My process starts with a series of exposures that capture the natural light in the room (seen below). These frames are used to give the final photograph a natural and believable feel, which I will expand on later. It is worth pointing out, that many other photographers are "finished" at this point, and they simply run the images through a computer algorithm that does all the thinking for them, yet the result is a loss of control over so many parts of the image. I am only interested in producing hand-crafted imagery, and I have complete control over every aspect of my photographs.
I start my hand-crafting off with a base image that needs some help. If I use an image with too much natural light, the natural light will have control over the image. Sometimes that is a good thing. But in this case, as you can see, there are some awkward banding patterns on the walls and ceilings produced by the natural light, and we'd also have light blooming around the window areas in the lighter ambient images. We want full control, so I will need to add light to clean those areas up.
Adding artificial light to a scene improves the accuracy of the colors and textures throughout the room. Light is added from a direction that is as natural as possible, and later on I am able to add this light and mix it with natural light at any ratio I wish. Again, my process gives me total control over the image.
At this point, after masking myself out of the photograph in post-processing, the image may look something like this.
Yet the windows, and things like reflections (in this case on the clock) have not been controlled yet. I have those options as well.
And the result is that I can make the windows as bright or as dark as I would like during post processing (see series below). Views out the windows can also be rendered extremely clear and reflection free with this technique.
Details can also be cleaned up, if desired. Many times TV's, microwaves, glass cabinets, wine racks, wall art and any number of things can have distracting reflections on them. But, when you hand-craft each image, you have complete control over all this as desired. Here, there are some reflections on the clock, which in this case can be removed utilizing the window frame once again....
In the end, some more of the natural light is added to give the space a brighter and more natural feel, and the end result is the best of both worlds between flash and natural light. Lighting and post-processing the photograph in such a way renders the textures throughout the room with much more clarity, and the colors are also depicted very accurately due to the use of supplemental lighting.
And lastly, and perhaps one of the best aspects of the way I work, I come out of the field with a vast array of options available to me in post-processing. So, if a client wants "darker (or lighter) windows/interior etc", we can achieve all of this after the fact. It is kind of an insurance policy against the decisions made during a shoot, which can many times get chaotic as you all know.