Scott Hargis’s New Real Estate Photography Basics Class On Lynda.com

June 9th, 2016

LyndaVideoScott has a great new 3 hr 19 min class on the basics of real estate photography on lynda.com. Here is Scott’s description of it:

The latest installment in a series of real estate photography courses I’m making with Lynda.com went live just a few days ago — this one has some pretty cool stuff in it!

This one is called “The Basics” and it’s coverage of an entire shoot, start to finish. I traveled down to Ojai California and we spent an entire week filming to get this 3+ hour video. In it, I take you through excruciating detail on the pre-shoot walkthrough, shooting the small easy rooms, shooting the more complex living room/family room, shooting the kitchen, and then the rear and front exteriors. There’s even a post-production video or two, showing what I did to re-touch some of the images.

Maybe the best part is the living room section, in which I made the same shot 3 times in a row — but with a stopwatch running each time. In the first go-through, I make a 60-second photo – this is the ultimate “Run-n-Gun” shot. Next, I pull everything back and re-shoot it, but with a more generous 5 minutes. And finally, I shoot the room but with a luxurious 15-minute clock running. I think it’s a pretty good example of just what the difference is between “Fast” and “Good”, and just what it is we do differently when we have more time. It’s worth noting that in my usual work, it’s not unusual to spend 2 hours on a single photo, and many photographers measure photo production in days, not minutes!

There are a couple more courses currently in the editing phase with Lynda, and we’re discussing future ones, so stay tuned.

I like this class on The Basics because Scott covers everything in real estate photography: composition, lighting, gear, dealing with agents and post-processing. This class is great for someone getting started or even someone who has been shooting for a while and wants to raise the level of their work. I especially like Scott’s approach to planning a shoot. His technique can prevent misunderstandings with the clients as well as making the shoot go smoother.

The way Lynda.com works is that you can get access to all content for $25/mo so you can watch Scott’s two classes on Lynda.com for  just $25 as long as you do it in one month and then cancel your monthly subscription.

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15 Responses to “Scott Hargis’s New Real Estate Photography Basics Class On Lynda.com”

  • His 1/5/15 minute living room challenge was pretty cool. I’d like to see more of your readers try that challenge for themselves the next time they have the luxury of a lockbox shoot or something where they can take more time, and post the results on Flickr. I’ll definitely do that the next time I have the opportunity.

  • I felt like this was a great compliment to the ebook, I really enjoyed it, and found it very helpful.

  • I watched the class the last two days and I was mesmerized!

    Though I have been shooting for a while now, I have not taken the time to actually learn how to shoot with extra speed lights, or even get my speed light off my camera. I have to shoot quickly, and the two realtors I shoot for love my shots, so I haven’t been strongly motivated to develop my skill set. I have been using Enfuse but that’s about it.
    I have been procrastinating for a few years now, and I think this is the video that will get me past that.

    Scott basically thinks out loud during this shoot; sharing the thought processes that go into every step of showing up to a house and thinking through the entire process from assessing the challenges, to composition ( I loved “walking” along with him as he walks the property and talks about what he sees and how best to take advantage of some views versus other views, etc. ). I kept thinking about how doable this kind of shooting is.

    I loved the timed challenge shoot; I’m the five minute shooter he describes, but he does so much more in those five minutes than I do by a long shot. I am now re-thinking how I use (and waste) my time at a home.

    I also loved seeing his own trial and error with light placement; seemed really human and I kept thinking “wow, I could do this…”

    I’m surprised to see this was a week’s worth of shooting because it truly felt like I was there in real time, from beginning to end.

    This home is the kind of house I deal with all the time, so I could really relate with it.

    By the way, the Ojai location was stunning. It is one of my favorite regions of California, so that was a bonus for me. Those exterior back yard shots were spectacular, and I loved Scott referencing the beauty of landscape photography, as that is one of my passions and something I try to bring to my real estate shots when I can.

    I’m just finishing up the class and starting watching the post production stage using Lightroom, which is what I use, so I’m looking forward to “comparing notes”.

    Scott, I can’t thank you enough; it was custom made for my level of expertise and is highly motivating.

  • Wow, thanks for the great review, Lory! We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback on this, which is nice because honestly I was a bit nervous about a lot of it, especially the 1-5-15 segment (I had to talk the producer into that one and I was having a lot of second thoughts later, haha!). I can tell you this: it’s very difficult to shoot with a film crew hovering over you, and a physical stopwatch running. When I said I was sweating, I wasn’t making that up! And god knows the photos are far from perfect, but I still think the process is very realistic.

    Shooting video is an agonizingly slow process, even though these sequences were largely “un-rehearsed”. I would walk through the shot and try to map out more or less what I thought was going to happen, so the film crew could plan their carefully choreographed dance to stay out of each other’s shots, but inevitably something would go sideways and they’d just have to scramble to keep up with me.

    Because the house was kind of perfect, in terms of being extremely “ordinary”, we went ahead and shot two other courses while we were there. Those are shorter and I think I might be under some sort of gag order so I can’t say what they are but I’m pretty confident that they’ll be “good”. Look for release later this year.

  • I’d love to see some intermediate/advanced courses with less than ideal properties. Not a TBSH, but something with lots of dark and/or reflective finishes. Maybe one with killer views where getting the room and the view in perfect balance is not optional.

    I’m booked for an upper-end home today that I’ll bet has a dark wood kitchen which is all the rage in this area. I know I’ll deliver good images, but I’d like to provide great images within the same time frame.

    @Scott, Did you get to see the home in advance? For many of the rehabs that I’m doing, I get the lock box code from the broker and do my walk through way in advance. I just make some snapshots with my phone and it lets me review the home right before I’m scheduled to make images. It only takes me 10-15 mins when I’m in the area and I know if I need to pack any extra gear to tackle problem areas. Given the time it took to film the tutorial, would more advance prep help? I’d love to see a ton more videos, but I realize that a week of production costs will limit what Lynda.com can do.

  • @Ken,
    We were there for a whole week shooting, so by the end of the week I was pretty familiar with the house. But really, for mainstream real estate photography, pre-shoot scouting visits are very uncommon, and we wanted this to be useful for the broad middle of the industry. So I tried to “keep it real” throughout. I didn’t rehearse the photos until it was time to film.

  • The 1/5/15 section was my favorite part! Such a practical example of how to prioritize. I think because most/all of us want great photos, we allow unreasonable latitude to our clients when discussing whether or not to move large items (like the exercise equipment in that segment). I’ve found myself running way behind completing a shoot because either the homeowner or the agent wants to move everything around and nothing’s ready. Like Scott said, if a 1-minute shot is the agreed schedule, they should have moved it if it wasn’t supposed to be there.

  • I’ve grown my business directly from the hard work that Scott has put into his books and video courses. Thanks Scott it just keeps getting better! One question I have for him and Lynda.com is: Is it possible to purchase courses a la carte like some of the other online programs? I don’t really need the “whole enchilada” of Lynda.com. Don’t get me wrong Lynda.com is an AMAZING online resource that helped me many a day back in the day of my IT career.

  • Scott, Great Job! Really enjoyed it and learned a lot. I’ve been hoping you would make another one.

    Glad to here you have more in editing and talking about more. If it weren’t for Lynda.com I never would have learned everything I needed to learn about Photoshop, Lightroom amoung others to be able to be successful in digital photography.

    I have to second what Lory wrote above. She said it better than I would have. Thanks Lory.

  • Richard Lamb – I’m retired from photography only photographing two or three houses a year for friend and photographing now for fun. You might want to check you local library to see if it has a deal with Linda.com so you can see the videos for free. Linda.com was bought out by Linkedin.com a few months ago and things have changed. They have a way you can download the videos, not physically but a link to you computer and you can watch anytime you want to.

    Scott – I love the way you think and photograph! My main computer is down again but I did get to watch you setting up the bedroom photos. Great job!

  • I’m forever grateful to Larry for all of the helpful information he’s shared. Recently watched Scotts, “The Basics” on Lynda.com and I was enthralled. I have Scott’s eBook (Lighting for Real Estate) and while that’s been helpful to me, there’s no substitute for following along in an expert’s thinking process. Scott is a master strategic planner and I can see the benefits of his process as I also prefer shooting with lights compared to hdr/compositing. It can be a challenge to get that “thinking space” though as clients look at their watches or sellers and stagers wander in and out of the shoot ;-). Time to add an umbrella and more lights to up my game, after I watch The Basics again! Looking forward to more videos Scott.

  • Loved the 1/5/15 segment. This video course was unimaginably helpful for someone like me who is just getting started. I watched the entire course the day it was first posted and a couple times after that.

    Just out of curiosity, you said you once said you started out shooting bad homes that made you want to take a shower after you left, how long did it take you to start shooting homes that were very nice? Very nice as in something you might consider a luxury home.

  • Dear Larry,
    We subscribed! Accolades and thanks….. to you, PFRE, Scott and Linkedin. Scott’s applications for imaging in our field are many.

    May we please pose the question for your members, from Scott’s link at Lynda.com below?

    http://www.lynda.com/Cameras-Gear-tutorials/Basic-post-processing-workflow-real-estate-shots/461914/497566-4.html

    In our tiny market (the pristine Tallulah River headwaters mountain lakes, the multiple listing service does not accommodate a custom crop performed in Ps. Is this problem/challenge unique? Are any fellow readers among Larry’s audience able to suggest a work around?

    Sincere thanks,
    Julie and Leigh
    http://www.lakeburtonhome.com

  • Scott I finally made the time to watch your video – and should have long ago. It’s fantastic! I do have a question: You mentioned shooting wide and cropping if needed for 1 point kitchens… Is there a reason why that’s preferable to just pointing the camera down a bit (as long as it’s completely squared-up) and correcting the verticals with a click in post?

    Thanks so much. Won’t take so long to buy the next one!

  • I’ve sort of been binge-watching Scott’s videos on Lynda.com for the last few days. Scott you did an impressive job of keeping this very real and showing what the challenges are room by room. We all encounter these scenarios and it’s nice to see a pro walk you through them. I especially appreciated seeing the technical info about the photos posted along side the images. You generously shared all your settings and that made things click for me. I have been shooting RE for about 4 years (looking back on some of my early stuff, yikes… someone paid me for that???) I was so intimidated about using off camera flash when I first started. I went through Scott’s course on lighting and it made a huge difference in my confidence. I still fumble around with the number of flashes, where to place them and getting the right settings, oh and getting on top of doors and up in those out of the way spots, I’m 5’4 so reaching door tops is a challenge for me. I now have 5 DX80’s to go along with my SB-900 – priceless little guys!. I do still bracket and sometimes blend several exposures but always add flash to keep things from looking flat. But I’m not a fan of the overcooked HDR look. As for taking the right time for the important rooms, I will never wrap my brain around how someone can do over 2500 sq ft.in 30 minutes but good for them if they can get great shots. One of the best parts of the series for me was the advice about being mindful of the time it takes to get a portfolio shot. Sometimes I feel under pressure to get through faster than I’d like so the client (usually an agent) doesn’t get impatient. I love it when I get to shoot alone, but often the family is there, including the pets and little kids so it can be tough to slow it down. I will now be more mindful of looking for the great shots and taking the time I need to do them right. Each new session is an opportunity to practice and improve. I’ll be backing up and using the longer focal lengths to show my clients they don’t need the bowling alley look to get the right buyers into the home 🙂 Please keep this good stuff coming!

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