Sign The Petition Asking Obama To Compel The FAA To Adopt UK Like Commercial sUAS Standards

July 6th, 2014

sUASPetitionI’ve had several readers over the weekend ask me to promote this recently created petition on the White House website to:  Compel the FAA to adopt the UK’s commercial sUAS standards immediately.

I’ve signed this petition and fully support the concept. My only concern about the petition is that there would be more signatures faster if it were clearer exactly what UK commercial sUAS standards were. I’ve been doing some research to find out what the major UK standards are. This is the best definition that I’ve found.

PFRE reader, Chuck Spaulding pointed out to me that the main issue behind this petition is that the FAA’s current rulemaking committee is mostly aerospace companies and effectively no one with RCMA involvement or interest so guess who’s interests are going to be represented in the rulemaking process? Apparently the certification training in the UK is done by their model association and supervised by the UK equivalent of the FAA.

I think this petition is a good start to get some high level visibility that the FAA is not focused on rules for the small RCMA that we talk about here and there’s no rocket science in the rules the UK has had these rules in place for a couple of years and it’s a good starting point that can be used immediately!  For this reason I highly recommend signing this petition!

There is some irony in the fact that this petition is dated on the anniversary of the US independence from Britain. It’s time to admit that the British get a lot of things right… a sUAS process is just one of them!

Update 7/10: Also another way to give feedback to the FAA is at at their feedback page on Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. See the article at Forbes about this page. I just struggled for 20 minutes trying to give feedback on the FAA feedback page and finally discovered that if you use the Chrome browser the comment page won’t work… keeps saying the comment field is empty. As soon as I switched to Safari the comment page worked. Do you think this could have an effect on the low comment rate. I do, chrome is the most popular browser - many people are probably giving up and leaving. And these are the people that are regulating our air space and new technology?

The Next Absurd Step In The Continuing Saga of FAA Trying To Regulate New Technology

July 2nd, 2014

DJIPhantom2On Tuesday the New York Post reported that the FAA is taking on Realtors in NYC, the Hamptons.

Brendon Schulman, Special Counsel at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP in New York claims via Twitter that this subpoena activity by the FAA is not new. He says he is defending Subpoenas that were issued months ago.

Gregory McNeal at also reports on this situation. Gregory says:

The FAA claims their decision is all about safety, FAA administrator Michael Huerta stated last week “We have a mandate to protect the American people in the air and on the ground, and the public expects us to carry out that mission.” But regulating based on commercial versus non-commercial use has nothing to do with safety, in fact it may be the worst way to draw the line on safe versus unsafe operations.

I’m no expert on this but it sure looks to me like the FAA is just harassing RCMA pilots because they know they cannot actually fine anyone until the Pirker v FAA case now in appeal is settled.

Congratulations To Anders Carlson – June Videographer of The Month

July 1st, 2014

AndersCarlsonVideoThe winner of the June video contest is Anders Carlson of Kailua Kona, HI. Anders has the distinction of being the first person to win both the still contest (multiple times) and the video contest!

Juror Hamish Beeston’s comment was:

Fantastic. Really like this one. Great mix of shots (lots of quality details and all verticals vertical!), great music, great pacing. Love the aerials and surfing shots in particular. Nice use of floating on-screen text too. Brilliant!

Juror Allan MacKenzie’s comment was:

Dido agree with Hamish – WOW awesome work, what I call pure entertainment… Everything is covered off by Hamish, I’ll just add I really loved the subtle use of the supers. Titles and text sometimes can be a distraction and takeaway from the shot if not carefully balanced in the frame, but they were sitting nicely in the film, excellent work as always.

Allan and Hamish ranked the top 4 videos as follows:

  1. Anders Carlson -Kailua Kona, HI: 12 points – Anders’s video
  2. Jeff Clough – Cape Cod, MA: 4 points – Jeff’s video
  3. Jacob McNeil – Victoria, BC: 2 points – Jacob’s video
  4. Michael Gowin – Lincoln, IL: 2 points – Michael’s video

Here are Ander’s comments on the video:

I’ve really enjoyed participating and watching all the videos each Month and I’m honored to be chosen as this month’s winner. I’ve learned and lot from the feedback and incorporated some new shots and techniques inspired by watching a lot of the videos I have seen here. In particular i’ve been trying to do a few things that I’ve seen in Travis Rowan’s work.

Honestly I feel like I have a bit of an advantage because I get to work in such a beautiful environment. I have to give a lot of the credit to the setting here in Kona where it is rare not to have a stunning sunset and a swim with dolphins is available for the adventuresome pretty much on a daily basis.

This was the first time that I shot a house entirely in Raw. I used a Canon 5dMk II with magic lantern installed. In addition to the added dynamic range, what I really like about working in RAW is the ability to edit images in Lightroom. Basically, I take the RAW video file and convert it to cinema dmg, import the entire sequence into Lightroom, edit one frame that best represents the whole shot, then import the sequence into after effects and export it to HD. Then I bring all the files into Final Cut Pro X and work on my whole edit. Phew! It sounds like a lot on paper, but its not that bad.

The lifestyle clips come from a collection that I have from spending a lot of time here at Kukio. The whale shots were provided by my friend Ben Bricken. The shot of the kid surfing is actually my son and I… here is a longer version was featured on the Gopro youtube channel. Being the proud dad that I am, I have to share!

Thank you to Alan and Hamish for taking the time to watch and critique all of our videos.

I’ve added all the entrants names to their videos in the Video Contest Flickr forum. Thanks for everyone’s participation!

Aperture Is Dead: What Does This Say About The Future Of Other Apple Pro Applications?

June 30th, 2014

Aperture3It was no big surprise to me to hear that Apple is going to stop development of Aperture beyond OS-X Yosemite. Aperture will be updated to run on Yosemite but won’t be developed further.

I effectively predicted this a year ago. The writing has been on the wall for many years. Apple hasn’t been keeping up with Adobe Lightroom. Their actions over the last 3 years have essentially been abandonment.

I’ve always had a copy of Aperture and there are many things about it I’ve always liked. I think the adjustment brushes in Aperture are wonderfully smooth and great to use. That’s probably because they were coded by some one that really understood the internals of OS-X. I hate to delete it from my machines but there’s no point in keeping it around any more.

Adobe made a statement on their blog concerning the retirement of Aperture:

Put simply we’re doubling down on our investments in Lightroom and the new Creative Cloud Photography plan and you can expect to see a rich roadmap of rapid innovation for desktop, web and device workflows in the coming weeks, months and years. We also continue to invest actively on the IOS and OS-X platforms, and are committed to helping interested iPhoto and Aperture customers migrate to our rich solution across desktop, device and web workflows.

The fact that Apple is walking away from Aperture makes me a little nervous that same thing may be coming down the road for Final Cut Pro. Although there was an update to FCP that came out shortly after they made the announcement to discontinue development of Aperture.  I get the feeling that Apple has more important things to do than to develop professional applications. In the total scheme of things developing and refining professional applications can’t be a very big income stream for Apple. It’s not their core competency. The last big update to Final Cut Pro X a couple of years ago was very controversial  to long time professional users of FCP. Some, like Thomas Fitzgerald at the Aperture Blog points out that:

Both Final Cut Pro and Logic have far more market share than Aperture ever had. Despite the difficulties surrounding the FCPx Launch, it’s still the market leader. The same goes for Logic. FCPx sells Mac Pros. It’s as simple as that, and the Mac Pro is a high end, high profit margin product. A friend of mine who visited NAB this year commented on the number of new Mac Pros at the show. Even though Apple wasn’t exhibiting, Apple’s presence was felt everywhere. Unfortunately, Aperture never had this kind of impact in the market.

Perhaps, but I’m still nervous about FCP. I’m concerned that Apple’s core business is more consumer oriented to expect them to stand by their professional applications in the long term. What do you think?

Real Estate Photography Question and Answers – #9

June 29th, 2014

QandALinda’s Question:
  I had a question about business insurance and found your post  from April 2010. I was wondering if we also need to be bonded, or if the business insurance is sufficient? I was thinking specifically about times we shoot in homes alone. Do you know the answer to this?

Answer: I‘ve never heard of real estate photographers being bonded. That’s more a thing used in the construction trades. Having a bond is like having up-front proof that you can pay a claim. Many MLSs have rules that prohibit contractors of any kind (including real estate photographers) from being left alone in a property that has a listing contract on it, that’s why  most listing agents will stay with you during the shoot. When my wife and I listed property in the Seattle area there was a NWMLS fine of $5,000 if an agent was caught leaving a contractor alone in a listing.

Art’s Question:  I wonder if any of you guys have ever tried these cheap, multi mount wireless (like profto B1),  flash heads like this one:
It would be great for low budget architectural lighting kit, like the Yongnuo 560-III.

Answer: Yes, actually I know of several PFRE blog readers that use these things. Mark in Australia that’s been promoting them and selling them to many to readers. Just last month I got one from him. I haven’t had much time to play with it yet. I’d like to find someone that’s been using them for a while that can write a post about how to use them and their benefits.

David’s Question: I am a new real estate photographer and I have question about charging and licensing builders. Builders would want a set of photos for each of their models so they can use them for marketing on their web site plus letting the agents that represent them to place on the MLS. Since these photos would be used over and over for several years what does this community suggest for initial shoots plus licensing. 

Answer: It seems to me when you are shooting for a builder that has multiple properties it’s no different than any other property. You are licensing a set of photos of a home for the purpose of listing, marketing and selling that home. If the builder has 10 models you charge him to list and sell each of the  10 models – doesn’t matter that each listing is done by an agent. If the builder is going to use the photos from one model to sell many homes that have the same floor plan, I would bill him for each listing he used the photos to sell… if it’s over and over then maybe you give him a discount for subsequent listings since you don’t to have to go out there and re-shoot each time.

Robert’s Question: Has anyone ever used a Comodo Orbit Handheld Stabilization Rig for real estate video?

Answer: First of all you should understand that a there are two schools of real estate videographers, the school that does walk through video and the school that does cinematic video using using sliders, cranes and jibs. My perception is that the majority of real estate videographers do cinematic video. The reason for this is probably that stabilizers are so hard to learn to use. Fred Light in Boston, who uses a stabilizer said it took him years to learn how to do it well. I see that Fred, who may have invented walk through video, uses a the Freefly MoVI stabilizer.

Does anyone have stabilizer advice for Robert?

Protection For Your Gear On Rainy Days or Harsh Direct Sunlight

June 26th, 2014

CalUmbrellaCal Mitchener in Charlotte, NC wanted to share his latest real estate photography invention with us, that protects his gear on rainy days and harsh, direct sunlight. Cal adapted a golf umbrella to mount easily on his tripod. Here are several detail shots of Cal’s invention. Detail 1, detail 2 and detail 3.

Here is Cal’s description of how he built the umbrella adapter:

I came up with a great solution to rainy day shoots, as well as harsh direct sunlight. I saw something similar on the web, but I modified it a bit to better suit my needs.

I epoxied the golf umbrella’s handle into a section of 1.5” copper pipe, added a 1.5” to .5” reducer, and a short section of .5” copper pipe.

This slides easily into the .5” copper sleeve & end cap attached to bracket. I use this for rainy day exteriors and shooting into bright sun.

I love this thing, and thought it would be of interest to other real estate shooters.

Cal also reports that the market for real estate photography is “on fire” in Charlotte! He shoots 20-25 homes a week. When you are shooting at that rate, you can’t cancel because of a little rain!

FAA Publishes More Confusing Guidance For RCMA

June 25th, 2014

DJIPhantom2On Monday June 23rd The FAA published new guidance for RCMA operators in the Federal Register.

As a result there have been many articles analyzing, interpreting and reacting the new guidance:

The article that I like the best is by John Goglia, a former NTSB member, at John Makes the case that the FAA needs to create rules (laws) or exemptions not issue more confusing guidance. He says, “…the FAA’s failure to issue rules or exemptions is leading to an unsafe situation.”

The current RCMA law is summarized by Peter Sachs (Peter is an attorney) at his site Drone Law Journal. In short, there is no existing law governing RCMA under 55 lbs flying under 400 feet. Everything the FAA is publishing/doing is guidance, not law. The final word on this subject will be the appeal decision on the Pirker v FAA case that is in appeal to the NTSB. A judgement is expected soon.

Congratulations Tony Colangelo – PFRE Photographer Of The Month For June

June 23rd, 2014

TonyColangeloCongratulations to Tony Colangelo, Victoria BC, who won this months close still image contest. This is Tony’s second win. He won this contest back in August of 2013.

A lot of great images this month! The competition is getting very keen in this contest. This month the voting was much closer than it’s been for a long while.

Here is the jury’s voting results:

  1. 28 points, #20, Tony Colangelo, Victoria, BC.
  2. 20 points, #6, Sebastian Erras, Amberg, Germany.
  3. 15 points, #11, Barry MacKenzie – London, ON.
  4. 9 points, #10, Andrew Mott – Calgary, AB.
  5. 9 points, #5, Sean Elliott – York, UK.
  6. 6 points, #9, Gill Couto – Carefree, AZ.
  7. 6 points, #16, Alasdair McIntosh – York, UK.
  8. 6 points, #12, Anders Carlson, Kailua Kona, HI.
  9. 3 points, #2, Nicholas Marshall, Los Angeles, CA.
  10. 3 points, #7, Adrian Jones, Cape Town, South Africa.
  11. 3 points, #21, Ryan Wicks, East Sussex, UK.
  12. 2 points, #3 Adam Taylor – Long Beach, CA.

Here are Tony’s comments:

I must confess to being terribly surprised (and humbled!) by winning the POTM contest this month! The photo was from a practice-shoot, as I’ve been working on a couple things lately. The first is Scott Hargis’s technique of adding a straw gel to a flash that’s intended to light a stairwell. The other was rooted in my desire to improve the directionality of my lighting. Indeed, there are a number of photographers within our community whose lighting inspires me and makes me want to get better at controlling/managing light — namely Kate Benjamin, Julie Mannell, Jason Roehner and, in particular, Barry McKenzie (to name a few!) In any case, thanks to all for the ongoing support and camaraderie! I’m so appreciative!

As for the photo, it’s a blending of an ambient frame, as the base, and three flash frames: one for the stairwell, using the straw gel; another for a pop of flash bounced into the blinds at the far right of the image (to add some directionality/shadowing to the orange chair); and a final pop using a speedlite with a snoot attached, on a monopod, positioned over the corner of the bookcase by the DR table. All images hand-blended in PS, and finished-up with a couple of Nik Software plug-ins, for a bit of contrast/detail enhancement, as well as adding a smidgen of warmth to the entire space.

I have put all the names on the contest entries in the contest flickr group. Thanks for everyones participation!

Real Estate Photography Question and Answers – #8

June 22nd, 2014

QandALinda’s Question: Since I’m doing mostly video I was leaning toward the Tokina 11-16 for the f/2.8, since you cannot use a tripod like you can for stills, at least for the walk-through videos that I do.  My question for you is, given that I’m only gaining less than a stop (2.8 – 3.5), do you think the Canon 10-22 still trumps the Tokina? The Tokina costs less, but I’m willing to pay what’s necessary for the better lens.

Answer: This is a tough call that probably only you can make. On close calls on important issues like what lens will meet your needs people sometimes don’t realize that you can try out lenses very inexpensively. If I were you I’d rent (see: the Tokina ($38/five days) and the Canon lens ($41/five days) and see which you like best for your use.

Matt’s Question: Would you mind telling me if I’ve effectively grasped the concept of straightening the verticals on this last flyer I shot/edited ? I shoot with a Canon 24-105mm 4.0L. I always shoot at 24mm. I use the lens profile correction on Lightroom, then fiddle with the vertical settings in your instructions until I feel I get the best result, but I still feel like I’m not getting it right.

Answer: No, almost all of your verticals are still way off! The first step is to be thinking about keeping verticals, vertical while you are shooting. Use the left and right side of the camera frame in the viewfinder to keep your camera level in the front to back plain. It’s tilting the camera up or down that makes the verticals off. If you need to, shoot with a tripod that has a built-in level or put a bubble level in the hot shoe. But you can also see the effect while you are shooting in the viewfinder - all verticals must be parallel to the vertical edges of the viewfinder frame. If you do a good job keeping the camera level, front to back, when you shoot there’s very little that will need to be done in Lightroom. The LR 5 Upright/Auto feature (in the lens correction panel) will do the job automatically for you if the verticals aren’t too far off. The lens profile just corrects barrel distortion, not verticals. Here is a link to a summary post on the subject of verticals.

Steve’s Question: I was talking with a fellow Realtor who told me that when the professional photographer, he uses, does her work he comes in and takes one photo of each room with no lights.  I reviewed the photo company’s website which was advertised in our Florida Real Estate Magazine and they said their field photographers do not process. They obviously do so in house.  Maybe they are taking HDR  Maybe something else….Your thoughts?

Answer: There are a handful companies, like out of Seattle, that have proprietary post-processing techniques that can do better than most photographers with a few RAW files. I have a hard time believing they do it with one exposure. If you listen closely, when she presses the shutter release, the camera captures 3 photos. These companies are VERY tight lipped about their process. They’ve been in business for about 7 years and no one I know has been able to reproduce their exact process. They keep all their post processing guys locked up in a back room. Vicaso’s process is probably a variation on Exposure Fusion or HDR with some clever Photoshop work.

Jake’s Question: Which software you use for creating flyers for listings. I’ve been using Photoshop, which works, but its a bit cumbersome with resizing photos, rearranging layouts, etc. Do you have a solution/workflow that basically gives you a template that you can fire off these printouts without too much fiddling around?

Answer: Not that many real estate photographers create flyers for agents because most real estate offices have internal free resources (secretaries answering phones that need something to do to fill in between phone calls) and company templates to create flyers. The process of creating an effective flyer involves writing some marketing copy and a review cycle or two with the Realtor that is tedious for photographers. That said, in some situations, flyers can be a natural add on product for photographers that have clients that care about how their flyers look. Along with my Business of Real Estate Photography ebook I include Photoshop templates for flyers, postcards and brochures that I used for years to promote my wife’s listings. You are right, Photoshop isn’t the ideal application to for flyers. Nowadays I’d use Adobe Indesign. Most real estate offices use MS Publisher to create flyers but frankly I’d rather use Photoshop.

Realtors who are really into professional looking marketing materials use sites like because they provide professionally designed and integrated marketing materials.

In the end having a few Photoshop templates is an inexpensive approach unless you have Adobe Indesign.

This Week In Real Estate Video #113 – Team Uneek In Orlando

June 20th, 2014

UneekI subscribe to the Team Uneek YouTube channel and yesterday Michael and Nory posted a particularly wonderful example of  their work.

I’m always amazed when I watch their work by how artful and creative it is. For me this is a delight in sound and synchronized movement of interesting images. Of course it helps to have a great looking property to shoot. But I’ll bet Michael and Nory could make a dumpy little shack look great! There’s something about the quick, unusual views and moves combined with the rhythm of the music they use that holds my attention.

For those readers that don’t know Michael and Nory, here is Michael’s description of their business from about a year ago:

I work with my wife Nory who has studied lighting over the past 6 months so we now work together full time two other assistants for some shoots. Nory is also an agent.

We shoot for a lot of interior designers, builders and architects throughout Florida and have shot some of the most expensive homes, along with private celebrity homes that were not even for sale. Our turnaround is 24 hours for pictures and video for all real estate shoots. As you notice we shoot with a lot of off camera flash and ARRI hot lights depending on what the clients specific request and try to pay very close attention to detail.

We have had our work in Architectural Digest, Florida Design, Luxe, and pretty much every magazine that is produced in central Florida. There is a local magazine that comes out every 2 months and is about 30 pages called Portfolio Florida, and out of the 30 pages of work in the last issue we had 19 pages of work featured in there along with inserts on four more. Also,we are the creative directors for Lamborghini, Bentley and Rolls Royce of Orlando and are negotiating an exclusive contract for a mega yacht broker.

Michael and Nory, thanks for posting some of your work on YouTube!

Lightroom For Your Camera

June 19th, 2014

LightroomiPhoneOn Wednesday Adobe announced Creative Cloud 2014. Along with it there are several mobile apps. The most interesting one to me is Lightroom mobile for the iPhone. Yea, I know, support for Android is not available yet; it’s coming.

Lightroom mobile is clearly a work in progress. Adobe still working at understanding mobile photography because they strip off important metadata from your photos, like date, time and location and they don’t sync video files (the dropbox app has done that for a long time). Adobe is new to the field of mobile photography; this is not their core competency. But despite these oversights this new concept of having Lightroom running on your camera is groundbreaking and I think it has huge potential! 

Sure, this new Lightroom mobile feature is not a Lightroom feature that you are going to use for shooting real estate but the concept of a camera automatically syncing it’s files to Lightroom is compelling and I want for my DSLR! Julieanne Kost’s video explains all the features of Lightroom mobile

Oh, yea, the other great news for photographers is that the Photoshop and Lightroom Creative Cloud bundle priced at $9.99 is now a permanent pricing plan. This is a great deal!

Can You Make It In Real Estate Photography Working For Brokerages or Tour Companies

June 17th, 2014

WillWorkForFoodMy experience is that in real estate photography you must work for yourself to make a living.

I’ve seen a bunch of discussion lately about people wanting to find real estate photography jobs as a part time or weekend job to make extra money  and allow you to transition to being a full time real estate photographer.

Here is one:

I would LOVE to some how talk a brokerage into hiring me as their full time “staff photographer”

Here’s a quote from someone that is a full time “staff photographer” for a large brokerage:

I’m just starting out in the real estate photography and I’m fully aware that I’m underpaid. I do the photography, put up/take down signs, do the lock boxes and take measurements and get just under $10 an hour. All for one of the largest realtors in my area. Ugh, that actually hurt to type that out haha.

Over the last 7 or 8 years I’ve run into a huge number of situations where photographers work for large tour companies or large brokerages and they end up making about as much as they would if they worked for MickyDs or Walmart. Ten dollars an hour or less.

What needs to be understood about real estate photography is the profit margin is small because there is frequently a lot of photographer competition and listing agents in many areas are not willing to pay much for a real estate shoot. So if you get some other company like a tour company in the food chain the photographer doesn’t make much.

In 2010 I spent time helping Robert in Woodinville, WA who was making $30/shoot working for a large tour company where he covered equipment costs and travel costs traveling throughout the Seattle area. You can’t make a living in these circumstances! Peggy Taylor in Tampa is another example of starting out working for a big tour company and then becoming independent. Both Robert and Peggy couldn’t make it working for a tour company but built very successful businesses when they became independent.

The bottom line is you may be able to get some experience working for a large brokerage or a tour company but you have to be independent to create a worthwhile job that you can many enough to support a family on. It’s hard work but if you want to be successful you must be independent in this business. If anyone has evidence to the contrary please enlighten us.


Real Estate Photography Question and Answers – #7

June 15th, 2014

QandAJerome’s Question: I did my first real estate photography earlier this year and the realtor sold it pretty quick. I would like to do more but I’m not sure where to get a client base for that. I still have my day job that pays me well. But I would like to find a part-time gig that pays decent on the weekends, maybe even a couple of days during the week. Who can I work for?

Answer: Real estate photography works best if you create your own business and work independently. The companies that hire RE photographers keep most of the profit! There isn’t enough profit in RE photography for the photographer and another company. You can market yourself and build up your own clientele. The best way to do that is to research who the top 5 or 10% of Realtors are in your area based on number of listings and sale price and then market those Realtors directly. Find the top 10% in your area just by doing online research. All your local brokers sites have a list of the agents and their listings so just make a list.

Tom’s Question:  I am really struggling with over exposed windows with my shots? I used to do lots of HDR but have wanted to get away from it due to the over use of it and over baking that can occur, I have light stands I can bring with me but that is a lot of equipment to lug around in shots but willing to do it for better looking windows.   

Answer: Scott Hargis’s classic explanation is here. Here’s a way to start to get the feel of how to use a flash. Try this out in your front room for a while to get the hang of it:

  1. Start out by taking an ambient exposure that exposes the windows like you want them. All this is with ISO set at 400. Everything on manual. For most situations a good starting point is f/6.3 1/80. By trial and error and looking at LCD screen get the windows where you want them while the shutter speed slower than 1/250 so the flash will sync.
  2. While keeping the same manual settings, add a manual flash on a light stand to left or right of camera. Point the flash at a 45 degree angle towards the ceiling or bounce it off a wall from about 3′ away from a wall. Start with 1/2 power… see how it looks. Adjust the power until it looks good in the LCD.

With some practice you’ll be able to guess at all these setting and get them right. In small rooms one small flash will do. In larger rooms you’ll need more flashes. For much more of the details on this subject see Scott Hargis’s ebook and video series.

Matt’s Question:  I must be overlooking it, but I can’t seem to find which software you use for creating printouts for listings. I’ve been using Photoshop, which works, but its a bit cumbersome with resizing photos, rearranging layouts etc. Do you have a solution/workflow that basically gives you a template that you can fire off these printouts without too much fiddling around? 

Answer: Not many real estate photographers create flyers for agents because most real estate offices have internal resources (secretaries answering phones that need something to do to fill in between phone calls) and templates to create flyers. Plus the process of creating an effective flyer involves writing some marketing copy and a review cycle or two with the Realtor and most photographers are not into that. MLSs  and tour companies automatically generate crude flyers that some agents use.

That said, flyers can be a natural add on product for photographers for agents that care about how their flyers look. Along with my Business of Real Estate Photography ebook I include Photoshop templates for flyers, postcards and brochures that I used for years to promote my wife’s listings. You are right Photoshop isn’t the ideal application to use. Nowadays I’d use Adobe Indesign if I did it again. Most real estate offices use MS Publisher to create flyers but I prefer Adobe InDesign.
Realtors who are really into professional looking marketing materials use sites like because they provide professionally designed integrated and marketing materials.

Sherry’s question: Have you done any articles on selecting a drone for aerial photos (not  video, if that’s possible)?  My clients are asking for it so I’m researching them.  I’m actually having a hard time finding the product!

Answer: I did this post early in March. The newest version of the DJI Phantom is the 2+. I think that is the best at this point for real estate photography. Both of these will do either stills or video. The 2+ plus has everything included and with the older version you have to buy a GoPro camera separately.

I think the DJI Phantom (2 or 2+) is the best for getting started because it comes ready to fly. All you have to do is learn how to fly it. To carry a full size DLSR you have to spend much more.
As I talk about at the end of the post the other issue everyone flying needs to address is insurance. Some readers say they have found acceptable insurance and others say they can’t find insurance. 

At End Of Day Jun 15: Still Contest Closes and Video Contest Opens

June 13th, 2014

pfreVOMThe PFRE still photo contest is closing at the end of the day June 15 and the video contest is open. The June Photographer of the Month will be announced about 6/24.

If you are submitting a video for April’s contest please read and follow the contest rules at:

Here is the general way the contest works:

  • Links to video entries will be in the flickr video contest forum. I’ll add them as contestants submit them.
  • If you’d like to comment on any particular video, join the forum and comment on the entry where the link to the video is posted.
  • The June contest is open for entries through 6/24.
  • The winner will be announced 7/1.

The purpose of the video contest is to provide a venue for discussing and learning about property video.

Belgian Photographer Nick De Clercq Awarded Qualified European Professional Photographer

June 12th, 2014

NickDeClercqCongratulations to long time PFRE reader and PFRE flickr forum participant, Nick De Clercq who last weekend was awarded the title of Qualified European Professional Photographer. Nick won the PFRE photographer of the month back in February 2012 and is a monthly photo contest juror. As you can see from Nick’s description below this award is a big deal! There are only 3 Belgians and 18 Europeans that have gotten this award. Here is Nick’s description of the award and his thanks to everyone that has helped him get there:

This past weekend I was awarded the titel of “Qualified European Professional Photographer” at the QEP-judging session held in Riga, Latvia by the Federation of European Photographers (FEP).

In 1999 the FEP started a qualification system that recognises exceptional professional abilities in European Professional Photographers and honours them with the quality label of “Qualified European Professional Photographer”. This European label transcends the awards and prices given out in all of the 29 member countries.

This QEP-judging session is held twice a year by the FEP (Federation of European Professional Photographers). During which the photographer’s panel of twelve photos is assessed by a five-member jury of European photographers who already have been honoured with the QEP label or Master QEP label. They assess the panel based on the technical and artistic qualities, the consistency of the panel, the style of the photographer, and last but not least the high technical quality of the professional work of the candidates. This year’s first judging session was held on 7 and 8 of June in Riga, Latvia.

With a lot of pride I am able to say that I was awarded the titel and quality label of QEP Photographer in Architecture, merely as the 3th Belgian and 18th European photographer in its 15 years of existence. Making this a tremendous honour for me!

Thinking back to when I first visited the PFRE website and Flickr-forum for the very first time in 2010. I remember being stunned by the quality and the abundance of information that was available for starting photographers.

I also have to thank Scott Hargis and David Eichler for levelling my early work with critique, pushing me to improve the quality of my work. Then they gave me further critique on my new work and acknowledging the improvements that I had made. In my eyes it is amazing that great photographers such as Scott Hargis, David Eichler and Michael Kelley took (and still take) the time to give pointers and tips to me and all other starting real estate photographers. Combining this with the incredible PFRE Flickr community of photographers provides starting photographers with a certain urge to learn and do better each and every time they upload a photo to the forum.

In about 4 years, the help and support that I have gotten from this website and the accompanying flickr forum has gotten me from a hobby photographer to a belgian accredited photographer to an “European Photographer” and last but definitely not least to one of the 450 (out of 50.000+) photographers who have been awarded the “Qualified European Professional Photographer”-title in the past 15 years.

I hope that one day I am able to return the favour and do for another starting photographer what this website and forum has done for me. So Larry, THANK YOU for starting this website and giving me (and many others) the chance to explore and develop their skills. Without this website and community I am sure that I would have never gotten this far this fast, I might have never had achieved this level without this community.

You can find my judged QEP-panel portfolio here.

Great job Nick! I’ve made a new category “Success stories” since I’ve done several other posts over the years about PFRE community success stories. Be sure to let me know if you have some success that you are willing to share with the PFRE community. These kind of stories are very valuable and inspiring for those just starting out in interiors photography.