360 Tour Designs: A Way for Real Estate Photographers to Get Help with Starting a Business

February 17th, 2017

Last week James in Georgia summed up the two classic approaches for beginning real estate photographers. He said:

I consider myself a businessman with a camera instead of a guy with a camera trying to make a living.

That is, some of us are born business people, and some of us are artists that need more help with the business part. If you are that person with “a camera trying to make a living,” chances are, you could use some help working out a business plan for real estate photography. Continue Reading »

Nikon Announces Extraordinary Losses – What Does This Mean?

February 16th, 2017

On Feb 13, Nikon issued a “Notice of Recognition of Extraordinary Loss”; canceled 3 new cameras they announced over a year ago, and announced an expected staff reduction.

Tony Northrup’s video does an in-depth analysis of what this means for photographers and for Nikon as a camera company. He also gives his opinion of what Nikon needs to do to rescue their camera business.

As Tony explains, this isn’t a disaster for Nikon, they’ve just been making some bad technology decisions. Older camera companies like Nikon and Canon need to be paying close attention to what’s going on in the SmartPhone industry because SmartPhones are driving people’s expectations of the way user interfaces and software should work.

What Is the Best Business Model for Selling a Matterport Service?

February 15th, 2017

James in Georgia says:

I am getting pressure from a few of my real estate clients to invest in Matterport. As you all know the camera is very expensive and there is also a monthly hosting fee, adjusted based on the number of projects that are hosted. I am also talking to some of my new home builder clients to see if this is something that would interest them as well. The investment would only make sense if I have enough clients using this service on a monthly basis in order to 1- pay for the investment, and 2- cover the monthly hosting fee.

Continue Reading »

Blockbuster $8M+ Verdict Against Zillow for Copyright Infringement of Real Estate Photos

February 14th, 2017

This article by Joel Rothman reposted from sriplaw.com.

VHT, the real estate photo giant, filed suit for copyright infringement against Zillow Group in July 2015 alleging that Zillow had been stealing tens of thousands of VHT’s photos and illegally using them for its own profit and gain on the Zillow Digs website.

At the end of the two week trial the Seattle jury found that Zillow failed to prove it could use VHT’s photos either under license or fair use and that Zillow therefore infringed the copyrights in 28,125 of VHT’s real estate photos. Continue Reading »

Should You Be Concerned When Realtors Watermark Their Listing Photos?

February 13th, 2017

Ryan in Texas asks:

Should I be concerned about listing services that allow a Realtor to watermark their listing photos? The watermarking of photos appears to advertise the realtor’s services and prevent the photos’ subsequent appropriation by another realtor or broker should the listing agent lose the listing, but it seems like a slippery slope. Can it be construed that the realtor is claiming these photos as their own? I’m aware that in many licensing agreements (including my own), photographers are allowing their clients to use the photos to advertise their listing, and to a more limited degree, their own businesses in the form of marketing their sold listings to gain more business from potential sellers. I’d be interested to hear what you and other real estate photography business owners have to say about it and whether or not you’ve encountered or dealt with it before.

Continue Reading »

Cooper-Colangelo Real Estate Photography Workshop: Las Vegas April 7-8

February 12th, 2017

Brandon Cooper, 2016 PFRE Photographer of the Year, and his mentor, Tony Colangelo (four-time PFRE photographer of the month) are pleased to announce the next Cooper-Colangelo Real Estate Photography Workshop, at the beautiful Red Rock Resort & Spa, in Las Vegas, April 7-8, 2017.

This interactive and highly engaging workshop is aimed at giving you the knowledge and confidence to create great images – in less time.

This workshop will benefit:

  • Relatively new Real Estate photographers wanting to demystify the learning curve.
  • HDR shooters who want to make the move to off-camera flash once and for all!
  • High-volume photographers wanting to create better images while maintaining efficiency and profit margins.
  • Experienced shooters wanting to augment their brand with images that will entice high-profile clientele.

As many of you know, Brandon has built a thriving, high-volume real estate photography business (shooting over 1,000 homes per year.) He is known for his fast, effective lighting and quick, efficient frame compositing, generating interior design quality images that he delivers to his clients same-day.

Tony is a long-time contributor to the PFRE community. He is also a highly sought after business coach who combines a twenty-five-year history of coaching/consulting practice with many years’ experience as a senior business executive. He has a Master’s degree in Education and is an expert facilitator, having delivered countless workshops and seminars to thousands of people across Canada and the US over the past 25 years.

For more information and registration click here.

Act quickly; only 20 seats available.

Is It Useful for Real Estate Photographers to Promote Listings They Shoot on Social Media?

February 10th, 2017

George in California asks:

A local real estate photography company offers to advertise a listing they photographed for their clients.  They advertise on their company social media page and charge agents for the service. This appears to be a popular service. Is this legal?

I see no reason why promoting your clients listings on social media is illegal. Promoting listings that a real estate photographer photographs has long been very common and it probably promotes the photographer as much as the agent: Continue Reading »

How Can I Implement a before and after Slider on My Website?

February 9th, 2017

Peter in Calgary asked:

I use Smugmug for my website and I’d like to have some before and after sliders on my site. Can that be done on Smugmug? Has anyone done it? How does it work?

Yes, before and after sliders are a great way to compare images, but I don’t believe that feature is built into any web hosting service. The way to put this feature in a website is that you have to be up to inserting some HTML.

One popular way of doing this is to use TwentyTwenty which is a free bunch of HTML code that you can put into your web page to create a before and after slider.

I see many before and after sliders on real estate photographers websites. Does anyone else have an easier way to implement these sliders?

The Importance of Drone Front Exterior Still Photos For Real Estate Marketing

February 8th, 2017

Recently when I ran across J. Hunter Phillips’ Drone shot in the PFRE Flickr group next to his more traditional front exterior shot of the same home, somehow, the possibilities of drone still shots for real estate marketing really hit me. We tend to pay more attention to drone video than still shots but drone still photos can make a huge contribution to listing marketing because typically more people see the still photos (especially the front exterior photo of a listing) than property video.

Elevated views of the front exterior of properties have always been important, but now with a drone, you can create a still that shows the complete layout of a property among the surrounding properties!

As a reminder, here is the marketing job of that single front exterior listing photo: Continue Reading »

Are Most Real Estate Photographers Independent?

February 7th, 2017

I talk to a lot of real estate photographers. Perhaps several hundred a year. Since I’ve helped a number of them get started as independent real estate photographers after unhappy situations working for tour companies I’ve always assumed that the majority of real estate photographers and readers of this blog are independent rather than employees of other companies, but I don’t know that for sure. Recently, “Wannabeyou” in the PFRE Flickr group discussion asked for some data that shows what the split between independent and non-independent is.

So here’s a poll to see if we can get some data on this subject. Please take the poll to the right to help us find out.

Both the independent and non-independent business model for real estate photography have strong motivations. I believe the two motivations are as follows:

  1. Independent: Working for yourself so you can and run your own business.
  2. Non-independent: Having someone else do the marketing. Many creative people struggle with the business oriented tasks.

The problem is, there is very little profit margin in real estate photography. When you split it between a middle-man and a photographer, the photographer usually gets the short end of the stick.

Should You Set Your Camera to sRGB or Adobe RGB? What About ADL?

February 6th, 2017

Rhett in VA asks:

When shooting photos should I use Adobe RGB or sRGB?  I notice when I shoot in RAW, Lightroom automatically changes my settings I have in my camera but not in jpg. Sometimes my clients say there can be to much contrast in photos. Right now I have the camera set for sRGB and Active-D lighting on high.

Continue Reading »

How Should Real Estate Photographers Deal with Non-Compete Agreements?

February 5th, 2017

NonCompeteAgreementsI had two questions on non-compete agreements last week. Both readers asked for examples of non-compete agreements as if there is some right way to write one.

Over the years everyone I’ve talked to about non-compete agreements they’ve signed have found themselves in a disastrous situation after wanting to work on their own.

My advice on non-compete agreements or clauses is: Continue Reading »

PFRE Reader Recommended Tour Hosting

February 3rd, 2017

I’ve gotten several questions recently asking who the best tour hosting vendor or what the best tour software is. So it’s apparently time to remind everyone of the Suggested Tour Vendor page again.

First of all, I recommend you use a tour hosting vendor rather than trying to use slideshow software to create your own custom tours because it’s just too difficult for most real estate photographers to create their own custom tours. Great tours are just not that expensive and you can easily recover the cost of the tour.

I have a page for tours similar to the outsourcing page we talked about a few days ago. The benefit of the tour page is that it summarizes the suggestions of PFRE readers. Readers vote for their favorite tour vendor by leaving comments on the page.

How to Market Real Estate Photography to Real Estate Agents

February 2nd, 2017

MarketingBrochureDevon in CA says:

I recently introduced myself to a large office of Realtors in my area with intentions to just get my flyers around. However the lady at the front desk told me that very few of their realtors were in at the time. She suggested to me to actually contact the office manager and arrange a time to set up a meeting in their office so that I can speak to all the agents directly. This seems like a great opportunity, but I have no idea how to go about this. Should it just be a sales pitch? Should I be offering them all something upfront? How long should it be? How should I convince the manager to let me do this? Has anyone ever done anything like this? Any ideas? I don’t want this to slip by, but I’ve never done anything like it before.

Yes, we have exactly what you need! Talking to real estate offices at their weekly meetings is a classic way to market to Realtors. They routinely have sales pitches from various vendors selling things to Realtors. Just call the managing broker and ask to get on the schedule for her next meeting.

I have what I call the Realtor Photo Guide which is a summary of the importance of real estate photography. There are two versions: Continue Reading »

How to Keep Windows from Being Too Bright When Using LR/Enfuse

February 1st, 2017

Keri in KS asked:

I shoot 3 brackets with a Canon 5DMkIII and process them with LR/Enfuse but when I shoot towards bright windows the windows turn out too bright even though I expose for the darks inside the windows. I also get some color casts. What can I do to fix these problems?

The problem causing the windows to be too bright is that when you shoot brackets your brackets are not capturing the whole brightness range of the room. This post describes a way to make sure you are capturing the whole brightness range of a room.  With this technique, you use the histogram in LiveView to let you see the exact brightness range of the room. You move the histogram all the way to the left where it starts to crawl up and touch the top and then shoot brackets every stop as you use the shutter speed to move the histogram towards the right. Stop shooting brackets when the histogram crawls up the right side and starts to touch the top.

For your color cast problem, if you use a single manual flash bounced off the ceiling or wall for some or all brackets it will make all the colors more accurate and the whites whiter. Experiment a little to see what the best power setting is for each room. You don’t need a lot of flash power to fix color casts.