The human eye is quite remarkable in its ability to capture detail in both the very dark and very bright areas of a scene at the same time (this is known as a scene with a 'High Dynamic Range'). However, you will probably have noticed that digital cameras aren't nearly as good as the human eye in this respect. For example, a single photograph taken inside a house will almost always fail to capture sufficient detail in both the interior of the room and the view out of the windows. Or a brilliant sunset might look incredible to the naked eye – full of rich reds, oranges and yellows – but to a digital camera it just looks like an amorphous white blob! 
The human eye is quite remarkable in its ability to capture detail in both the very dark and very bright areas of a scene at the same time (this is known as a scene with a 'High Dynamic Range'). However, you will probably have noticed that digital cameras aren't nearly as good as the human eye in this respect. For example, a single photograph taken inside a house will almost always fail to capture sufficient detail in both the interior of the room and the view out of the windows. Or a brilliant sunset might look incredible to the naked eye – full of rich reds, oranges and yellows – but to a digital camera it just looks like an amorphous white blob! 
 
This lack of dynamic range in digital cameras can cause problems if you are trying to faithfully capture a scene you have seen with your own eyes – a room in a property for example. Do you choose to expose the inside of the room correctly, or the outside ... Or do you have to choose? 
 
Whilst one solution for capturing images with a high dynamic range is to illuminate the inside of the room with additional flash lighting so it's almost as bright as the view outside the room, there is another simpler technique called Exposure Fusion which yields more natural results. 
 
By capturing 3 or more images of the same scene but with different exposure settings (very dark, normal, very bright, etc) and then compressing or 'fusing' the images together in software, you can start to replicate the incredible dynamic range of the human eye, and produce images which look very natural and life-like. This is the technique Horizon Imaging employs for the majority of our Architectural Photography work. Below are some links to photographs of the same scenes taken with and without Exposure Fusion (click to open): 
House Exterior 
Without Exposure Fusion 
With Exposure Fusion 
House Interior 
Without Exposure Fusion 
With Exposure Fusion 
Sunset 
Without Exposure Fusion 
With Exposure Fusion 
Whilst Exposure Fusion isn't a technique we use on every architectural photograph, there are certain circumstances where it is invaluable, for example when photographing inside properties, or in scenes of particularly high contrast like the North-facing house as shown on the right. Had this house been captured in a single photograph (see the link above), the sky would have been completely white and the colours would have been very dull and flat. 
 
You can see many more examples of Exposure Fused images in our Architectural Photography Gallery, where virtually all the interior photographs have been captured using this technique. 
An Exposure Fused photograph of the front of a North-facing house – one of the most difficult types of exterior to shoot.
An Exposure Fused photograph of the front of a North-facing house – one of the most difficult types of exterior to shoot. Click to enlarge.. 
An Exposure Fused photograph of a kitchen lit by strong sunlight. Click to enlarge.
An Exposure Fused photograph of a kitchen lit by strong sunlight. Click to enlarge. 
An Exposure Fused photograph of a sunset over the Devil's Dyke in East Sussex.
An Exposure Fused photograph of a sunset over the Devil's Dyke in East Sussex. Click to enlarge. 
Share this post: