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Congratulations Nick De Clercq Feb 2012 PFRE Photographer of The Month

Published: 29/02/2012

Congratulations to Nick De Clercq, of Ghent, Belgium for winning the jury voting for the February 2012 photographer of the month. About a month ago we  featured Nick's story in a post.

I now have all of the names of the eight finalists in the voting and to total jury points that they received posted in the Photographer of The Month flickr group.

Juror comments about Nick's photo

  • I ruled out any image with distracting strobe wash or shadow.
  • Further cutting the photos with blending mud (HDR mid-tone smudge) left only a few clean candidates.
  • I selected #7 as an example of "Just enough" of the space, without ultra-wide distortion or lighting that missed completely.

Thanks to all the jurors for putting up with two rounds of voting this month. Next month we can get a winner in one round of voting so the names and results can be left up in the flickr group for a longer period of time.

Nick's Comments

Maybe interesting to know for other PFRE readers and RE photographers is the fact that I posted this photo to the Flickr-forum on Sep 26, 2011. And with the help/critique of the other RE photographers, I did a re-edit and posted this on Sep 27 of 2011. This was my very first step in watching out with my HDR-processing, especially looking for halo's and whites that turned grey, ... But for the contested I started from scratch again, keeping in mind the comments that I have received over the past months and the skills that I have acquired since then. In short this meant:

- redoing the tone mapping (3 exposures: -2, 0, +2),
- "turning on" 3 of the 6 visible ceiling lights ,
- "turning on" the reflection of the ceiling lights,
-  "turning on" the left lamp,
- Manually pulling one of the exposure's outside view
- Cleaning up the parasol mast used to be green instead of brown,
- Spot removal of sofa's

It took around 3-4 hours to re-edit this photo, and another small edits the following days, before I dared to enter it in the contest. And the work payed off 😀

By the way, Jan Van der Heyden's comment on my re-edit back in sep 2011, also gave me a huge boost to continue learning and to process this photo as best as I possible can for this contest.

So again it comes down to absorbing all the critique that you get and doing something with it, be it changing the way you shoot, the way you process, or the way you present it. The critique given to me has made me the photographer that I am today, and I hope the future critique will help me step up another level.

Larry Lohrman

15 comments on “Congratulations Nick De Clercq Feb 2012 PFRE Photographer of The Month”

  1. Smudge gives the appearance that there was recent smoke damage to walls or ceilings from a fire.

  2. I just want to throw open those big-as-garage-doors sliding panels and let the outside in! I am just tired of another gray winter in Ohio. Great photo by the way.

  3. Great photo and congrats to Nick and everyone who has been brave enough to submit so far in this great contest. My only comment on this is - 3-4 hours to edit the photo? Great if you are charging a per photo rate i.e. $495 for the first photo and $295 for each additional photo or $2500 day rate, etc. But if you are doing $150 tours, you do not have 3-4 hours per photo to fix your pictures. the real solution is to take the picture correctly in the camera and make small adjustments in post. HOWEVER, that being said - I would rather see more of Nick's style pictures with hourly rates going down in value due to the time spent in posting, than seeing bad photos posted up to the MLS and tours. At powervision360 our biggest sales point is that our images are better than other vendors in our market and we show the differences on our sales calls. In fact, if we are talking to a top lister/seller and we really want the business - we actually will shoot the same house at no charge and process the pictures. We do this maybe once a month or less so we are not giving away our work, but it really helps in bringing a new agent with great listings on board.

  4. @Charles Lynch @David Thanks, it was a wonderful property to shoot.

    @Suzanne The 3-4 hours edit was just my second re-edit in January, before I dared to enter it in the contest.

    It hasn't really sunk in yet. I honestly didn't know what to expect with the new extended entry time, the new judging system, the list of great RE photos, and this being my first entry as well. So this morning when I woke up and I saw the result on my iPhone, I rechecked it on my MacBook and then asked a friend to confirm. I can only describe it as being an awesome feeling and I am very grateful for what the other RE photographers have been willing to share with me and help me improve.

  5. Suzanne:

    Im fairly new to this site, been checking in for about 6 months now. But I cant help but your attempts at promoting your company every other time you post very annoying. Nobody cares what you are doing at your company in this particular blog, it is all about Nick, what he did to win and to congratulate him for a job very well done.

    Another item I find a little odd is that you jump all over pricing for some strange reason, for a photo that is clearly for a contest. I would think that anyone entering these contests would be spending far more time on their particular entry than they would for their everyday work.

    Anyway, great work Nick!

  6. +1 David

    Ease up on the lame company plugs Suzanne, nobody was talking about pricing at all...its a CONTEST.

  7. I don't think there is anything wrong with Suzanne telling how she does things, and i think she makes a very important point. However, i do think she could leave out her company name.

    As to the eiting time, the question is, how much of that is due to technical challenges and how much due to inexperience?

    As to getting it right in the camera, i disagree. All that matters is the end result and whether the photographer is receiving appropriate compensation for that.

    Although it is more in the realm of architectural, as opposed to real estate, photography, spending up to an hour lighting, and up to another hour processing, a single shot, is not out of the realm of high end real estate photography, as long as the fee is in the hundreds of dollars per image and the results warrant that kind of effort and fee.

  8. Congratulations Nick, nice image what software do you use for HDR?

    I have been shooting for quite some time, but still haven't a grasp on HDR, which I still find frustraiting. I'm Using photomatix. I tried Photoshop CS-5 extended, but did not do well with that.

    The one thing I did start doing since I have been a part of PFRE, and listening to my fellow real estate photographers, is to get back to shooting multi lighting, which has helped quite a bit. mostly with 2-3 Nikon speedlights.

    again, nice shot Nick


  9. @David Eichler Yes, the property was shot a while ago when I was less experienced, and I have learned a lot in the past months that I did not know back then. If I remember correctly, all 30+ of the delivered photos to the agent were edited in about 2-3 hours. Does the agent see the difference between his received photo and the one entered in the contest? No, but I do.

    I was also unsure, I wanted my first entry to be worth being in the line-up.
    For the compensation part, being chosen as this months winner makes it worth the extra re-editing time.

    And David, thanks for having giving me critique on the contrast of my photos and showing me how it is done by editing one of my photo yourself.

    @Eric Hilton I do use Photomatix and I learned the most through posting and getting critique and then correcting and reposting. I have started learning flash photography and am gradually implementing 3-4 speedlights into my HDR-workflow as well.

    And thanks again to all for all the positive and negative critique that you have given me. It made me the photographer that I am today.

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