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Negotiating Agency Shooting Contracts

July 16th, 2018

Logan asks:

I am just transitioning from working exclusively for one small team of Realtors to starting my own business. I will be offering photos, videos, and a 3D tour/floor plan product. I have read others on this site talk about being a “preferred photographer” for a brokerage and I was hoping to learn more about that arrangement. I am fairly certain this isn’t something that is currently being done in my area so I was hoping to learn the logistics. I think with enough volume, I will be able to offer a good product at a fair price, and hopefully this will sway some agents to hire a professional who might otherwise take their own photographs. Any insights/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Generally, what being a preferred photographer for an office means is that you have a contract with a particular office to provide you with an agreed level of business in return for giving that office a per shoot discount.

A number of years ago, Thomas Grubba in Oakland and Mike Miriello in Virginia negotiated agency contracts with real estate offices in their area and did a post on what to consider when setting up such a relationship. Here is their advice: Continue Reading »

Are 360 Images and Walk-throughs a Successful Real Estate Marketing Product?

July 15th, 2018

In the past several years, we’ve had a number of discussions about 360 tours and 360 walk-throughs (not MatterPort tours) and some readers claim there is a demand in their market for this media while other readers say they have never been asked about 360 images.

Since creating 360 images and walk-throughs has been getting easier within the past couple of years, I think it would be useful for everyone to hear some specifics about the success of 360s. If you comment, please let us know: Continue Reading »

Tether Tools Case Air Tethering System – Alternative to CamRanger

July 13th, 2018

Rich Baum Announces an October Workshop in Auburn, CA

July 13th, 2018

Details are as follows:

  • When: October 16-17, 2018
  • Where: Auburn, CA–39 miles from Sacramento International Airport.
  • Cost: $875 for 2 full days including breakfast and lunch.
  • Early Bird Registration: $50 off until Sept 1, 2018
  • $100 off for all veterans.

If you have watched Rich Baum’s YouTube videos, you can now spend two full days with Rich for a hands-on photography workshop learning all the techniques he teaches in his videos.

 Click here for more details and to signup. Continue Reading »

Keeping the Neighbors Near a Drone Real Estate Shoot Happy

July 12th, 2018

Now that more and more people understand what drones are, what they do, and what they are capable of, the neighbors around the homes you photograph are becoming more sensitive about having a drone near their home. The video to the right shows a great example of someone who doesn’t like a drone near his home.

So you may want to think twice about using a drone to shoot elevated front exterior shots unless it is absolutely necessary. Of course, there are some properties where drones are essential for getting the best shots but for the majority of low-end properties that aren’t on acreage or near a waterfront, the old fashioned elevated shooting techniques like poles, giant tripods, and ladders may save aggravating the neighbors.

Another alternative would be to talk to all the neighbors around the property you are going to shoot and let them know when and where you are going to be flying to assure them your intention is not to photograph their home.

Has anyone had trouble with this kind of thing?

Many Agents Still Don’t Understand Photo Licensing

July 11th, 2018

Darren in California asks:

About two months ago, I photographed a relatively nice property for one of my top clients. Today, I saw a post on LinkedIn from another real estate agent in a completely separate brokerage posting one of my photos and advertising that he sold the property. I’ve never worked with this agent. I’m assuming my client lost the listing, the home owner obtained a copy of my photos, and gave them to the new agent, who then re-listed/sold the property while utilizing my images without consent. What is the recommended course of action here? It seems tacky to reach out and ask for compensation for using the images.

Continue Reading »

Beginners Guide to Finding Real Estate Photography Clients

July 10th, 2018

CustomersA real estate photographer’s success is highly dependent on building business relationships with listing agents in their market area.

There are very few businesses where you can make a list of names, phone numbers, and email addresses of all your potential customers, but you can in real estate photography since real estate agents are listed on their company website along with all their listings.

I recommend that every beginning real estate photographer create a spreadsheet that lists all the listing agents in all the major real estate offices in their area. Here’s how to do this: Continue Reading »

How to Do Basic Twilight Exterior Real Estate Shots

July 9th, 2018

WellsExteriorI think it is important to occasionally revisit the subject of twilight exterior shots because they are so important. From a listing agent or home seller’s point of view, they are hugely important 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 or listing photo that had a twilight shot. The photo above brought us two listing customers this way.

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

First Steps for Getting Started in Real Estate Photography

July 8th, 2018

Jessica in California says:

I am a real estate agent and just started to shoot interior images for my listings. I am practicing ISO, exposure, and aperture. Any advise you can give me would be appreciated.

The first step when you are getting started is to understand the various approaches to interior photography and decide which approach you are going to learn to use. Continue Reading »

Major Changes Coming to Photography in the Next Couple of Months!

July 6th, 2018

The Norwegian Version of What Real Estate Agents Need to Know about Photography

July 6th, 2018

Thanks to Trine Bretteville at for translating, What Real Estate Agents Need to Know about Photography into Norwegian. With the addition of Norwegian, this free resource of real estate agents is now available in eight languages: English, Russian, German, Italian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Spanish, and Norwegian. Click here to download this e-book in any of these languages.

If you’re not familiar with this free, Creative Commons publication its purpose is to help educate agents on why photography is important for 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 all over the world have been giving this PDF away.

In the last couple of years, we have added a one-page version and a postcard version of this information.

Federal Court Rules Copying Photos Found on the Internet Is Fair Use

July 5th, 2018

An article over at reports on an outrageous Virginia Federal Court decision that finding a photo on the Internet and using it without permission on a commercial website can be considered fair use.

In the United States, whether or not the use of copyrighted material without permission can be considered fair use (17 U.S. Code § 107) depends on four main factors: (1) the purpose and character of the use (including whether it’s “transformative” and commercial vs. non-commercial), (2) the nature of the copyrighted work, (3) how much of the work is used, and (4) how much the use affects the market and/or value of the work. The video above explains fair use and this decision in more detail.

Stephen Carlisle, the copyright officer of Nova Southeastern University, has written up a lengthy rebuttal of the opinion and writes that the ruling passed down on June 11th, 2018, is one that “has the potential to seriously erode the copyright protections afforded photographers.”

Very disappointing for decision photographers!

Some Recent Stats about the Benefits of Drone Video on Real Estate Sales

July 4th, 2018

Here are some recent stats on the benefits of using drone video in an article on

According to MLS statistics, homes with aerial images sold 68 percent faster than homes with standard images. Video tours that incorporate drone footage are also a great way to make your property stand out and to attract new listings. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), 73 percent of homeowners say that they are more likely to list with a real estate agent who uses video to market their home; however, only 9 percent of agents create listing videos. An Australian real estate group reported seeing a 403 percent increase in traffic for listings that included video as compared to listings without.

The article has a lot of good stats that real estate photographers that offer drone services can use for your marketing materials.

What Virtual Staging Services Do Real Estate Photographers Use?

July 3rd, 2018

Jack in Florida asks:

Do many real estate photographers get requests to virtually stage vacant homes? If so, what do they use – virtual staging services, special software, or Photoshop?

Virtual staging requires an extensive library of 3D furniture and a lot of Photoshop skill. While some do virtual staging themselves, most have a virtual staging service do the work. Virtual staging is still not widely used (about 20% of listing agents) but its popularity is increasing. Continue Reading »

What Is the Best Photo Editing Software for a Beginning Real Estate Photographer?

July 2nd, 2018

Paul asks:

I’m an amateur photographer and retired real estate agent. I am thinking of starting a real estate photography business. Can you tell me what is a good starter editing software, but not a monthly subscription? Cyberlink, Photodirector, and Lightroom were recommended.

I think Lightroom is the best way to edit for any beginning real estate photographer. You can still get a non-subscription version of Lightroom 6, although the subscription version of Lightroom has many more important features. Continue Reading »