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What Is the Best Way to Increase the Quality of Your Work?

April 30th, 2018

Diane in New Jersey asks:

How up to date is your recommended real estate photography gear page? I currently have a Nikon D3300 and am looking to move up and stay in the Nikon family would you recommend the Nikon D3400, Nikon D5600, or perhaps the newest Nikon D7500?

I think you should consider what your underlying motivation for upgrading your gear is. My guess is that you want to raise the level of your work. The fact is that upgrading your gear rarely changes the quality of your work that much.

I suggest rather than upgrading your equipment, that you either go to one of the real estate photography workshops we publicize here on PFRE or get some one-on-one coaching from one of the coaches on the PFRE coaching page. Either one of these approaches is more likely to improve your work than an equipment upgrade.

Ok, sorry about the lecture. To answer your upgrade question more directly, I suggest that if you want to stick with an APS-C Nikon, a better upgrade choice might be a D7200. In many ways, the D7200 is better than the D7500 announced in April of last year. For a good comparison, see the D7500 review at DPreview.com.

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11 Responses to “What Is the Best Way to Increase the Quality of Your Work?”

  • Unless there are features on a new body that will substantially improve your workflow, it’s often better to upgrade your lenses first and wear out your camera body rather than upgrading the body and having less than top of the line lenses in your bag. So much of shooting for RE is done in manual that new bodies don’t make a whole lot of difference unless you are also doing other sorts of photography work (for money).

    Are you looking to replace your body because it’s a few generations old or are you at the point where your current camera body is holding you back? I stay off of the bleeding edge myself. New models of just about anything take some time for the bugs to be worked out and very few customers in RE have a good enough eye to see the difference between the newest camera and one a model year previous. If you are making really good money and want to indulge yourself, it’s ok to splurge. If you need to stick to a budget, keep that in mind and don’t skip on having backups for critical pieces of equipment.

  • Not to be rude, but the quick answer is to slow down. Speed and quality pull in opposite directions. That being said in the field of RE photography we are dealing with busy clients many times who don’t have 2 hours to wait for a 1600 SF home to be photographed. It’s always a balance of being on site and getting the images shot in a timely manner and still producing a very good end product. I think the nature of the client and how the images are going to be used help me determine how slow I will be on site (and in post).

  • I am not going to be so vain as to suggest, it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer – but the question invites it. Rather than the words “improving quality” think of “improving convenience.” Like you care contemplating, I followed the Nikon upgrade path through crop to full frame before jumping to Sony. With my transition from film, my first digital was the D40 which had direct entry level lineage to you D3300. Qualitywise, I am still using/displaying a few of the photos taken with the 6MP D40! Conveniencewise, it is a whole different story which prodded me to make the jump to my second camera the D90. Gone were the limitations of ‘fully manual touch the camera each single shot’ for bracketing that wasn’t supported on the D40, lens limitation (forget the nifty 50 – had to be DX), and multi remote flash limitations. Upgrading from the D3300 is probably inevitable as it has it’s own set of limitations/compromises to meet the pricepoint of baseline entry. Identify the feature difference of each model as it progresses through the offerings, list them and determine which you will actually use and make work easier or more convenient. Quality? That improves with each shoot and testing various techniques and is an ongoing process irrespective of the tool that is in your hand.

  • Hm, A new camera allowing to make better pictures, I don’t believe in it. The only reasons why one would change a camera is when it doesn’t have enough pixels to make bigger enlargments, or when it is defect. It’s all about lighting. Continuously improving your knowledge on lighting techniques, that’s the way ahead

  • Whilst I agreed with all the comments above, some newer bodies have a better dynamic range thus producing more details in the shadows

  • The best way to improve the quality of your work is to post your recent PFRE samples and ask for constructive feedback.

    I would not expect images from different Nikon DSLRs to look much different, however images from different Nikon PHOTOGRAPHERS will.

    In my opinion the challenging aspects of PFRE are exposure blending, off-camera flash use, best HDR/Fusion practices, and potentially while balancing. These problems are solved by trial and error and study, not by purchasing a new camera.

  • Well I would agree improving your work is not about upgrading your camera body, there are advantages to the new bodies.
    Marketed to sports photographers, the d500 is also amazing for Real Estate work.
    Not only is the dynamic range much better than almost any APS camera, the ISO capability allows you to shoot at 10,000 ISO (and higher) in those situations where you need to increase the speed but still keep good depth of field. Such as shooting through raindrops, and not wanting streaks.

    The Interactive touch screen, and its ability to tilt is also extremely helpful when you’re pushed into a corner. No need to get behind the camera anymore.
    Granted, $1,500 (used) is a pile of money, but if you also enjoy other types of photography, this might be a good investment.
    10 frames per second, a buffer that accommodates this even shooting in raw makes it the perfect camera to shoot your children’s activities.
    I’ve had mine for almost a year and haven’t regretted it for one second.

  • Oh I so agree with Mike – Speed is the enemy of a good interior photo. I tell clients it’s the opposite of a skilled auto mechanic (that works quickly *because he knows what he’s doing). I’m proud to tell new customers that I’m likely much slower than their last photographer. And D7200s are amazing.

  • I started with a Nikon D300 (APS-C and 12MP) and “thought” it was holding me back. So, I purchased a used D700 (Full-frame and 12MP) and a full frame lens. Well, a while later, a friend with a D750 (Full-frame and 24Mp) convinced me the increased dynamic range of a much more modern camera would make my editing life easier and improve my efficiency. After 8 years of shooting, I am confident that none of my clients would notice a difference between the image quality produced by the cameras. Did the new camera save me time while editing? Nope. If anything, the editing process slowed down because of the larger files size.

    AS mentioned above, if the camera is the limited factor in your photography, you will know it. Until then, learn to master the equipment you have and make the best images possible. BTW, you want to by a nearly new D750? 😉

  • I love my D700 for RE but in the end it feels like overkill. The final images end up being 2 MP or smaller on MLS. I bracket difficult shots and blend in PS. Which I can do with any camera. The larger sensor in the drone has made a HUGE difference in those photos but since I shoot my groundwork on tripod down to whatever shutter speed I need for 16-28mm f5.6 at 200 ISO I feel like I could use just about any camera for RE. As a matter of fact, I get my new RE camera tomorrow! Lumix GX85 micro 4/3! Since I already have a few lenses for my bigger drone, and I need a interchangeable lens camera to record 4K video I figured I’d try it out for RE as well. I could have 5 GX85 bodies for what I paid for the D700 new!

    My camera “progression”: Canon A-1, Nikon 6006 & Pentax K-1000, Nikon 8008s, F4s & Hassey 503c, Mamiya 645, D100, D200 & D90 same time, D700. Throw in a couple of 4×5 wood frame for fun.

  • Interesting subject. I have images in my portfolio taken on a Canon 5D, and currently use a Canon 6D. Image quality on both is great.
    I have not found the need to change my camera – the improvements in my work have come from practise, working on my composition and honest critiquing of my work.

    Rick McEvoy

    http://rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk/

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