Scottevest – Technology Enabled Travel Vest

November 5th, 2014

ScottevestThanks to  Nina Leone for pointing out this cool vest! If you want to carry a bunch of gear with out “looking like a dork” this vest is designed for you. I don’t have one of these yet, but I’m definitely going to get one! The video speaks for itself.

I don’t want to look like a dork!

John McBay’s Tips For Shooting Property From A Helicopter

November 4th, 2014

JohnHeliPhotoJohn McBay is the author of Image Editing For Real Estate Photography. John did some shooting from a helicopter recently and want to pass on some things he learned from the experience. Click on the photo to the right to see a large version of John’s great shot!

I recently had my first opportunity to photograph real estate from a helicopter. It was a great experience and I think I learned a few things that I would like to pass on. It would be interesting to hear from others who have also used a helicopter for photography and anyone who is contemplating it. Continue Reading »

Pixsy: Find and Get Paid for Image Theft

November 3rd, 2014

CopyrightSteve Schlackman over at has an article about a new service that is launching soon called Steve describes the service as follows:

Pixsy approaches the problem in two steps: 1) discovery and 2) action. First, user upload images that they want to track. Pixsy uses reverse lookup, aggregating results from various image search engines to monitor the locations of your images across the internet. When your image is found, it’s URL will show up on your Pixsy dashboard. At that point, the user can either approve the URL, or if the use is not approved, take further action.

In step 2, Pixsy provides the user with several options. Pixsy can send letters to the infringer asking for attribution or initiate a takedown request. But Pixsy’s primary revenue model is to help the artist negotiate a reasonable licensing fee for use of the work. As the starting point for a meaningful negotiation, Pixsy will use a pricing structure based on fotoQuote, the industry standard photo-pricing guide for stock and assignment photography. Pixsy will confirm those numbers with the artist, of course. For any successful negotiation, Pixsy will retain a percentage of the licensing fee.

Pixsy is not taking a Getty Images approach to infringement, in which a lawsuit is threatened unless the infringer pays several hundred dollars. Pixsy understands that infringers aren’t always intentionally trying to rip-off artists. While the Internet is an amazing tool, we must all admit that it has a habit of spreading disinformation, particularly regarding laws surrounding intellectual property. Getty uses that lack of understanding to generate a revenue stream based on coercion. Pixsy wants to generate revenue based on mutual agreement and understanding.


For the full story see Steve’s full article here.

Using Vintage Lenses On Sony A7, A7r and A7s

November 2nd, 2014

SonyA7RPFRE reader Jukka Töyli in Tampere, Finland is an avid Sony enthusiast. Recently Jukka sent me some tips that he’d like to pass along for other real estate shooters interested in the new mirrorless cameras (Sony A7,A7R and A7s or MFT).

Jukka says:

I just found out that old vintage lenses can be really good and affordable. Old Nikon AI-S and Canon FD lenses are really great and are dirt cheap. I’m still building up my Sony A7s set, but so far, I have been surprised by the image quality. I paid about the same for price for my 17mm, 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm and 50mm prime lenses about same price that I had to pay for my Canon 16-35/2.8 and all my lenses (except 17) are 2.8 or better. It’s really easy to find adapters, there are also nice Asahi Pentax, Minolta, Zeiss lenses available. See:
Yep, I have to focus manually, but it’s not that hard. Some of these lenses look even better than new lenses. They are tack sharp in the middle, and corners are also not problem. So, brand new is not always the only answer. Used gear can sometimes be as good as new gear. Especially if you are on a tight budget.
So far I’ve used a chinese adapter that costs 20 euros (Fotodiox and Metabones). Last one cost more but feels really high quality product. But to be honest, most of my adapters are chinese and I’ve had no problems. I’ve also found this adapter on Ebay that works as good as the metabones.
I just got my Sony A7s, so I’m still learning, but I’ve found out my number one lens Nikkor 20/2,8 AI-S is nearly same as new one so I can use  the same Lightroom profile to correct and believe me, it does perfect quality. So far, I’m really pleased with the A7s dynamic range and image quality. RAW files are only 12 Mb and I don’t need bigger one, it’s enough. Much faster editing and pictures need less space in hard drive.
Love my job, again…:0)
So if you are wanting to use the Sony A7 series bodies, you don’t have to spring for expensive glass.

Congratulations To Mike Leland PFRE Photographer Of The Month For October

October 30th, 2014

2014-OctMikeLelandMike Leland of Tucson, AZ has won the October, PFRE Photographer of The Month award.

Update 11/2: I have to apologize, initially I said that this is Mikes third win of this contest. It’s not, its his first. I mistakenly thought that Mike is the same Mike Leland that won this contest in Sept & Oct of 2011. He says he is NOT the same Mike Leland from Cairns, AU. The other Mike Leland has just disappeared.

Here are the first, second and third place winners for October:

  1. #32 – Mike Leland - Tucson, AZ – Shot from a guyed mast with camera at 30 ft.
  2. #8Alasdair McIntosh – York, UK – Shot about 25 ft using a telescopic mast and a wireless trigger.
  3. #31 – Dan Ryan – New Jersey – Shot on the Manfrotto 161MK2B Super Pro Tripod just above 9 ft.

There was a great bunch of images this month. Difficult job to pick the top three images. I’ve put all the entrants names on the photos in the flickr contest site.

Here are Mike’s comments on this photo: Continue Reading »

Here’s One Thing My iPhone 6 Is Better At Than My 5DMkII

October 29th, 2014

TimeLapseI really enjoy creating time-lapse video. I’ve done several posts in the past about it in years past. Several years ago readers enlightened me about the problem of flicker so I’ve studying the art of shooting time-lapse and how to shoot it right. Last year I did a post on the subject. I’ve been improving so I now know how to control and remove flicker. Doing this with a DSLR shooting RAW images is a lot of work! It takes 32 GB of RAW images with a lot of Lightroom and LRTimelapse processing to render about 30 seconds of time-lapse video.

In the last year I’ve tried some of the IOS Apps that do time-lapse. Last December I shot this disappointing time-lapse from Diamond Head using the TimeLapse App on an iPhone 5s. A lot of quality issues with that one.

So when IOS 8 came out, with a timelapse feature built into the camera App I didn’t have great expectations. However, when I tried it out I was pleasantly surprised with this result (no editing, straight out of the camera). The most amazing thing is how fast and easy it is to get this result. Just a few seconds after touching stop, the finished video is rendered and ready. This particular time-lapse only has 3 or 4 noticeable flickers between :28 and :40. The rest is flicker free. Sure, if you shoot RAW and process and render the whole thing yourself you have much more control, but I’m beginning to doubt that it’s worth all the effort. I love getting good quality results so fast. I’m going to be shooting much more time-lapse with my iPhone 6.


Put Your Real Estate Photos In The Right Order!

October 28th, 2014

PhotosInorderTim Wilson pointed out this article at today. Tim said what caught his attention in the article was the following:

What I found super-intriguing was that the sequential order of the photography made a difference. The participants I interviewed wanted to see the photos flow in an order emulating how they would naturally walk through a home. They wanted the first photo to be of the exterior, capturing the entire property, and then see photos that take them through the home. The last photo should be an exterior shot of the rear of the house.

Tim said this is the first time he’d heard this. My response to Tim was:

Yes, absolutely, I’ve never even thought about the fact that I always order photos in walk-through sequence because my wife has always insisted on walk-through sequence ever since I started shooting her listings in about 1990. After getting scolded so many times for not putting photos in exactly the “right order” I guess I’ve just totally habituated this concept. I even deliver photos to agents in walk through order.

So put photos in walk-through order so viewers see the property sequentially in logical order.

What Are The Rights Of Agents and Homeowners Regarding Real Estate Photos Use On Social Media?

October 27th, 2014

PhotoSharingLynn asked the following question concerning agents and homeowners rights when it comes to posting photo you’ve taken for clients on social media:

I have been doing RE photography for little over a year so my biggest concern is to get my name out there to increase my client list.  Social media such as Facebook, Twitter etc seem like a good way right now to do that, but my concern is client/agent/my rights.  Do you know what the rights of the agent and homeowner are when it comes to displaying (your work) the photos on your business Facebook page, Twitter, website, etc…

Two examples of a situation I’m in right now, first one is a basic int/ext and twilight shoot on a 900k home, after I delivered them to the agent I asked if it was ok to post on my pages and she said “NO” that the homeowners do not want the sale public, thats its being sold via the local RE agencies (?).  She said we would have to ask the homeowner first… this legally true or is just RE etiquette?
The second, is a Twilight shoot, FREE for an ex-family member who is a top producing agent.  (while I was on location I did speak with the homeowner who new that these shoots were to promote the sale of their home by the agent) I delivered 15 photos on this $1.3 M home and asked the next day if I could post on my pages, and he won’t respond… do I have the right to post without his ok?

Continue Reading »

How Do Real Estate Photographers Manage Their Files With Lightroom?

October 26th, 2014

LRorganizationReader Randall in Pennsylvania  asked the following question this last week:

I’m just getting started using Lightroom and I was wondering how other real estate photographers are managing their files. For example are they creating one catalogue file per year or per project? Where are they storing the catalogue files, locally or on the external drive with the photos?  In the past I have been putting all of my photos taken for my real estate photography business onto one dedicated external drive. I create folders for each year and then subfolders for each project by State, City, Street address, then subfolders entitled > As shot > Selected > Processed > Published > Hi Res > Low Res. I was wondering what file structure others use for maintaining their photos.

Continue Reading »

October Video Contest Extended Through November

October 24th, 2014

VideoContestExtensionWe have 3 great video entries for October, but I’d like to extend the video contest through November so we get more video entries.

We’ll continue to accept video entries for the contest until November 22.

The video jurors will be using a new scoring system. This system is a refinement to the system suggested by Greg Nuspel where each video will be scored on the following criteria:

  • Technical
  • Aesthetic
  • Communication
  • Originality
  • Impact

As we announced earlier there are 6 additional jurors, 3 of which are Realtors.

Which Is Best For Real Estate Photography – Canon 70D or 7D?

October 23rd, 2014

70DIsabel in Costa Rica says:

Hola, I have a basic gear question for you: I want to buy the best equipment for RE photography without spending a fortune. According to all the reviews the best lens in the Canon EF-S 10-22 mm. I decided I am going to buy this lens, but now I have doubts on which body to buy. Is the 7D a good option? Is the 70D a better option? Which Canon body do you recommend will make the best combo with the Canon 10-22 lens?

Isabel, I don’t have direct experience with either of these bodies but here several things to consider:

Continue Reading »

How Important Is It That Your Real Estate Photography site Has High Google Ranking?

October 22nd, 2014

SEOLast week PFRE reader Aubrey asked the following question:

I wanted to ask you how can I get up in the rankings on the list for preferred photographers in southern California? I’m on the middle of the 2nd page, but would like to be on the 1st page. How can I do that?

There’s a quick and easy way to get higher ranking for your RE photography website and I frequently revisit the subject. Here’s the post from last year that explains how to do it. It certainly doesn’t hurt to do this. If you aren’t in a big metro area with a lot of real estate photographers this will usually get you on the first page for the search term “real estate photographer your-town”. If you are in someplace like Seattle there are a crowd of people that have already done this so it won’t get you on the the first page.

But here’s the deal. Having a high Google ranking for the search term “real estate photographer your-town” isn’t going to get you a ton of business. There are much better ways to build your business than just getting a high Google ranking and waiting for the phone to ring. To build your business you need to actively market yourself to the top listing agents.

It’s better to think of your website as a medium to present your work (your portfolio) and have it at the center of your marketing process where all your marketing materials refer to your site. That way you can present your very best work to people you market.

Real Estate Photography News

October 21st, 2014 wants to help RE photographers market to agents: Within the last year I’ve encountered several companies that have a business model of getting in between the RE photographer and the agent. This is an example of one. At this point I can’t tell which of these are of use to RE photographers and which is aren’t. In general, beware of companies that get between you and your clients and charge processing and transaction fees. Thanks to Todd McIntosh for this link.

Transport Canada just released new info regarding drones: Wow, Transport Canada appears to be on the ball and engaged and coming up with rational and effective regulations. This article explains how to get a Special Flight Operations Certificate if you fly a UAV commercially or heavier than 35 kilograms.  Thanks to Tony Boros for this link.

How to Hire a Real Estate Photographer: Expert Tips for Agents: I think there is a lot of good advice in this article on what photographers should be asking their clients. Thanks to TA Wilson for this link.

3D Listing Photos To Simmer Up Real Estate Marketing: This is indirectly a pitch buy Redfin for Matterport as we talked about last month. Also in this article is reference to another study: “recent study by VHT Studios, one of the largest real estate photography firms in the United States, found that homes with professional interior photos sold 32 percent faster than those that didn’t have an expert behind the lens.” Thanks to Dave Williamson for this link.


PlanEdge: Create Floorplans On A Tablet With A Laser Measure

October 20th, 2014

PlanEdgePFRE reader Sean Elliott at Exposure Property Marketing told me about some new floor plan creation software. Sean said:

Whilst the market is quieter I thought I would take the opportunity to contact you about a new product we are using at Exposure Property Marketing.  We have helped a software company here in the UK Boxcubic Ltd design a new tablet based floor plan app that allows users to draw plans digitally on-site without the need to re-draw them later or outsource them to an offshore CAD team.

The website for PlanEdge is The site has pretty complete information on the product, with a series of video tutorials.

I think this is a great concept! Pairing a blue tooth laser measuring device with a tablet and creating the floor plan as you walk through the property is a great design. My only feedback to Sean was that it would be great to have this App available on IOS and Android. Right now Windows tablets are 3% of the market, Android is 61% and IOS has 35%. Although, since the cost of the tablet you are using, is a relatively small part of the yearly cost, it may make sense to just go purchase a Windows Surface 2 tablet so you can use this application.

So what does everyone think of Sean’s application? Give him your feedback.

Small Flash vs Enfuse/HDR – How Do You Decide?

October 19th, 2014

Questions And AnswersMy post last week got PFRE reader, Felix thinking. He posed the following question:

I’m looking forward to the book on Enfuse but it did raise a question. I know Scott favors using flash and I have read his book and taken his video course.  In your post, you said that Simon uses Enfuse extensively. Is there room for both techniques in one’s repertoire? Or is a person better off picking a single style and sticking to it as much as possible?  Do many photographers use both techniques? I’m currently using flash per Scott’s video and have been happy with the results.
Here is my response to Felix that’s based on talking to a lot of real estate photographers over many years and doing several polls here on the blog over the years:

Continue Reading »