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The Importance of Composition in Real Estate Photography

December 3rd, 2018

CompositionThis is a tutorial that Scott and Malia did a number of years ago. I’ve done posts on it before, but image composition is an important subject in real estate photography and this is a great discussion of the subject.

The most important question you need to ask yourself with each photo is what is the story you want to tell with the photo in terms of features, layout, and feel of the room. As Scott says: “What is the photo about?

Once you have the concept in mind of what the photo is about, it can guide decisions about what to include and what to exclude. You also can recognize which visual elements of the photo distract from the story and which add to your story.

The three main concepts that Scott covers in this tutorial are:

  1. Resist racking your wide-angle lens out to the widest focal length and including as much of the room as possible. Think about how the room feels rather than just how it looks.
  2. Think about how foreground visual elements work in relation to background elements.
  3. Think about shapes and tones in the room.

Oh yeah, and you need to practice this stuff. Some people get these concepts faster than others but we all need to practice to get good at it. Another good way to practice these concepts is to think and talk about your work and the work of others on the PFRE flickr forum. Frequently, others will see things you didn’t notice.

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25 Responses to “The Importance of Composition in Real Estate Photography”

  • A very interesting video. I myself am a culprit of going wide. Whilst I usually use my Canon 24 mm T&S I also have employed much wider lenses. In fact, I am looking around for a Canon 17 mm T&S. Based on Scott’s video this my be superfluous to requirements. I know Mike Kelly uses both the 24 and 17 mm T&S for his images. However, watching the video I could well do without and save myself a couple of thousand bucks.

    What are the communities views on this? – It would be nice to read your comment.

    Bye for now from a too warm Munich in Germany – Desi

  • well here is my take on this… and I diverge a bit on the number one rule with reason.

    1) Go ahead use the widest angle possible. Then, and this is the most important thing, you can use post processing to keep all the OOOO pretty and cut out what is not pretty on all the edges. You can’t include what you can’t see in the original and make the final composition great. The use of the UWA lens allows you FREEDOM of composition. It also does bring problems with it though. Those are huge foreground objects and clutter on the edges and either huge ceilings or huge floors. There is hope though so read my rule number 2

    2) and this is something I see everyone ignoring except me. Not one of these “Masters”, and they are true masters I’m not dissing them, ever tells you screw the 4×6 format. Every one of their images fit nicely into those standard rectangles with rare exception they rarely even use portrait orientation. Over half of my images use every other proportion available rather than use a 4×6. Oh the horror! I use those proportions precisely because they allow me the freedom to use all the rules Scott pointed out in that video. The use of Wide Angles plus freedom from the 4×6 format allow you to control the composition better. It allows you to control the flow of a persons eyes through the image. It can help you use the rule of thirds with greater ease. It allows you to get rid of those ceilings without losing, or cutting in half, critical “story telling” elements on the sides.

    3) I think Scott pointed this out, after you chose the right proportions in PP to achieve the right ratio of floor and ceiling, look at the edges of the images. Move the edges in, eliminating what I call visual noise at the edges.

    4) Oh yes include a few intimate detailed close in shots of features. For that you can just crop one of those WIDE shots you took. Todays high MP counts are very forgiving of cropping. And back to rule ! you can’t include in the final what you don’t see in the image.

    I have never had on single agent or agency or office I work with complain about the use of different proportions. For the most part they don’t even notice nor do they comprehend proportions. They just know Oooo pretty. I give them Oooo pretty, tell a story, use ambient + natural lighting and control WB as best I can.

    I would like to see if others use different proportions to effectively improve composition. As a test just take your last shoot and bring it back up in LR. Then look over every image and see if 16×10 or 16×9 or 4×3 or 1×1 crop would help the composition. See how you eye flow changes when you crop out that giant ceiling or how much nice that feature looks in 1×1. See how the rule of third intersections change etc.

    Composition is the number one important feature of any good photograph. You could have a 20 image stacked blended perfectly lit image where you can see everything with the highest clarity and least amount of noise but if the proportions are wrong for the composition it will not bring out the emotional response that is needed for Oooo pretty. “Wow look at the perfect lighting and amazing detail” is always trumped by “Oooo pretty.”

    Just my HO.

  • I agree with Frank and I am very glad to see someone else pointing this out. The most important thing in my opinion is “shooting line”. After you find a good line, whether a one point or whatever, GO WIDE. People telling you differently are wrong. If you could not easily crop your images in two seconds in post, I would agree with them. But you can, so, shooting tight is no good.

    Not only that, when you crop you get to eliminate ceiling! Bells should be going off in your heads! Shoot wide and crop. It is the best thing you can possibly do. I will reemphasize though shooting line ie composition is important… just get as far back as you can, get the line, shoot wide and crop out ceiling later. It is beautiful.

  • I crop almost all of my images for “effect” with very little concern as to the final aspect ratio. I have been doing this for years and have never had a single complaint.

    It makes no sense to have an otherwise nice shot diminished by a narrow slice of bureau or some other object that adds no additional information to the image. Also, unless you are shooting unfurnished rooms, try to avoid including large expanses of bare wall with little or no furniture or decoration. Additionally, as mentioned above, including too much ceiling can detract from an otherwise attractive space.

    The only time I tend to adhere to a particular aspect ratio is with portrait orientation images where I usually try to crop at 4 wide x 5 tall. But even here, I don’t hesitate to crop for “effect”.

    Don’t be afraid, crop it out.

  • @Frank,@Andrew

    With all do respect I think your collective advice is slightly misleading.

    @Frank

    If you simply shoot wide and crop for detail comps no amount of megapixels is going to address the lack of compression. Leveraging focal length is a pretty basic principle of good interior photography. This is one of the most powerful ways for aspiring photographers to set their work apart from amateurs. If you’re lighting is a bit off but you’ve got solid comps and good use of focal length then your work will be better than most of the real estate stuff out there.

    @Andrew

    “GO WIDE, people telling you otherwise are wrong. If you could not easily crop your images in two seconds in post, I would agree with them. But you can, so, shooting tight is no good.”

    That’s a pretty bold and definite statement. Your opinion sounds like a hard fact.

    Again, if you’re just shooting wide and cropping in, how do you address distortion issues and lack of compression? You can’t fix that stuff in post. Just to clarify, I’m not talking about lens distortion which you can obviously correct for in post, I’m talking about the chair, or lamp that’s on the outside of your frame and takes up a third of the comp, or the kitchen island that’s in the middle of your frame and looks like it’s a mile away.

    I’m not saying you need to shoot everything tight but this idea of shooting ultra wide and relying on cropping to make the final image is crazy to me. In my opinion, shooting as wide as you can without sacrificing all of your compression or introducing too much distortion is a much better way to get consistently good, realistic images.

  • @Brandon
    “Again, if you’re just shooting wide and cropping in, how do you address distortion issues and lack of compression? ”

    Can you expand on what you mean by “Lack of compression”. I’m sure you know that focal length does not affect perspective.

    see: http://www.diyphotography.net/definitive-guide-focal-length-perspective-zooming-feet-nonsense/

  • Nothing wrong with going wide. In this business, you have to learn to compose wide, ultra wide, or tight. There is usually a good composition to be had no matter which you decide – but the important thing is to get comfortable and great at composing at any length. That way, you don’t feel like a fish out of water – if you spent your career at 35mm, and you suddenly go to 12mm, it can feel disconcerting.

  • With regard to compression- generally, compression reduces intimacy, you’re not “in” the scene, you’re looking over at the scene, perhaps zoomed up.

    A wide angle puts you in the room, and you can decide how close to place the camera, or whether to zoom it a little, or raise the camera, or both to correct some of the distortion. You might very well be seeing the very same content with either focal length, but the intimacy factor will change. Neither approach is wrong.

    Using a UWA does force you to become better at composition, just from the standpoint of closer objects being larger. They don’t have to be proportional, you just have to learn to compose for that.

  • Without getting too expressive, the takeaway for me is, Scott emphasizing his efforts on portraying “how the room feels” versus “how the room looks.” This is the opportunity to get the viewer / buyer more engaged with the photo / room / home. And we all know that emotions sell real estate.

  • I love this video and refer back to it often.

    BUT the problem I run into is the agent who wants UFWA shots because they want the room to LOOK bigger…which leads me to believe they want to room to FEEl BIGGER…Agents lie about other things as well…

    Tim

  • My first-ever video! From seven years ago….this was sort of a “proof-of-concept” for Malia and I prior to making the LFRE video series. I still think the advice is good.

    I don’t think very many experienced photographers would agree that shooting a room with an UFWA lens is the way to make it feel intimate, and as for the “always shoot wide and then crop” advice, I guess that’s actually pretty smart for someone who’s new to photography and unsure of what to do. But ultimately, as professional photographers, I think it’s our job to know what a “good” photo is and then make that photo. It seems to me that this is what we’re paid to do. Simply running around capturing the widest view of everything in sight and then trying to rescue them later via cropping sounds like something any layperson could do. What separates us from our clients and makes us worth our invoice, is our ability to see, and then make, a good photo.

  • Here’s another helpful article on lens compression:

    http://fstoppers.com/originals/lens-compression-doesnt-exist-147615

  • I agree with composing images that evoke emotion. Emotion is what makes people act. I think that is similar to what Scott said when he talks about “how the room feels” and “how the room looks.”

    And you should be able to do that an any focal length. You just need to know what focal length to use in what situation. And don’t forget your client – if they want an UFWA shot or two, shoot it. Remember they’re paying you.

    Michael

  • For opposing views on lens compression, check out Ben Long’s “Foundations of Photography: Lenses” on Lynda.com and Tony & Chelsea Northrup’s YouTube channel. Want to get a photo of somebody with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background? You are better off backing up and zooming in with a telephoto lens and “compressing” the depth of the scene than standing 3′ from them and racking out to 17mm.

    I have to keep reminding myself to go a little wider now that I’m more confident with my compositions to leave some room for straightening and give myself some options with ceiling to floor ratios. I always back up and zoom into to use the longest focal length that I can. A potential buyer is much happier to find that rooms feel larger than they looked in the pictures over finding them significantly smaller.

    I think of RE photos as a highlight reel as well as a story. I’m leaving out the play that was stopped at the line of scrimmage or other ho-hum action that didn’t have any affect on the final score. From a story perspective, I don’t have to follow the main character into the bathroom or all around the house as they look for their keys if nothing else hinges on that action. Being repetitive in story telling is not productive either. Once you have a couple of compositions that show the features of a kitchen, another 6 images from ever so slightly different angles adds no value at all and edges into negative value territory. Every composition needs to have value on it’s own and also needs to be unique in aggregate. Agents in my area love to take photos of hallways. No/negative marketing value. All they are doing is making it that much more likely that somebody is going to get bored and go to another listing.

    Geting good at composition is just as important as getting good at lighting. If you can walk through a house and immediately know what images you plan to come away with, that saves huge amounts of time both on-site and in post. I don’t get back to the office with more than 2 compositions that I don’t deliver and most of the time, every composition that I initially planned does wind up getting delivered. This isn’t counting times when I might be trying out a new technique or just fooling around when I have the time and energy. My goal is to not waste time by shooting something that just doesn’t work or overshooting a room. If I happen to spot a detail I missed on my walkthrough, I’ll add it, but again, with practice I’ve leveled up my composition skills to where I don’t miss much and hope to get better.

    I avoid taking on clients that insist on universal UFWA, image count for the sake of numbers or clown vomit HDR. I am more than happy to work with them to make sure I’m complimenting their description with the right images and making sure that I’m including features they feel are going to sell the home. If they think that closeups of the toilets and HVAC gear are adding value to their marketing, I will politely try to steer them away from that. If the insist, I’ll likely let them go. Things like that tend to be just the tip of the iceberg and I don’t like doing things I know are wrong.

  • I must confess to being a little taken aback by this thread. One of, if not *the* dominant theme over the years in our community has been a increased awareness of the pitfalls of shooting wide and, most certainly, of shooting ultra-wide. I recall that it was Scott who coined the abbreviation, “UFWA,” with the colorful ‘F’ inserted to capture dismay at the consequences of shooting ultra-wide. Now we’re seeing that shooting ultra-wide is something to be lauded, for the “intimacy” that it brings to a scene. I’m curious as to how shooting so wide, as to be showing third walls and severely sloping elements in the foreground, adds to intimacy.

    As for this back-and-forth on lens compression, yes, there are loads of articles out there refuting this notion. However, the point that is most salient to this discussion is the concept of what, Lee Morris, in his Fstoppers articles refers to as, “perspective distortion” — i.e., the act of standing back and zooming-in, which seems to compress the space between the nearest and farthest elements in the shot. Conversely, shooting UFWA decompresses this space, thus making these elements appear farther apart. The consequences of doing this has major negative ramifications for one’s compositions. Imagine the homeowners have spent tens-of-thousands of dollars on a kitchen reno, including a custom-milled range hood. Zooming-out, in effect, seemingly pushes that new kitchen farther back in the scene. In effect, we’ve made it harder to see for anyone viewing the photo/listing. How does this add value to our agent-client, who is trying to use that kitchen as a major selling feature?!

    Finally, yes, while using different aspect ratios in our cropping can be a very strategic choice in putting our best image forward, this notion of standing back, zooming out ultra-wide and then cropping in post, is befuddling to me. I could go on to detail specific concerns with it … I simply choose to agree with Scott’s notion that this practice leaves something to be desired!

  • Correction on my previous post … Lee Morris calls it “perspective compression”, not “perspective distortion,” as I had cited. I also believe this is what @Brandon what referring to in his previous replies.

  • I don’t understand why making a room look big is desirable. The days that people lied about 2 things (the price they paid for their car and how big their house was) are looong gone. Advertising isn’t about documentation. Besides that, too much information when you’re selling is rarely a good thing. Just paint a picture. Tell a story.

    A good many of my clients start out their shoot laughing with me about some of the recent local listings that were shot UFW by someone else.

    Three or 4 years ago on this blog someone said; “the right clients for you will find you”. I think about that statement often, and how dead-on true it’s been for me. If you like to shoot wide, those clients will find you. Personally, I’m getting more and more commercial/ TV/ furniture calls – Those clients *always* bring up focal length discussions early on. Believe it or not, most want 50 or higher.

  • I think I have been misunderstood here. That’s my fault. First let me state I am not an amateur, I shoot a lot of homes (note I recognize that by itself does not make you an artist but it does make you a Professional, read the definition of professional). I am in a business first. That business is RE Photography not AP. I’m not shooting for magazines and I’m not shooting all Million Dollar plus listings. I am also an artist and have been for over 50 years, people have been purchasing my art since I was 18 years old and I have won competitions and had my work hung in the Frick art museum. I am also a professional writer. I have been publishing magazine articles since the 1980s (several with over 6 figure circulation) and I get paid for it. You would think I would be able to make my point with fewer words, but hey I’m not claiming to be Hemingway or Picasso for that matter.

    To what Ken Brown said, I am in almost universal agreement. I do not deliver universal UWA shots, and this is the point again… at 4×6 ratio.
    All of Scotts advice is right on the money except for that RESIST advice which I’m not sure were Scotts exact words. That is misleading.

    I said “shoot as wide as possible.” The concept is to make sure you have good composition within what will wind up being your final crop. I failed to mention my concern was final compositions are also centered around the vertical height that is available to work with when considering what to crop out in PP yet keeping all the horizontal you need. When you zoom in to get the horizontal elements just right, and you are at the right viewing height, then you may be missing important elements that are high or low in the frame.

    I was stressing the importance of proportion, 4×6 1×1 16×9, etc to the final composition. Once you have the camera positioned vertically to capture elements below the center point of the lens at just the right angle, then there may be compositionally important elements above the center point of the lens that are now out of place. I believe Scott showed one of those examples. Zooming in for the horizontal or moving closer to get the edges right does not solve this, it can make it worse. Many times you cannot move back. Always having a UFWA lens on the camera helps with this. Maybe I missed something but I don’t think altering the proportions of the frame were mentioned in the video. Scott is a great photographer who happens to be a Professional Real Estate photographer. With all respect that does not make him the final arbiter of what or who is professional or not. The market and our clients will determine that.

    When you “resist” zooming out all the way you will miss those compositionally beautiful shots because in camera the composition is not perfect due to too much ceiling or floor. It is helpful to see the full perfect final composition in the frame somewhere but without an UFWA lens racked out all the way that might not be possible. That final composition is rarely at the edges. Again that perfect composition should be within the frame, that is not to say it must occupy all of the frame. Back to the 4×6 thing… remember that? One of the missed beauties of an UWA lens is the ability to crop and compose images that draw a persons eyes across the frame and thusly deliver the spirit and character of wide open spaces without having their eyes centered on the frame looking up to a blank ceiling. Composition that draws peoples eyes through the visual landscape of the room helps to draw out the spirit and character of the home. That is the approach I take.

    Back to art again… Picasso and Rembrandt both were masters of their craft. Each approached their craft in a different way. Both have their fans and some fans in one camp or the other will never be able to “get it.” That does not diminish the mastery of either. Some Picasso’s fans may exclaim how bourgeoisie Rembrandt and his fans are. Some Rembrandt’s fans may call Picasso’s work crap. Others who accept actual diversity in thought and style will get both. You just can’t define in simple technical terms what is art and not.

    Most of all guys (and gals and “others”) we all have different ways of approaching business and art. We all want to feel pride in our final product and good about ourselves. In a capitalist society, that’s where we all live now for the most part, we tend to try to be better then the next guy. When talking about ourselves and promoting ourselves we can place ourselves above the crowd by stating how good or superior our work is or how bad another person’s work is. My work is professional, precisely because I deliver exactly what the market wants, people seeing it say Oooo pretty and I get paid a fair price for it. Not that anyone did say my work was bad of course, but please don’t imply that using a different technique, from your preferred technique, places that other person below your standards and thusly makes them an “amateur” or an “aspiring photographer” or a “layperson.”

  • Like TC, I’m also a little taken aback. Finding the composition, regardless of whether you’re working quickly or slowly, is one of the key enjoyable features of creating images. Zooming all the way out just for the hell of it seems like an unimaginative and boring way of doing things.

    @ Frank – your last two paragraphs make it sound like you’re excusing poor work. I think it’s quite easy to tell good interior shots from poor, and that has everything to do with technique, talent and standards amongst other things.

  • @Frank – I get exactly what you’re saying.

    There’s nothing wrong with your writing skills, but people will always read what they want to read into it.

    Maybe it’s an old school thing where we come from a time (last century) where most work was delivered to an art director or an editor and there was nothing more that they loved than to put the little tracing paper overlay on top to indicate their cropping.

    Most seem to be failing to understand the difference between knowing what your final composition will be and then giving yourself some wiggle room by shooting wider with the intent to crop versus just backing up as far as you can go and shooting as wide as possible.

    An experienced shooter will know their market. My local market has seen an explosion of interest in tighter lifestyle angles these last few years (something that used to only be used in the premium segments as the lower segments were only interested in how wide you could go). It’s a sign of maturing market but like anything it can get overused, I’ve seen low end properties shot exclusively with the tighter angles that I think would have better served with wider images. I am now supplying a mixture of wide and tight shots for a lot wider range of agents than I was a few years ago.

    The experienced shooters can deliver their tighter images and not expect to get any pushback from their clients because they know what works in their market. As markets mature there will be greater demand from agents for better composed marketing images and agents will be wanting something more than the room shot from each corner.

    What happens with beginning photographers though, is that they read all this peer review about the evils of ultra-wide and try to deliver tighter shots in a market that they usually know nothing about. You see this time and again on the internet forums where a new shooter has complaints from the new agents that their supplied images aren’t wide enough and they have no choice but to reshoot. Due to their inexperience they have no understanding of what works in their area.

    A word of advice for new shooters is not to forget the power of cropping.

    Most modern cameras have plenty of resolution for RE purposes that you could crop more than half your image out and still have a deliverable product.

    If your client wants wider though? Well, then you have no choice but to reshoot.

  • @Charles Lynch, You only have to go back and reshoot a property wider if you want to keep the client. I MIGHT do that once and then not take anymore work from that client if I feel what they want is not not inline with the type of work I want to produce. I also don’t do clown vomit HDR, period. I’m happy to take some direction from clients, but I don’t want to be known for poor photography. It’s not me getting on a high horse and not “compromising my art”, but rather that I’m not getting known for a style that isn’t what I would recommend.

    The comments have been focused mostly on ultra-wide compositions. I’ve tightened up a lot since I started and I’m more conscious of it now that so many people are looking at RE images on tiny little phone screens where a wide image has to be zoomed to make anything out and most people aren’t going to do that too many times before moving on to the next listing. The bigger “picture” is creating compositions that have the most marketing value. High-end magazine articles that feature a home are creating desire in less than a dozen images and many times no more than eight. Every one of those images has to be special. You will never see 3 photos of a fireplace, one from the left, one from the right and a 1pp. There will be one photo that includes the fireplace in context with the rest of the room or a small portion of it. ‘

    Is it a modern thing to equate “value” with quantity with no regard for quality? More of the room visible regardless of whether it’s from awkward angle or is poorly lit? More photos without caring if they add any appeal? I can provide a lot of examples to support that, but not from agents that sell the most properties. The top few agents in my area all have very good photographers who all have a good eye for composition. The #1 agent doesn’t even tell his assistant who the photographer is. I don’t blame him as they are very good.

  • “High-end magazine articles that feature a home are creating desire in less than a dozen images and many times no more than eight. Every one of those images has to be special. You will never see 3 photos of a fireplace, one from the left, one from the right and a 1pp. There will be one photo that includes the fireplace in context with the rest of the room or a small portion of it.”

    Hmmm… yes, but often they been selected by an editor from a larger pool of submitted images (well, at least that’s what they do in Australia)

    As to going back to reshoot wider? Well my experience has been that often those new photographers will never get that request but rather they just won’t ever hear from that agent again.

    If you are asked to reshoot something wider, then you simply haven’t listened to what your client has requested.

    You have to understand what your market wants or needs.

    Sure, sometimes what will work in a market IS NOT what is currently being requested or supplied, but usually it takes experience to recognise that (the launch of the iPhone over ten years ago was a classic example of that).

  • I find it interesting that most of the ones in the camp of “shoot UFWA and crop” have never won the POTM contest or even submitted an entry. For those of you in that “camp”, I challenge you to start entering your images in the contest. Let’s see how “Oooo pretty” your images are.

  • “most of the ones in the camp of “shoot UFWA and crop” have never won the POTM contest”

    Actually, when I did win a POTM Contest it was exactly that — a tighter crop of an UWA…

  • Thank you Charles I think you are getting what I am saying. I never said directly just Shoot UFWA and crop.

    Kerry with all due respect you are correct I have never even entered the POTM contest and I doubt that I would win anyway. Those who win are those who shoot with a specific style. I can and have shot that way and produced similar results that would compare favorably those that enter the contest. I have nothing to prove to this group and nothing bad to say about those who win and or chose a specific shooting style. Those who win are also most likely those who have built a business case shooting in a specific manner. I won’t say anything bad about that.

    What I am saying is that your specific shooting style does not make you a “professional”. Winning a contest is not what makes you a professional artist or professional photographer. Making money does. Making a decent living at it does. Doing it full time and making a decent living at it and being the most sought after and prolific in your geographic area does. I have accomplished just that. That accomplishment does not make me the arbiter of who is or is not a professional or who’s work is “good” or not.

    The way I work here would not work on the West coast, San Fran or New York. I am however very successful as a Professional Photographer where I am located. There are others here that do take superior photographs when compared to mine. None of them shoot as many properties, shoot as much property value or bill as much specifically in RE photography than I do. That does not make them more or less professional than I or visa versa.

    I do look over specific styles that everyone uses and I am constantly adopting what improves my work and fits into my business model. In other words if the resulting images are twice as good but take twice as long in work flow and the market is not willing to pay twice as much then I will not use it. And no I am not the lowest price person in this market by a long shot. I would say I’m in the top third as far as pricing goes.

    Regarding reshoots, I review the images on site as part of my work flow. If an agent wants something wider or more intimate I reshoot to provide what they want. I review with the seller at the same time. The seller says Oooo pretty. I’ll rely of the people in the market who are buyers and sellers to determine what is Oooo pretty over this group of accomplished professionals (that is genuine respect not a smart ass remark). I interview both those who are sellers and a large segment of those who have bought homes that I have photographed. How many of you have done that. I have conducted hundreds of interviews over the years. I also interview new agents who has choose me. Almost to a person they have said “I can recognize your work as soon as I see it.” They go on to say “I don’t know what it is about your work but I like it and my client like it.” Now keep in mind they are saying that based not reviewing any high def POTM images. They are saying that based on what they and their clients see “on their phones” imagine that. Built into my mix of post processing are a few twists that specifically make the images stand out in bunches of those postage stamps on Zillow and on their phones. That witches brew would specifically exclude my work from the POTM recognition, but guess what… it brings me clients and helps sell those client’s listings and helps bring those clients more listings.

    Again I admire every person here, and there are many, who display a variety of superbly technical images and techniques. I would never judge their “professionalism” on the quality of their images. There are many many amateur photographers who’s work can and does rival theirs. What makes a professional photographer is not the quality of their work but the willingness of the marketplace to use their work and pay for it. What makes a good business person is the ability market their products in a manner that the market accepts them and they receive a good return on both their capital investment and their time. It’s a balancing act that I have become proficient at.

    Again that is not to say there are no Professional RE photographers that produce both stunning results and command high prices for their work and are accepted in their markets. Scott is one of those. I still maintain he is not the arbiter of who is professional or not or what techniques should be considered the standard. Markets determine the standards. My market has spoken and Scott’s market has spoken. The difference is I will not demean anyone as unprofessional, amateur, “aspiring” photographer or layman if they don’t meet my specific standards.

    So I say, find what the market wants and shoot that way as long as it fits within a common sense sustainable business plan you will make money. If you make money are a Pro. When the market demands change I am fully capable of changing. I have also been able to stay ahead of the curve of changing market demands and competition. Better technical photographers in the market have not been able to easily compete with me, not because of any technical failings on their part, but rather a lack of balance and understanding the precise relationship between workflow, quality, time and market price points.

    I am a Professional RE Photographer not a POTM.

    Peace and Love guys…

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