PFRE Still Contest Is Closed and PFRE Video Contest Is Open

February 15th, 2015

FebContestThe February PFRE Photographer of the month contest is now closed and the PFRE video contest for February is now open.

The February still photos are now available for jury voting and discussion by everyone in the still contest flickr group. The theme this month is Living room or Family room. As usual, this is a great opportunity to study and comment on the entries. Don’t worry about influencing the jurors, they have their own opinions! There are some stunning images, see if you can pick the winner.

The video contest is now open. If you are submitting an entry please read the contest rules before you submit your entry. The video contest will be open through Feb 22 for submitting entries.

Finally – Proposed New Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

February 15th, 2015

200px-US-FederalAviationAdmin-Seal.svgToday, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration today proposed a framework of regulations (PDF), “that would allow routine use of certain small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in today’s aviation system, while maintaining flexibility to accommodate future technological innovations.” Here is the press release.

I don’t know what’s going on at the FAA but it seems like someone has told them, “you WILL meet your September 2015 deadline!” Perhaps, not coincidently, the Whitehouse also released a presidential memorandum to the heads of federal agencies: Promoting Economic Competitiveness While Safeguarding Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties in Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

The summary of the major provisions (PDF), looks remarkably reasonable and concise. The public will be able to comment on this proposed regulation for 60 days from the date of publication (Feb 15) in the Federal Register, which can be found at www.regulations.gov.

It’s only been about an hour and a half since these proposed regulations were released and Amazon has already protested that these regulations don’t accommodate UAS operation where the operator can’t see the UAS. Also, Brendan Schulman has been pointing out other issues that need to be resolved, but this is a great first step! This is more progress than the FAA has made on this subject in several years and they seem now to be on track to make something happen.

Update 2/15 1:40PM Pacific: Starting to get some other reactions to the proposed rules: Continue Reading »

How Can You Compete Against TourFactory

February 12th, 2015

CompetingWTourfactoryMike in Knoxville said:

Can we get an update on marketing against TourFactory? I’ve read your 2009 post and maybe more might be said now.

TourFactory has always been a great example of a great tour that includes other marketing products for property marketing. And in many markets independent real estate photographers need to compete against TourFactory. So what can you do to compete against TourFactory tours? Independents cannot use TourFactory tours as a part of their product.

I think that in recent years TourBuzz.net is a natural solution for competing against TourFactory. TourBuzz.net has most (not all) of the features of TourFactory and TourBuzz.net is designed for independent real estate photographers. A couple of things you might provide in addition to TourBuzz.net tours would be, Rider signs with the URL/QRcode of the tour and high-quality flyers if these features are important in your market. Continue Reading »

Which Camera Has The Best In-Camera HDR?

February 11th, 2015

InCameraHDRTour Guide recently asked the question:

Have you ever done a post on what is the best in-camera HDR and if it is an acceptable quality for real estate photography?

The best answer I’ve found is over at Slrlounge.com. The video to the right answers the same question. Their answer is the Canon 5DMkIII is the best because it has an effective mechanism for shooting a series of brackets and it keeps the RAW files that are used for creating the HDR result so you can reprocess if you choose. Most other cameras don’t do that.

The second part of the question, “… is it acceptable quality for real estate photography?” has a lot to do with your taste and which processing mode you use, so there isn’t a definitive answer to that. When the 5DMkII first came out several readers showed me their results from in-camera HDR and they looked acceptable to me. The rendering was restrained and not over the top.

Are many out there using in-camera HDR?

Collect And Share Testimonials To Help Sell Your Real Estate Photography

February 10th, 2015

REPsuccessMichael Gowin recently sent me a link to a great testimonial that he got from one of his clients. Michael says:

This weekend one of my clients emailed me with a great (unsolicited) testimonial about how my photography has helped her sell listings. With her permission, I posted it on my blog today. Click here to read the testimonial.

… If more photographers can encourage their clients to offer these kinds of testimonials, it really adds value to the work they do – and helps reduce resistance for prospects for their RE photography.

Yes, absolutely! Nothing has a bigger influence over agents that what they see happening to successful agents in their office and their market area. A blog like Michael has on his site is a great way of doing this. It can be the root of spreading this on social media. Michael’s blog is integrated with his website because his website hosting service (SquareSpace.com) has that feature but another easy, free way to do a blog is to use WordPress.com.

What Is Your Experience With The Quality Of Blurb Books Made With Lightroom

February 9th, 2015

BlurbBooksHamish posed the following question about Blurb books made with Lightroom:

I was wondering if the PFRE community has any advice about getting photo books printed. We are occasionally asked to supply stills as a printed book and in the past I have used iPhoto and Blurb via Lightroom.

iPhoto was easy and had great colour reproduction but the print quality itself was poorer than hoped – a little too ‘digital’. The Blurb book looked amazing in terms of the print but the colour was a long way off what I saw in Lightroom. There was a distinct purple cast to the images. I know there are RGB / CYMK issues at play and I’ve Googled around the Blurb / LR issues but found not easy / common solution so I was wondering if the PFRE community had the answer.

Continue Reading »

Do You Use Manual Or AutoFocus When Shooting Real Estate?

February 8th, 2015

FocusDiana recently asked a great question:

I am racking my brain this morning trying to figure out some settings on my new camera and was hoping you could easily answer this for me as I’ve spent a few hours on my own frustrated. So I currently shoot with a Canon 70D which I’ve loved but decided to upgrade to the Canon 5D Mark iii. On the 70D my settings are: one shot autofocus, 19 point autofocus mode, evaluative metering, I shoot in AV, bracket out 7 pics. So with the 5D I cannot figure out what to set my autofocus point to as there seems to be a hell of alot of options! I don’t know if I should do the 61 points or 15 points? I don’t know what to chose in the “Select AF area select mode.” I was thinking 61 Pt., but I know alot of re photographers do spot AF. I never have with my 70D, but this camera is so different to me. Any other AF points you think are important to point out would be greatly appreciated. Also fyi, I do not use flash, yet..If that makes a difference, I don’t know. I figured out everything else just this part stumps me.

Continue Reading »

The New Tamron 15-30mm May Be Close To The Nikon 14-24mm

February 6th, 2015

Tamron15-18There’s a new wide angle lens for full frame Nikon, Canon and Sony/Minolta DSLRs. It’s the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC. Note this lens is designed for full frame DSLRs, it’s an effective 21-36mm Focal Length on APS-C sensor cameras.

Matt Granger thinks that in many areas (not all) it rivals the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8.  Click here to get Matt’s review. If this is true, it’s pretty earth-shaking! For a very long time, the Nikon 14-24mm has been considered the very best wide angle lens there is.

The Tamron is $790 less than the Nikon 14-24mm and is available for Canon and Sony/Minolta in addition to Nikon. If it’s as good as Matt says it is this may be a new best in class for real estate photography. Continue Reading »

Google Earth Pro Was $399 – Now Its Free

February 5th, 2015

GoogleEarthProIn the past we’ve talked about how Google Earth Pro lets you create fly-ins to a particular address and is great for intros to property videos and tours. Jim & Connie Barnes and Fred Light have put Google Earth Pro to great use in their videos for years. This is an awesome way to fly-in on a property without any of the risks of using a UAV.

As discussed in previous posts, Google Earth Pro was well worth the cost when it was $399 but as of just a few days ago Google Earth Pro is free.

Both the above video and this article over at cnet.com explain how to get Google Earth for free.

Thanks to Tony Boros for pointing this out!

Interview With Ethan Tweedie In Hawaii – Rapid Success In Interiors Photography

February 4th, 2015

1x1 128x128Last week Ethan Tweedie sent me this link to the interview that IntrepidNow.com did with Ethan on a recent podcast.  Click on the play symbol just above Ethan’s photo (on the InterpidNow.com site) to listen to the interview right in your browser.

Most long time readers know Ethan for his frequent entries in the PFRE photographer of the year contest and his winning the PFRE photographer of the year in 2013. Recently, Ethan started doing Real Estate Photography coaching. He is listed on the PFRE coaching page.

In the IntrepidNow.com interview, Ethan talks about his rapid success in Interiors photography and the Milky Way/Keck Observatory shots taken on top of 13,600 ft Mauna Kea.

I love these Milky Way shots of Ethan’s taken at the summit of Mauna Kea. I’m working on getting time-lapse video of the Milky way similar to these but so far I have a ways to go.

Should Real Estate Photographers Modify Staging?

February 3rd, 2015

StagingLast week I got an interesting question from Francesca who is a stager:

I recently staged a house that was supposed to be photographed the day after the staging. On that day I got a frantic call from the seller saying that her photographer “went ballistic” because of two chairs I placed in the family room as well as the bedspread I used in the master bedroom. According to the photographer those items were going to look bad in the photos: the chairs because too bulky and the bedspread because too dark. Note that I used them on purpose to fill a big space and to create some contrast in an otherwise too white space. To make it short, the photographer was able to convince the seller to get rid of the chairs and to replace the (olive green) bedspread with a white one. My question is: do professional photographers do this often? A few months ago I staged a house where the photographer had to move a console table a few feet to fill a negative space and then he put it back to where it originally was, which makes sense and I’m totally fine with. But it never occurred to me to have a photographer that completely changes a staged space because some of the items are not going to work in the photos.

Continue Reading »

Can You Take Credit Card Payments For Your Shoots?

February 2nd, 2015

SquareUpBraulio recently asked about how to take credit cards on his site:

I have been looking at the PFRE to find out a way to charge on my website, I have used Paypal and Stripe and they all charge 2.9% + 0.30 cents. Is there a cheaper way to charge on my website? Please, I need your help.

Yes, I agree, I don’t particularly like PayPal either (for many other reasons than their cost per transaction). I use them for e-book transaction processing just because they have the best worldwide coverage (works in all countries except a handful of African countries) but if you are doing business just in the US or Canada I recommend you take a look at Squareup.com. Continue Reading »

Congratulations Charlie Dresen – Steamboat Springs, CO – January PFRE Videographer Of The Month

February 1st, 2015

CharlieDresenCongratulations Charlie Dresen – Steamboat, CO, PFRE Videographer Of The Month For January 2015.

I’ve linked the videos to the numbers below but if you want learn something about property video be sure to read the read the comments by the jurors in the Videography contest forum. Thanks to the jurors that took the time to make all the comments on the videos in the contest forum!

I think it is worth pointing out that both the still contest the video contest this month was won by Realtors. This is a great example that there are some Realtors out there that do top-notch work.

Here are the points awarded by the jurors: Continue Reading »

How Do You Compete When You are A Beginning Real Estate Photographer

January 29th, 2015

Compete

I just got a great question from Jason, a beginning real estate photographer reading my Business of Real Estate Photography e-book:

I’m finding that the top listing agents already have professional photographers they are loyal to.  I’m curious  how a newbie, like me, breaks into doing business with this small “top agent” circle.

How you deal with this situation is key to getting started in markets where there is high demand for real estate photography. Here are my suggestions for Jason: Continue Reading »

Frank Breslin Wants To Help You With Your Post-processing

January 28th, 2015

PFRE Sample

I’ve been talking with Frank Breslin who is a PFRE reader that’s spent a long while in NZ working with Open2view. Frank has relocated to Barcelona, Catalonia, España and is setting up a retouching business.

Frank says: Continue Reading »