FAA Admits That They Shouldn’t Be Ordering People To Delete Drone Videos

April 11th, 2015


Gregory McNeal at Forbes.com reports that:

For more than a year, FAA officials have been engaged in a campaign of subtle threats and intimidation tactics that have persuaded many businesses to not use drone videos. This week, officials in Washington D.C. have finally weighed in on the legality of these tactics and in a published policy document have made clear that the intimidation tactics and take down orders must cease.

Previously, officials in various jurisdictions and across a range of use cases had been telling people that commercial use of drones was prohibited by FAA regulations, therefore, the use of drone videos was similarly prohibited by the FAA. On its face, the guidance amounted to intimidation tactics (undertaken mostly by FAA safety inspectors) and it was a clear violation of the First Amendment. Drone videos are not contraband, and the FAA has no authority to police what is posted to the internet, they only have the authority to enforce aviation regulations.

Read the whole article here.

Update April 12:  Also, another Forbes.com article on small UAVs worth reading is :  FAA Speeds Up Small Drone Exemptions. But Why Not Just Issue a Blanket Exemption?

Floor Plans And Room Dimensions For Real Estate Listings

April 9th, 2015

LaserMeasuringKimi-Lynn in Minnesota asked the following question:

I am finding that photographers offering room measurements and floor plans are becoming a hot trend. I am wondering if anyone else is seeing this or offering these services, and how they charge for it? Also, for the photographers that offer it, have they had success with specific floor plan creation apps/software that does not take hours to complete?

Several people have asked questions about floor plans recently and Matthew in Toronto  was just telling me last night that he has a $25 CAD add-on where he will measure all the rooms with a laser measuring device. Note that the $25 add-on is just room dimensions, not a full floor plan. Matthew charges $125 to $175 CAD for a full floor plan because it takes much more time to create. Matthew says 98% of his clients want the $25 measurement add-on because most MLSs in Canada require agents supply room dimensions to put a listing on the MLS. Not all MLSs require room dimensions but if yours does this is a natural add-on. This is an example of why you want to understand your all local MLS requirements so you can tailor your products to meet the needs of your clients. Continue Reading »

How Do You Use Property Video To Market A Real Estate?

April 8th, 2015

VideoMarketingLast week Peter asked:

I very much enjoyed seeing the latest video winner and those who came before. I am primarily a still photographer but have been doing different forms of video for a while now too. With drone video coupled with hand held, I am adding short videos to my Virtual Tours on TourBuzz.net. But in looking at these winners I have a question. How are these videos published as part of the marketing for the broker/agent? Are they just branded and put on YouTube or Vimeo? Are they inserted into a Virtual Tour like TourBuzz.net with or without other stills? My clients need stills for MLS, flyers, and their own sites but how are videos of the production quality of the award winners then integrated into the online marketing and budgets of cash strapped real estate agents? How should photographers, who already supply stills, charge for adding in video as well? After all, it is really an entirely different type of production and editing procedure and different mind set. I have a hard time switching from the mind set of stills that I shoot with the post processing and image in mind as I shoot, to doing the same with video. Also some of my clients are waking up to the fact that videos are the new thing.

Using a video to market the property is more involved than just using stills on the MLS. I’ve done several posts on this subject and my list gets more refined and elaborate over time. Using video is more social media intensive than use of stills. Here’s my updated list of ways to promote property video: Continue Reading »

Should Real Estate Photographers Bother With Picture Styles/Picture Controls?

April 7th, 2015

PictureStylesDario asks the question:

Do you have posts about how to set best picture style on Canon 5D mark II, for interiors or is everything in post production?

First of all the Canon feature that Dario calls Picture Styles is called Picture Controls on Nikon cameras. Both features work generally similar. They give  you some control of sharpness, contrast, saturation and color tone of JPEGs, TIFFs, video coloring and what images look like on your LCD screen. If you shoot RAW the picture style/control will “tag” the file with the style but not “bake it in” like it does for JPG and TIFF.

For people that shoot JPG, TIFF or video (and don’t want to spend time in post doing color grading) picture styles/controls are something you want to consider. It’s possible on both Nikon and Canon DSLRs to create your own picture style/control and may be something you want to do, particularly if you shoot video.

But frankly I think it makes more sense for real estate photographers to shooting stills to shoot RAW and use Lightroom on a large screen to adjust the look you want on your images. The fact is, Lightroom gives you much more control of the image than the picture styles/picture control settings. Picture styles/controls appear simple and crude compared to what you can do with Lightroom.


As Of This Post A Website URL Is Required To Comment

April 7th, 2015

anonymousCristi, my WordPress mechanic just finished implementing the feature on the PFRE blog that requires commenters to enter a URL and an e-mail and a website address (URL) when commenting.

If you don’t enter the URL it won’t accept you comment. This new feature is a result of the discussion we had a couple of days ago on this subject.

I suggest that if you don’t have a website and want to comment that you just take a few minutes and go create a free flickr account. To create a flickr account you will need either a Yahoo account or gmail account. All very easy to do.

Other locations where you can create free websites are:

  1. WordPress.com
  2. Blogger.com
  3. wix.com
  4. Weebly.com
  5. Or go to this site for more suggestions

If you want a great looking site for not much work and only $96/year I recommend squarespace.com. Requires no special skills to setup and has good performance and reliability.

There’s really no excuse for not having a website where you can promote your work!

Update Apr 8: Sure you can use fake email addresses and fake URLs to varying degrees so sure if you are obsessed with being anonymous you can still be anonymous very easily… have fun!

One other thing:  You need to put “http://” on the front of the URL or it won’t accept the comment.

How Do You Go About Selling A Real Estate Photography Business?

April 6th, 2015

REPBForSaleStephen poses the following problem/question:

Because of family matters, I have to give up my business on the east coast and move across the country. My questions aren’t about starting up again, you have plenty of posts on that. My question is what to do with my business on the east coast that I put in 10 years building? I don’t want to just give it up. So I would like to know if you have any advice on selling my business to another photographer? I know you originally worked in Washington and are now in Oregon. what did you do with all your clients in Washington when you moved?

First of all I don’t have any first hand experience with selling businesses. Our business in the Seattle area was a real estate business. I shot almost exclusively my wife’s listings. I was the guy on my wife’s team that got the properties on the market and did all the marketing. Real estate agents typical don’t sell their businesses, at least I’ve never heard of it. The reason is, helping people sell their homes is not a commodity type business. It’s very personalized business. My wife’s clients worked with her because they liked working with her and trusted her to guide them though the home selling process and some friend or family member recommended her. Also, after we sold their home, they typically didn’t need our services again for many years. Realtors need to keep coming up with new clients continually, unlike a real estate photography business. Continue Reading »

Can You Sell Lifestyle and Community Real Estate Photos As Stock Photos?

April 5th, 2015

NeighborHoodPatrick asks:

Any articles on shooting for stock on Lifestyle, Community and Amenities of a city or neighborhood? I charge by the hour to shoot those things if I don’t have them, but would like to offer ‘stock’ images to Realtors with listings where the images may apply. Wondering how to charge for that.

Offering community photos for the major neighborhoods you shoot in is a good idea. I don’t think most listing agents do a very good job of selling the neighborhood. Probably where I get this point of view is my wife is fanatic about selling the neighborhood that a listing is in. As far as what is the best way to do this as a real estate photographer, I’m skeptical that selling neighborhood photos as stock images is the way to go because in my experience the demand for neighborhoods is not huge. Only very diligent listing agents are going to be interested. You could try that approach and test the demand at various prices. Testing in your area is the only way to find out what price would work. Continue Reading »

Why having a nice camera and wide angle lens does not make you a professional

April 3rd, 2015

I’m Considering Requiring A Website URL on All PFRE Blog Comments

April 2nd, 2015

URLonCommentsI’ve been considering requiring all comments on the PFRE blog include a website URL. This inclination has evolved over many years. The fundamental issue for me is anonymous commenting. Currently when leaving a comment you must supply a email address but other readers can’t see that e-mail address, only I can see it. Comments by people that supply a URL on their comment allow any reader to just click on the name and it takes you to the commenters website. The current PFRE WordPress theme doesn’t have a way to force commenters to enter a website URL. Here are some of the reasons I don’t appreciate anonymous commenting: Continue Reading »

Congratulations Ryan Fletcher – Feb/Mar 2015 PFRE Videographer Of The Month

April 1st, 2015

FebMarRyanFletcher2015Congratulations to Ryan Fletcher, of Kailua Kona, Hawaii who won the Feb/Mar 2015 PFRE  videographer of the month award with this stunning video.

As usual with these contests, there’s a lot to be learned from looking at the juror comments in the contest flickr group. Thanks to the jurors who had the time to post the comments. Note that I also have direct links to each video on the video numbers below. Continue Reading »

The Spanish Version Of What Real Estate Agents Need To Know About Photography

March 31st, 2015

REPhotoGuide4.5_esThanks to Manu Luque at guolker.es in Torrevieja, Spain the free PFRE e-book, What Real Estate Agents Need To Know About Photography is now available in Spanish. With the addition of Spanish this free resource for real estate agents is now available in 7 languages (English, Russian, German, Italian, Ukrainian, Croatian and Spanish). Click here to download this e-book in any of these languages.

If you’re not familiar with this free, Creative Commons publication it’s purpose is to help educate agents in why photography is important to marketing real estate and what good real estate marketing photography looks like. Real estate photographers can give this PDF away on their websites to educate their clients. Hundreds of real estate photographers are already giving it away.

Also, if you would like to translate the e-book to your favorite language I’ll be happy to send you the InDesign CS6 files. Since Manu didn’t have a copy of InDesign and wanted to translate it I found that there’s a nifty little website, extractpdf.com, that will allow you to input a PDF and then export the text and images. This is how Manu did the translation. You can then use ilovePDF.com to create a PDF from a word file. I’m sure there are other similar ways to do this. The point is that you don’t have to have Adobe InDesign that I used to create the e-book to do a translation you can translate directly from the English PDF like Manu did.

If you do a translation be sure to let me know so I can add a link to your translation to the download page.

The Scandinavian Style Of Interior Photographer Jonas Berg – Gothenburg Sweden

March 30th, 2015

JonasBergThis months PFRE photographer of the month contest had a photo that really captured my interest. The photo was by Jonas Berg of Gothenburg, Sweden. Click on the photo to the right to see a large version of Jonas’ contest submission.

What caught my interest about this image was how uplifting the light in the room was. At first glance you might think the windows are blown-out but as you look carefully, they aren’t. Rather the highlights are carefully placed at the upper-end of the brightness scale. The whole wall of windows is radiant and that feeling extends to the rest of the room.

Another interesting aspect of the photo is that at first impression you might think that the reflection of the electrical cords in the oven door was an oversight by the photographer. A comment in the contest flickr group suggested that the cords should be cloned out. But if you look at the whole set of photos for this apartment you see that the bare electrical cord/exposed light bulb look is a subtle interior design theme that comes out of the fact that this is an apartment built in the early 1900’s that has been remodeled so electrical fixtures don’t look like they would if this were a apartment built in 2015.

After learning all the of above from the discussion in the contest flickr group I decided to get more information from Jonas on his style and technique. I asked Jonas about his equipment, workflow and style. Here are some of his answers: Continue Reading »

Minimum Cost For Real Estate Photography Essential Items Startup Kit

March 29th, 2015

StartupKitI’m in the process of a major update to my Photography For Real Estate e-book. Since it is a book about getting started in real estate photography it suggests gear for someone getting started in real estate photography. A new feature I have in the book is a minimum cost list of getting started gear. Here is my list:

  1. DSLR: Canon Rebel T5 (body only)  – $320
  2. Wide angle lens: Canon 10-18mm – $299
  3. Manual flash: YN-560-III+Trigger –  $90
  4. Flash stand: 7′ with bracket       –   $21
  5. Tripod: Manfrotto 055xPROB          – $240
  6. Tripod head: MHXPRO-3WG         -$200
  7. Total……………………………………$1170

This is a list of just photographic gear. There are other costs, like Lightroom, a laptop or desktop computer etc. The purpose of this list is to focus on the important equipment items that one needs to get started in real estate photography. Continue Reading »

How Do I Photograph A Wine Cellar In The Basement With Very Little Light?

March 26th, 2015

YN560IIIRobert asked the following question:

I have a photo shoot coming up and the house has a quint wine cellar – 10×18 in size, wine racks and bottles, etc. There is etched glass on the entrance door and etched glass for the large front glass planes. The wine cellar is located in the basement of the house and no available light anywhere – only canned lights outside the of the wine cellar and the inside of the cellar has pot lights, tungsten. What I’d like to do is capture the art work on the etched glass. The color of the etched art work is white stencil. I’ve never encountered anything like this and frankly, I haven’t a clue on how to best capture this art work on the window. Any thoughts on how to go about trying to capture this image?

From looking at your site, it appears that you don’t use flash. It appears that you use bracketed exposures and process with HDR software.

Your wine cellar shoot is an excellent application for using one or two small flashes. There’s a couple of ways to starting using a single flash in your shooting: Continue Reading »

What Should I Charge To Photography A 13,000 SF Apt In Manhattan?

March 25th, 2015

WhatPriceManuel in New Jersey asks:

I am a real estate photographer working and living in NJ. I’ve been in business since 2013. I am now trying to get jobs in NY.  A Realtor in Manhattan just asked me what are my fees for an 13,000, $7M apartment in Manhattan?  I am in puzzled because I have no idea how to charge for this huge price and apt. Can you give me an idea what I should charge?

First of all, for real estate photography the shoot price is not typically a function of the listing price of the property. The more conventional way to price real estate photography is: Continue Reading »