing professionals call the area between shadows and highlights mid tones. Today’s most popular imaging device, the digital camera, is inherently weak it its ability to present mid tone data correctly. Of course, this is to a varying degree based on the overall quality of the digital camera and specifically the experience of the photographer with the camera, the size of the image sensor in the camera, the quality of the optical elements in the camera and other components of the camera. These elements of image quality can be discussed at another time.
While tonal balance is more apparent in less experienced photographers it is found to some degree in the work of accomplished photographers, especially when lighting conditions are challenging. It manifest itself in the form of dark pictures caused by a failure to capture enough light across the picture but especially in shadow areas to represent the image faithfully. Frequently this image phenomenon is also found in images that were captured with a focus point on the camera attempting to focus on a bright area but leaving the shadow areas and mid tone areas of the image dramatically underexposed. In order to correct this tonal imbalance image editors use software to adjust mid tone levels and restore the image to a close rendition of the original scenery.
A camera’s optics don’t have near the sophistication of the human eye and even the best lens optics lack the dynamic range (differentiation of tones between the lightest and the darkest parts of the image) that we take for granted every day. This can create frustration for the end viewer of the image because they can not understand the image the way they think they should. Good photographers and virtual tour photographers may not be able to get the best mid tone exposure while capturing all the highlights and shadow detail either so the best answer to the challenge of providing the best quality image that can send a positive, clear message is to find an accomplished photographer that also has a quality image editing resource available.
Exposure Elements of the San Francisco Bay Area is a real estate marketing company that provides complete property exposure solutions including virtual tours, printed advertisements, customized property websites and internet distribution offers expertise in BOTH photography and image editing. Our customers can be confident that their property will get the best exposure that leads to a successful venture whether it is related to business exposure, property sale or documentation.
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