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Congratulations Tony Colangelo – PFRE Photographer of The Month for July

July 24th, 2016

2016JulyTonyColangeloCongratulations to Tony Colangelo of Victoria, BC who the jury as voted PFRE Photographer of the month for July 2016. This is Tony’s fourth PFRE photographer of the month win. Only Tony and Brandon Cooper are four-time winners. Also, it’s worth noting that Tony’s wins are over a period of four consecutive  years. He is the only one that has accomplished that. Thanks Tony for your long time participation!

Here are all the entries that the jurors awarded points to this month:

  1. Tony Colangelo
  2. Brian Doherty
  3. Ryan Wicks
  4. Matt Davis
  5. Alasdair Macintosh
  6. Celeb Vandermeer
  7. Matt Stallone
  8. Charles Lynch
  9. Barry MacKenzie
  10. Gary Kasl
  11. Aaron Kraft
  12. Dan Lopez Paniagua

Change in contest rules: I’ve decided to drop the all the contest rules on commenting and faving for the following reasons:

  1. It just takes too much time to explain it and enforce it.
  2. I think the rules on comments have had the effect of reducing discussion in the contest pool about the contest entries which is a negative.
  3. Jurors are capable of making good decisions without being influenced unduly by comments and faves.

So in future contests, comment, and fave all you want, anytime on the contest photos!

Here are Tony’s comments on his winning photo:

A special ‘thank you’ to both the jurors and all the participants this month. It is a tremendous honour to win this POTM, because, in the 4+ years that I’ve participated in these contests, I’ve *never* seen such a wealth of outstanding images, from the first entry to the last! I personally counted several images that could’ve easily replaced mine as the winning shot. Well done to all!

I hope you’ll all indulge me for a moment, as I’d like to offer a very special thanks to all of my coaching clients. As much as I LOVE photography, the coaching has quietly become my favourite part of my business. It has allowed me to cultivate relationships and friendships – literally from all over the world! It’s also forced me to think through the “what & how” of my work, which has made me a better photographer.

And, of course, many thanks to Larry for his continued commitment to PFRE and our community. I’ve said it before, Larry, and I’ll say it again: Where would we all be without this incredible resource you’ve set up for us?! Thank you.

As for the image, I clearly lucked out in terms of the subject matter! This is a composite of two ambient frames (one for the interior, the other for the view) and one flash frame, with a strobe on a monopod extended to the middle of the room, at relatively low power, if I recall, just to get some detail in the floor. The shot was put through ACR, with much work done in PS for some pesky casts; colour correction after those channels were desaturated; removal of reflected elements on the shower glass; and slight sharpening through the ‘high-pass’ filter. The shot was then finished up with Nik, for some contrast and detail enhancements.

Samsung T3 Portable SSDs – Fast, Small and Very Portable

July 21st, 2016

SamsungSSDT3Have you noticed how the size of external SSD drives has been dropping? About a year ago I started switching to Lacie external SSD drives (Memory that just look like disk drives) because they are so fast and they don’t require their own power. They are just powered off their USB or Thunderbolt cable.

A couple of weeks ago I discovered the newest generation of SSD drives. The Samsung T3 Portable SSD. My first reaction was disbelief. How could you get 500 GB in such a small package? They are literally about a half and inch shorter than a credit card and 3/8″ thick. They are amazingly fast – read-write speeds of up to 450 MB/s. And reportedly very reliable. They come in 250 Mb, 500 MB, 1 TB and 2 TB. For use on a laptop, they are awesome. I have a 500 MB and a 1 TB and I love them. Here is a more in-depth analysis.

How Many Real Estate Photographers Use Non-Adobe Photo-Editing Applications?

July 20th, 2016

Peggy is struggling with what photo editing application to use for real estate photography. She says:

Are there any real estate photographers looking at Aftershot Pro 3 as a contender for Lightroom? I am not a big fan of having to work outside of my existing file structure.  I am just starting out in RE Photography, so it is likely easier for someone like me to consider than someone who has been working in LR for years.

I have been on the ASP3 forum, but it is mainly participated in by Corel developers, or so it seems.  I would be interested in any thoughts or to talk to others who use or have tried ASP3.

As you can see from a poll we did some years ago the majority of PFRE readers use either Photoshop, Lightroom or Photoshop Elements or a combination. About 3% of readers use one of the non-Adobe applications. It’s time to take another look at this subject.

Since the last poll, Adobe has moved to a subscription based payment model which has caused some photographers to move away from Lightroom and Photoshop. However, the fact remains that the $9.99/mo photographers subscription is a great deal and Lightroom and Photoshop I believe, are the most used photo editing applications by real estate photographers.

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Is It Possible To Get By Shooting Interiors With Just A 24mm Effective Lens?

July 19th, 2016

WideAngleRima in London asked the following:

I am a freelance wedding photographer. I am currently trying to get into photographing properties to increase my income. I have a full frame Nikon D610 body with a 24-70mm lens. Is it possible get by shooting interiors with the 24-70mm? A new wide angle zoom lens is not in my budget!

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What’s The Best Way To Deliver Photos When You Charge Per Photo?

July 18th, 2016

DeliveryTod recently asked:

I’m trying to branch out from Real Estate photography into more Architectural and Interior Design photography. I am finding that Architects and Interior Designers usually are much more appreciative of good photography and willing to pay more. So I’ve quoted my pricing on a per image basis and my upcoming client is fine with that.  Now I’ve just realized that I’m not sure how to send him the images when I’d done with the shoot.   If he only pays for what he likes (which is how I’ve set it up), what is to keep the Architect from keeping all the photos that I send him for review?  I guess I could initially send him really small JPEG files.  Just wondering what other folks have done in this situation.

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Does Virtual Twilight Processing Make Sense For Real Estate Photographers?

July 17th, 2016

DaylightTwilightLast week a reader asked an interesting question:

I recently found a service some companies are providing Realtors called ‘Virtual Twilight’ Photography. Instead of going out and shooting at dusk they post process the daylight photos for the Twilight effect. I’ve looked all over the Internet and the PFRE blog but can’t seem to find any Virtual Twilight post-processing tutorials. Do you know where I might be able to find such information?

First of all, here’s an example of the kind of service she is referring to. Dave below uses this processor and says virtual twilights cost $25.

Her real question is how to I convert daylight to twilight myself? How do I take a daylight shot and turn it into a twilight shot? This is an interesting possibility and the examples at illustrate that it’s clearly possible. The basic question is how hard is it and it is worth it? Continue Reading »

Getting Started In Real Estate Photography For The Least Cost

July 14th, 2016

A6000This subject has been one of the most popular subjects here on the PFRE blog for many years. Here is what I used to recommend. But over the last year or so things have changed. I feel the need to rewrite my recommendations. Here are the ground rules:

  1. Don’t fool around with SmartPhones or non-interchangeable lens cameras because you need a wider angle lens than these typically have.
  2. A wide-angle lens is the most important gear you need: You need at least a 24mm (effective focal length) to shoot interiors and as wide as 15mm to 24mm effective focal length can be handy.
  3. Everyone needs at least one flash: Lighting is a key issue in real estate photography. The two primary lighting techniques are multiple manual flashes and LR/Enfuse (bracketing). Even if you use the later it’s helpful to have at least one flash to control color casts. This is why I recommend even beginners have at least one flash unit.
  4. Get a sturdy tripod for your camera: Any sturdy tripod is adequate. One with a 3-way adjustable head like #5 below is the best choice.

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My Initial Impressions Of My New Sony A6300

July 13th, 2016

SonyA6300About a month ago just as we were leaving for a week’s vacation in Eastern Oregon the UPS guy brought me a new Sony A6300.

Wayne Capili and so many others have been reporting great things about all the new Sony mirrorless cameras I decided I needed to get with it and try one out. The only reason I decided to go with the A6300 over the A6000 is it just became available and I wanted to be able to shoot 4K video which the A6000 can’t do. Another motivation for the purchase was the size of the body and glass compared to my historic old Canon 5DMkII.

I’ve not used the A6300 for real estate yet mostly because I’m still trying to get my mind around the features like the Electronic View Finder and focus peaking. Here are some of my initial impressions: Continue Reading »

Update On The CoreLogic Class Action Suit

July 12th, 2016

copyrightToday Joel Rothman sent me the following status update on the CoreLogic Class Action suit we’ve been following for the last 2 years:

On behalf of plaintiffs Robert Stevens and Steven Vandel, we are disappointed at the decision of the District Court for the Southern District of California dismissing the plaintiffs’ complaint against CoreLogic for removal of copyright management information.

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How Do You Control Wonky Color Casts From LR/Enfuse?

July 11th, 2016

CameraCalibrationAndy recently asked the following question about using the LR/Enfuse process:

Am finding still results from Nikon FX cameras using Enfuse a little wonky on the color casts. I’m wondering if you have suggestions of how to address this issue? A colleague shoots Canon and gets better color rendering using LR/Enfuse.

I’ve never used a Nikon FX body but there are two standard ways of controlling wonky color casts: Continue Reading »

Manual Exposure Blending With Photoshop

July 10th, 2016

Last week Andi, a beginning photographer in Australia, asked me to identify what technique one of his competitors was using. It didn’t look like an ambient shot, it looked a little like flash but not completely. It was clearly flash and ambient blend. Some call it exposure blending in Photoshop.

You will see people in the PFRE Flickr forum talk about this technique or refer to blending an ambient image and one or more flash images together. As you can see from the tutorial above this is a very powerful technique. You can combine the best aspects of several images into one image.

The YouTube video above is by Simon Maxwell, an Architectural photographer working in the UK illustrates how to use exposure blending to carefully control the color balance in an interior shot. Simon now has 4 chapters in the newest version of Enfuse and Hand Blending in Photoshop For Real Estate Photography that go into detail on this powerful and popular manual blending technique. Controlling color balance is just one aspect of this technique.

Exposure blending is something you typically use for a project where you have plenty of time for post-processing. Since you could spend 30 minutes or more on a single image so this is not a technique I recommend for a typical real estate shoot where you are under tight time constraints. That said, I hear a surprising number of folks talk about blending images.

How Do Real Estate Photographers Get Started In Drone Photography and Video?

July 7th, 2016

DJI4Ray in North Carolina says:

I’ve been waiting for Drone Rules/Regulations to be clarified before I jumped in.  Time to jump.  I’d like to hear some recommendations for a good first time drone buy, important accessories to buy, pricing and service terms for clients, Insurances acquired, and “If I knew then what I know now” start-up recommendations.

Yes, expect that you are not the only one that has these same questions. The new Part 107 Rule announced by the FAA a couple of weeks ago has got a lot of real estate photographers and Realtors thinking about these same things! First of all Part 107 rule is announced but not working until late August. Continue Reading »

What Floor Plan Creation Software Do Real Estate Photographers Use?

July 6th, 2016

I’ve had some questions in the last few months asking besides, Matterport, what are the top software applications for creating floor plans.

Since it’s been over a year since we talked about floor plans I thought I’d do a poll this time. The poll has all the floor plan software that was discussed in the last post on floor plan software (the post and the comments).

I’ve explicitly left Matterport out of this poll because it’s more of a high-end expensive product. We’ve had separate discussions on Matterport.

So if you provide a floor plan product with your real estate photographer services please take the poll. If you use a product that’s not on the poll leave a comment and let us know which product you use. 

Note once a poll like this starts I can’t add items to the poll but we will add it to the next poll.

How Do You Real Estate Videographers Deliver Video?

July 5th, 2016

VideoMike who is just starting out asks about delivering video:

I’m shooting both stills and video drone photography now for local agents. I’m having a few challenges on what resolution to deliver to the agents for their MLS listing, Especially VIDEO! What is everyone using for video format (mpeg4, avi, mov etc) and the resolution (HD, 720P etc).

The part of your question about delivering stills photos, we have covered in the past. Continue Reading »

What Client Management Software Do Real Estate Photographers Use?

July 4th, 2016

CMSZoltan in Florida asks:

Do you know of any good client management software for real estate photographers?
I have am testing which might just work though it is tailored mostly to portrait and wedding photographers. Maybe some community members would have some good suggestion.
Also, I want to implement a rewards program to my customers where I can give them thank you points for their business and for their referrals which can be exchanged for discounts towards further services of ours. I definitely could not find a proper software for that yet as all existing ones for small businesses require the clients to sign up on an in-store terminal (iPad). I often don’t even meet my clients so I would need a solution where I can keep track of their activity and send them reminders of their status and options. Let me know if you know of ant software which could help me in this.

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