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Should Real Estate Photographers Get An Associate MLS Membership?

September 28th, 2016

joinmlsPeggy in Alabama says:

I have been asked by a few realtors if I would consider offering the service to upload the photos for them as an add on.

I just can’t imagine I would recoup the cost of an associate membership to do this, not to mention my time. Do any of you offer this service?

Yes, I agree, I would stay away from uploading photos to your client’s listings. Besides not being able to recover your costs, my concern would be more related to having photographers accessing their clients MLS accounts. In the office I worked in, the office support staff had special accounts that allowed them to upload photos to any agent account in their office. This is more appropriate than having photographers do it. Brokerages should carefully control access to MLS accounts!

A far more useful reason for a photographer to get an associate MLS membership would be to be able to get an MLS key box key and to shoot listings without the listing agent being present to give the photographer access to the property. This can be a huge advantage. It saves the agent a lot of time.

Do You Need Professional Talent For Upper-end Property Video?

September 27th, 2016

KristineLemannJonathon in Florida asked the following:

I am curious where other photographers that are shooting lifestyle videos get their actors/actresses from?

I am using the Realtors, their friends and my friends for the most part but would like to use professional talent on some bigger projects.

I’ve never been aware of real estate videographers using professional talent. It probably happens but my sense is it’s not very common. This question brings to mind this video by Brett Clements and his crew at shot back in 2008. I believe they won an award as the top Australian property video of the year in 2008. an Australian company based in Sydney, Melbourne, The Gold Coast and Brisbane.

When I first saw this video I was sure the lady in the video was a professional actress. But no, it is Kristine Lehmann, the listing agent for the property being marketed in the video! This is one of my favorite property videos ever. I couldn’t help dragging it out again as an example of what non-professional talent can do.

I think this demonstrates what you can achieve with good writing, great direction, good camera work and Realtors!

Do others use professional talent for their upper-end property video?

What are the rules of selling a license to images with posters or art on the walls homes?

September 26th, 2016

copyrightBrian asked the following question:

Recently, I was shooting a property that was being relisted. The homeowner had lots of images of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley on the walls of a 2nd-floor loft/pool table area. And this dawned on me; What are the rules of selling a license to images with posters or art on the walls in these homes? I’m not showcasing the art on the walls, but a life-size Marilyn poster, or in another case, fathead poster of Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry seems suspect for copyright issues further down the road?

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Evlaa – A Lightroom Plugin That Allows Your Client To Easily Review A Shoot

September 26th, 2016

evlaaLast week Martin from explained the Evlaa Lightroom plugin that allows you to create a private collection of images in Lightroom that your client can review, rate and comment on from a SmartPhone, tablet or computer. This plugin streamlines the process of having your client review images.

While many real estate photographers probably don’t put a lot of energy into client review, there are some that could make use of this functionality.

I tried it out. It works quite well. Anyone can try it out, free for 15 days. After that it’s quite reasonable (54€/year or 6€/month). If you need help getting going there are a bunch of good tutorials one their support page.

Check it out and give it a try.

Is Getting A Part 107 Certification For Real Estate Photography Worth It?

September 25th, 2016

Greg in Arizona asks:

Now that the FAA has their regulations and testing in place, I’m curious how other photographers are handling the registration process.  They have made the testing and process so onerous I’m questioning whether it is worth it. I’ve about decided its not worth the expense and hassle to get certified.

I’d be real interested to see what people think of the test. I hear it is difficult, not all that related to radio control, and more oriented to FAA policies and reading aerial maps. And that you  really need to take coursework to prepare for the test. I’m sure I could do it, but I’m not sure it is worth it and perhaps I should discontinue aerial work. I know the FAA will be looking for a first case to fine.

While I’ve not taken the test myself my sense from looking at the study materials and the fact that 12,000 passed the test in the first two weeks is that the whole process is much more sensible than the previous 333 registration process. Is it optimal for what it needs to do to regulate small commercial drones? Probably not. There is plenty to complain about.

On the other hand, drone photography and video is fast becoming essential in many real estate markets. When you look at property video these days the sequences that people are getting are amazing. They are getting video that you just can’t get any other way than a small drone. Even still aerial shots with drones are stunning. The demand for drone photography and videography is very high. Real estate photographers that can’t do it themselves will have to depend on drone specialists with all the scheduling and extra cost issues that that brings.

So, to me, it seems the current part 107 registration process is probably worth the hassle unless you are just shooting low-end homes.

What does everyone think? Please take the poll above.

Congratulations To Travis Rowan – PFRE Photographer Of The Month For September

September 23rd, 2016

travisrowansept2016Congratulations to Travis Rowan of Maui, Hawaii who has won the September photographer of the month for September. Travis won this contest last September – I think that the September theme, “Patio deck or garden space” is just Travis’s thing!

Here are the contestants that the jurors awarded points to this month: Continue Reading »

Licensed Agent/Photographers May Not Be Able To Retain Photo Copyrights For Their Listing Photos

September 22nd, 2016


Alexander Stross who is a licensed agent in Austin, TX and a photographer sent me a link to Venkat Balasubramani’s article over at  describing a suit that Alexander filed against Redfin. The 5th circuit court recently ruled against Alexander. The essence of the case is as follows:

Stross is a photographer and broker who participates in multiple listing services (MLSs). He alleges that Redfin infringed because (1) it used “Stross’s photographs of sold listings for purposes other than ‘to support an estimate of value on a particular property to a particular client’” and (2) it recommercialized Stoss’s photographs by “encouraging” social sharing. The court in an earlier order says “there is a strong case for infringement, but factual issues remain regarding the alleged exceeding the scope of the ACTRIS license” and Redfin’s eligibility for DMCA safe harbor protection. The court now reverses course and grants summary judgment in favor of Redfin.

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What Should Your Lighting Goal Be When Doing Real Estate Photography

September 21st, 2016

lightingLarry in Philadelphia asks:

I have read material on the Photography for Real Estate site, your publication regarding RE photography for realtors, Scott Hargis’  text on lighting and have seen every video that I can find online.  Nearly all of these educational materials talk about the importance of using “bright” photos when shooting for interior real estate (MLS listings).  I totally agree, as bright RE photos just look best to me.  However, whenever I study the photos listed on Flickr’s Photography for RE, I see a fair number of photos that get praised, but to me, they appear much darker than what I like.  Many times the darkness is on one-half of the room as the brighter side of the room is lit by the window light.  When I shoot rooms of this nature I tend to add supplemental light (multiple speedlites) in an attempt to balance the light in the room.  In other words, I want the area of the room away from the window light to be as bright as the side closest to the windows.  Am I incorrect in doing this in my attempt is the make the room as bright as possible, without appearing flashy?

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How Do Photographers Handle Fog On Lenses In A Humid Environment?

September 20th, 2016

foggedlensPeggy on the Alabama Gulf Coast asks:

How do you all handle fog on your lenses? I have some extreme temps here from interior to exterior, and this am I was shooting some turbulent skies and my camera fogged up. I cleaned the viewfinder, lense and LCD but it fogs up on the interior. Is there a trick to the trade on how y’all handle this?

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How Can You Improve The Clarity Of The View Through The Windows Of Homes You Shoot?

September 19th, 2016

JLSlivingSusan in Green Bay asked:

I am a RE photographer and still struggling with a few things. I am schooled in photography at the community college and really need to make this my career I struggle because I want to be the very best at what I do, and I know that I am not there yet.

My competition has recently upped his game by offering photos where you can see the outside better than the inside. I recently bought Photomatix in hopes that I could replicate this technique, but I am unable to do so. How can I get better window clarity?

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What To Charge For Neighborhood Photos For Real Estate Use

September 18th, 2016

copyrightBrad in Idaho asks:

I live in a resort town and have a couple clients that would like to use my touristy (non-real estate) photos on their listings and websites. I have a lot of questions and I’m not sure how to go about charging them. Do I charge a per listing fee? Is $25-50 too much per listing? Or do I charge a one-time fee? Is $200-500 a good range for that? Do they own the rights to those photos? For example, can other realtors buy the same photo? I assume they won’t be watermarked so there’s the chance that they could be stolen. If they are used on listings, websites, pamphlets, etc…how can I protect them without watermarking them? I have been referred to and and I am checking them out now.

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What Lens Do You Use For Your Sony A7s?

September 15th, 2016

sony16-35zeissMike in Maryland asks:

I am interested in the A7s for video of homes. I am new to video and currently shoot stills with a Nikon D4 (too heavy for video).  The A7s seems to get very favorable feedback regarding low light and general picture quality. Can someone help me with recommendation of a wide angle lens for the A7s?

Also, what is the difference between A mount and E mount lenses.

One popular alternative lens for the A7s to use for property video is the Sony 16-35mm Vario-Tessar. What are others using?

Here is an article that explains A mount and E mount lenses.

How To Shoot Expensive Homes For Your Portfolio?

September 14th, 2016

ProtfolioGeoffrey asked:

How can I find expensive homes, to shoot for my portfolio when I’m just starting out?

I’m been writing to staging companies, offering free images in exchange for a photography session. The staging companies are not responding as enthusiastically as I had hoped for.

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How Do You Price Resale Images?

September 13th, 2016

upperendThomas asked:

I have just started my architecture and high-end real estate business (still working on my portfolio; business website in progress) and recently had my first paid shoot with an architect. That shoot involved a two-day session at a $7mm house with the client playing an extremely active role in the photography process. Some shots took 2hrs to complete. I charged on a project basis (creative fee+ digital processing+ admin) which, on a pre-tax basis, cost the client $190/image.

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How To Get More Depth of Field On An Interior Shot

September 12th, 2016

focusstackingRecently Tim asked:

I shoot 360 degree virtual tours.  I shoot f8 @ 200.  How can I increase my depth of field?

I just so happens I was watching a video on Architectural photography by Richard Klein and he illustrated focus stacking on an interior shot. Since I like Macro photography, I’ve done this on Macro shots but never even thought of doing it on an interior shot since with a wide angle lens depth of field is never a problem. But you can do exactly the same focus stacking on an interior shot. Here is a focus stacking tutorial. Just do this on your interior shot. You won’t need as many different shots as you would with a Macro shot but this will extend the depth of field of your lens.