Homeowner Accidentally Takes Naked Bathroom Selfie And Posts Online

August 7th, 2014

NudeBathroomSelfieWe’ve all shot those large master bathrooms that have multiple walls of mirrors. It’s pretty hard to escape being in the shot somewhere. This is where Photoshop is the only way out for the photographer.

But this homeowner in Austin, Texas was taking his own shots, in the nude, for whatever reason and probably never heard of Photoshop. He then proceeded to post the photos on HotPads to try to sell his home.

Was this an accident? I’m skeptical that it was accidental. Look at the social media coverage that he got! I’ll bet the property is already sold.

So there you have it a new angle for getting great social media coverage… until the listing site takes down the photos!

Thanks to Ethan Tweedie for this article.

Beware Of The Little Known Vimeo Pro Policy Against Real Estate Video

August 6th, 2014

VimeoProTravis Rowan, the winner of the July PFRE videographer of the month had a surprise after winning last month’s contest. Like all of the past winners of this contest he had his video hosted on his Vimeo Pro account.

Without warning the Vimeo administrators make his video “private” which means the standard vimeo address that he’d given to all his clients didn’t work any more.

The reason Vimeo sited was their guideline statement that says:

Videos focused on short term sales (e.g., real estate walkthroughs) should also remain private.

What Travis was forced to do, is embed the “private” video into a page on his site, the address of which he could give to his clients.

I don’t know about you but this is  feels like very offensive behavior. Particularly, because the guideline is not enforced uniformly. Notice that all PFRE video contest winners have their video hosted on Vimeo Pro and have never been forced to make it “private.” Maybe this is going to happen to everyone, but as of this writing it has not.

The point here is that Vimeo Pro is NOT real estate friendly and it is little known because their statement about it is buried in their guidelines page. This is a good reason to point out that as I‘ve talked about before, iPlayerHD.com IS a real estate friendly video hosting site and I highly recommend it. I assure you that you will not have this nonsense happen with iPlayerHD.

Now Accepting Entries For August Photographer Of The Month

August 5th, 2014

AugPOMThemeWe are now accepting Daylight Exterior shots for the August 2014 PFRE photographer of the month contest. The image to the right is last years winner for this theme.

For those not familiar with this series of monthly contests take a look at the Contest page that describes all the rules and the process. For a look at past monthly winners and all the yearly winners go to the best-of-the-best page (on the top menu bar click “Featured”).

The theme for August is Daylight Exterior and we will be accepting entries through August 15. The winner will be picked by the jury between August 15 and August 23.

As usual the submitted images are available for viewing in the PFRE Photographer of The Month flickr group. I post them there as they are submitted. The left-sidebar links displays the submitted images  either in Flash or non-Flash format.

Entrants please carefully read and follow all of the contest instructions at: 


PFRE Video Contest Discussion Of July Winning Video By Travis Rowan

August 4th, 2014

CanceledCanceled due to  Hurricane Iselle & Julio in Hawai’i. I’ll reschedule when they are passed.

Update 8/5: As of midday here on the west coast Travis just pointed out that Category 4 hurricane Iselle and hurricane Julio are bearing down on Hawai’i. Iselle is forecasted to hit late Sat 8/9. Since Travis and Andy Carlson are both in Hawai’i, unless Iselle dissipates into a tropical storm we may delay this hangout.

Update 8/6: As of midday west coast I’ve decided to delay the video contest hangout. Everyone in the Hawaiian islands are going to weathering out two successive hurricanes from tomorrow for several days. Travis and Andy, batten down the hatches and be safe!

Update: 8/7: Ethan Tweedie reported that “ALL IS WELL here in Waimea. The storm core never made it ashore and was kept at bay by our large volcanoes Mauna…” But they have one more hurricane to go.

Zombie Open House

August 4th, 2014

A little explanation may be in order. This little vid is a teaser for the full property video of the Castle Rumble in Queensland. Here is the listing that gives a little explanation and history.

The point of this teaser is they want to build anticipation for the upcoming video and get you to subscribe to their YouTube channel so you don’t miss the complete property video coming soon! It worked on me.

The video is produced by PlatinumHD.tv and directed by Scott Bradley.

CASE Remote DSLR Controller: Another Alternative To CamRanger?

August 3rd, 2014

Lee Jinks pointed out a recent article over at dpreview.com about another possible alternative to the CamRanger for a remote controller for DSLR.s The makers of this have had a quite successful Indiegogo campaign which is going to close August 20. So apparently they are getting close to shipping this device. Since they haven’t shipped it yet it’s impossible to predict if it really is an alternative to CamRanger.

To me this looks interesting enough to donate to the Indiegogo project just so I can keep track of it and try it out when it ships. If the CASE remote controller does turn out to work as good as the CamRanger it may well drop the price in half. It’s just a matter of time until someone does a CamRanger controller device for less than half. Controlling your DSLR from your mobile device is very compelling application. Everyone with a DSLR will want one sooner or later.

The other alternatives to CamRanger so far are:

  1. DIY Wireless Control of Your Canon DSLR ~$50 USD
  2. XtremeTether – Available in UK ~£185 = $311 USD
  3. DSLR Controller - Canon and android only – mostly DIY I think.

All of these controllers have the downside of being limited availability or very do-it-yourself. The CASE looks like it doesn’t have any of these downsides. We’ll see.


Congratulations To Travis Rowan – July PFRE Videographer Of The Month

August 1st, 2014

TravisRowanVideoThe winner of the July video contest is Travis Rowan of Maui, HI.

Juror Hamish Beeston’s says:

A lovely, classy film. Beautifully shot. Great light balance. Love the mix of wide angles and close-ups for textures / finishes, which real estate videos do so well. Also really good mix of slider and jib shots. My favourite shot was the through-the-waterfall one. Being really picky, there were a couple of shots where I would have been reaching for the rotate / distort features in the edit to make all the verticals bang on. But I am really anal about that and overall, it is a truly fantastic piece of work.

Juror Andy Carlson’s says:

Beautiful. Good music choice and the editing is nicely timed with the music. Fans on low ads so much. I love the inside to outside move from closed to open doors at 59 sec. Hope you don’t mind, I will probably attempt that one if the opportunity presents itself. The color looks spot on throughout. All of the movements are slow and subtle and make it very easy to watch. Love the underwater shot! This is just an all around pleasing video to watch. Well done.

Allan was off the grid, out in the bush, hunting boars during the voting so I voted for him this month. Here is how we ranked the top four videos follows:

  1. Travis Rowan 17 pts, #5 -Maui, HI  - Travis’s video
  2. Josué Aton 12 pts, #7 – London, UK  - Josué’s video
  3. Benjamin Secomb 6 pts, #2 – Brisbane, AU – Benjamin’s video
  4. Heath Cowart, 5 pts, #3 – Asheville, NC – Heath’s video

I’m in the process of scheduling a live google hangout, like we had this month for the still contest, to discuss Travis’s winning video. I will announce the date and time when we get that decided. I will likely be the end of next week 8/8 or 8/9.

Here is Travis’s notes on his video:

First off, thanks to everyone for the recognition and comments and a big thanks to Larry for building this community where we can all inspire and learn from each other. Andy, that’s two in a row for Hawaii! Josue, awesome look to your video. I love the style, grading, titling and music. I’m a fan, thanks for your comments.

This is the second home I’ve shot for these sellers. The first was three years ago on a very different style of home. I was hired to shoot stills and offered to put a video together as another product. At that point, I had never made a video so it ended up being a cheesy slideshow with a few really bad video clips from a Nikon D300s. (If you dare: http://youtu.be/xda7kynpOzI ) The stills and video were a hit with thousands of Youtube views and ultimately a bidding war on the property that ended well above asking price.

Fast forward three years and hundreds of videos later…I’m pleased with the progression but I know there is still much to learn. I was very grateful for the opportunity to work with these owners again on their latest creation. Their style and sense of design is really inspiring. I spent 1.5 days on location. I normally knock everything out in one day (Stills+Video) but I wanted to take a little extra time on this one. I find that shooting a great subject is easy, but doing it justice is the real challenge. I wanted the video to be dramatic rather than a “feel good home tour”. I wanted it to look and feel expensive and seem important like: “Stop, you need to see this” The music really helped drive that emotion and the sellers and agent were blown away with the final product. Let the bidding war commence.

My video equipment: Panasonic GH3 shot flat at 1080 30p for most sequences and 60p for the water sequences or anywhere I want to slow down, Lumix 7-14mm, Lumix 12-35mm lens with Fader ND for most of the video. I may have used a Nikon D800 for a few of the evening clips while I was capturing stills and of course a GoPro Hero 3 Black in the pool!
Support Gear: Cinevate Atlas FLT slider + Aviator Travel Jib on a Manfrotto 755xb with 501HD head. All grading and editing in FCPx on a Mac Pro.

I just shot a new project yesterday with the GH4 and have a Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera on the way…Can’t wait to integrate these new tools into my work.

Lightroom 5.6 is Out With Profiles For New Canon Wide Angle Lenses

August 1st, 2014

LR5.6Important news today for those real estate shooters that have purchased or are thinking about purchasing one of the new Canon wide angle lenses. That is, the Canon 10-18mm f/4.5 or the Canon 16-35mm f4L. This new 5.6 update of Lightroom includes lens profiles for these new Canon lenses.

Laura Shoe has a complete description of all the other lens profiles and fixes in this version on her blog.

What’s Is A Drone and Johnny Dronehunter

July 31st, 2014

WhatsaDroneThe last couple of days I ran across these two humorous drone videos that I can’t resist passing on:

  1. The first is one called What is a drone featuring Raphael Pirker, Josh Bixler, Brendan Schuleman and the hilarious Josh Scott.
  2. And the second is one from an article over at Motheroard.vice.com called Johnny Dronehunter.


Real Estate Photography Q & A – Zillow and Sony Mirrorless?

July 30th, 2014

QandADavid’s Question:  Came across this article today on the zillow acquisition of TruliaI’m sure you are already aware of the rumors. I am curious what your thoughts are about such a team up and it’s impact on real estate photographers / photography? My guess is that if this particular teaming doesn’t pan out that there will be other similar plans in the future.

Answer: Zillow has been the dominant force in syndication of real estate listings for years. Back in 2005 when Zillow was founded I recall being impressed by their innovative features, like collecting all the public domain tax records and presenting them as an estimate of a property’s value.

Agents don’t like the high fees they charge to promote agents on listings, but as long as it works for agents it will continue. There has been a move among agents for the last couple of years to not syndicate their listings to sites like Zillow. I wrote about this a couple of years ago. Agents and brokers have control over their listings. They don’t have to syndicate their listings if they choose not to.

From a photographers point of view the only threat that goes on is that they can keep using the syndicated listing photos after the property has been sold if you don’t take steps to remove them. For example, my wife and I sold this rental property back in 1/2012 and my photos are still being used on the property (I could take them down if I wanted). The listing agent can claim the listing and remove or change the listing photos if they want.

Bottom line is that as long as photographers and agents keep track of how these sites work they are no big threat. Agents are still in control of their listings. The reason Zillow is the top syndication site on the net is because they have the best technology… It’s the first place I go when I’m looking at property. Realtor.com was the top syndication site before Zillow launched in 2005. Realtor.com blew their lead because they didn’t innovate. Zillow did. It was clear in 2005 when Zillow launched that they were going to become the winner.

Melissa’s Question:  I have a Sony Nex 6. In researching it seems like a lot of pro photographers were using these as well or  many cases instead of- less gear, manual settings interchangeable  lenses etc. easier to get around and were taking great photos. Do you have any experience with these cameras and what would a good wide lens for it be? Or should I ditch this and go with the Canon T3i/Canon 10-18mm that you recommended on the agent webinar. Those cameras just seems so heavy, and clunky to me and harder to travel around with.

Answer: Yes, you can get a wide angle lens for the  Sony NEX 6 but you don’t have many choices. I’ve done some brief searching, and it appears that the best quality wide angle lens for that body is the Sony 10-18mm F4.

I don’t have any experience with the Nex 6 or other Sony cameras. They are great for most kinds of photography but anyone that is serious about doing quality real estate photography will be carrying a sturdy tripod, 2 or  more flashes and a couple of light stands so whether you are carrying a standard size DSLR or a mirrorless Sony is of little consequence. Yes for many kinds of photography traveling light is a huge issue but I don’t think real estate work is one of them. The reason I recommend Canon Rebels is for the cost they do great for real estate and have a lot of choices for quality wide angle lenses. You can get a T3i and Canon 10-18mm for about $800 total, but the Sony 10-18mm is about the same price for just the lens (because they don’t sell that many).


Pole Photography 101 – How To Build A Better Pole – By Rich Baum

July 28th, 2014

RichBaumPAPRich Baum just pointed out the post he just did explaining what he uses to shoot elevated real estate shots and I think it has a lot of good information. He says:

So you might think this shot is a nice exterior but what you may not know, this was shot from 18? up on a painters pole using what we refer to in the Real Estate Photography industry as a “PoleCam” shot…

As the front yard of this home was slopping dawn the only way to get the composition I wanted was to get the camera up really high, but even though my tripod of choice is a Manfrotto 3046 and goes up about 7? I still needed to go up higher and this is how I got this extra height.

Over the past year so many photographers have ashed me about how I built and what I used and how I ended up with the pole I did so I am finally doint this Blog Post for anyone that ever wanted to get into pole photography but didn’t know how.

I started out by surfing the web for the various components I would need to accommodate a height of over 15? and found several options such as a Manfrotto 269HDB-3U Super High Camera Stand which would get my camera up 24’…

Read his whole post here.

First PFRE Photographer Of The Month Hangout – Live 7/28 At 12 Noon Pacific

July 27th, 2014

JulyPOMHangoutToday, Monday 7/28 at 12 noon Pacific time 7pm GMT/UTC, we had the first PFRE photographer of the month live Google hangout. The video for the complete discussion  is now on YouTube.

This was a beta test of the idea that Bill Baughman had that I talked about on 7/24. The idea was to talk about what jurors consider when judging PFRE POM and to hear more details from Ling Ge that won the POM this month. We had the following participants:

  1. Myself
  2. Scott Hargis - PFRE juror
  3. Michael Yearout - PFRE juror
  4. Wayne Capilli - PFRE juror
  5. Steve Carroll - PFRE juror
  6. Ling Ge - July PFRE photographer of the month

Despite some glitches getting started and Bill Baughman not being able to connect with the Hangout, it worked out fairly well for a first time. There were about 10 or 11 viewers during the live discussion. We should be able to make this smoother next time and I’ll let everyone know when the discussion will be so more know about it. The participants expressed a desire to have more hangout participants. I’m sure that will happen with more advance warning. There was only about 24 or 48 hours advance warning for this hangout.

And yes, I hope to have a Video Contest hangout although the logistics for when to have it will be more difficult since participants are in Brisbane, London, Hawaii and Santa Fe. We will give it a go.


This Week In Real Estate Drone Photography News

July 25th, 2014

DJIPhantom2News that affects real estate drone photography is happening so fast these days that it is hard to keep up with it all. I’m trying to keep these drone related posts to a minimum because I know not everyone is interested in them. As I mentioned a while back, I keep up with what’s going on in this area by following Brenden Schulman (@dronelaws, Brendon is Pirker’s defence lawyer) and Peter Sachs (@TheDroneGuy) on Twitter and retweet any of their news stories or items I see that seem to relate to real estate drone photography/video. So if you are interested in this subject you can see the all those tweets down on the right side-bar in the “Last Tweets” widget, just below my smiling face.

Here are some of the more recent happenings that may affect real estate photography:

As I said, there’s a lot going on. Fly safely!

Lets Have More Discussion Of Winning PFRE Photographer Of The Month Photos/Video

July 24th, 2014

DiscussingWinnersI got an email today from Bill Baughman that raised an issue that I think is worth discussing with everyone. Here is Bill’s comments:

I love looking at the Photographer-of-the-Month entries but have always wondered whether it might be of additional learning value for PFRE-ers to know more about the production process used in creating the contest photos. Maybe it’s just me but it certainly would be instructional to know more about what lighting, camera and post techniques the photographer employed.

Ling Ge’s winner is certainly an eye-popper! So were the prior month’s winning photos – they ALL made me say “WOW – I want to be able to do that!” But, more than just a pretty photo, I would love to know what the photographer’s concern(s) – if any – might have been before shooting it and what he/she did to overcome it/them.

I understand a beauty pageant often comes down to personal subjectivity, but what criteria do the judges at least start with to choose a winner? You all have infinitely more experience than the the rest of us put together so it has to be more than just the “WOW!” factor…or, maybe not. How do you critique the photos and choose a winner? What is it judges are looking for that we could use to guide us along the path to fame, fortune and stardom on PFRE?

Here are my comments to Bill:

These are excellent questions.

  1. Instructional info about how winning photos: Others have asked about this too. What I do is ask each winner to tell me about how they shot their winning photo. I then post those comments on the winner announcement post and put a link on the Featured page, that lists all the winners, to each post that has the photographers comments about the photo. Understandably what and how much the winners say about their photos varies a lot.
  2. What criteria do the judges use to choose a winner? This is very subjective and I suspect that many jurors would have difficulty explaining their criteria. It’s a visual, intuitive kind of thing. Notice that some jurors do comment on the entries. But commenting on the entries takes a lot of time and most jurors just don’t have the time it takes to comment on entries. This is why I’m so appreciative of those that that do comment. Another factor is that many photographers have difficulty talking analytically about photos.

Perhaps a way to address both of these issues would be to have a Google Hangout with jurors and and winners to discuss the winning photos/videos. I will try to come up with a format the will work. I think a hangout discussion with the winning photographer, a couple of jurors that voted for the winning photograph and a couple of beginning photographers wanting to ask questions would be a great educational discussion format. The YouTube version of the HangOut could be posted here for everyone to view. This may be difficult in general since we are spread all over the planet but I’ll bet we could do some. What do you think?

Congratulations To Ling Ge July PFRE Photographer Of The Month

July 23rd, 2014


Congratulations to Ling Ge of Irvine, CA, who has won this months Photographer of the month contest with his photo at the right. Click the image to see a larger version.

Again this month, a bunch of great images! The competition is intense!

Here is the jury’s voting results:

  1. 35 points, #10, Ling Ge - irvine, CA.
  2. 27 points, #15, Matt Harrer - St Louis, MO
  3. 16 points, #4, Barry MacKenzie – London, ON.
  4. 16 points, #28, Dan Ryan – Central, NJ.
  5. 8 points, #3, Matthew Davis – London, UK.
  6. 7 points, #11, Scott Basile – San Diego, CA.
  7. 6 points, #13, Ron Putnam – Chico, CA.
  8. 5 points, #30, Ethan Tweedie, Big Island, HI.
  9. 3 points, #21, Tony Colangelo, Victoria, BC.
  10. 3 points, #24, Chuck Spaulding, Thousand Oaks, CA.
  11. 2 points, #7, Daniel Solomon, Los Angeles, CA.
  12. 2 points, #2, James Mauro – Powder Springs, GA.

Here are Ling’s comments:

Wow, it is truly surprising and an honor to be voted the winner of the POTM contest, especially with so many strong entries! I want to thank everyone from Larry Lohman, Scott Hargis, Tony Colangelo, Julie Mannell, Hans Bolte, Barry, Jim Bolen, Matt Davis, Andrew Mott and everyone else in the PFRE Community. I could not be more appreciative of all the great comments and constructive criticism I’ve received and I would not be in this position without them.

For the bathroom itself, the door opens into the shower, so shooting from that side wasn’t ideal, even when I closed the door. I backed as far back into the walk-in closet and felt this would be the best composition to shoot from. I used my Nikon D600 with a Nikkor 14-24 mm and shot the single frame image with the exposure at f/7.1 at 1/10th of a second. The bathroom already had great natural light and only needed a touch of fill. I had one flash on a light stand near the ceiling on low power and another flash in the master bedroom to even out the image. The rest is just minor post production to finish the final product.

Thanks for everyones participation! I’ll be putting all the names on the photos in the POTM flick group.