Scott Hargis’s New Real Estate Photography Basics Class On

June 9th, 2016

LyndaVideoScott has a great new 3 hr 19 min class on the basics of real estate photography on Here is Scott’s description of it:

The latest installment in a series of real estate photography courses I’m making with went live just a few days ago — this one has some pretty cool stuff in it!

This one is called “The Basics” and it’s coverage of an entire shoot, start to finish. I traveled down to Ojai California and we spent an entire week filming to get this 3+ hour video. In it, I take you through excruciating detail on the pre-shoot walkthrough, shooting the small easy rooms, shooting the more complex living room/family room, shooting the kitchen, and then the rear and front exteriors. There’s even a post-production video or two, showing what I did to re-touch some of the images.

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What Should You Have In Your Real Estate Photography Terms of Service?

June 8th, 2016

BusOfREPAnnette asks:

I am working on my website and want to include “Terms of Service”. I searched your site and see individual questions but no printed statement that would cover all of the situations. I could then tweak it to be my own. Do you or any of our fellow photographers have such a document.


There isn’t a Terms Of Service (TOS) that works for everyone because the TOS is where you document all the details of how you provide your services. So your TOS should address all these subjects:

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How Do You Use A Flash To Light Interiors?

June 7th, 2016

ScottHargisLightingRhett asked the following question:

Can you tell me what the most popular settings for shooting interiors are? Also, how would you set your flash and would you use a Gary Fong Light sphere?

Shooting interiors I usually shoot at f5.6 and white balance in Auto. then set my SB-700 to TTL. What do you think is the best metering to use for each also. For larger rooms should I use a Higher f-stop in order to capture more detail?

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Are You Confused About US Drone Regulations?

June 6th, 2016

DJIPhantom3Jack recently asked:

I am confused about the rules and regulations about flying a drone for aerial photography. If a person is a license commercial pilot can they fly a drone for commercial/real estate photography purposes? Or are they required to be certified by the FAA? Real Estate agents in this area are very leery of using a non-certified drone pilot to take videos/photos of their property listings via a drone. Any helpful information on this is appreciated as we want to make sure that if we offer aerial photography via a drone that we are doing it legally.

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Discounted Home Sale Commissions Put Pressure On Real Estate Photography Prices

June 5th, 2016

ContratorPayHere is a recent article in the Washington Post explaining that Commissions of 6 percent for home sales once were the norm. That’s changing. The article says:

Technology has changed businesses in ways that were unimaginable a decade ago, but even industry insiders say that residential real estate practices have yet to fully adapt to the reality that buyers and sellers have unlimited access to property listings and other information that was once held firmly in the hands of realty agents. That access has led many consumers to question the fees they pay for the services of an agent, commonly 6 percent of the home sales price, including payment to a buyer’s agent and a listing agent, or $30,000 on a $500,000 property sale.

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Palawan Timelapse In Port Barton, The Philippines By Allan MacKenzie

June 3rd, 2016

AllanVideoLast week I was looking at Allan MacKenzie‘s new website and noticed that Allan has one of my favorite little videos from a shoot he did back in 2013 on a Palawan Island in the Philippines in his portfolio. I wanted to do another post on this video (I did one here on PFRE back in 2013). This is one of my all-time favorite videos. It’s promoting a resort called Gilligans in Port Barton that is owned by the couple in the video.

Allan’s description of the shoot is as follows: Continue Reading »

How Many Property Shoots A Year Do You Do?

June 2nd, 2016

 Robert in Virginia asks:

I have been shooting real estate photos part-time for a couple of years and have 5 or 6 realtors who use me for all/most of their work. I’ve shot about 75 properties a year, mostly on the weekends.

I’m considering pursuing real estate photography as a full-time job and wondered how many properties an above average photographer in a large metro area working on his own to shoot and process can expect to shoot in a normal year. And while I know spring is the crazy season, how steady is the work throughout the year? Are there months when I wouldn’t have any work or is there still work in Nov-Jan, albeit at a much slower pace?

I’m trying to figure out if I can earn enough income to justify doing this full time.

Based on what real estate photographers from all over the world tell me in most large metro areas you can build a single person business to the level of business that you want. You continue to market yourself until you get to the level of work you want.

Since most people don’t want to have their home on the market during the year-end holidays business between thanksgiving and new years is very quiet. Here is how the Seattle area market looks like throughout the year. Most other areas are similarly cyclical.

How much business does everyone do a year? Please take the poll.

What Color Space Do You Deliver Real Estate Agents For Digital Printing?

June 1st, 2016

DigitalPrintingNina recently asked the following:

What color space people are using for their images: sRGB, Adobe RGB, ProPhoto? Do they convert images to CMYK for realtors to print and/or sRGB versions for web if necessary? Various kinds of printers sometimes result in bizarre color shifts or oversaturate images on flyers. One realtor I work with has the staff take down all the highlights and raise shadows to the max to avoid their office copier flyers from being muddy and over-saturated, and IMO it is cartoonish. I don’t care about their flyers, but when I saw my edited images were getting that treatment and ended up on the MLS like that as well, I started to deliver both MLS-ready and print-sized versions so that staff is not tempted to tweak.This same realtor’s company converted my images of a recent job I did to CMYK to plug into a national brochure, and even the second set of proofs I saw on-screen looked blown out and flat and with weird colors, just like the realtor’s tweaks, but her headshot photo was fine, so I know my calibrated monitor is not at fault. I have to assume the conversion of the ProPhoto jpegs I sent them was a problem. I tried converting the images to CMYK myself in PS, just to see, and they looked fine–can’t explain that. Another recent experience converting ProPhoto to sRGB for a book (print house only uses Adobe RDG or sRGB) has convinced me to go simple and stay sRGB, unless requested otherwise by a printer or publisher. BTW, another realtor I work with takes my images as is, but I have not seen his flyers. They look fine on MLS.

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Photography For Real Estate Debriefing By Bill Oxford

June 1st, 2016

How Long Do You Keep Your Photos From Real Estate Shoots?

May 31st, 2016

DroboFileStorageA while back Peter raised an interesting question:

I have had clients loose a listing if property did not sell as fast or as well as a seller wanted it to. For many reasons – with my clients who are all excellent agents and brokers, it was generally because the price was too high rather than lack of marketing. So occasionally their clients would come back to them, hat in hand, and want them to list it again but this time at a more realistic asking price. Subsequently they sold rather quickly. BUT, my clients naturally did not want to pay for new photography unless there had been substantial changes/improvements to the property since the first shoot. So having backed up my images, I am able to provide the photos again since my clients seldom keep them on their hard drives.

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Be Careful, It’s Possible To Physically Misrepresent A Property With Sky Replacement

May 30th, 2016

CrossSunsetRandy makes a great point:

I’ve been doing sky replacements on homes shot on days when the sky is just not exciting to look at or it was a real dreary day, and needs some big billowy clouds overhead. I recently have noticed photographers offering twilight conversions where daytime skies are being replaced with beautiful red sunsets. This makes the house look very attractive, but also misleading to some respect. I’ve seen images of some local homes shown with beautiful red skies with the sun setting over the backyard. They look wonderful, but the sun actually never rises or sets in that direction. A prospective buyer may think they are going to enjoy gorgeous evenings sitting on their deck watching the sun go down over their pool, but in fact they will never see it happen because the sun never sets there. Adding clouds is one thing, but adding fake sunset skies? I would want to make sure I have a ‘proper sky’ for the angle in which I take the shot. What are your thoughts and what are others doing?

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How Do You Protect Against Image Lost From A Memory Card Failure?

May 29th, 2016

MemoryCardAubrey asks:

Do you have any secrets for auto backup of photos while you are taking them images? Do you or anyone you know use a wifi sd cards?

It sounds like you had a memory card failure or you are concerned about having one.

I think the only practical way to backup your images as you shoot is to use a DSLR that has dual card slots that can record images to both cards as you shoot. Two examples of DSLRs that have dual card slots are the Canon 5DmkIII (SD & CF) and a Nikon D600 (2-SD slots). There are actually many upper-end DLSRs that can do mirror image to two cards as you shoot.

The second most practical backup solution is to just carry a laptop and backup your card(s) before you leave the shoot.

The WiFi card you refer to isn’t really a general-purpose professional backup solution. I have one and It’s fine when you have access to WiFi but in general, you don’t have access to a WiFi connection while you are shooting. It is also quite slow when uploading RAW files. It’s not a solution. Continue Reading »

The Truth 24 times A Second By Michael and Nory at Uneek Luxury Tours

May 27th, 2016

UneekThis last week a recent property video by Michael and Nory at caught my attention.

I’ve followed Michael and Nory’s work for a number of years. They shoot only the very upper-end homes in Florida and have a very distinctive style. Simple, punchy, background music and editing. Mostly cinematic moves. And Michael’s unique exposure shift from inside exposure to outside exposure. I never seen anyone but Michael do this inside to outside exposure shift thing. He does in this video a couple of times.

It is interesting to see how many drone shots Michael is using these days. It’s amazing to see how much drone work has become an essential part of shooting these upper-end homes. In this video, it feels like almost half of a 2:26-minute video. It makes perfect sense because there is almost no  other way you can get this kind of dramatic footage that shows the property environment. Over the last two years using a drone has become an essential part of high-end property video.

What Is The Best Focal Length For Shooting Interiors?

May 26th, 2016

17-40LAnnie in Idaho says:

I have been shooting real estate for about 4 years and currently shoot with the Canon 5DMkII and 5DMkIII. But the lens I have been using is the Tamron 10mm-24mm. When zooming to about 14mm there is serious vignetting. I like this focal length but its time to upgrade since the edges of images lose focus, and I can’t find a lens that opens to 14mm or even 15mm. Is the Canon 16-35mm the only full frame lens option for wide shots?

Canon makes the 11-24 f/4 lens that is very high quality, but I would not recommend that anyone use a lens this wide for shooting interiors. It will work but it is over-kill. I’ve used a Canon 16-35mm lens on a Canon 1Ds and 5DMkII for a very long time and my opinion is that in most situations even 16mm is too wide to shoot interiors.

The perspective distortion at 15mm and 16mm is huge. Perspective distortion is where objects in the extreme corners become way wider than the same object closer to the center of the photo. Also, circular objects in the corners become squished and don’t look round. Good interior photography is done closer to 24mm. That’s why tilt/shift lenses designed for photography are usually 24mm. The most popular Canon full frame lenses for real estate photography are the Canon 16-35mm and the Canon 17-40mm (see the poll on my lens page). The wider lenses in the 10-20mm range are intended for crop sensor DSLRs that have a 1.6 or 1.5 multiplier on the focal length.

Yes, I know there are some Realtors out there that ask for ultra wide-angle shots but they need artistic guidance from professional photographers that are more visually sophisticated.

So, for Canon 5DMkII and 5DMkIII DSLRs I recommend either the Canon 16-35mm (the f/4 version is all you need) or the Canon 17-40mm. These are both quality lenses that go plenty wide enough for shooting interiors.

Introducing A New PFRE Coach – Brandon Cooper – Somewhere South of Fort McMurray

May 25th, 2016

RealpicsMost regular PFRE readers know Brandon Cooper’s work since he is a 4-time winner of the PFRE photographer of the month. Brandon and his family used to live in Fort MacMurray, Alberta until the wildfires forced them to evacuate their home earlier this month. Brandon said his home is in a neighborhood of 600+ homes that all burned to the ground except his home and 9 others. Amazing!

As of this writing (May 25, 2016), the Fort McMurray wildfire remains out of control and covers 522,892 hectares. Fort McMurray is still under a mandatory evacuation order. Brandon says, it is unlikely that anyone will be allowed back into Fort McMurray until mid-July.

Needless to say, all this has adversely affected Brandon’s real estate photography business in Fort McMurray. So Brandon is working on creating some other income streams to replace the income from his Fort McMurray real estate photography business. So Brandon is now a PFRE coach. Continue Reading »