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As A Photographer How Can You Use Social Media To Promote Your Business?

June 28th, 2015

SocialMediaPeter in New York recently asked:

Would you know of photographers who would share their knowledge how they use Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr, and those sites to promote their business. I would love a “how to & why ?”.

To answer Peter’s question my first reaction is to point at a photographer that is doing a great job of using social media to promote their business. My example is Ethan Tweetie ( Ethan has explicitly told me that social media is working for him. You can see for yourself by simply Googling “luxury real estate.” Where ever you are Ethan’s name will likely be on the first page towards the top of the search results. It’s clear that Ethan is doing a good job at this his recent Google+ post points out his photos are in the July 2015 Architectural Digest for the second time this year.

So I think it is possible to look at Ethan’s use of the various social media sites and see how he uses it. Here is my summary:

  1. Website is at the center of social media strategy: First of all Ethan’s website is at the very center of his social media. That is, the reason for using social media is to get traffic to your website. He has a great website with beautiful design that features his portfolios in all the areas that he works. The site also has a blog so he can put articles and stories about what he is doing. His posts on Google+ and FaceBook are concise and link to a full article on the subject on the blog part of his site. This brings traffic that is attracted to his work from the various social media sites to his site where they can see all his work.
  2. A strong portfolio – Quality Matters: He only puts the strongest images in his portfolio and then the posts those strong images on the social media sites even though the images he posting may be 5 or 6 years old. When I first noticed it took me a while to understand what he was doing. A strong image is a strong image no matter when you shot it. The point here is, that people are attracted to great images just like butterflies to bright flowers!
  3. A presence on all the major social sites: You can go to all Ethan’s social media sites from the buttons at the bottom of the front page of his site. FaceBook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Houzz, Vimeo, Linkedin.
  4. Social posts for businesses are relatively business  oriented: You don’t need to have massive numbers of posts on a business social media account. Just create a continued presence  and respond to others. Don’t post a photo every day. Only post high quality photos from your portfolio.
  5. Flickr is not a social media site in the same sense as Twitter and FaceBook: Flickr is more of a photo sharing site that doesn’t have mechanisms to drive traffic to your site like Twitter or FaceBook do.

So the strategy of social media is to bring traffic to your site where potential clients can see the full power and breadth of your work.

Ethan is a PFRE coach and if you are interested in getting into more details in how Ethan uses social media he will be happy to coach anyone on how to use social media to build your photography business. You can contact him via the PFRE coaching page.


My Response To The Issues Raised With This Months Photographer Of The Month Contest

June 25th, 2015

ContestI want to respond to everyone about a couple of issues that arose with this months PFRE Photographer of the month contest. Here are the two issues:

  1. Theme definition: Some people felt that Tony’s winning image didn’t conform to the theme of  “Large interior adjoined space.”
  2. Voting process: Some people thought that various entries that didn’t receive any points should have gotten points.

My general attitude on the PFRE contests is that their purpose is about getting feedback from the best shooters and raising the quality of your work, not whether the points awarded to everyone that entered is perfectly fair and rationally justifiable. The fact is a huge amount of the voting process is subjective and personal opinion.

I want to do everything I can to REDUCE the number of entries in this contest and spend less time on it. Getting 30 entrants to follow the 10 existing rules takes too much of my time. There is no way I’m going to make the rules more complicated. I may even put a cap on the number of entries. The month we had 60 entries was insane…. too much work for everyone involved in the contest.

My response to arguments about justifying the voting process and how and whether points are awarded is that I want to only announce the winner and perhaps the second and third place. No announcement of points, just who won first, second and third. I want to eliminate these discussions completely. They have no value. I actually did this for a few months but gave in to a reader that wanted to have a detailed history of points awarded. I still may go back to this scheme that doesn’t even disclose points and voting process. What other photographic contest discloses the voting process and points and let contestants argue about whether everything is fair and fuzzy feeling? None that I know of. Continue Reading »

What Do You Charge To Shoot 1 to 3 minutes of UAV Video For Real Estate?

June 24th, 2015

Anthony recently asked the following:

I’ve searched here and the flickr group, but the answer to these questions still elude me. What is a reasonable rate for basic video? What is a reasonable rate for drone flights/photos?

We’ve done a poll for standard real estate video that is fairly recent but we’ve never done a poll for Drone video so let’s do it now!

I expect this pricing will vary a great deal depending on the demand in your market as well as the complexity of the shoot.

The The demand here in rural Oregon is strong. I’ve gotten several requests for UAV video to market acreage and I’ve seen some great UAV video done to market large acreage property in central Oregon.

Congratulations Tony Colangelo, Victoria, BC – June PFRE Photographer of The Month

June 23rd, 2015

2015JuneTonyColangeloCongratulations to Tony Colangelo, Victoria, BC, Canada.  Another close competition again this month with a 3 way tie for 2nd place.

We had some discussion about how this theme (large interior adjoined space) is a bit fuzzy as to what it really means. Matthew Stallone and others took exception to whether Tony’s image is a fit for the theme. Next June, I’ll either refine the definition or come up with a completely different theme.

This is Tony’s third win. He won in June 2014 (for the same theme) and August 2013.

Here are the results of the jury voting:

  1. 25 pts, #19, Tony Colangelo – Victoria BC, Canada
  2. 10 pts, #12, Dennis Frost – Nanaimo, BC, Canada, 10 pts, #28, Adrian Jones – Clifton, Cape Town, South Africa, 10 pts, #29, Brian Doherty – Boston, MA
  3. 5 pts, #10, Alasdair McItosh – York, UK, 5 pts, #11, Robert Morning – Los Angeles, California, 5 pts, #21, Seth Parker – Huntsville, Alabama
  4. 3 pts, #13, Hamish Beeston – Bristol, UK, 3 pts, #18, David Lane – Miami, Florida
  5. 2 pts, #3, Thom Neese –  Omaha, Nebraska, 2 pts, #17, Ryan Wicks – Kent, England

Here are Tony’s comments: Continue Reading »

Update On the Manfrotto XPRO Geared 3 Way Head

June 22nd, 2015

ManfrottoXPROA couple of months ago the Manfrotto XPRO geared 3 way tripod head was released.

For real estate shooting a geared head like this is a great help keeping the camera level in all three planes. Ben Schmanke has a nice little review of this new head.

While it has some minor short comings that Ben points out this head is the least expensive of the three most popular geared heads used by real estate photographers:

  1. Manfrotto 405 Pro
  2. Manfrotto 410 Junior geared head
  3. Manfrotto XPRO

Fantastic Frank in Stockholm and Berlin – A Model For Real Estate Marketing

June 21st, 2015

FantasticFrank2Ernie in Los Angeles last week said:

I’m a Realtor here in Los Angeles. Since I’ve been a Realtor I’ve used only professional photography in each and every listing. I’m a huge fan of the European real estate firm Fantastic Frank and their amazing photography. I guessed it could be called editorial magazine style. I’m trying to get my photographers in LA to match this style in post processing but their still way off. how would you describe their style and how can I mimic this particular style with my post processing? I’ve searched high and low with countless google search combinations trying to see if anyone has cracked the post processing steps used by Fantastic Frank photographers. I want to be that realtor that brings this type of uniqueness as a result using this type of style in LA. Am I the only one who is interested in understanding how they do it? I would appreciate if you could point me in the right direction. I’m interested in learning post processing myself Just to acieve this.

I agree, I like this Scandinavian style look too. It was just a couple of months ago in the March 2015 PFRE monthly contest that I first discovered this Scandinavian (or nordic) light look in interior photography when Jonas Berg of Gothenburg, Sweden entered this image in the PFRE contest. Jonas’s work looks much like the style of interior photos on the Fantastic Frank site. In this PFRE post Jonas Berg describes this high key Scandinavian look. Continue Reading »

Cable TV Advertising Strategy That Connie Barnes Is Using In El Dorado Hills California

June 18th, 2015

JimBarnesJim Barnes does real estate photography and property video for his wife Connie Barnes who is a top Realtor in El Dorado Hills California.

Last week Jim described his Cable TV marketing strategy. This is one of the few times I’ve heard about Realtors doing marketing on cable TV. Here is Jim’s description of what he’s doing on Cable TV:

1) My TV budget is about $1,700 per month and I get about 800 spots in my local area with about 25,000 cable TV subscribers. Included in that budget are fixed positions on FOX NEWS Prime time which is very popular in our county. I set myself up as an agency which gives us an additional discount.

Keep in mind, unless you do your own video production, like I do, you would need to pay production costs which could exceed cost of the ads. This one of the reasons that we like this niche.

Unlike broadcast, with Cable you buy the zones you want. For example, Atlanta is a huge TV market and the cable operator breaks the city into 48 zones. You can buy as many zones as you want, rotate through zones, it doesn’t matter.

I was spending the same budget in our local newspaper which at one point had $14,000 delivery households and eventually declined to 6,600 total distribution. Newspaper and direct mail are the most often used advertising method in our area by Realtors. Nobody is on TV.

2) We are getting lots of great feedback and generating buzz as well. When people see you on TV they tend to be impressed. We got a listing from a couple who placed a call to an agent to come list their house. They were waiting all afternoon for a call back and saw our spot on FOX NEWS. The seller said, let’s call that gal! Our sellers also like the idea that we will feature their home on TV.

While cable TV is not for everyone, it’s a great example of the fact that top Realtors are doing marketing that makes them stand out from the crowd. Click here to see Jim’s cable TV marketing page that has several examples of 30-second cable TV spots that Jim has produced.

I think there are opportunities here for professional videographers to supply 30 second spots to Realtors. As of this writing Connie Barnes is the only Realtors advertising one cable TV in the US. Anyone else out there doing this?

Does Photo Mechanic Have A Place In Real Estate Photography?

June 17th, 2015

PhotoMechanicMark recently ask the question:

Recent conversations with some wedding and event photographers have highlighted me to the usefulness of a tool called Photo Mechanic for checking focus at 100% and culling large amounts of photos in a very short period of time. They say it has changed their life, literally! I just wondered if anyone has tried it for real estate photography and what their experiences are? What workflow is best to move from Photo Mechanic into Lightroom?

Yes, absolutely, Photo Mechanic has been popular with professional photographers of all kinds since the late 1990s. It’s strength is that it allows you to quickly browse through photos and quickly select which ones you want to keep and which ones you don’t. This tutorial by Trevor Dayley shows how to do this and how to then import the best photos from a shoot into Lightroom for editing. Photo Mechanic isn’t a Lightroom replacement, it’s a step you go through before Lightroom of you are processing a huge amount of photos at a time.

Anyone wanting to use this pre-Lightroom workflow step to quickly browse through and evaluate and choose the photos you want to keep should also look at the On1 suite. It’s browser is very similar to Photo Mechanic and also has a bunch of features, like layers, that complement Lightroom. The On1 suite was actually designed to complement Lightroom.

Are there any Photo Mechanic users out there?

Giving A Presentation On Real Estate Photography To An Office Of Agents

June 16th, 2015

BrokeragePresKerry Bern moderates a real estate photography group on Linkedin and pointed out that one of the group members (Ray Kenney) posted a video of a presentation that he gives to real estate brokerages. Kerry says:

I thought he did a great job with his presentation. The important part he didn’t go in to the meeting to simply “pimp his services”. He showed them how they can create better listing photos. Except he used examples that only a very few agents have the gear to actually create those images.

I agree, I’ve had the opportunity of being on both sides of presentations in real estate offices. I remember hating to sit through presentations to our office in the early 2000’s. There was always someone trying to pimp something to real estate agents. Here are some tips for brokerage presentations: Continue Reading »

What Are The Options For Setting The Picture Style For Video On The 5D MkIII?

June 15th, 2015

PictureProfileLast week Jeff asked:

What are the options for setting the picture style on a 5D MkIII for real estate video?

Vincent Laforet did a post a couple of years ago when the 5DMkIII was just released that explained some of the options for setting the picture style for video. As Vincent says in the video this help you capture the widest dynamic range possible.

What to real estate videographers use for picture style settings for the 5DMkIII?


The June PFRE Photographer Of The Month Contest is Closed – Video Contest Open

June 15th, 2015

JuneStillContestAs of today, the PFRE June Photographer of the month contest is closed. I’m turning the entrants over to the jury for voting. As usual the entries are in the PFRE still contest flickr group.

We have a great bunch if images from entrants around the world. As usual, there is much to be learned from studying these images reading the comments and seeing how the jury votes.

Feel free to join the contest Flickr group and comment on the photos. Don’t worry about influencing the jury the have assured me they can think for themselves.

We are now accepting entries for the video contest through June 22.

Is There Any Way of Making Sure Your Real Estate Photos Are Not Being Used Without Your Permission?

June 14th, 2015

302151-residential-95f2je-oLast week Russell asked:

Today I got a call to shoot a listing, which by chance I had already shot several months ago. It turned out that this home had been completely remodeled by a “flipper”, so it would indeed need to be re-shot.

This got me thinking about a couple things:
1) What is a “standard” charge for licensing of images after the home sells and is back on the market? (assuming nothing has changed and doesn’t require a re-shoot)

2) Short of “web surfing” location addresses for a sale, does anyone have a way of making sure their images are not being reused by another agent?

Charge For Image Reuse:
My take on a reuse charge is to charge the same for every licensing of the same images. Or if this bothers you charge slightly less since you don’t have to make another trip to the property. What do others charge for reusing images? Continue Reading »

Automating Lightroom With Presets, Templates, Collections And Virtual Copies

June 11th, 2015

AutomatingLightroomLightroom is at the center of most real estate photographers’ post processing because it can do much of what real estate photographers need to do to process a shoot. So the speed that you can use Lightroom can have a huge impact on the amount of time you spend post-processing a shoot.

In these two tutorials (Part1 and Part2) Julieanne Kost shows or to take advantage of presets, templates, collections, virtual copies and more in order to eliminate much of the repetitive post processing tasks as importing, tagging, developing, exporting and sharing. Be sure to get Julieanne’s PDF of all the shortcuts for Lightroom’s develop module on her blog.

Listen To Fred Light Tell The Story Of Building His Real Estate Photography/Videography Business

June 10th, 2015

NashuaVideoTours400Many long time PFRE readers have read about Fred Light and his real estate video company Nashua Video Tours here before.  Fred is a pioneer in this business and is most well known for his video walk-throughs of real estate.

This 55-minute interview on the Digital Convergence Podcast is well worth listing to for anyone building a business in real estate photography or videography.

What Is The Best Way For Real Estate Photographers To Straighten Verticals?

June 9th, 2015

UprightKelli asks the following:

I have been a professional photographer for many many years but I am interested in real estate photography as opposed to family/senior. I am having a really hard time getting my verticals right and I would love to perfect this before going public. Do you have a resource (blog post/video tutorial)? I searched your blog and most the posts on this subject are really old, I didn’t know if there was update software or hardware to help.

Kelli is right while I’ve done a lot of posts over the years on the subject of verticals I’ve not done one since Lightroom 5 has been out. Since the release of Lightroom 5, it is the best and fastest way to straighten verticals. There are many other ways to straighten verticals, but Lightroom is amazingly fast and easy. This single feature is worth the cost of Lightroom for a real estate photographer! The Lens Corrections panel contains everything you need to quickly straighten verticals and horizontals.

I find that if I just get the verticals close in the camera that a click on the Auto button in the Lens Corrections panel gets them right on during post processing. This video tutorial explains all the features and details. Note that there was no changes in this area between Lightroom 5 and 6/CC.