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Integrated Online Management System for Real Estate Photographers

December 14th, 2017

Michael in NJ says:

I love your website. I’ve been doing virtual tours since 2004 and have built up an amazing group of talents over the years. The biggest problem I have is finding an integrated online solution that can handle order entry/scheduling/workflow routing/management–all tied in to a CRM system. I’ve been looking through your site and haven’t had much success finding a topic on this issue. I guess as our businesses grow, in order to build more opportunities without slipping in quality control and management, we have to have working and integrated solutions to better service our clients.

Can you point me in the right direction? Is there a section on your website that addresses my concerns?

Yes; as a matter of fact, one of the PFRE blog’s advertisers, provides the features you are looking for. To try it out, click here or click on the top ad on the right sidebar just below where is says “About Larry”. Barry, the owner, is a long time reader and participant in the PFRE community.

I Don’t Need No Stinken Gray Card!

December 13th, 2017

Recently, Brad in WI asked the following:

Does anyone use several grey cards in a room to get accurate color balance? There are plenty of tutorials on how to use a single grey card but they frequently have it placed near a window or tungsten light. Frequently, it’s near the edge of the frame which can influence color. Even twisting it one way or another can alter the white balance. If several were placed in a room at various locations, each could be on a separate layer and blended or painted out to ensure correct color in all areas of a room. Even an Expodisc varies depending on where it is placed in a room.

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Check out PaySnap for Automatic Delivery of Real Estate Photos after Payment

December 12th, 2017

Traditionally real estate photographers had two main options when it came to how they approached payment collection:

  • Pay First: Require payment before shooting
  • Pay Later: Deliver photos with an invoice

However, with the shift to online payment and file sharing more photographers are choosing a third option:

  • Auto-Delivery: Automatically deliver photos after payment

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How to Handle Sellers’ Personal Items in Real Estate Photography

December 11th, 2017

StagingDave in NZ ask the following question:

In the USA, are there any legal requirements to blur any family photos, certificates, awards, military honors, etc. when photographing a home? In my case, I do it if there is a tenant living in the property. The reason for the question is that a property I shot a year or so back, there was a hold-up. Turns out the homeowner was an undercover detective! Can only imagine how that person’s pics/names/named certificates/military accomplishments may have turned out for him if they were online (in a reactionary way) for everyone to see, including potentially some long lost “semi-friends” of his? Are there any precedents in the states? Any stories of lawsuits?

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The Arithmetic of Real Estate Photography Pricing

December 10th, 2017

I’ve talked about this before but it’s super important so it is useful to keep coming at the subject from different angles. It’s clear a lot of folks don’t understand this. A couple of days ago, I did a high-level discussion of all the pricing factors you should consider. Here I want to look closer at making sure your shoot price is recovering all your costs of being in business. Continue Reading »

Video of My Kauai Helicopter Tour

December 9th, 2017

This morning at 3:00am, we got back from a week on Kauai, HI. Besides a catamaran snorkeling trip and several other tours for me, the high point was the 50-minute helicopter tour we took around the island. This is the company we flew with. What made the trip especially awesome was the fact that I got to sit in the front right-hand seat that had no obstructions. So I shot this video with my iPhone 7S.

Wayne Capili reprimanded me last year when we met in San Francisco for not traveling with my DSLR. But ever since I got my iPhone 7S, I’ve been so pleased with the photos and video that the 7S produces, when we travel I leave my DSLRs at home. I could have shot this in 4K but I forgot that I had set it to 1080p video. Wayne is probably right; there are many situations where a DSLR or mirrorless with a zoom lens would get better results, but the 7S does so well for the room it takes!

I shot this handheld and it took me a while to realize that the biggest challenge of shooting inside a plexiglass helicopter windshield is that you have to pay close attention to not have the sun reflecting off the plexiglass.

I clearly have a way to go to get professional results but this was a real kick!

Unbelievably Bad Real Estate Photos

December 7th, 2017

Over the years I’ve made it a habit to occasionally pass a long some of the sites that feature bad MLS photo. It’s frankly amazing how many of these sites there are. These sites are always good for a few laughs. Here are several sites that I’ve come across recently: Continue Reading »

What Should You Charge for Real Estate Photography?

December 6th, 2017

Everyone starting out in real estate photography wants to know, “What should I charge for real estate photography in my geographic location?” There isn’t a simple answer that works everywhere. Over the years, I’ve done several posts that address real estate photography pricing from several different angles but recently while talking to someone about pricing, I realized that I’ve but never summarized a complete pricing process. So here is my attempt at doing that: Continue Reading »

Don’t Charge for Real Estate Photography until Your Verticals Are Vertical

December 5th, 2017

Recently, my wife Levi (a Realtor for 26 years) erupted in laughter at her computer and showed me these photos on an email flyer she had for a listing in Tacoma, WA. What my wife was laughing about was the row of little photos along the bottom that all have wacky verticals. When you line them up together, you get a particularly strange effect. It makes my stomach queasy! Continue Reading »

Wide-Angle Lenses for Real Estate Photography: How Wide Is Wide?

December 4th, 2017

This post was originally posted in December of 2007 and has consistently been the most popular post on the blog for every time period. I’ve talked to a lot of real estate photographers in the process of purchasing new DSLRs and have noticed that there is a misunderstanding about which lenses are appropriate for real estate photography.

First of all, there are two types of DSLRs: Continue Reading »

Interior Lighting with Multiple Strobes by Scott Hargis

December 3rd, 2017

ScottHargisLighting-300x198Note: this was originally posted on PFRE July 23, 2007.

First of all, I need to point out that this is Scott Hargis’s post. Like many of you, I’ve been admiring the way Scott uses a hand full of strobes to light a room to look like an Architectural Digest shoot and still keep the time to shoot a whole home within a few hours like the kitchen above. Scott has adapted the lighting techniques that David over at teaches (don’t put the strobe on camera, use manual flash, use Cactus radio flash triggers, or Yongnuo) to light interiors. So recently, I asked Scott to summarize the lighting explanations that he puts on his Flickr images into a description of how to approach lighting a room with multiple strobes in a systematic way. Here’s Scott’s description: Continue Reading »

Choosing Gear to Get Started in Real Estate Photography for the Least Cost

November 30th, 2017

The underlying assumption here is that you want to get started in real estate photography with the lowest possible cost.

First, some general principles:

  • Don’t fool around with point-and-shoot (non-interchangeable lens) cameras: A primary gear driver in real estate photography is a good quality wide-angle lens and this means you need a DSLR/Mirrorless with an interchangeable lens. Don’t even think about using a wide angle converter that screws onto a point and shoot; most are total crap!

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Voting for 2017 PFRE Photographer of the Year

November 29th, 2017

It is coming up on that time of the year when we choose the PFRE Photographer of the Year.

Here is the process for choosing Photographer of the Year for 2017:

  1. The contestants are all the monthly winners for 2017 listed here. I won’t be reposting the monthly winners anywhere else.
  2. The stills contest jurors will choose the winner with the same voting process they use to choose monthly winners.
  3. I’ll plan on announcing this year’s winner on December 22.

Readers, feel free to give jurors your input about choosing a PFRE Photographer of the Year by commenting on this post.

What’s a Quick and Easy Way to Capture Site Plan Sketches with Dimensions?

November 28th, 2017

Shahid recently asked:

 If you can tell me what is the best website to do site plans? I have seen few companies that do site plans. I want to know which is the best software that produces site plans.

I suggest that you look at Creating a site plan (a whole lot layout) is essentially the same as creating a floor plan. The best way to do it is to make a sketch on graph paper, scan it to a PDF, and send it to They can digitize it and build it into a tour with your photos. Also, if you want to add this kind of service to your regular products, they can set you up to be able to provide floor plans and site plans as a regular service.

How to Find Images That Have Been Stolen from You

November 27th, 2017

Recently, Architectural and Interior Design Photographer George Gutenberg of Palm Desert and Las Vegas had commented on this post.  I think his comment is worth highlighting. The following is an excerpt from his comment:

The other day, I did an “infringement search” using my Pixy account. The result is 3,204 infringements!

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