RSS Feed Photography For Real Estate

Do Real Estate Photographers Need To Carry A Separate Pole Camera All The Time?

February 10th, 2016

ElevatedShots2Matt asks:

I’m about to buy the equipment for PAP (Pole Aerial Photography), curious how most folks do it- keep a second camera, lens, battery, etc in the car every day for when the need for PAP arises? Since we don’t want to put our 5DMk2 up in the air, was planning on using a Rebel with wide angle Sigma lens for the PAP work.

My experience has been until you see each property how do you know when you’re going to need a pole shot? Perhaps you could use Google Street View to decide ahead of time. Some properties look like awful when shot from the level of the street when the property is elevated and require a pole shot just to look reasonable.

Being ready to take a pole exterior shot all the time is just another reason to use a camera like the Sony A5100 for a pole camera. It’s small, takes up very little space but is high quality.

My approach is since I have a pickup, I carry a fold up ladder that I put up in the bed of my pickup that gets my camera about 20′ above the ground. I take the ladder to every shoot and use it almost every time because an elevated shot may not be essential but elevated shots always look better than shooting at street level. With this approach, I don’t have to carry a special pole camera, I just use my 5DMkII standing on the ladder.

Over the years, others have described heavy-duty tripod solutions that are stable enough to handle the weight of full-size DSLRs with no problem. For example here, here and here.

How Do Real Estate Photographers Handle Properties That Are In Poor Condition?

February 9th, 2016

StagedNoAaron brings up one of the classic problems for listing agents and real estate photographers:

I was recently contacted by an agent who took over a property from another agent, who didn’t/couldn’t sell the home. By no surprise, the house was vacant, dirty, all the light bulbs were missing or burnt out. They left all the childrens stickers on the walls and there was a huge garbage pile out back. Well, I made the best use of my A6000, wide angle lens and flash and I was happy with the outcome. After I got home, I viewed the previous agents photography, as they also hired a photographer, and their images were much better due to the condition of the home, and furniture being present when the owners were living there. No surprise. I know that this is not my fault but it is important to me that the agent understands the difference between the two outcomes and the cause of them. It almost makes me want to tell the agent to not worry about my fee for photography, as their future opportunities outweigh any one time compensation. My question is, how do we handle this situation?

Continue Reading »

Russell’s Example Of Why Real Estate Photographers Need Liability Insurance

February 8th, 2016

InsuranceA while back, Russell in Portland, OR gave me this example of why real estate photographers need good insurance:

I know you’ve done a post on this subject, but I had something unfortunate happen to me last Thursday that makes me wonder if it shouldn’t be revisited.
While shooting a single family listing, I had backed myself up into a corner to catch as much of the kitchen as I could. Hearing something fall from the small shelf between the kitchen and the living room (with white carpet), I knew exactly what I had accidentally pushed over… the very same scented liquid wax pot that I had considered moving a few minutes ago!

I won’t go into the hindsight thing or how stupid I felt for not moving it when I first considered it (choosing not to because it was so full that I might spill it). Needless to say, the sight of RED wax covering a large part of a white carpet almost brought me to the point of adding another stain (the contents of my stomach)!

Luckily a quick Google search showed that a wet towel and a hot iron was the key to pulling almost every trace of it out.

Wow! Great story! Good thinking. Google saved you the bother of making an insurance claim!

A Little Something To Help Keep Track of Your Mileage Tax Deductions

February 7th, 2016

MileIQTax day is right around the corner so now’s a perfect time for real estate photographers to think about ways to lower their tax burden.

Back in November when we talked mileage tracking Apps Randy pointed out that:

MileIQ (59 bucks a year) literally pings my location every 30 seconds, recording a “trip” if I leave my location. At the end of the day I swipe each trip right for a personal trip, left for a business trip. I shoot almost 1000 homes a year and log about 35,000 miles, 80 percent business. Can’t afford not to. It also logs the expenses directly to Freshbooks (my accounting software) which my accountant has a direct link to.

I’ve noted no high battery use, and it doesn’t require any other hardware in the car.

Since that November post, I’ve started using MileIQ too and I like it better than the other mileage tracking Apps that I’ve tried. I find it very painless and easy!

We now have a special MileIQ discount for PFRE readers (click here and then use checkout code PFRE20) that gives you 20% off an annual plan. There’s also a little MileIQ ad on the right sidebar where you can get the discount… just be sure to use the PFRE20 discount code.

What Should You Charge For Selling Your Rights To Photos?

February 4th, 2016

shutterstock_130311209Diana (a different Diana than yesterday) asks:

I was trying to search for my answer to this on your site, but I couldn’t quite find what I was looking for, I’m also a little impatient and strapped for time. I have a Nationwide Home Builder inquiring as to my rates and wanting all rights to my photos. I have no problem giving them the rights to my photos but I am wondering how much above my current rate I should charge to be compensated for giving them up.

Also, I am trying to be fare in establishing my trip fees and was curious to know if you have a formula for this, I sometimes feel like I am not being fare not only to my agents, but to myself, so I would like to find a better common ground. I live in the King County/Seattle area. I travel from Snohomish to King County, really all over. I currently quote a $25 trip fee when traveling over 20 mi. one way from my home address. I would love some input on this one.

Here is my take on Diana’s questions: Continue Reading »

How Should Real Estate Photographers Determine Their Shoot Price?

February 3rd, 2016

EnfuseLR6Diana asks a question that comes up in almost every discussion we have about pricing:

Is anyone using a sliding scale fee, such as a percentage of the asking price of the real estate ?

It would seem to me that the greater the value of the property, the more photos you would need and want to take. For example: A parcel of land with no improvements might warrant one price; a $100,000 tract home in a subdivision would warrant charging another price; and a $750,000 ranch with outbuildings and acreage would warrant an even higher price.

What are your thoughts and experience on pricing photographs for these varied properties ?

Continue Reading »

A Must Read For Real Estate Photographers That Worry About Protecting Their Copyright

February 2nd, 2016

CopyrightWorkflowI just got an email from Steve Schlackman an IP attorney and author of ArtLawJournal.com the blog about artistic copyright issues. Steve highlighted a recent blog post titled Six Steps to Safer Image Sharing by Chris Reed that I found very interesting because:

  1. It features a study of social media sites that tested how each social media site treats metadata in uploaded images.
  2. It also features Chris’s book, Copyright Workflow For Photographers: Protecting, Managing and Sharing Digital Images.

I purchased a Kindle version of Chris’s book and have quickly paged through it. It proposes a methodical approach to registering, sharing, selling and licensing images and monitoring and enforcing your copyright.

In light of the recent discussion we had regarding Losing Control of Your Copyrights on Social Media both of these subjects will be of interest to real estate photographers who are concerned about protecting their image copyrights.

How To Shoot Time-lapse Video

February 1st, 2016

Time-LapseRobert, who asked about getting started with real estate video a a while back also wanted to know how to shot time-lapse video. Time-lapse is a little different from shooting normal video so I thought I’d do a separate post on the subject.

Time-lapse video is basically a frame shot every so many seconds over a relatively long period of time (30 min to an hour) that are then rendered into a video. The length of time between frames depends on what you are shooting. Two seconds between frames works well for moving clouds.

There’s are couple of ways to shoot time-lapse video: Continue Reading »

Do Real Estate Photographers Need To Carry A Wagon Load Of Gear?

January 31st, 2016

WaynesKit-300x225Dean asked the following question last week:

I am wondering what the typical setup is for photographers arriving at a photo shoot. How much equipment do people really bring for their typical bread and butter shoot? My concern is if I show up hauling a wagon load of gear up to the front door does that show professionalism, or will it immediately set the agent to tapping her wrist watch? Just because you can, should you?

Don’t worry about “showing professionalism”. You should just focus on getting great results in minimum time. But the fact is that you don’t need to carry a wagon load of gear. Continue Reading »

What Are Real Estate Listing Agents Concerns When Hiring A Photographer?

January 28th, 2016

CustomerInputJamie who is just starting out in real estate photography in Seattle asks:

When working with new agents do you have any recommendations of questions to ask the agent? In my limited experience every agent has different expectations and I want to ensure that I’m delivering images that meet and/or exceed their expectations.

Here are the things that most listing agents will use to pick a real estate photographer: Continue Reading »

Warning: The Lightroom 6.4/cc 2015.4 Update Kills Photomatix Pro

January 28th, 2016

Michael Baxley  just pointed out that:

Warn readers to NOT update Lightroom 6.4 because it kills Photomatix Pro. The support page says engineers are working on a fix.

I just got my update notice today (January 27, 2015).

Update Jan, 29, 2016: I just verified Michael’s report above. I upgraded to Lightroom cc 2015.4 and tested Photomatix Pro before and after. Worked fine before the update but after the update after the first screen, Photomatix Pro does not run. I’m using OS X El Capitan 10.11.3. Don’t know if this is a Mac only issue. Problem seems to be Lightroom is just not starting the Photomatix Pro plugin.

I also tested LR/Enfuse and it still runs ok. If you use Photomatix Pro you should not update to LR 6.4/c 2015.4!

Are Matterport 3D Tours A Money Making Product For Real Estate Photographers?

January 27th, 2016

Kelvin in Big Sky Country recently asked the following:

Searching your site regarding Matterport, I found some thoughts about it from 2014 that would sway me to believe that the value wasn’t there as compared to the $4500 investment.  I’m curious to know if that has changed, or if anyone reports recouping that investment and moving on to profitability?

My sense from reader comments is that yes, in the upper-end of large real estate markets that Matterport 3D Tours are a money making product. I don’t think they are a successful product anyeverywhere. I know that in the Portland, OR market real estate photographers are charging from $300 to $450 for Matterport 3D tours depending on the square footage of the home.

I’ve had real estate photographers in Portland, Phoenix, New York, Brisbane and Seattle tell me they started shooting Matterport 3D because their clients asked for it.

What are others experiences with Matterport 3D?

Update Jan 29, 2016: To summarize and give the poll some perspective. The first day (24 hours) this poll was up the site had almost exactly 4000 page views and of those 655 clicked on a link somewhere (twitter or the subscription e-mail) to specifically see this post and of those visitors 45 said they used Matterport and of those 45, 30 (66.6%) said Matterport was not paying for itself, 12 (26.67%) said Matterport was making money for them and 3 (6.66%) said Matterport had just paid for itself.

 

Help Create A PFRE Recommended Tour Hosting Vendor List

January 26th, 2016

TourVendorsI’ve had tour vendors complain that I promote TourBuzz rather than let PFRE readers decide for themselves which tour vendor is best.

Let’s get several things clear:

  1. I don’t do traditional advertising because I don’t like to promote things that I don’t use.
  2. The products and vendors I write about are ones I believe in and use.
  3. In the area of tour vendors I used to be a partner in PFREtour.com but I quit partnering with them over 3 years ago.

There are some new tour vendors that want to attract attention and earn your business. I would like to facilitate having PFRE readers help decide which tour hosting companies they recommend. So I’ve decided to make a list of tour hosting vendors similar to the outsourcing vendor list where PFRE readers can give feedback on which vendors they like.

So readers that use or have used any vendors on the list, please give feedback on those vendors in the Tour Hosting Vendor list page comments.

Vendors that want to get on the list please contact me directly here. This list is intended only for tour hosting vendors that are designed for independent real estate photographers to use for their clients so many tour vendors don’t make sense.

Using High-Speed Sync Feature of Godex/Newer Flash Triggers

January 25th, 2016

WaltExample1

This is a guest post by Walt Simpson of Orlando, Florida.

Recently I discovered a technique using some new triggers. I currently shoot with a Nikon D800 and use the Godox/Neewer TT850 Flashes and ST-16s transmitter/receivers. Neewer TT850 *LI-ION BATTERY* Flash Speedlite with FT-16S Wireless Flash Triggers And LI-ION BATTERY Car Charger.

This is a great system because you can remotely control the flash level of your individual flashes from the camera. I typically use 4 flashes and if I have one perched on a second-floor balcony or in a distant room it is extremely efficient at reducing walking back and forth to adjust the flash strength. This also has a GREAT battery system. No more AA’s and constant recharging. Battery life on these LI batteries at least 4 times better than I get with AA’s in my SB-800s.

Recently I saw an ad for a new iTTL trigger from Godox/Neewer that worked in conjunction with these flashes and supported high-speed sync. This is the new trigger that I bought. Continue Reading »

Congratulations To Kerry Bern – PFRE Photographer Of The Month For January

January 24th, 2016

2016JanKerryBernCongratulations to Kerry Bern, Ankeny, Iowa who the jury has voted January PFRE Photographer of the month. This month’s theme is exterior twilight shots.

Here are the contestants that the Jurors awarded points to this month:

  1. #2Kerry Bern, Ankeny, Iowa
  2. #9Brett Gray, Brisbane, Australia
  3. #16Andrew Pece, San Clemente, California
  4. #11Robert Morning, Los Angeles, California
  5. #7Matthew Stallone, Woodbridge, Ontario
  6. #6Anders Carlson – Kailua Kona, Hawaii
  7. #17Brandon Cooper, Fort McMurray, Alberta
  8. #3Thom Neese, Omaha, Nebraska
  9. #5David Barger, Tucson, Arizona

Continue Reading »