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Announcement from the Association of Real Estate Photographers

Published: 25/04/2019

We are excited to announce the official launch of the Association of Real Estate Photographers, AREP (arephotographers.org). We already have 20+ companies representing over 2,500 full-time, part-time, and contract photographers. Please join your colleagues by signing up at AREPhotographers.org.

It is very important that we all come together to make our voices heard and become a resource for the industry. AREP’s vision is to elevate the stature of real estate photography in the industry, driving higher quality, service, and new offerings, all in an effort to grow your companies, and the industry as a whole.

As a group, we can have a seat at the table with the rest of the real estate industry groups. We have been able to talk to the MLS Association and its members. We spoke with the NAR General Counsel about licensing. We are in the process with RESO, the Real Estate Standards Organization of including photographer information in the real estate data standard for better tracking and protection.

Some, all, or maybe none of these are important to you. Let us know what is important to you so we can try and help. These are not short term issues and no one company will be able to address them alone. We want your voice heard rather than being dictated to.

What matters to AREP:

  • Preserving our livelihood which depends on our creative endeavors.
  • Sustaining our business and service to the real estate industry.
  • Protecting our images of all kinds (still, video, aerial, 3D, etc.).
  • Promoting the value of real estate photography to home sellers, agents, and brokers.
  • Providing value to our customers for a fair price.
  • Elevating real estate photography by:
    • emphasizing quality
    • developing professional standards
    • recommending best practices
    • offering education to members
    • creating certification

Summary of Initiatives:

  1. Copyright
  2. Affinity benefits
  3. AREP website with membership directory
  4. Communication Channels
  5. Add photography company data to RESO standards
  6. Equipment maintenance programs
  7. Education
  8. Annual conference
  9. Certification with membership ID & AREP logo use
  10. Contractor vs. employee legal guidance

There is a lot to do and we need your support to make meaningful change. If you have any questions, please feel free to email paul@arephotographers.org

Paul Rodman
Executive Director
Association of Real Estate Photographers

Brandon Cooper

75 comments on “Announcement from the Association of Real Estate Photographers”

  1. With 20 plus member companies, representing 2500 photographers, AREP's emphasis is obviously on the big mass producers, not individual photographers.

    There is a significant difference in business and priorities. One that comes to mind, is that the big boys want all the little guys to go to work for them, or go away!

    Seems to me that either the organisation was started accidentally inviting the wrong group of "photographers", or, its intent is to sell individual photographers on all the amazing benefits that joining a big company as a 1099 work for hire photographer, will bestow on them, and anything else that it can sell you.

    I don't know. All I know is that a company with hundreds of photographers are very different from what most of us do, and I've never seen one that treats us well.

    But what do I know.

  2. Actually, re-reading Pauls anouncement, i feel that i should clarify my previous statement.

    Many of the things AREP is looking to do are very good things. Copyright, licensing, 3rd party usage, etc., are extremely important, and if the organization will in fact focus on those type of issues to effect change, thst would make a big difference. All critical issues that re photogrsphy is facing right now.

    That would indeed be very good and i would certainly support that.

    I'm just concerned that the big companies priorities will come first, as they are now essentially the charter members, and we the little guys, seem like a bit of an afterthought.
    Makes me a bit leary.

  3. All seems well and good until it starts to limit freedom, put in regulations that hinder workings as an individual.

    Organizations start like this, then move to get the government to set their standards for required license for photographers. The they set price controls instead of letting the market determine them. They offer little and take a lot and above all LIMIT OUR FREEDOM!

    Frankley screw them. There should be no mention of them on this board.

  4. My reaction was very similar to George's and Frank's. At first blush I thought, "this is great." Then I followed the link, saw who they are really representing and what their not-so-transparent goals are (take our money and our work) and figured the little guy is going to be crushed as the big box companies move to monopolize the business and push the independents to extinction. George's second comment reflects my initial reaction in that it seemed to be good stuff, indeed. But digging deeper, I fear the old bait 'n switch. I've loved the PFRE group but if this is the direction the new management endorses it's a sad day indeed.

  5. $185.00 to join. For What? I don't think we need an association which will only screw things up, as most associations do very well.

  6. Looks like a club of the big guys, for the big guys. Cost of membership, per photographer, is highest for the one man band.

  7. I am now retired, but I want to voice my strong support for the development of professional standards and for recognition of our legal rights. (I also agree that the price of admission is a bit high and that the AREP seems weighted toward the big guys, not individual photographers.)

  8. I'm all for organizing to protect copyright and set industry standards but seriously? The founding members are all companies whose goal is to put independent photographers like us out of business. What a frigging joke. I'll pass thanks.

  9. 1. Paul Rodman was one of the founding members of Tour Buzz, which along with Real Tour Vision was one of two companies that helped most of us early adpators create and develop our own real estate photography businesses - so I believe he has only our best interests at heart. He has been a mentor to many of us who grew up in the industry.
    2. All organizations take away the personalizations and start to work on improving conditions and even some lobbying. It is important to see who the leaders are and who the group members are. Is this really an organization for companies that have more than one photographer or is it something all of us can benefit from?
    3. Some of us who work alone may require the companionship and mentoring of others in the industry. PFRE is a great blog and community - but there is a huge world out there and we need to familiarize ourselves with the next level of support and growth.
    4. Some people do not need organizations and @Ken you may be one of them - I can respect that - I have belonged to several professional organizations that have not morphed into a monster or disappeared completely.
    5. Photographers need to hit the copyright questions from all angles and this is reason enough to support the organization.
    Thanks Paul Rodman for all of your help over the years.

  10. Something feels wrong about this. This is a supposed to be a trade association for real estate photographers, but none of the founding members is actually a real estate photographer. Furthermore, all the founding members are companies that want to sell services to real estate photographers. That seems to be mostly what this is about.

  11. Part of me wants to suggest that we can't complain about non-representation for independent shooters if none of us are going to join.

    On the other hand, it feels pretty sh*tty and super shady that this was established LAST YEAR yet none of us were invited to become founding members. This just cements in my mind that this is catering to the large operations (who are trying to put us all out of business) and they're just opening it up to us now because they want to look like a legit organization. I hope I'm wrong but every single interaction I've had with a big REP company has left a bad taste in my mouth. I don't want to join a professional organization with them. Sorry.

  12. While it sounds like a good idea, this is simply a company to profit off of real estate photographers. As David stated, none of the founding members are actually real estate photographers. This leaves a bad taste in my mouth, just like Tourfactory, Planomatic and the other RE photo tour companies. I'd much rather stay independent. Thanks but no thanks.

  13. Yep

    I have looked high and low for services that put the photographer at the top and in total
    control of their operation as they see fit to run it. Be it pricing, equipment requirements,
    prepaid tokens and on and on. I have yet to find one. There are some that come close BUT it
    is very telling that none of them are founding members of AREP. Hmm.

    There are certainly some concerns. Espescially in regards to "establishing standards" and
    "creating certification". I mean, this is a creative business. How in the world do you
    standardize creativity? Who is to say? A group of non-photographers? Bizarro world.
    These 2 items mean everyone is eventually the same. How is every photographer being the same
    a good thing for Realtors? This is bad for agents but good for those who will profit from
    classes, seminars and the certification czars.

    @Brandon
    1) Is this a nonprofit?
    2) What are affinity benefits?
    3) What are RESO standards?
    4) If AREP is for profit, who are splitting the profits? Please name them by % of profit.
    5) Will AREP be open about financials?
    6a) Who are your consulting photographers?
    6b) You are sure to have some. Who are they?
    7) What is the plan for copyright enforcement? Any deals struck with the NAR will
    certianly be in favor of the NAR unless some type of class action suit has legs.
    Can you describe AREPs game plan please? This is probably the #1 reason RE photographers
    would find a reason to join (IMO). If you cannot describe your game plan, XXX (3 strikes).
    8) How many Realtors are happy with the NAR? I have heard many complaints from many a Realtor.
    9) Entities eventually succumb to the desire to grow their power/reach and enrich those who
    split the profits. How will AREP be different?

    Independent RE photographers and tour companies are at odds with each other. If the founders
    are tour companies and/or those that sell to RE photographers, anyone paying the membership
    fee is PAYING THEIR COMPETITION to regulate them. Bizarro world.

    If there wasn't $$ or control available to the founders, they would not have bothered.

    David Eichler -

    "April 25th, 2019 at 9:48 am #

    Something feels wrong about this. This is a supposed to be a trade association for real
    estate photographers, but none of the founding members is actually a real estate photographer.
    Furthermore, all the founding members are companies that want to sell services to real estate
    photographers. That seems to be mostly what this is about."

    Bingo Bango

  14. First on their list of initiatives is copyright, yet the photographers who work for these companies don't even own the rights to the photos that they themselves create. Think about that. You want to know what this is really about? Money. These companies realize that their vast photo archives have tremendous value and companies like Zillow and the like are making billions while getting those photos for free. AREP and their photo factory members want their cut. And if they get it the photographers who work for them won't see a dime, because those photographers don't own the rights to their own images. Is there a middle finger emoji on this thing?

  15. I was tempted to comment at the top of the list, but decided to wait and sure enough, George got there with the same feelings I was having. It would be nice to have an organization to speak up regarding Copyright issues and the abuse by companies when it comes to overreaches on licensing. I'm not unhappy with current Copyright law other than the length IS too long. Lifetime of the author plus 20-30 years should be more than adequate as a legacy. 50-60 years for a corporate entity could be long enough with a special petition for extensions on iconic images that are associated with a brand still in trade. Some Kellogg's Tony the Tiger images come to mind.

    Certification? Hmmmmm, maybe. As an independent, it doesn't help me that much. My published work speaks to my competence in making the photos and customers can decide if they are ok with my business/service. Certification for a photographer is more useful if they are moving from one big company to another and the HR department at those companies isn't competent to evaluate photographers. Strange but true. I see that a lot in the engineering field. I have a stack of certifications in various things that don't do much for me. I mainly have them as part of a course where I wanted the knowledge. The certificates do look nice on the wall.

    Education? The workshops that are put on now by various well regarded RE photographers are a fantastic resource that's home-grown and not constrained by overarching association rules. The videos on Youtube, Kelbyone and Lynda.com by people well known here and on the Flickr group are more great educational resources. It's nice that they aren't all conforming to a "It has to be done this way only" set of rules. Any approach that yields a good image is valid as far as I'm concerned.

    Benefits? If health insurance can now be negotiated for groups with members across state lines as the US President was pushing, an association would fill a big need. The same goes for business insurance including insurance for drones although there are other associations that already do that and many RE photographers also work in other genres and are members of associations that are biased more towards that other work. It could be more advantageous to carve out a RE sub-group in one of the larger associations since a big part of lobbying is going to apply to all working photographers.

    Standards? I'd have to see what was being proposed. PFRE is a service industry and has to adapt to the local market. A rigid set of standards may not be viable, but I'm open to what might be proposed.

    The $185 price tag is not too outrageous, but the larger companies are paying $10 or less per photographer although I didn't dig much to see what that confers on those photographers if anything.

    So far, I'm not finding the informal meeting of the minds here leaving me wanting for an association. I am looking forward to PFRE.net holding an annual event in the US and perhaps there can be sub-groups holding their own in other parts of the world as part of the PFRE family. I'd be happy to work with some others to draft education or suggested business practices documents via PFRE. Those items could be inexpensive digital documents with the proceeds going to support this site with any excess funds being used to defray costs of an annual meeting or to increase the online capability of the site. It might also be nice to pay a real attorney to draft a licensing statement (in modules) that is valid in all of the US and variations for other parts of the world that everybody can use and feel confident that they will be upheld if necessary.

  16. Thank you, everyone, for speaking up! There are some very valid thoughts and concerns being raised here. I'm sure AREP would love an opportunity to address them. I am going to compile a list of the questions mentioned throughout these comments and take them to AREP for some clarification/elaboration. If there are any other specific questions you want answered please post them below and I'll hold off a day or so before I reach out to the association.

    I'll schedule a follow-up post on this topic.

  17. I certainly agree with much of whats been said here, and have some real mixed feeling about how this was presented to individual photographers.

    Having said that, there are a couple of very important issues that need resolving quickly.

    1. NAR, MLS and others need to stop removing all meta data from all images uploaded onto MLS. Further if they want to put their watermark on images, they must also permit the photographer to do so should he/she desire to. They can no longer claim ownership to images/media uploaded to MLS. Their job is to assist realtors selling property, not trying defraud photographers, who are helping the realtor to do just that.

    2. Zillow and others need to be reigned-in when it comes their use, and storage, of MLS images. They can not be allowed build a image data base of properties that are not on the market, they currently do. They should be licensed to use for the duration on of the listing only. Other use requires the approval by the copyright holder, and no, that is not the MLS!

    There are other important areas that need to adressed as well, but to me these two are paramount before any others in resolving the current situation. If AREP is willing to focus on those two task to start, they would demonstrate that they are in fact a national trade association and our membership would make sense.

    We need to remember, MLS, Zillow and all the rest , need images to stay in business. Our professional images add a lot of value. The fact that they've ignored us, is simply because we haven't forced them to actually talk to us to come up with solution that are fair and work for everybody involved.

    So Paul, where are you in all of this?

    Brandon, you are involved, what are your thoughts?

  18. Broadly speaking, I think the issues have been laid out in the comments above. I'd amplify with the following:

    • Not a single member of the board, or of the "Founding Members" is a working photographer. Seriously, guys? That seems completely indefensible. This is really "all I need to know" to decide I'm not interested.

    • Diversity of the board: (apparently) Five white guys. Again: seriously?

    • Diversity of the "founding members": (apparently) one white woman, ten white guys. Sigh. Yes, women and minorities are under-represented in photography overall, but they're not THAT under-represented.

    • This is presented as "The Official Launch" of the organization. Yet there was an "AREP Inaugural Conference" in February of this year in Atlanta, attended by charter members. So what was that? This goes to Malia's point about transparency. It seems clear that the independent photographers who largely make up the readership of this blog are an afterthought. Are we expected to believe that Planomatic and it's cousins are really interested in the well-being of independent operators?

    • In general, there are two types of industry associations -- those that try to control the industry, and those that try to represent the industry. Representative associations are run by the membership, and allow their members to vote board members in/out, steer policy decisions, and generally provide oversight to ensure that the organization really represents their views, in a democratic way. Those that are focused on controlling the industry work to exclude non-members, including by creating "credentials" or branding (logos, etc.) that are only available to it's members. Members do not have a meaningful say (as in, literally, a vote) in running the organization, or the positions it takes publicly. The NAR, the Chamber of Commerce, and others are examples of the former, and they carry the credibility that comes with having actual member buy-in. Which type of 501(c)6 will AREP be?

    • Why pick an acronym that is already in use by a real estate developer?

    • 2500 members -- how many of these actually opted in, and how many were enrolled 'automatically' simply because they are associated with Planomatic, VHT, etc.? Do they know that they're being used in this way? Do they have the ability to opt out? How would they do so?

    • Membership fee structure is the opposite of progressive: the more money you have, the less you have to pay. The more you stand to benefit, the less you have to pay. Again, organizations that want to really represent their members try to make it as easy as possible for them to join. Those who only want to control the industry in a top-down way are not so interested in having a lot of independent voices...unless they can be squeezed for 3x the fee as the next category up (or 25x the fee that the 'top' category pays per photographer).

    • Lastly, I think Scott Basile hit it on the head when it comes to control of the massive amounts of data which real estate photographers produce and own. Licensing aside, our individual archives aren't very interesting, but combined, we have something that is immensely valuable (think about it: photos of the interiors of vast numbers of private residences). Zillow recognized the value of this long ago. Can this be the angle that AREP is hoping to exploit? My understanding of 501(c)6 organizations makes this a murky question, at best. Color me both skeptical and suspicious.

  19. Sure I have a few questions for Paul.

    1. If copyright of work created by RE photographers is priority number one for AREP why do all of your founding member companies force photographers to sign away their image rights in order to work for them? And doesn't this mean that most if not all of your photographer members have no rights to the images they create? How does this jibe with you saying copyright for real estate photographers is priority number one for AREP?

    2. How many of your members are independent photographers, and not employees or sub-contractors for the founding member companies?

    3. You said when speaking about RE photographers, "Their creative work is remarkably valuable and should be protected." What will AREP do to protect the rights of individual photographers?

    4. In the set of service agreements and usage licenses that you are developing, who retains ownership of the images and other media?

  20. Absolutely love the insightful comments and questions from Hargis, Basile, and everyone else. After a day of checking in on this discussion I would offer that the complete silence from AREP (or it's members) on this thread speaks volumes. The fact that Brandon has to reach out to AREP for a response indicates quite clearly that they are not here.

  21. Zero interest in this organization. I agree with the skepticism in the above comments. It has "cash grab" written all over it. Maybe I'm lucky, but I really have no issues with my current business model that this organization can help with. I also do not see any real tangible benefit provided.

  22. @George, If the MLS's and other organizations weren't stripping the meta-data from images, it would be easy for companies such as Zillow to find the photographers that made the images if the photographer is inputing their information. Social media sites are also deleting meta-date and between them it seems like a concerted effort to create orphan works that some are trying to get cut from the herd through changes in Copyright law. There is no excuse to do it. It's only a few bytes of data and with bandwidth available these days, it makes no difference at all. The same goes for storage space. Defining and enforcing penalties for removal of meta-data so it's on par with cropping out or touching out a watermark would be a good thing. Removing watermarks is a factor in a judge calling an infringement "willful" which leads to a much higher penalty.

    An association is good for tackling lobbying and as a unified voice when laws are coming up for revision, but it's also up to photographers to stand their ground when confronted with demands to sign "work-made-for-hire" agreements or Copyright assignments by real estate franchise companies or local MLS's. It's unfortunate that there are so many photographers that don't care and are happy to walk away from their work as soon as they cash the check.

  23. I'm so disappointed - I flagged the email and went back to it with excitement - I was looking forward to being part of a great organization - I love and have used the RFRE website since my early days - I assumed this would be good.

    Sorry, a no join from me, a one-woman business....trying not to be crushed by the big guys.

  24. First, I want to thank you for your time and your thoughtful responses.

    Like you, I felt it was very important to have participation from independent photographers. I spent the last 10 years at Tourbuzz helping individuals/partners start companies like Virtuance, Top Notch 360, Boise Virtual Tours, Motion City Media, Southeastern Shutter and many more. There are so many great personal stories about the obstacles each overcame including the older companies like Planomatic, Tourfactory, etc.

    The companies that came together to get AREP started are looking to help everyone in the real estate photography space. Each person, except myself and Kevin at Cloudlistings, is a founder of a photography company, meaning they take orders from Agents. Some of those companies are now 20 years old like Tourfactory, but they started as one or two people just like you. They all put aside the fact they compete everyday in an attempt to give back to the industry they helped build and has been so good to them.

    Since I had some time and this community has been so good to me, I volunteered to help get AREP off the ground. We did a lot of groundwork to make sure AREP could have an impact within the Real Estate industry including attending and participating in a number of industry meetings. We were fortunate enough to have people involved that could get meetings with MLS executives, NAR executives, Brokers and corporations. The good news is the industry is excited about having photography companies participate.

    Each person involved has volunteered their time and money to get us this far.

    Did we do everything right? No. Just like any start up we made mistakes. But we are trying, listening, learning and adjusting. And again, thank you for your feedback. We will address your questions and concerns.

    AREP is yours and it is all inclusive. In order to represent the industry in the best way possible we need everyone to come together. Are we all going to agree with everything or see the same opportunities, of course not, and that’s OK.

    We debated and created a list of priorities: https://arephotographers.org/about-us/

    Feel free to contact me so we can learn more about your priorities. paul@arephotographers.org

    Thank you for your time and participation.

    Paul

  25. @ Ken Brown,

    Absolutely correct. It is indeed a deliberate effort to create orphan works, and to circumvent copyright laws. To me, that is no different than somebody removing a copyright notice, i.e. a willful copyright infringement.

  26. Paul, you did not address the many and very serious concerns that I and pretty much every other person who commented above have about this endeavor. This organization is deceptive in its name and stated purpose. While it might potentially be of some help to real estate photographers, in some ways, it is quite evident that its overwhelming purpose is to promote the kinds of businesses that are the founding members, none of which is actually a real estate photographer and some of which may even compete with real estate photographers for client marketing resources. I note that the ASMP, a longstanding trade organization of professional photographers does not have any members of the sort who are the founding members of the AREP. The founding members were all working photographers and its directors and officers have always been working photographers, as has the vast majority of its membership. I believe this applies to the other major trade organizations for photographers as well.

    By the way, the ASMP and APA already advocate for copyright matters on behalf of photographers, and the Copyright Alliance does this on behalf of all creators of intellectual property, and they have done so for a long time. Can the AREP contribute to this effort in any significant way? I don't see how. What I think real estate photographers really need that these other organization may not provide (or at least not as well as real estate photographers might like) is representation with respect to the NAR, especially with respect to copyright and licensing matters.

  27. I'm also pretty disappointed in Paul's response but I guess he's answered everything (or rather, hasn't answered...) that I need to know.

  28. Hey Everyone, as previosuly mentioned I’ll be working with Paul to get some detailed answers to specific questions. There are a lot of questions and concerns so it’s going to take some time to work through things. I’ll provide an update in the near future.

  29. @Maila and others. I was invited to join in the conference but was unfortunately out of town photographing in Chicago. Paul has helped me through the years with all kinds of issues I needed help with and was extremely quick to respond. I feel confident that he will address all our concerns. There is a much different business structure in the large photography companies where the photographers are "work for hire" and in our individual business structures and hopefully these issues will be addressed. I will be considering this when more information comes regarding the individual "one-woman/man shows" out there.

  30. So many red flags...
    1) There is no clear path to copyright protections (the #1 item).
    2) Lack of diversity on the board.
    3) Lack of PPA involvement.
    4) Licenses have been developed yet they are not available to view.
    5) Tourbuzz allowed realtors & brokers on their platform - which is why I left. This feels the same.
    6) Photogs in SoCal formed a coalition to stand up to malicious copyright infringement and exclusivity demands. It was organic and passionate. This feels nothing like that.

    I echo many of George's comments.

  31. Brandon, in my opinion, there is nothing to work through here. Either this organization must reconstitute itself as one that is of, by and for real estate photographers, if it wants to represent itself as fundamentally serving the interests of real estate photographers, or the organization should change its name and acknowledge that its goals are primarily to benefit the broad range of parties who provide a variety of marketing-related services to the real estate industry.

  32. @ Paul,

    I'm sure that the initial reception on here about AREP, has not been what you had anticipated. Why did this happen? Because none of you are working RE photographers! You don't really understand us, what our concerns are, or truly what we do for a living!

    But honestly there are some real issues, that require honest answers. If they are truly "Just like any start up we made mistakes". Fine, there is still an opportunity to turn this into sale, by providing forthright answers, but also understanding what the mistake really is.

    You also said "Like you, I felt it was very important to have participation from independent photographers". If that's the case, why wasn't any of us independent photographers invited from the start? There are how many thousands of us on here at PFRE? Further, without a significant number of independent RE photographers (which amounts to the vast majority of RE photographers), AREP really won't represent the industry. It could on the other hand, prompt an sudden organization of the majority of RE Photographers, that may have felt slighted by how the AREP was formed, and as definitive statement that AREP doesn't represent them, or the industry as a whole.

    I also read in your message, that AREP has already had critical meetings, "We were fortunate enough to have people involved that could get meetings with MLS executives, NAR executives, Brokers and corporations."

    Who were these meetings with?
    What were these meetings about?
    What was accomplished?
    What was agreed upon?

    Since you guys currently purport to speak for RE Photographers, I think answers to these questions are really important, if you actually want real photographers to join the organization, so please elaborate.

    You stated that "Since I had some time and this community has been so good to me, I volunteered to help get AREP off the ground". That makes it sound like you are just kind of helping out? But as I understand it, you are the "Executive Director"? That would make you the boss of the organization, right?

    So here is an opportunity for you get this all sorted out, in one shot with what I believe to be the largest group of RE Photographers available to you. Not the kind of opportunity that comes along to often in life.

    Best,

    George

  33. I attended the first meeting for AREP in Atlanta at the beginning of the year, it was very informative for both the larger companies and independent photographers. I am an independent photographer myself, shooting nothing but real estate and feel confident that AREP will actually help my "independent" voice be heard. I may not agree with everything that AREP is trying to organize but at least it's a start in the right direction and I am confident that this organization will help me as an independent photographer in the long run.

  34. I just had a nice talk with Paul Rodman and have a better understanding now, and I think he does as well. A number of my serious concerns still remain, but I can possibly see a way forward. To that end, I would like to talk with some other photographers such as myself, who are either one-person operations or who work with a small number of assistant photographers, and who earn significant supplementary income from relicensing of their images and pursuing copyright infringements.

    I see an overlap in interests between all photographers who hold copyright to the photos. However, I am concerned about the interests of large real estate photography companies taking precedence when it comes to exposure to potential clients, in terms of competition for business.

    I have suggested to Paul that one major thing such an organization can achieve, besides copyright and licensing, is to promote high-quality real estate photography to homeowners, which is beyond the means of photographers to do individually to any significant scale. This goal is sort of already among those of the organization, but I think it needs to be fleshed out. There will inevitably be some different interests in this regard between businesses pursuing a high-volume, mass-produced, lower-budget model and a higher quality model, so I am not sure how feasible this goal is, since the market has already generally accepted that some kind of professional photography is required for listings.

  35. Hello, I’m Anne Sperling and I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and reply to your comments and concerns about AREP. It’s my hope to clarify how Collabra/TourFactory operates in partnership with photographers.

    As a co-founder of the Association of Real Estate Photographers (AREP), I have made a commitment to initiate and be directly involved in the conversations and actions with Industry leaders that will help to foster a lucrative, sustainable, and valued profession for real estate photographers long into the future.

    In October of 1995, a listing agent and photographer put the first 9-photo virtual tour online. We were the partners that created a virtual tour business so an agent could win listings in partnership with a photographer - each individual earning a job with the procurement of a listing for the purpose of changing the way people bought and sold real estate. You know our company as TourFactory. In regards to photography:

    All TourFactory authorized providers and photographers are independent, they price their own products, the photographers own their photos and provide a sub-license permission to TourFactory. These photographers are sole proprietors and some have become teams with 50 or more photographers.

    In 2018, 1.3 million agents listed 5.3 million properties. There are approximately 25,000 real estate photographers, with a majority entering the real estate niche in 2012 or later. Real Estate photography is one of the top paying occupations in the USA. There are hundreds of inquiries a month from people looking to start a business in real estate photography. It is important for the agent, the consumer, and the novice photographer to recognize that being a real estate photographer requires high skill and professionalism in order to provide a valued service.

    We believe that the real estate photographer has become an integral part of a successful listing transaction. As a group with our earned reputations and industry friendships, AREP will get the real estate photographer known as a professional by sitting at the table with real estate industry leaders to communicate an understanding of the photographer's challenges and needs in order to bring a professional level of service to the agencies of real estate.

    We’ve created a powerful opportunity to combine your voice together with AREP, and we encourage you to join us!

    Listed below are current issues that are opportunistic for the photographer that we at AREP are undertaking:

    - Prevent the commoditization of a photographers service.
    - Copyright, and how it impacts the value of a professional photographer service.
    - Consumer (Homeowner) privacy laws.
    - Precision measurement in Square Footage, who and how the information is captured.

    Cheers to the betterment of the profession as a real estate photographer,

    Anne

  36. Anne's company is the sort of which I would be concerned will receive too much benefit from this association, relative to independent real estate photographers. Personally, I am somewhat less concerned than I think other independent real estate photographers might be, because I don't try to compete that directly with the likes of companies such as Anne's, in that I focus on a lower-volume model that emphasizes significantly higher quality images that are especially suitable for properties that are well staged and show especially well. However, I am still somewhat concerned about this, and I would think that the majority of independent real estate photographers would be very concerned, since companies such as Anne's have the resources to promote their brand nationally, which a small business cannot do. I confess I do not have any idea at this point about how to balance these seemingly competing interests. In trade organizations such as the ASMP and the APA, the members do not have to be concerned about this sort of thing, as it is all small businesses.

  37. Okay, so more sales babble, but still no answers to basic fundamental questions? If you can't get straight answers when they want you to join, I think it's unlikely that you'll get them at all.

    There was an opportunity here to right the ship, but apparently no interest.

    I'm done with this

  38. I am afraid I have to agree with George. One of the major concerns he and others expressed was about the big, mass-producers in the mix. Instead of being sensitive to that concern, a representative of one of those companies who is among the founding members chimes in with a marketing pitch for her company. Not really a gesture of comity in this context, and I think it pretty much exemplifies what smaller producers could expect within this association. This is like what would be the case if the National Press Photographer's Association allowed photo agencies or publications to be members. For such associations, individual membership is the only option, though the individual members may work for an organization. I think the AREP should do likewise if it wants to be credible with independent photographers.

  39. Any independent RE photographer who pays association fees to AREP will be paying their (the founders are tour companies and/or companies who sell to RE photographers) competition to regulate them. Think about it.

  40. Still no answers to our questions? Five days later? Seriously?

    If AREP wants to gain the trust of our community of independent photographers (who VASTLY outnumber photo factory shooters BTW) they need to answer our questions. Paul's comments on this thread didn't answer a single question or concern. Not one.

    Anne congratulations on your successful business and partnership with AREP, but AREP is supposedly an association of real estate photographers, and you aren't one. It is pretty clear that is an association of RE photo factories and vendors, who are misrepresenting themselves as being us.

    Brandon why is the PFRE logo on their list of members?

  41. Hello Everybody,

    I'm the Owner/ Operator of Picture Perfect Properties, a small real estate photography / videography company in south Florida. It's just me right now so you could say I'm independent. I'm a Real Estate Photographer AND a Business Owner, a business man AND a creative. I certainly don't want to remain a one man army forever. If anyone can help me grow the business, it's an organization like AREP. Contrary to popular belief, I feel that AREP has my best interest at heart, even if I am the "little guy" right now. I know the creativity that I bring to the table so I don't get discouraged by bigger players in the space. I attended the meeting that lead to the official formation of the organization and met with some great people, business owners and creatives who do exactly what I do all throughout the country. Although we may compete in some markets, we were all there to help each other out and address many of the pain points and obstacles that we all face. Our attitude was "All Ships Rise with the Tide." In fact, I learned more about 3D technology and i'll soon be offering a more custom and interactive 3D walk through service! Whether you're a big company or an independent photographer, I can say without hesitation that Paul has the organization's members best interest at heart. #HappyCamper

  42. My reaction was very similar to George’s and Frank’s. At first blush I thought, “this is great.” Then I followed the link, saw who they are really representing and what their not-so-transparent goals are (take our money and our work) and figured the little guy is going to be crushed as the big box companies move to monopolize the business and push the independents to extinction. George’s second comment reflects my initial reaction in that it seemed to be good stuff, indeed. But digging deeper, I fear the old bait ‘n switch. I’ve loved the PFRE group but if this is the direction the new management endorses it’s a sad day indeed.sell my home austin

  43. Enjoy your wonderful RV. My first RV was a similar popup years ago…loved it! My wife and I are retired and at the end of 2017, we ended three years of full-time RV’ing in a 5th Wheel trailer. We’d still be RV’ing full time but we have an older furry buddy who can no longer do the RV scene due to severe anxieties and well, she’s like a child to us. I just found your blog but I will be back.

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  45. You make some valid points, but as the article states regardless of how much interest or whatnot you would throw away you’d still walk away with over $300k in gains tax free on top of the principal that was paid back over the 10 years.

    With ultra low interest rates and modest mortgage payments after 10 years the remaining mortgage is only $275k. This would mean $125k of principal in the home. Count on top the $300k+ in gains and the person would have $425k+ in net worth starting from $20k. That’s over 2000% gain on original principal in net worth.

    In the stock example, you made the assumption that people save but statistics show thatr average Canadian saves less than 2% of their pay. On top of that less than 10% of Canadians will invest in anything other than GICs and high interest savings so the likelihood of your scenario coming true is minimal. Buying a home forces savings and is easy for people to understand. Pay my mortgage and let rising prices help me to retirement.

    For 99% of the population real estate is probably their best and only investment. I don’t disagree with your argument, but with leverage from real estate and the risk averse nature of real estate it’s the best advice for the normal guy.

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  47. Any independent RE photographer who pays association fees to AREP will be paying their (the founders are tour companies and/or companies who sell to RE photographers) competition to regulate them. Think about it.Villas for rent in Dubai

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  55. Hello, There are foreclosures by the dozen just waiting for someone to purchase. I’ve actually had my eye on a property for the past couple of weeks and have been battling myself on whether to go see it or not.

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  57. Hello, There are foreclosures by the dozen just waiting for someone to purchase. I’ve actually had my eye on a property for the past couple of weeks and have been battling myself on whether to go see it or not.

  58. Hello, I like your tip about looking at the value of the neighborhood before buying. That makes sense considering you want to estimate what the value of your potential home would be. I’ll have to consider your tips so that we can get a house in a safe neighborhood

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  62. I’m hoping (way down the road) to buy a house with a basement that we can rent out. Just to get a feel for it and see if it’s something I would really like to do. It requires a lot of effort and money, and I would hate to invest so much only to find out it’s too much to deal with. You should write a post about the tenant taking you to court! Some people.

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