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The D. Roberts Photography Difference

Besides our goal to deliver customer service that goes above and beyond the ordinary, the other key difference that D. Roberts Photography provides that set us apart is perhaps the most noticeable difference – the very quality of the photographs themselves.

If you haven't already looked at the Gallery page, please do so soon. What makes the images you see there special is twofold: 1) they are shot with an appropriately wide angle lens on a professional, digital SLR camera; and 2) that they are a specific type of photograph created by a process called High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDRI).

Move your mouse cursor over the image below to see the startling difference.

The D. Roberts Photography Difference
It's almost impossible to believe this is the same room; but it is. The first image was taken with a somewhat higher-end, point-and-shoot digital camera (similar to most of the ones being used for real estate photography today) set on fully automatic, at the widest lens setting available, and from the exact same location from which the second image was shot. The second image is an HDRI image. The difference between your run-of-the-mill picture and an HDRI photograph is drastic. So what exactly is HDRI?

High Dynamic Range Imaging means, in the simplest of non-technical terms, that there are no zones in the picture where the shadows are so dark that no detail is visible; and conversely, there are no areas, i.e. windows to the outside, that are so overexposed, or "blown out," that no details are visible there either. You've seen these latter kind of pictures like the one to the right where the windows are practically aglow.

In short, the goal with HDRI is to create a final photographic image of an interior room with windows to the exterior, or even an exterior setting with dense, contrasting areas of light and shadow, that essentially looks just like the human eye would see it. There are highlights and shadows, depth and texture; but the overall image is a pleasing balance between light and dark that reveals a strikingly natural, human-eye view. The image to the right, when compared to the one above it, illustrates this well. What is the point of having a room with a view if you can't see that view? If there is a lake, mountain, golf course, or even just a lush garden and patio "out there," then you should be able to see it.

Now, there is not a camera on the planet that produces a picture that looks like the way the human eye sees. This is especially true if the scene has contrasting zones of light and dark at the extreme ends of the exposure range. While film cameras have a slightly better dynamic range than modern digital cameras, neither can compare to the dynamic range of the amazing human eye. And that's simply because of the limited nature of photographic technology.

The room is reasonably well exposed, but the windows
are "blown out" and areas of shadow have no detail.
The exposure is corrected, there are now details visible
in the shadows, and the view out of the windows
speaks for itself. This is HDRI at its best.

This sort of image can only be achieved after a series of different exposures of any given scene have been shot and then blended, or composited, in post-production work done on a computer with image editing software. There are several pieces of somewhat automated HDRI processing software available – some are stand-alone products; some work with, or are an integral part of, the industry-standard Photoshop software. Unfortunately, the results from these HDRI programs are less than stellar, especially when used on interior settings.

We do not use any of them. Using only Photoshop and a series of proprietary techniques developed by lots of trial and error experience, we have arrived at a manual process that results in photos with the image quality that you can see below and in the many more examples found on the Gallery page. They are certainly not the run-of-the-mill real estate snapshots (with all due respect to the folks taking those). And given the fact that even in some high-end home magazines you'll still see images with blown-out windows, the D. Roberts Photography images even surpass what is usually considered to be "slick magazine quality" photographs.

Move your mouse cursor over the image below to see another example.

Winter Time Golf View from Master Bedroom.

The only downside to all of the post-production work needed to achieve these kinds of results is that it is time consuming. As a general rule of thumb, for every hour spent on location capturing the original images, about five to six hours are spent in front of the computer editing them to achieve the final HDRI photographs. But the effort and expense are definitely worth it, as you can see for yourself.


This service provides a different pricing schedule for mid-tier homes and is called Semi-HDRI. This is essentially for the homeowner or realtor who wants quality images, but does not want to pay for the Full HDRI package that allows for views beyond the home's windows. This is usually because there is really not that much "out there" to see. The images are still high-quality, wide angle views, with balanced and even lighting, but the windows will usually be overexposed, unless blinds or other window treatments are in place. Less time is taken to do the post production work on these images, thus the price is less for the finished product. Additionally, with homes in this group, there is usually a direct correlation between size, in square feet, to listed price. So there are generally fewer images needed to cover the whole home, therefore less time is spent both to shoot and post; thus again, less cost. Please see the Pricing page for details.

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D. Roberts Photography, Inc.
1157 Edenbridge Way ● Knoxville ● TN ● 37923
● 865.405.2744 ●
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