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What’s A Zillow Certified Photographer?

July 28th, 2016

ZillowCertifiedA couple of days ago Cindy in VA asked me:

A friend and I noticed a reference on the Internet to “Zillow Certified Photographer”.  So we just spent the last 30 minutes on the Internet trying to find anything out about this with no answers, just Everbrite invites to locations in the US on dates that have past.  They show workshop at hotel locations in Virginia Beach, Dallas, Phoenix, Atlanta having these workshops to get this certification but no other info. We even look ALL over Zillow’s site and use other search terms to see if we could find anything else out – hoping you might know where to direct us or if you know anything about this “Zillow Certified Photographer”.

I’d never heard of a “Zillow Certified Photographer” either and until just a while ago I had no clue as to what that might me. I noticed a clue to what it is in the intro text for an event that when on 7/27/2016 in VA Beach. Notice in the description of the even it says. “Learn about our latest release – video walkthroughs – and how they can help photographers get free advertising to Zillow’s network of real estate agents.”

So my guess (totally a wild guess) is that they are releasing a new video walkthrough capability that will allow agents to have professionally shot walkthroughs on their Zillow listings.

Has anyone been to a Zillow certified photographer meeting and know what the details are?

Real Estate Photography Is One Of The Top Freelance Flexible Jobs

July 27th, 2016

Sign in the sky for 'Your New Career' , concept image for employment related themes.The poll we did back in early June on how many shoots PFRE readers do each year suggested that a large proportion (around 40% or more) of real estate photographers are doing real estate photography on a part-time basis.

While this doesn’t surprise me, a couple of business articles I ran across recently explains why this is more clearly:

  1. This article in Business Insider points out that freelance photography (which includes real estate photography) is a top paying freelance flex job.
  2. This article at lists some interesting stats about the freelance “Gig economy”. This article concludes that “millions of people around the globe are opting for greater independence in their work lives. As a result, they are joining the growing movement that is the gig economy. Advances in technology have made it easier to accomplish than ever before.”

Over the years I’ve sort of figured this out from talking to people that were getting started in real estate photography. When I started this blog, at first it amazed me how much interest there was in real estate photography. But the more I understand this business the better sense it makes.

My conclusion is: that real estate photography has tremendous potential as a freelance profession where you can decide what volume of work you want. And you can do it geographically almost any place you want. These days it’s more than just 20-year-olds that can use a job like this! Everyone can use this kind of job to fill-in where some other job is not bringing in all the dollars you need. Real estate photography is a very flexible business.


Can I Relicense A Photo? Do I Need A Property Release?

July 26th, 2016

3rdParyViolationNicola (on the West Coast of the US) asked the following:

I was hired by a local newspaper to photograph a real estate piece for a high profile house sale that used to belong to a celebrity politician in the old days but was owned and redone by another owner. The house looked completely different apart from some feature which I do not think appears in the photo in question.

A publishing company is interested in licensing one of the images from this set. I am wondering if I need property release, if I own the copyright – or if I was hired by a company to provide the photos for a newspaper article if they own the rights?

First of all, I and most of the commenters on this blog are not attorneys (except Joel Rothman) so all most of us can do is give you is our opinion based on discussions and personal experiences. The following is not legal advice.
Here is my opinion of the basics:

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Is Your Lightroom CC Slow With A Large Catalog?

July 25th, 2016

LRCatalogueCal in North Carolina says:

I am having issues with LR CC! It is running extremely slow on my very fast machine… My desktop has SSD drives, 32 GB RAM, very fast CPU, etc (Win 10). LR running this slow is a HUGE issue for me, as I am sure it would be for any high volume photographer. I have tried disabling GPU acceleration, & have optimized catalogue, but that didn’t help….

I have @ 65K images in my catalogue if that could be the problem? Any ideas??

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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: Continue Reading »

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.

Continue Reading »

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.