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A Word From Milton, This Month's PFRE Idol

Published: 05/04/2009
By: larry

I started my Real Estate Photography business “PropertyPIX” in Hobart, Tasmania in 2006. Previous careers have been 26 years as a Bank Manager with Westpac, and 16 years as a real estate consultant. I was burnt-out from 7 days a week in real estate sales, and at that stage my share portfolio was going very nicely and gave me the financial confidence to pursue my passion – photography… in a semi-retirement mode. I recognized a niche in the market wherein the photos that agents took for their vendors did not show their property “in its best light”.

In my first year, to practice my craft and get in the agent’s door; I offered photo shoots on a “No Sale – No Charge ‘ basis, and/or – the first shoot for free. Even then, I struggled to convince agents to use me!

By nature I am an optimist and have a craving for never ending self-improvement, and have strong beliefs in “Karma” and treating other people how you want to be treated. I believe in investing in the best equipment for your tools of trade – “price will be forgotten long after the quality remains”

I was fortunate that I was well known in real estate circles, and the corner stone of my business was to work on establishing rapport and gaining their confidence. All this, when I was still learning how to use my new Canon 30D SLR camera and 580EX flash, after many years of using the like of a Sony Mavica with floppy discs, and the graduation from the Canon A30 to Canon A60. On top of this , I really had no idea of how to use any editing programs other than iPhoto. So it really was a case of “faking it until you make it”!

Changes occurred about 18 months in to my new “career”. Firstly my Tax Accountant said “you’re not making any money, and you can’t keep drawing on the sale of shares to survive, as share prices are plummeting”.

Secondly I discovered the PFRE net site. I had to have a good hard look at myself after seeing the standard that was shown on the PFRE site, and seeing foreign language words like barrel distortion, verticals, strobes, Lightroom, CS2…… I confessed “Gee…I’ve got a long way to go!!”

There would be many PFRE members who can relate to what I went through. I was on my own with no mentor to turn to; everything was self-taught by trial and error….and still is!! Fortunately the assistance and support you get from the many members on the PFRE site gave me the kick-along I needed. I sat in the wings afraid to put my photos up in the Photo Pool…not knowing how to, was another reason ?…and I posed a few dumb questions on the forum.

I am just so grateful for Larry for compiling the site , and people like Scott and Jeremy who took me aside from the other side of the world…and told me…read your manual, learn the basics, shoot in Manual and RAW, learn how to chimp with a flash etc etc.

The Photo Pool is an ideal school for learning and I thank everyone who has taken the time to record their opinion or suggestions. I feel guilty that I sometimes can’t find the time to go through the photos daily and help others.

My business has grown so much over the last year. I am fortunate to have over 50 real estate agents and 10 builders/architects who use my services. Over next 12 months I can envisage that I will have to recruit a fellow photographer and/or PP person to help out.

I am an analytical well organized person, and have developed systems that I am sure that others in this group may learn from. I have promised Larry to submit a blog on “Being Organized” and I will reveal my simple systems on what I do from the moment the photo shoot request comes in, until such time as I get paid for the job.

I am honored to win the April Idol award. The house that I shot was a sheer pleasure to shoot, and it was only a matter of composing what the eye saw.

So, thanks again guys…it really does feel like we are in one big happy family in this group.

The island of Tasmania is a photographer’s paradise, and if any of you come down to Hobart, please look me up. I’ll point you to the great spots to go, and perhaps we can share our knowledge and learn more together.

Cheers Milton

PS – I haven’t got a Web Site yet, and have been chastised about that…my business is growing too fast even without it…..I have developed my business in simple ways that have worked….one day……..a web site will happen.
In the meantime, here’s what I use to show what I can produce.

6 comments on “A Word From Milton, This Month's PFRE Idol”

  1. Milton,

    Thank you for this inspiring post. I'm where you were in 2006 but I have one advantage, I discovered PFRE before I even knew there was such a specialty. I've been lurking around this blog and the Fickr site since. After 9 years in the mortgage business and a lifetime of interest in photography, it is a natural.

    I share your belief that getting the best gear possible is critical. I've been working a second job for the last 6 months and poured all my pay into equipment. By the end of April, I'll have a complete (if that is possible) kit.

    Thank you again. I'll be posting as soon as I can.


  2. nice work Milton, very inspiring indeed. i just might take up your offer and look you up.
    Im in Melbourne and visit Tassie about twice a year and always bring most of my gear, 30D, 1Ds, P&S and heaps of ,,,, any way, i agree Tassie is a Photographers paradise.

    well done,


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