Real Estate Photography Question and Answers – #5

June 3rd, 2014

QandAKimi’s Question: I want to know is there a best image size for dimensions AND dpi when resizing your photos for web and print to give to the client?  I know all MLS’s vary in uploaded file size, but what is the absolute best display for for web and print?  When I have researched these further, I get answers all across the board…help! .

Answer: There’s two parts to your question:

  1. MLS photos: There is no one answer for all MLSs. Always use sRGB color space for photos destined for the web/MLS. Your goal for MLS photos is to submit photos exactly the specifications your particular MLS recommends (pixel dimensions, and file size) because you don’t want them to have to automatically resize or mess with the file in anyway.
  2. Print media: For real estate, my experience is there are two contexts, printing flyers via a color Laser Printer and printing postcards or high quality brochures via a commercial printer.
    • Flyers on a Color Laser Printer: My HP Laser Printer does just fine if I send it RGB color space photos and giving it a higher dpi than 150 dpi doesn’t improve the look… it just takes longer.
    • Postcards/Brochures on a commercial printer: Most commercial printers expect CMYK color space although this isn’t always the case. Always ask the printing company what dpi and color space to use. These kind of printers almost always require 300 dpi photos for best quality.
So, when sending photos to a client the best approach is to send them a set of MLS photos designed to upload to their particular MLS and for print, ask the client what kind of printing they are going to do.

Julie’s Question: Do you offer private tutorials/education? Or can you recommend someone? I’m very busy but I’m ready to take my photos to the next level. 

Answer: This is a very common question. Scott Hargis has lighting workshops in years past and Malia Campbell has given video workshops and I announce those on the blog whenever they are scheduled. Scott and Malia’s workshops are very popular but you have to go to whatever city they are given in. A second best alternative is video tutorials. Scott has a great video series and I expect there will be more video tutorials in the near future. Also, participation the PFRE flickr forum and the monthly PFRE contest is a great source of education.

Ted’s Question:  1) I’m currently using a 70D with a Tokina 12-24 f4.0 lens.  I notice that the Tokina gives me a lot of glare and flare. 2) I started out shooting 3 exposures and have now went to 9.  I’m considering using Dark Room with exposiohdr.com  for outsourcing my stuff at night, when I’m very busy, or maybe even altogether for continuity. 3) Is there a better wide angle that won’t be so bad with the flares?  Also . . . Should I consider switching to a 5D Mark II?  I know its older, but I can’t afford a Mark iii and I also do a lot of video stuff on the side not related to real estate. 

Answer: I have the following feedback:

  1. For a lens I’d recommend the Canon 10-22, it is the best there is for real estate. I haven’t had experience with the Tokina but if the Canon 10-22 won’t fix your problem, nothing will. This lens is the best wide angle Canon lens for cropped sensor bodies like the 70D.
  2. For video yes, the 5D MkII will probably be better for video because of it’s better performance at high ISOs. However, a 5DMkII would require a significant expenditure in a good wide angle full frame lens. Like a 16-35 mm  or 17-40mm  both of which are more expensive than the 10-22mm.
  3. I always try to encourage real estate photographers to move beyond HDR. As your photographic experience evolves you will see the negatives of using HDR for real estate. One problem the amount of post processing required. If you want to shoot brackets, I think using LR/Enfuse along with a single flash is a way to get good quality and keep the post processing time at a minimum.

What recommendations do readers have on these questions? Feel free to jump in and give your favorite solution.

12 Responses to “Real Estate Photography Question and Answers – #5”

  • I have agents that are using inkjet printers. Would that be the same settings?

  • Ted… I think it may be the fact that you are now shooting nine bracket sequences for your HDR blends that is the reason for the flare . There is a limit to how much you can over-expose to get shadow detail to show up (in really dark wood for example) before flare (non image forming light) from very blitzed out areas of your scene starts to become a problem . I met this yesterday while shooting with both of my canon L series lenses . As Larry suggests, shooting with enfuse rather than full blown HDR software with perhaps a little fill flash added to the mix could enable you to shoot with less brackets and reduce the risk of flare. I wouldn’t be in a hurry to change your lens if it’s been doing ok with the three bracket series. Canon 5d mark 2 is a great camera but don’t pay too much for heavily gigged one, as many will have belonged to pros, plus you’ll need to upgrade your lenses to full frame. Consider also a new 6d which does a similar job with up to date video capabilities.

  • you can rent the Canon 10-22 $37.00 for 4 days at Lensrentals.com and give it a try.

  • @Wade – I actually don’t know the answer because the only InkJet printer I have I use for photo printing. I quit printing real estate flyers on InkJet printers back in about 2004 but back then when I printed flyers on InKjet I didn’t do anything special in terms of photo sizing… I used MLS sized photos for flyers and they looked good. Since then InkJets have become way more sophisticated and most InkJet printers are used for photo quality and like to have big 16 bit RGB files so you might want to supply a set of 300 dpi tifs in addition to MLS sized photos or at least ask if the client wants a set of big print files.

  • @Jim – Yes, that’s a great idea!

  • @Ted: That’s a bit disturbing about the Tokina lens. I’m a Canon person and was originally going to buy the Canon 10-22 lens based on Larry’s great advice but then I discovered the Tokina 11-16 is a 2.8 AND and it got great reviews, so I was leaning towards the faster lens and the affordability.

    Has anyone used the Tokina 11-16 lens, for photography or videography?

  • Re good lens for real estate interiors
    I have used a Sigma 8-17 mm lens on my Nikon d300 for past 3 years. Very sharp. Low distortion. Reportedly the widest and best of its type (for DX only) Very satisfied. I compare results with my friend’s more costly canon 10 -20 on full frame and results are almost comparable. It is supposedly the widest lens which maintains “rectilinear” image. ie not a fisheye image. Slight barrel distortion below 9mm but easily corrected in post, when noticible (ie when door frame is near image edge.) Use with a tripod and single flash with diffuser pointed up and you will get stunning results. Enfuse with Lightoom helps speed workflow when HDR is required. Beginners Tip: Learn to make your interior shots “pop” by watching how to move sliders in Lightroom. Lots of good videos via this site available. Create a preset for initial developing and then manually tweak as required

  • @John – “I compare results with my friend’s more costly canon 10 -20 on full frame and results are almost comparable” The Canon 10-22 (not 10-20) is NOT a full frame lens… it only works on cropped sensors.

  • @Linda – Yes the Tokina 11-16 f2.8 is a top tier lens with several using it. However, I ruled it out after looking at my historical pictures settings. Never at the lens widest aperture – typically f8-f11 – and 30% of my pictures were above 16mm. It came down to a lens that provided an aperture I wouldn’t use and imposed limited range in the process. It really didn’t matter how good the lens was.

    Canon nailed it with the 10-22 and is probably the standout lens that sets the standard for crop sensor. As a Nikon person, you have no idea how much it kills me to say that. With the crop sensor, I use the Sigma 10-20, which in addition to being budget friendly it compared favorably with the Nikon 10-24 when I did a side by side comparison. Very non-scientific comparison in a camera store – a series of shots of various scenes with both lens on same camera. Then went home and compared with pixel peeking. With that level of enlargement it also illustrated why one should use a tripod, as I thought I had a steady hand.

  • @Wade – The major disadvantage of an inkjet printer is that the brochure bleeds with any moisture. Guaranteed if put in the exterior brochure box, but even inside if put on a counter that has a drop of water on it. They may strongly want to consider lazer which does compromise color compared to inkjet but at least it doesn’t bleed. Also, cost per sheet is about the same.

  • I use the Tokina 12-24 a bunch and never have any problems with it. If they are getting flaring issues, there could be something as simple as a thumbprint on the rear element, or something like that.

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