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Which Photo In This Month’s Photographer of The Month Contest Has Barrel Distortion

September 11th, 2011

I’ve been working on a set of YouTube video tutorials that I’m going to use to go along with the new edition of my Photography For Real Estate eBook. This weekend as I was working a Lens Distortion Tutorial when someone submitted a Master Bath shot with barrel distortion and the verticals off. Since the contest contestants are anonymous I thought it would be an interesting exercise for beginning real estate photographers to look at the flickr slideshow of contest images and see if the image I’m talking about stands out to you too.

My purpose in pointing this out is strictly educational and only to demonstrate the point I make in the tutorial that the our eye/brain picks up on very subtle defects in verticals and curved lines that should be straight. Getting verticals, vertical seems to be the biggest struggle that beginning real estate photographers have, fixing barrel distortion is a close second.

If you are charging people for your interior photographs you need to pay attention to this level of detail and get verticals, perfectly vertical and perfectly straight. Even though not all agents or home owners will notice this level of detail but many will.

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7 Responses to “Which Photo In This Month’s Photographer of The Month Contest Has Barrel Distortion”

  • Yeah, it’s there, as well as a couple where they’ve over corrected a little.

    However I’d like to take the opportunity to say that overall – what a great set of images. If you go back and look at what our collective images looked like 5-6 years ago, and compare that to today – we’ve come a long way!

    Now, if everybody would just start charging for that talent, we’d all be better off. Just food for thought.

    Have a good week.

  • @George- Here, here! I agree, this is a great set of images and I think the huge increase in quality of images is due to the great work that goes on in the PFRE flickr discussion group.

    I also agree that one of the biggest problems in this industry is that people aren’t charging for the level of quality they do.

  • Speaking of charging enough, I live in Kalispell Montana and there are a few clients that pay the going rate. I have one client that won’t pay more that $125 to photograph 3000 to 4000 sq. ft. luxury home or any one of her listings. I also have agents who don’t want to spend much, so they ask me what it would cost to shoot just 3 or 4 pictures. I tried to do that once, it did not work. They wanted just 3 or 4 of the top quality pictures to put with the pictures they shot. I don’t have much hair left. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Conrad Rowe

  • @Conrad- My unscientific observation is that this cheap-skate mentality among agents is most prevalent in rural small population areas. I hear about it much less in large population areas.

    I would use data from articles like this one: http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2010/10/04/in-real-estate-a-picture-is-worth-1000-or-more/ to educate agents that the fact is that spending a few hundred dollars on great photos pays for itself. This of coarse assumes they pay attention to facts… this isn’t always a good assumption these days. Half of the population want to ignore facts.

    For a complete list of these articles see page 3 of the free PDF called “What Realtors Need to know about photography” … get it by clicking the white rectangle on the left side of the blog.

  • Larry,
    The only image that appears to have any barrel distortion is the 1st one., but they all are truly beautiful images.

    I am trying to raise my prices, (starting at) $149.99, to $164.99 for homes up to 3200 sq feet, and am running a web blast for “end of summer sale, only $149.99”, but have not gotten any feedback at this time.
    Hi-quality, inexpensive cameras are becoming more available to realtors, who now shoot their own tours, which some feel are good enough.

    I think that only by educating the realtors, can we make our photography more of an asset to them.

  • Fully agree Realtors NEED to be educated and a video format may be a good addition to the standard written format. Probably the saddest part is that they are actually paying for ‘professional photography’ and thinking it is good because they don’t know what to look for. I have at least 1 national tour company with 86 active tours in one county (tri-county area, but didn’t broaden the search). They underpay the photographers, no post processing, and it shows. I am actually looking at it as a marketing opportunity – but went to them after an incident over the weekend.

    Last week had a Realtor ask me if would do a tour for an $800k home if he got the listing, using me in the presentation. Gave him pricing at $175 and first warning, he began negotiating more, like including brochures. In fairness, negotiating – or street market bazarr haggling- is probably culturally ingrained. Over the weekend, asked if I could do it for $60. Could I – yes. Would I put my name behind it – NO! Would I use $5000 of photo equiptment – no. Would he be happy with my adopting run-n-gunner techniques an no post processing – ? That is when I referred him to an MLS# of a $650k home completed by that tour company (first one I brought up on the search) and critiqued the stills, illustrating verticals, barrel distortion, white balance, oversaturated, HDR? and/or poor sky replacement. It was a noon shoot with muted shadows suggesting an overcast day but not a cloud in the sky which unfortunately kept the windows from being blown out. And the pano had radically curved walls.

    I find it amazing that people actually pay for that. Didn’t get him as a client, and in reality – I’m glad. Education is sorely needed though.

  • some nice shots among them, but its the second to last that has the problems.

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