How Do Real Estate Photographers Strike A Balance Between Photo Rights and Marketing?

November 9th, 2015

CopyrightKelly in Georgia asked the following question:

I photographed a listing for the seller, and the buyer’s agent took the photo off of MLS and is using it for his own purposes. This is a response I just received from a realtor in my area to an email I sent to him regarding his unauthorized use of one of my images on a marketing postcard:

“When agents upload the their photographs to the MLS they transfer the rights of those photographs to the MLS. The MLS then transfers the rights of the photo to 3rd party sites such as Zillow and Trulia for the purpose of advertising the property and for the use of the MLS members.”

I would appreciate any feedback as to how to respond to this guy. I am just getting my name out as a real estate photographer, and he happens to work for one of the top agents in the area. I don’t want to alienate any big time agents, but I also want to let him (and other agents) know he’s incorrect. Thanks for any help you all can give me!

Great question! Education of real estate agents on the subject of photo copyright is a continual battle for everyone in real estate photography! The education job is made more difficult in areas where the MLSs have incorrect statements and rules that are sound at odds with the message you are trying to get across to agents. Continue Reading »

What Has Worked For Getting Started in Real Estate Photography?

November 8th, 2015


We’ve discussed this recently but it’s so important, I’m repeating it. Howard in Pennsylvania asks:

I am an intermediate-level photographer and I want to enter the RE photography business ib my area (Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania). I have seen some great advice on building a business. I would like to hear stories about how the folks who have made it got their first paying RE photo job. How do you get your foot in the door – especially in a busy market like mine.

There are very few businesses where you can make a list of names, phone numbers, email addresses of all your potential customers, but you can in real estate photography since real estate agents are listed on their company website along with all their listed properties.

I recommend that every beginning real estate photographer make a spreadsheet that lists all the listing agents in all the major real estate offices in their area. Here’s how do that: Continue Reading »

Congratulations To Tony Colangelo – His Photos Helped Clients To Win 2015 Gold CARE Award

November 6th, 2015

Tony4UPThis last week Tony Colangelo in Victoria, BC told me that his photos helped four of his clients win the top prize in the 2015 CARE Awards. The CARE awards are a big event for the Victoria Residential Builders Association. Tony said:

Last week, the largest professional builders’ association on Vancouver Island (the Victoria Residential Builders Association) announced its 2015 CARE Awards at a very large gala celebration at the Empress Hotel, in Victoria. The event is like the “Oscars” for the building community; and, just like the Oscars, the awards are broken down into many different categories, based on the type of build/renovation/work that was done. In order to get nominated for these Awards, builders, interior designers and millworkers/cabinet makers have to submit photos of their respective projects, as part of a very intensive application process. The CARE oversight committee then selects finalists for each category, with winners announced in the Fall… my images contributed to numerous builders, interior designers and cabinet makers receiving Finalist nominations in 13 categories (out of approx. 45 categories in total.) I’m especially proud that clients in four of those categories went on to win the top award: the Gold CARE Award! See the four images above.

If you are a PFRE flickr forum regular you will recognize some of these images. Tony has posted some of them to the PFRE flickr group in the last few months. Congratulations Tony! Great images! By the way, if you want to learn how to create images like this Tony is a PFRE Coach so you can contact Tony via the PFRE Coaching page for some one-on-one coaching.

Getting Started In Real Estate Photography Questions from Romania

November 5th, 2015

Sigma10-20Daniel in Romania asked the following questions:

  1. I recently opened a real estate agency and looking to buy a DSLR kit. I was looking to buy D7200 with the Nikkor 10-24mm, a tripod and a flash.
  2. I’m taking a photo class to learn but we mostly learn how to use the camera for portrait photo and the teacher doesn’t know much about real estate photography – lol.
  3. My problem is that most real estate listings websites don’t let you post photos bigger than 8 Mb and resolution of 1280×860, if is more then they crop it.
  4. Also I would like to know how wide is too much, because clients don’t like to see the rooms looking so big, and when they come see it is smaller. Any suggestion there?

Continue Reading »

Where is The Best Place To Buy and Sell Photo Gear Online?

November 4th, 2015

Today Paul Gjording in Seattle asked me for some advice about the best place to sell photography gear.

I pointed out that here is on the PFRE I don’t have anything setup to be able to sell gear, but I’d list his gear in this post. Here it is:

  • Canon 5DS $3,400 (with only 5 shutter clicks)
  • Canon 11-24mm lens – $2,600 (used for only a month)
  • If you are interested in either of these contact Paul via his site

I’ve always used Ebay to buy and sell used gear and after some research I found a post on by Scott Bourne that surveys the various places to buy and sell photo gear and Scott’s experience is much the same as mine. Many others have also told me that ebay has always worked well for them. Continue Reading »

What Do Real Estate Photographers Do To Make Exteriors Look Better In Late Fall And Winter?

November 3rd, 2015

BadWeatherBill who is located in the New Mexico asked the following question:

Wondering if the pros use any different technique during late fall and winter RE shoots. I would guess if really cold the exterior shots drop down to a minimum, the ground is brown or snow covered, flowers are dead, beauty and color has left the scene. Fortunately, listings also drop but for us in the 4 seasons climate is there anything we can do to make our photos look better?

Here in the Northwest most real estate photographers do hardly anything different in the winter. We get so little snow and it never says long if we get it that you can easily avoid shooting a listing with snow on the ground.

On the other hand in the areas where snow and other winter ugliness is more prevalent many have told me that for listings that come on the market in the winter and are not sold by spring photographers offer to come back in the spring and reshoot. Some do it for free. Nothing hurts a listing like having a winter exterior shot on it in March! Continue Reading »

An Update From Artez Photography – The Dominguez Family In Nanaimo, BC

November 2nd, 2015

ArtezA few days ago I heard from Mia Dominguez, the Mom/CEO of Artez Photography Corporation in Nanaimo, BC. Artez Photography is a very successful family run real estate photography and video company in Nanaimo. I’ve been following their success for many years. Here’s a post where we first described their success back in 2011. Mia and Alberto founded Artez Photography back in 2007 after moving from Columbia, South America in 2000.

In Mia’s recent update she said:

This year we have experienced incredible growth in our company. Photography continues to be our bread and butter, but video and particularly lifestyle video is becoming very popular.

After doing real estate video for quite some time, we decided to take things to the next level and started creating lifestyle videos which have been a huge success!

Exploring the possibilities of lifestyle video has been a great adventure that we would like to pursue for a long time. For this purpose, we have launched this promo reel that will give a taste of what Artez is all about and where we are heading.

Franchising Artez continues to be a very appealing idea but it’s been quite challenging to move forward due to the volume of work that we are experiencing. I suppose that those are called “growing pains”. Maybe next year will be the year to open Artez franchises.

I find Mia and Alberto’s success very inspiring! Their new promo reel does a great job of presenting their talents and the hard work that has brought them success. Mia pointed out that the family works together so closely that Mia and Alberto are going off to travel the world this month while the kids will stay home and run the business. Congratulations to the Dominguez family in their real estate photography/video success and best wishes for achieving their next steps!

Tracy and Kathy Nelson of Interview Scott Hargis

November 1st, 2015

ScottHargisInterviewLast Friday Tracy and Kathy Nelson, a husband and wife real estate broker team in Seattle, WA interviewed Scott Hargis on their weekly interview series.

The interview with Scott is 25 minutes long a they discuss the following topics:

  1. What are your top tips for ensuring a home is presented well online and off in photos?
  2. How has social media and online home search websites affected real estate photography?
  3. What should we be looking for in a good real estate photographer? Followups: cost range, contracts, turn around time, experience, etc.
  4. We’ve seen a number of listings include video of the home as well as photos in their marketing materials. What are the most effective ways of using videos alongside your photos in selling a home?

I think it’s a great interview that explains real estate photography from a Realtors point of view. Scott does a good job of explaining the reasons Realtors should hire a professional real estate photographer.

With ImageRights, You Can Now Legally Copyright Your Photos Directly Out of Lightroom

October 29th, 2015

copyrightAndy on the Big Island pointed out this article at that explains that now has a Lightroom plugin that allows you to submit images for Copyright directly to the US Copyright offices right out of Lightroom. is a legal service that helps photographers protect and defend their copyright.

The video to the right is an interview with Joe Naylor the co-founder and CEO of, and photographers Rob Grimm and Peter Coulson discussing today’s climate of copyright.

This service is probably not for everyone, but if  you are struggling to get done everything that’s needed to defend the copyright of your images ImageRights many be of help.

Eight Principles For Real Estate Photography Portfolio Sites

October 28th, 2015


Richard recently asked “Any suggestions on which Hosting service would be best suited for real estate photographers”? Back in July of this year we had a good discussion on where to host your site. There are 10o’s of good template photographer hosting sites. More important than where you host your site is how you configure your site.

Your portfolio of real estate images is at the center of your marketing. Your website is just an accessible way to present your business and yourself to people and let them know how to contact you. Malia Campbell’s site is a great example that follows these principles (except for #6 and #7 which minor features that are easy to fix). It’s one of my favorite real estate photographer sites. Continue Reading »

Alternatives To Lightroom and Photoshop For Real Estate – Are There Any Good Ones?

October 27th, 2015

LRAfter the Lightroom CC 6.2 fiasco several weeks ago several readers have asked questions about Lightroom alternatives for real estate photographers. Apparently some that were on the fence about believing in the concept of Adobe subscription software have been soured.

My general advice for real estate photographers has two parts:

  1. If your business was impacted by Lightroom 6.2 you are probably in the habit of updating too fast. Sure Adobe screwed up but good sound business practice is not to update operating systems and other critical software until you know it’s solid or you have a backup machine.
  2. Lightroom/Photoshop CC is still the standard for real estate photography. They give you the most power and workflow speed of any other approach for a bargin price of $9.99/month. Sure there is other software that will do the job but there are problems with these alternatives too.

So what are the current real estate photography post-processing software options and how many people are using them? One of the must have’s for real estate photographers is software with perspective correction features and lens correction profiles for all the popular lenses.

What are the alternatives? Continue Reading »

The Science Behind Using Your Headshot In Online Profiles

October 26th, 2015

LarryI look at a lot of websites and I’m always so pleased when I look at a site where there’s a head shot on the about page or the contact page. The online world can be very impersonal and nothing makes a site more personal than a headshot of the owner of the site.

I recently ran across an blog post on marketing that goes into the science on why it’s important to show your face on your website and the positive effect it has. In short the post says:

It is advisable to use a photo of yourself as your profile picture wherever you go, no matter how unsatisfied you are and how uncomfortable. There are many reasons from making it easier to connect with people offline after talking online, to giving people a better way to connect with you, but a personal side has become expected on social networks and blogs, making a profile picture culturally mandatory…

…If that isn’t enough to convince you to use a profile picture, a recent study shows that a website’s conversion rate can be skyrocketed by using human faces. According to, using human faces “get your prospects to focus more and this causes them to draw towards a common point of interest. It doesn’t get more real than that.

Continue Reading »

Congratulations To Richard Hookway – PFRE Photographer Of The Month For October

October 25th, 2015

2015-OctRichardHookwayCongratulations to Richard Hookway, of Hampshire, UK who has won the October photographer of the month. The UK folks dominated this month’s contest. Probably because shooting with large poles has been popular in the UK for a long time. They may have invented PAP.

Here are the contestants that the jurors awarded points to this month:

  1. #19Richard Hookway -Hampshire, UK
  2. #15Alasdair McIntosh – UK
  3. #10James Torrenzano – Ashburn, VA
  4. #20Walt Simpson – Melbourne Beach, Florida
  5. #21Adrian Mace – Leeds, UK
  6. #2Trace Tague – Tucson, Arizona
  7. #9Gary Kasi – San Marcos, California
  8. #1Jaime Martorano – Elmsford, New York
  9. #5Thom Neese – Omaha, Nebraska
  10. #6Craig McCasland – San Antonio, Texas
  11. #8Sean Elliott – York, UK
  12. #16Larry Gray – Orlando, Florida

Continue Reading »

When Should Real Estate Photographers Charge Extra For Photoshop Work?

October 22nd, 2015

AppleGateLast week a Patrick asked:

Have you ever asked if real estate photographers access extra fees for removing power lines or issues not the fault of the photographer? I’d like to know what people do.

Yes, we’ve talked about this before (last time was back in May) but it seems to be a popular issue that many struggle with.

Let me try to sum up the state the PFRE community’s thinking from past discussions on this subject: Continue Reading »

Terrible Real Estate Agent Photos: A book of The Most Baffling Property Photos

October 21st, 2015

TerribleRealEstatePhotosIn Monday’s post we were discussing the challenging problem of getting some real estate agents to realize that their photos are terrible. Long time PFRE blog reader Karl Punsvik of Narvik, Norway (Probably the northern most PFRE reader) made a comment that I think deserves some special coverage. Karl’s comment was:

“How Do You Get It Across To Some Realtors That Their Photos Are Awful?”

I would’ve bought them this book for Christmas :)

I think this is a brilliant suggestion! The Terrible Real Estate Agent Photos book above is written by the Andy Donaldson, creator of Besides the book Andy sells a 2016 Day-to-Day Calendar. I just got my copy of the book a few hours ago and it is awesome! Very funny!

Showing agents how hilarious bad photos are may be an angle to work into your marketing. Everyone gets a huge laugh out of bad real estate photos!