Are Most Real Estate Photographers Independent?

February 7th, 2017

I talk to a lot of real estate photographers. Perhaps several hundred a year. Since I’ve helped a number of them get started as independent real estate photographers after unhappy situations working for tour companies I’ve always assumed that the majority of real estate photographers and readers of this blog are independent rather than employees of other companies, but I don’t know that for sure. Recently, “Wannabeyou” in the PFRE Flickr group discussion asked for some data that shows what the split between independent and non-independent is.

So here’s a poll to see if we can get some data on this subject. Please take the poll to the right to help us find out.

Both the independent and non-independent business model for real estate photography have strong motivations. I believe the two motivations are as follows:

  1. Independent: Working for yourself so you can and run your own business.
  2. Non-independent: Having someone else do the marketing. Many creative people struggle with the business oriented tasks.

The problem is, there is very little profit margin in real estate photography. When you split it between a middle-man and a photographer, the photographer usually gets the short end of the stick.

Should You Set Your Camera to sRGB or Adobe RGB? What About ADL?

February 6th, 2017

Rhett in VA asks:

When shooting photos should I use Adobe RGB or sRGB?  I notice when I shoot in RAW, Lightroom automatically changes my settings I have in my camera but not in jpg. Sometimes my clients say there can be to much contrast in photos. Right now I have the camera set for sRGB and Active-D lighting on high.

Continue Reading »

How Should Real Estate Photographers Deal with Non-Compete Agreements?

February 5th, 2017

NonCompeteAgreementsI had two questions on non-compete agreements last week. Both readers asked for examples of non-compete agreements as if there is some right way to write one.

Over the years everyone I’ve talked to about non-compete agreements they’ve signed have found themselves in a disastrous situation after wanting to work on their own.

My advice on non-compete agreements or clauses is: Continue Reading »

PFRE Reader Recommended Tour Hosting

February 3rd, 2017

I’ve gotten several questions recently asking who the best tour hosting vendor or what the best tour software is. So it’s apparently time to remind everyone of the Suggested Tour Vendor page again.

First of all, I recommend you use a tour hosting vendor rather than trying to use slideshow software to create your own custom tours because it’s just too difficult for most real estate photographers to create their own custom tours. Great tours are just not that expensive and you can easily recover the cost of the tour.

I have a page for tours similar to the outsourcing page we talked about a few days ago. The benefit of the tour page is that it summarizes the suggestions of PFRE readers. Readers vote for their favorite tour vendor by leaving comments on the page.

How to Market Real Estate Photography to Real Estate Agents

February 2nd, 2017

MarketingBrochureDevon in CA says:

I recently introduced myself to a large office of Realtors in my area with intentions to just get my flyers around. However the lady at the front desk told me that very few of their realtors were in at the time. She suggested to me to actually contact the office manager and arrange a time to set up a meeting in their office so that I can speak to all the agents directly. This seems like a great opportunity, but I have no idea how to go about this. Should it just be a sales pitch? Should I be offering them all something upfront? How long should it be? How should I convince the manager to let me do this? Has anyone ever done anything like this? Any ideas? I don’t want this to slip by, but I’ve never done anything like it before.

Yes, we have exactly what you need! Talking to real estate offices at their weekly meetings is a classic way to market to Realtors. They routinely have sales pitches from various vendors selling things to Realtors. Just call the managing broker and ask to get on the schedule for her next meeting.

I have what I call the Realtor Photo Guide which is a summary of the importance of real estate photography. There are two versions: Continue Reading »

How to Keep Windows from Being Too Bright When Using LR/Enfuse

February 1st, 2017

Keri in KS asked:

I shoot 3 brackets with a Canon 5DMkIII and process them with LR/Enfuse but when I shoot towards bright windows the windows turn out too bright even though I expose for the darks inside the windows. I also get some color casts. What can I do to fix these problems?

The problem causing the windows to be too bright is that when you shoot brackets your brackets are not capturing the whole brightness range of the room. This post describes a way to make sure you are capturing the whole brightness range of a room.  With this technique, you use the histogram in LiveView to let you see the exact brightness range of the room. You move the histogram all the way to the left where it starts to crawl up and touch the top and then shoot brackets every stop as you use the shutter speed to move the histogram towards the right. Stop shooting brackets when the histogram crawls up the right side and starts to touch the top.

For your color cast problem, if you use a single manual flash bounced off the ceiling or wall for some or all brackets it will make all the colors more accurate and the whites whiter. Experiment a little to see what the best power setting is for each room. You don’t need a lot of flash power to fix color casts.

Can a Real Estate Photographer Get by with just a 24mm Tilt-shift Lens?

January 31st, 2017

Tom on the Big Island asks:

I’m new to real estate photography. For now, I am doing condos/homes in the $250K to $500K range with $500K being the low end of our price range for homes on the Kona side. I am not ready for the higher end homes although I have shot one condo that was in the $650K range. Currently using a Nikon D7200 with a wide angle Sigma 10-20mm lens. I usually try and shoot at 12mm (with the crop sensor I am at around 18mm). I keep my camera level, using levels and use the live view grid to adjust my line angles.

Continue Reading »

PFRE Reader Recommended Post Processing Vendors

January 30th, 2017

Jordan says:

I haven’t seen the topic of post processing vendors covered in a while. I’m wondering what the latest services out there are for real estate photo editing. As things are slowly starting to get busy this year, I want to get ahead of the busy season and get someone in line for photo editing.

I was using a friend in Ireland to edit my photos last year, but would like to explore the other options that may be available.

Continue Reading »

Enfuse Video Class Now Updated to Cover Blending of Flash and Ambient in Photoshop

January 29th, 2017

Simon Maxwell and I are proud to announce that we have updated the Enfuse Video Class to cover more than just LR/Enfuse. Simon has created 11 new videos that go into the details of blending multiple frames in Photoshop. These 11 new videos cover the same material that was added to the Enfuse and Hand Blending in Photoshop or Real Estate Photography book in the last update. A subscription to the video class includes the ebook PDF. Here is a list of the videos that have been added: Continue Reading »

What Is A Good Printer To Use For Business Cards And Post Cards?

January 27th, 2017

Kiera in CA asked:

I am wondering who everyone uses for their print materials.  I am about to print new business cards and post cards and wasn’t happy with the last run of a typically dependable vendor.

I like moo.com. I’ve used them several times for cards and have been quite pleased. I’ve never used them for postcards but they do all type of printing. They are high quality but probably more expensive that some of the other places.

Back a few years ago when I did a fairly high volume of postcards for my wife’s real estate listings I used expresscopy.com for postcards and their gloss postcards were good for the price.

Anyone else have printer recommendations?

Is Lightroom Running Slow for You?

January 26th, 2017

Reed in MO recently asked:

The complaints about Adobe Lightroom get a little louder. I’ve been feeling this pain, too – are the folks here experiencing the same slowness?  See this article.

I have 2 – SSD’s and 64 gb of ram on an I7 with an iNvidia 1070 video card – pretty close to top of the line for everything. It takes easily two minutes per photo for light edits and applying presets. I thought there was a problem with my old computer with just one SSD and 16 gb of ram because LR had slowed down so badly, so I built the new one; only to be quickly disappointed with LR performance.

Slowness is relative. My experience with Lightroom is that it hasn’t slowed down with the updates over the last few years. Is it smoking fast? Not really! About 4 years ago I just decided to run it on the fastest hardware available: 16 or 32 GB of RAM, SSD drives and the fastest I7 I can get my hands on every couple of years. I just don’t expect blazing speed out of it since it’s never been fast. But on the other hand, I don’t see it being any slower than it’s ever been.

If you google “Lightroom slowness” there are a lot of articles over time on how to optimize Lightroom. For example, here and here.

What are others experiences?

Recommended Gear To Get Started In Real Estate Photography

January 25th, 2017

As a follow up to some of the input I got on my post about what readers would like to see me change on the blog, I’m updating my page where I recommend gear for people getting started in real estate photography. The new page is here.

The suggestion was that rather than recommending just one camera and lens that I have a series of suggestions. I currently have Nikon, Canon, Sony and Fuji gear suggestions. I’ll be making refinements to this page.

Update Feb 3: OK, I added full frame too.

Real Estate Photography Is One of the Few Types of Professional Photography Growing!

January 24th, 2017

Tony and Chelsea Northrup recently posted a video (their Picture This podcast) in which they discuss the future of professional photography. They look at twelve different types of professional photography and argue that out of the twelve types, only three types of professional photography are growing or going to grow. Those three are real estate, video and lifestyle.

Their discussion of real estate photography starts at 24:42 if you want to just watch that part of the video. They also, make the argument that photographers should work at adding video to their skill set because still, photography skills are a natural precursor to learning video and video will become a more important skill in the future.

I think their discussion is well worth the time for any professional photographer; even if you don’t agree with all of their analysis.

How Should I Organize My Real Estate Photography Business?

January 23rd, 2017

Andrew in RI asked the following:

For a real estate photographer just starting out like myself is the typical path to creating a business use the Sole Proprietor option? I work out of my home and have no employees. There is a lot of risk in a Sole Proprietorship so would an LLC be better?

We’ve talked about this subject before and that discussion raised a lot of good points. Continue Reading »

Congratulations Travis Rowan – January PFRE Photographer of The Month

January 22nd, 2017

Congratulations to Travis Rowan who the jury has voted PFRE Photographer of the Month for January. This is Travis’s third win as the PFRE Photographer of the Month. The other two wins were September 2016 and September 2015.

There were a huge number of great twilight shots this month! Here are the entries that the jurors awarded points to this month in order of points awarded: Continue Reading »