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Congratulations! - April 2018 PFRE Photographer of the Month

Published: 24/04/2018

The April 2018 PFRE Photographer of the Month contest has come to and end. The theme this month was master bedroom and we had a total of 26 entries from 7 countries. Thank you to everyone who participated, and the jurors who took time out of their busy schedules to contribute their votes and thoughtful commentary.

Congratulations to Matt Rosendahl from Auburn, California, PFRE Photographer of the Month,  April 2018. This is the second POTM win for Matt. He has also won the October 2017 "elevated exterior" contest with this image.

  1. Matt Rosendahl - #24
  2. Whit Richardson - #8
  3. Garey Gomez - #26
  4. Stephen Reed #12
  5. Robert Miller - #20
  6. Matt Davis - #25
  7. Dave Spencer - #22
  8. Don - #19
  9. Jack Beard - #13
  10. Katrin Uusoja - #2

Please feel free to comment on any of this months entries here

Here's what Matt has to say about the win:

I'm thrilled to learn that my image won this month's contest! There are always so many great entries every month– I imagine that it's not an easy task for the jurors to narrow it down. With that said, thank you to all the jurors who take the time to comment and provide valuable feedback. Your comments help us all become better photographers!

When walking into this master bedroom, I was a bit underwhelmed. Although the room was quite large, the staging company had put in this small double bed. To the left was just open unfurnished space and shooting wider was making the room feel much smaller than it was. I decided to shoot as tight as I could to put the focus on the relationship between the bedroom and sitting room, rather than the undersized furniture. This was actually taken way outside the bedroom, from an upstairs landing, shooting through the double french doors at 50mm.

The shot is a composite of one ambient and one flash frame. The ambient lighting was already doing most of the heavy lifting here – some intense afternoon sun was bouncing off a white concrete balcony and up into the room. I added one Speedlight in the bathroom (middle room) just to add some fill in there as it was a black hole compared to the rest of the scene. I then took a Flashpoint AD-360 on a monopod, at about 1/4 power and bounced it into the ceiling, just out of frame left. I used the flash to minimize glare on the floor, brighten up the top of the bed, and clean up the colors overall.

Post-production here was pretty straightforward. I did some light edits in Lightroom, and then blended the ambient and flash frame in Photoshop using a normal mask. I used a targeted hue-saturation adjustment layer to remove some of the color casts on the bedding and ceiling from the sun bouncing around the room. I also used a curves layer to punch up the image to taste. That's it!

Equipment used:

Nikon D810
Nikon 24-120 @ 50mm
Flashpoint Speedlight; Flashpoint AD-360

Thanks again to all the jurors and to Larry for this great resource. See you all next month!

Brandon Cooper

16 comments on “Congratulations! - April 2018 PFRE Photographer of the Month”

  1. Congratulations, Matt! #26; but also #8 jumps out at you immediately. For such a potentially dark space, it came out very natural and controlled. I really think more real estate photographers should shoot tighter compositions. These might not be what many agents want... but they're what the BUYERS are looking for. Less space, more feeling, I think. #26 does that perfectly. Portfolio piece, for sure.

  2. Matt,

    Congratulations on your win! I loved the shot, so happy it wasn't super wide etc. How did the RE agent feel about it? Did he/she have any comments about the focal length/width? Have you had discussion/training with your clients about not shooting super wide? I think any commentary on this subject would be great for others? Maybe write up a post for PFRE? Anyway, great work!!!



  3. ?: is this contest about images or decorating or both? Noticed many comments about staging/decorating. Is that a factor?

  4. @Sharon
    This contest is definitely about the images/photography but when it comes to creating a great image, proper staging and decorating do come in to play. When the jurors are voting, they consider four main categories: Composition, lighting, editing and overall impact. While staging and decorating can affect the overall impact of an image, the first three categories carry much more weight in the juror's final decision. I should also mention that most of the staging comments in this month's contest were not made by a juror. I hope this clears things up for you?

  5. Thank you everyone for the kind words!

    Ethan ~ Luckily at this point my client base is happy with pretty much whatever I deliver. With that said, I still shoot the more typical wide angle shot of a room, then tighten it up to produce some angles that I like. I strive to come up with a set of images for every house that is informational but also images that give the buyer a sense of how the space 'feels'. I think it's important to deliver a mix of both!


  6. @Sharon - staging can make or break a room which is why I focused so much on staging in my comments. Objects can be moved or taken away to improve a room's decor. In our ten years shooting real estate listings we've encountered every situation imaginable. Some agents are anal about rearranging and removing objects in every room. You can tell if a room has been staged properly the moment you walk inside. This is not to say that shooting and editing are not equally as important. Once a room is shot it's hard to go back and fix something.

  7. Awesome Matt! Somehow I missed the winner announcement but I knew it was yours already in the contest gallery and it was still my favorite out of all of them! Congrats! Well deserved!

    @Joanna - Spot on! staging or the arrangement of things in a room can make or break a great photo regardless of how good the photo is taken and processed... It doesn't have to go as far as a designer or publication shoot in perfection but always needs to be addressed before the photog moves on to another shot. If your making sure you communicate your expectations on Property preparedness before hand, the job of moving or fixing a few small things really isn't a big job... actually for me, I enjoy getting everything in the frame to work... its creative and is a very important part in producing a photo other than the working of the camera, lighting and processing...

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