Best Technique for Shooting Interiors: HDR or Flash?

Have you ever tried to shoot an interior photograph and have it look like the shots in magazines or high end property brochures? If so then you probably know there are two routes to go: HDR or Flash. Photographer Dom Bower recently made a video showing the differences in both techniques and how you can combine them both to create a sort of hybrid image. Keep in mind that Dom is only using one single speedlight directly above the camera. Many of the amazing images you see for high end hotels and expensive properties often have dozens of light sources accenting very specific elements in the image. What techniques have you guys used in your interior photos? If you have examples, feel free to post your images in the comments below and check out Dom's final photos in the full post.

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Des Moines customer's picture

All you guys complaining about the tripod aspect ... relax. This video wasn't intended to be the end-all to end all videos on shooting interiors. The guy was simple showing the difference between HDR and flash and flash/ambient. Yet people are raggin about the tripod thing. That's kind of a a "duh" for anyone who's anyone. Almost like a bunch of "holier than thou" boyscouts worrying about semantics and not acknowledging the concept.

Dom Bower's picture

Thank you, i find it strange that on a video where i ask people what they think is better in terms of lighting, they go on about a tripod and straight lines, something that this video was not intended for at all.  glad you got the video.

Chad's picture

There are so many HDR options out there, and so many techniques to use... simply using preset bracketed exposures will always lead to "gray" images.

Weighting your exposures towards the interior will keep your whites bright and your outside visible.

check out my work at I am more than willing to help anyone out.

Dom Bower's picture

Chad, just checked out your site. some very very nice houses there you have shot and a very nice website as well!

ugh, I hate hdr and tripods in almost every application. 

I used to use flash (multiple small stobes) for real estate stuff, but now I use HDR, but very subtly. For shooting huge interiors, HDR is often the only way


This guy has great educational videos as I have been watching them for a very long time. Oddly enough, his images are never really very good at all. 

This is how you do interiors.

Where do one find those education videos you're talking about?

I can’t believe how many people on here miss the point completely for the purpose of this video and are arrogant towards someone that puts in so much work into something. Maybe the guy doesn’t have time to edit it properly, looks like he was the only one shooting on location with no assistant or anyone to film it while he was shooting. It was more of an interactive video. No fancy editing, tripods etc. but it still gives a good insight I could care less if it was edited professionally or shot with a phone camera, as long as it gets a good insight into his technique and its nice to see all the different setups ie. long exposure vs flash vs hdr. Step away from your ego for once and enjoy it for what it is, I don’t see any of you doing videos like this for us to comment on.

Dom Bower's picture

Thank you 1Move.  your kind words are most appreciated.  its for people like yourself I keep trying to make the videos.  Just trying to help.

I play with both techniques but lean toward strobe and burn 90 percent of the time.  Here are two images mixing natural window light with strobes placed strategically in or just outside the frame.  To enhance the fish tank, I placed a strobe, with gel, behind it and bounced it off the wall.  When shooting a room with mirrors, always shoot an image without strobes going off so you can later clean up reflections in post.

Stanley's picture

Dom, I think your video has a wealth of information, thank you and keep up the good work. I appreciate all the you have taught me and others.


OK, I admit I'm dense. I just cannot follow exactly what you are doing. I've tried following your instructions as I perceived them and I'm just
not getting the same results. I'm using a D700 if that makes any
difference. Do you have a list of step by step instructions as to exactly what you are doing?