Is It Possible To Do Upper-end Real Estate Shoots and Also Do Low-end Shoots?

September 6th, 2016

UpperEndPricingA Los Angeles area real estate photographer asked the following:

I’ve been photographing real estate for three years now, supplementing with a part-time office job. I’d say my rates are average for the Los Angeles area (starting price of $200 for 10-15 images with estimated 60-90 minutes on set, and $50 for each 5 additional images), and that the quality I deliver is commensurate with rates a little higher than what I currently charge. I’m using the method of multiple hand-blended flash and ambient frames and have begun brushing in color corrections and placing dark gray gradients on TV screens when necessary, so I spend a lot of time in post (up to 5+ hours for 30 images). Of course, I can’t currently afford to lose the clients that are used to that price point, so I’ve retained that as I strive to get more busy.

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A Poll On When Real Estate Photographers Get Paid

September 5th, 2016

Sharon ask for:

I am wondering how many people ask clients to pay onsite at the shoot, and how they collect. i.e. check, PayPal, etc.  I really don’t want to do PayPal since there’s a fee incurred, but am interested in most popular mode of collecting fees.

Being able to take credit cards via PayPal or Square is a huge convenience for your customers whether it’s done onsite, at delivery or via an online invoice. Any serious business person needs to be able to take credit cards!

We’ve talked about this subject a lot in the past but I’ve never done a poll to see how many real estate photographers get paid up front at the time of the shoot.

So please take the poll.

Update 9/7/2016: I would have guessed based on past posts and comments and discussions that the majority of readers collect at the shoot. But this poll indicates that’s not the case. Interesting!

How To Deal With A Huge Flag On The Front Of The Property You Are Shooting?

September 4th, 2016

pexels-photo-27869-largeEric in Florida asks:

I recently had an issue (actually happened a few times) that came up.

While on a shoot, I got to the property, there was a huge American flag flying from the front of the home.

Since I am a disabled Vietnam vet, I love to see people flying the flag. But this one was attached to the home next to the front door and it was huge, almost as large as the one we flew on my destroyer.

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Dealing With Street Lights When Shooting Twilight Exterior Shots?

September 1st, 2016

StreetLightAndy in California asks:

I’m curious to see what are people do for Twilight shots when the street lights are on? Sometimes the street lights turn on before it even gets dark and ruin my shot. The whole scene becomes really orange, and there is no way I can fix it even in post production because I lose information from other color values.

What is a good time to go before the light turns on?

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Congratulations to Anders Carlson – August PFRE Videographer of The Month

August 31st, 2016

2016AugVAndersCarlsonCongratulations to Anders Carlson of Kailua Kona, HI who won the PFRE Property Videographer of the month of August 2016. Here is Anders winning video. This month there were a bunch of great videos! Rachel and Matt tied for third place.

Here are the results of the jury’s voting: Continue Reading »

New Video Training on Shooting Kitchens by Scott Hargis at

August 30th, 2016 just released another episode of Scott Hargis’s real estate photography video class.

Back in June of this year, we featured Scott’s first class on which covers the basics of doing a real estate shoot. Scott now has three episodes in his real estate photography class. Continue Reading »

Is The New Canon 5DMkIV for You?

August 29th, 2016

Canon5DMKIVNormally I don’t do posts on camera gear unless there some feature that is important for real estate photography. But I decided that I need to bring up the new generation of Canon 5D’s that was announced last Thursday (August 25). Not that the 5DMkIV has any features that make it super significant for real estate or interior photography; it’s just that from polls we’ve done about 25% of PFRE readers use a 5DMkII, 5DMkIII or 6D (the target audience for the 5DMkIV). At the same time, there are many real estate photographers and videographers moving away from the Canon 5D line of gear. All the more reason to carefully analyze this body compared to the alternatives. Continue Reading »

The FAA is Ready For You To Get Your Part 107 Registration

August 28th, 2016

Part107The new Small UAS (Drone) Rule (Part 107), including all pilot and operating rules, become effective today (Monday, August 29, 2016). Here’s the FAA’s official announcement.

Here is the FAA’s page that explains how to become a registered FAA drone pilot. It has links to suggested study materials.

They have a link to a list of testing centers. Continue Reading »

Using Video For Property Marketing

August 25th, 2016

VideoMarketingJack in Florida asks:

I am thinking of adding videos to the services we provide for real estate agents. I am curious of how much in demand videos are elsewhere and how they would be incorporated in virtual tours. Would it be best to take a short video of the exterior features and then only shoot the highlights of the interior to show the flow? We would then provide stills of the exterior and interior as we currently do. Any suggestions are appreciated.

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Unbelievably Bad Real Estate Photos – Updated List Of Sites

August 24th, 2016

Over the years I’ve made it a habit to occasionally pass along some of the sites that feature bad MLS photo. These sites are always good for a few laughs. In recent years the fascination with bad real estate photos has expanded. Now besides more sites, there is a book on Amazon on the subject and a twitter account dedicated to bad real estate photos.

Here is a new and improved list of bad real estate photo sites: Continue Reading »

Track Your Expenses And Understand If You Are Making Money

August 23rd, 2016

REphotoChallengesThere are beginning real estate photographers that don’t know what the lower limit is for what they can work for. $99/shoot may make sense in rural Iowa but it may not make sense for New York or Southern California.

Over the years I’ve talked to photographers are doing shoots for $30, $50 and $99. The cases where the photographers were making $30 and $50 a shoot were for large nationwide companies. So they didn’t have marketing expenses or post-processing expenses but still, everyone should keep track of their expenses and do the arithmetic or they could actually be losing money. Continue Reading »

Transitioning From A 9 to 5 Job To Full Time Real Estate Photography

August 22nd, 2016

ChangeMichael in Atlanta asked the following:

I’ve shot professionally 3-4 years ago (while in college) and have since taken the more traditional career route of a 9-5, however, as of late I’ve felt an overwhelming urge to go back to my roots. Photography is definitely a passion, but the lifestyle it affords is almost as, if not more, attractive.

My question revolves around the schedules that most real estate agents prefer – I’m ready to begin pitching listing agents, though I’m hesitant as I’m still currently employed for 40 hours per week. Have you found agents willing to schedule shoots on the weekends? I would like to have a longer “proof of concept” that this idea could work prior to leaving my secure job.

Do you have any advice for those making the transition from a traditional 9-5 to real estate photography?

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Congratulations Aaron Kraft – August PFRE Photographer Of The Month

August 21st, 2016

2016AugustAaronKraftCongratulations to Aaron Kraft of Jackson, Wyoming who the jury as voted PFRE Photographer of the month for August 2016. Aaron’s stunning daylight exterior photo won by a huge margin!

Here are all the entries that the jurors awarded points to this month:

  1. Aaron Kraft
  2. Tony Colangelo
  3. Barry MacKenzie – Photo deleted from the contest pool by entrant
  4. Caleb Vandermeer
  5. Gary Kasl
  6. Michael Lefebvre
  7. Ryan Wicks
  8. Nathan Philps
  9. Paula Cheese

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What Is A Good Photography Portfolio Hosting Service?

August 18th, 2016

SquareSpaceGeoffrey says:

I purchased and read The Business of Real Estate Photography and Photography for Real Estate books. I would like to make a website with a slideshow of my portfolio on my home page.

Do you know any web hosting companies that automatically provide both HTML5 and Flash format for slideshows (for Apple, Windows, and Android devices)?

I would like to make a website that is an easy DIY type of website. Also, I’m looking a very low priced web hosting company. I live in the US.

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How To Photograph Interiors With Challenging Problems?

August 17th, 2016

EnfuseLR6Kathy in Maryland asks:

Can you give me any pointers on photographing kitchens that have black cabinets and light or white countertops? I just photographed an empty townhouse, that had that and very light colored bamboo flooring open concept main level, yellowish tile and counters and black cabinets, with stainless steel appliances. I also find open concept style homes challenging too with my multiple lights. I tried an umbrella in this kitchen, but the darn umbrella just was getting in my way and reflecting in the stainless steel. I find these types of kitchens to be my biggest challenge. I follow Scott Hargis’s pointers a lot. But still struggling with this.

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