How Do Real Estate Photographers Get Started In Drone Photography and Video?

July 7th, 2016

DJI4Ray in North Carolina says:

I’ve been waiting for Drone Rules/Regulations to be clarified before I jumped in.  Time to jump.  I’d like to hear some recommendations for a good first time drone buy, important accessories to buy, pricing and service terms for clients, Insurances acquired, and “If I knew then what I know now” start-up recommendations.

Yes, expect that you are not the only one that has these same questions. The new Part 107 Rule announced by the FAA a couple of weeks ago has got a lot of real estate photographers and Realtors thinking about these same things! First of all Part 107 rule is announced but not working until late August. Continue Reading »

What Floor Plan Creation Software Do Real Estate Photographers Use?

July 6th, 2016

I’ve had some questions in the last few months asking besides, Matterport, what are the top software applications for creating floor plans.

Since it’s been over a year since we talked about floor plans I thought I’d do a poll this time. The poll has all the floor plan software that was discussed in the last post on floor plan software (the post and the comments).

I’ve explicitly left Matterport out of this poll because it’s more of a high-end expensive product. We’ve had separate discussions on Matterport.

So if you provide a floor plan product with your real estate photographer services please take the poll. If you use a product that’s not on the poll leave a comment and let us know which product you use. 

Note once a poll like this starts I can’t add items to the poll but we will add it to the next poll.

How Do You Real Estate Videographers Deliver Video?

July 5th, 2016

VideoMike who is just starting out asks about delivering video:

I’m shooting both stills and video drone photography now for local agents. I’m having a few challenges on what resolution to deliver to the agents for their MLS listing, Especially VIDEO! What is everyone using for video format (mpeg4, avi, mov etc) and the resolution (HD, 720P etc).

The part of your question about delivering stills photos, we have covered in the past. Continue Reading »

What Client Management Software Do Real Estate Photographers Use?

July 4th, 2016

CMSZoltan in Florida asks:

Do you know of any good client management software for real estate photographers?
I have am testing Pixifi.com which might just work though it is tailored mostly to portrait and wedding photographers. Maybe some community members would have some good suggestion.
Also, I want to implement a rewards program to my customers where I can give them thank you points for their business and for their referrals which can be exchanged for discounts towards further services of ours. I definitely could not find a proper software for that yet as all existing ones for small businesses require the clients to sign up on an in-store terminal (iPad). I often don’t even meet my clients so I would need a solution where I can keep track of their activity and send them reminders of their status and options. Let me know if you know of ant software which could help me in this.

Continue Reading »

How To Explain The Essence of The Real Estate Photography Business

July 3rd, 2016

MarketingBrochureA couple of recent reader questions about talking to and marketing real estate agents made me realize that not all readers know about the community developed PDFs that we give away on the right side of the blog. The white ad just above the @PFREblog timeline that says “What Home Sellers and Agents Need to Know About Photography”.

These PDFs (the full 9-page version in 7 languages and the English condensed 2-page version) are all about explaining the essence of the real estate photography business. When real estate photographers talk to their clients they need to be able to explain what’s important about real estate photography. Whether they are presenting to a real estate office, talking to an agent at an open house or in an elevator or on the phone, they need be able to talk about the essence of the business and why their clients need these services.

The full-sized PDFs grew out of Chapter 2 in Photography For Real Estate where I talk about the 10 essentials of real estate photography and the 2 fundamental motivations for real estate photography: Continue Reading »

Congratulations Matt Van Emmerik – PFRE Property Videographer of the Month May/June

July 1st, 2016

MattVanEmmerikJun2016Congratulations to Matt Van Emmerik (Showcase Photography) in Kelowna, BC who won the Property Videographer of the month contest for May/June 2016. Here is Matt’s winning video.

Here are the ranking results of the video jury’s voting:

  1. Kelowna Real Estate Photography – Matt Van Emmerik
  2. Joshua Vernon-Rogers
  3. Allan MacKenzie
  4. Brandon Headley
  5. Anders Carlson
  6. Donald Wagner
  7. Morgan Franklin
  8. Jose Cantanhede
  9. Welshrock

Continue Reading »

A Couple Of Relatively New PFRE Blog Features Worth Highlighting

June 30th, 2016

TwitterOver the last 6 months or so I’ve added a couple of new features to the blog that I think are worth highlighting.

The PfreBlog Twitter Timeline
For many years I’ve used Twitter to announce each post I do on the blog. But in the last 6 months or so I’ve started also Tweeting links to articles that are of interest to real estate photographers. Readers send me links to articles they find and I also see articles that don’t always warrant a blog post but are clearly of interest to real estate photographers so I Tweet them so they show up on the blog sidebar. I also retweet tweets by other real estate photographers that I think are interesting.

I found a WordPress Widget that neatly displays a huge amount of a Twitter Timeline on the blog sidebar and allows readers to scroll through the timeline and click on the links to articles referenced in the post. This Widget is now on the right-hand sidebar and is in effect a list of real estate photography articles. So readers can make use of it without a Twitter account. You just scroll through it and click on articles of interest. Continue Reading »

Do Real Estate Photographers Need to Collect Sales Tax On Shoots?

June 29th, 2016

WADeptofRevenuStephanie in Washington state asks:

I have launched my business and finally gotten my first paying job, then I went to make my first invoice and can’t figure out if I have to charge my customers WA State Sales Tax? I have been reading the state website about taxes and still haven’t figured it out. Any advice?

Stephanie, I can see why you are confused. The Washington department of revenue site is very confusing. It gives two different answers to your question on the same page. Since I moved out of WA before they came up with this rule on digital products I checked with two real estate photographers currently in the Seattle area and they said below is the key paragraph. According to the Photography Tax Guide tab #5 on the Washington Department of Revenue site:

Royalties and Digital Photographs
The granting of specific intangible rights to use a photo is not a sale of digital goods subject to retail sales tax, even when the photo is transferred to the buyer electronically. The method of delivery – whether tangible (i.e., print or CD) or electronic – does not determine the taxability of the transaction.

Continue Reading »

The Second Edition Of Simon Maxwell’s Enfuse E-book Is Now Available

June 28th, 2016

Enfuse2.0I’m proud to announce that Simon Maxwell and I have finished the Second Edition of Simon’s e-book that used to be called Enfuse For Real Estate Photography and is now called Enfuse and Hand Blending In Photoshop For Real Estate Photography. We changed the name of the e-book slightly because Simon has added four chapters on the popular subject of hand blending in Photoshop. We thought that it makes sense to add material on hand blending techniques because in many ways it is related to the Enfuse technique.

Update: If you didn’t get a copy of the new edition and think you should have contact me via the green “Contact Larry” button on the upper right side of the blog rather than leaving a comment below.

Here are some important facts about the release of this new edition: Continue Reading »

How Can Real Estate Photographers Use Social Media To Promote Their Business?

June 27th, 2016

SocialMediaDaniel recently asked:

I have a question in regards to real-estate photographers and social marketing. I’ve been in business for 5 years now but have never done ANY type of advertising (besides maybe a handful of business cards). I’ve recently created a FaceBook page for my business but it’s constantly blank as I seem to have a hard time finding material to post onto my site. I’m curious what type of content people are posting to their pages. Would it be acceptable to post an image of a property I’ve recently shot with a grabbing headline and possibly a link to Zillow or Realtor?

To answer Daniel’s question my first reaction is to point at a photographer that is doing a great job of using social media to promote their business. My example is Ethan Tweetie (www.ethantweedie.com). Ethan has explicitly told me that social media is working for him. You can see for yourself by simply Googling “luxury real estate photographer”. Where ever you are Ethan’s name will likely be on the first page towards the top of the search results. It’s clear that Ethan is doing a good job at this his recent Google+ post points out his photos are in the July 2015 Architectural Digest for the second time this year. Continue Reading »

How To Do Basic Twilight Exterior Real Estate Shots

June 26th, 2016

WellsExteriorRhett recently asked:

I was wondering if you have anything on doing exterior nighttime photography. settings etc. I use a Nikon d7000 and a tripod but need some good settings to capture great photos. What times do you usually like to capture photos?

Doing twilight exterior shots is super important in real estate because a twilight shot has the capability to add drama to any listing. If there’s a view involved it gets even better. Twilight has the power to hide those mundane details and make any home look magnificent. My wife and I have gotten many listings just because a home seller saw a flyer of our listing with a twilight shot or saw one of our listings on the web that had a twilight shot.

Here’s a summary of how to do a basic exterior twilight shoot: Continue Reading »

Finally – Some Reasonable US Drone Regulations!

June 24th, 2016

DJIPhantom3This last Tuesday, (June 21) the FAA announced the long awaited Part 107 Rule. Here is the FAA press release. The entire Part 107 Rule is 624 pages if you are having trouble getting to sleep. The 3-page summary is much more useful. This new process goes into operation in late August 2016.

I think that the real estate photography community is one of the big winners in the implementation of this new set of regulations because the benefits of drone photography and video are huge, the technical hurdles are low and so far it’s been the regulatory hurdles that have slowed the industry. These new rules fix that. No more pilots license required to legally fly a drone for commercial use. You need to take a test but that is reasonable.

There have been a lot of articles around the net analyzing these new regulations. Here are just some of them: Continue Reading »

Congratulations Brian Doherty – June PFRE Photographer of The Month

June 23rd, 2016

BrianDoherty2016JuneCongratulations to Brian Doherty of Boston MA who the jury has voted PFRE photographer of the month for June. This is Brian’s second win as the PFRE photographer of the month. His first win was back in July of last year.

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

Announcing A Workshop By Brandon Cooper and Tony Colangelo

June 22nd, 2016

SummerlandBrandon Cooper, 4-time winner of PFRE’s Photographer of the Month contest, and Tony Colangelo, who coached Brandon and has won 3 POTM contests himself, are joining forces to provide a highly engaging and informative workshop, October 14 & 15, in Summerland, BC, right in the heart of Canada’s beautiful wine country! This two-day workshop will be loaded with content, covering everything from the thoughtful development of great compositions to quickly and efficiently achieving natural looking lighting. A different home will be photographed each day, followed by an in-depth editing session where Brandon &  Tony will walk through their step-by-step, editing workflow. Only 20 seats available with the first 5 at a special early bird rate, so don’t hesitate!  For full details and registration CLICK HERE.

Getting Started With Property Video?

June 21st, 2016

Caleb is thinking about adding property video to his services. He says:

I have been thinking about adding property videos. I have looked at all the information you have on the blog, but I was wondering what gear you and the amazing people here on the PFRE blog would recommend for someone just getting started. I am hoping to stay at about $1000, or is that even possible? Should I stick with sliders, and pan heads, or should I go the stabilizers route. With my budget I don’t know if I can afford both.

Most real estate videographers do either walk through video (with a stabilizer) or cinematic video (with sliders, jibs or cranes). There’s no right way, it’s more of a stylistic choice. So starting out doing one or the other makes good sense. You first need to decide which style you like best. I’ll let readers promote their favorite style. Continue Reading »