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Meet the New PFRE Idol: Linda Sabiston

Published: 02/09/2008
By: larry

The PFRE Idol voting results are in and Linda Sabiston, of Sunshine Coast, BC (flickr handle: Coastalpics ) is the winner of this months PFRE Idol contest. Congratulations Linda! This is indeed a very special image! I has a combination of soft, even lighting inside and nicely exposed windows. Linda said she knew this image was special as soon as she made the shot.

Linda's winning shot above, was shot with a Nikon D40/Sigma 10-20mm/SB-600, with a Gary Fong Lightsphere, used on-camera, late in the day. To see the entire shoot of this property see Linda's complete tour for this home.

Linda describes her background and getting started in real estate photography as follows:

I have enjoyed photography since I was about 14years old. I recall watching my Dad with his old Voitlander and light meter. I never knew what it was for, but it sure looked like an important part of his process. When he passed away, I got his camera. It took gorgeous pictures and I used it for a year or so, but the need to stay up to date with new technology lead me to purchase a Minolta Maxxum 7000. I used the Minolta for many years, then downsized to a pocket film camera when we started our family in 1992.

In 2002/03, the 2010 winter Olympics host city was announced (Vancouver/Whistler) which increased our property value incredibly! It was our turn to get out of a townhouse and into a house. Unfortunately, we couldn't stay in our community of Squamish, BC, simply because the prices has risen so high, so we turned to the internet for house hunting help.  My husband and I decided to look on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, which was a 45 minute drive and a one hour ferry ride away. As he would be commuting by ferry daily, it was important to stay in a community close the the ferry I would be driving him there every weekday at 6am! Our very first experience on MLS was disappointing. As was each and every other time we looked! The pictures did nothing for the homes, and on one occasion, when we thought we'd found "the one", we quickly discovered after we made the 2 hour trip to get there, that the pictures on MLS were of another house! Once we finally bought and settled in I continued to check MLS, in our area and in Vancouver. I noticed that many of the Vancouver listings has great photos, but even better...they had 360° Virtual Tours! I thought those were pretty cool!

My husband bought me my first digital camera the Christmas of 2005. It was a Canon Powershot. I then upgraded a year and a half later to the Panasonic FZ30. Then upgraded again to the Panasonic FZ50. It was during my "FZ" faze that I considered calling one of the companies that produced VT's and asking about working for them from my area. I knew I could do better than what I saw on the internet and I wanted desperately to help the Realtors in my area, by offering them a service they couldn't resist. But then I started thinking...and researching...and I knew I could start my own company! I researched many VT providers, software programs, hardware and cameras.

After 6 months of research and 4 years of procrastination, last March was the launch of First Impression Virtual Tours and Photography. I started the business promoting virtual tours, but within the last 6 months or so, I've really been encouraging single property websites. I love doing still photos. I can be so creative and a still image can pack so much punch. The images people see online really are their "First Impression".
Within the past 6 months or so, I upgraded cameras again. This time to a Nikon D40 and SB600. What a combination! I'm so happy with the results I'm getting. I have gained so much knowledge from the PFRE website and learned so many techniques from the the flickr PFRE site.

17 comments on “Meet the New PFRE Idol: Linda Sabiston”

  1. I just looked at the set of images that accompanied your winning shot. You did a wonderful job. That's a very special house, and your photos certainly did it justice. Your photos feel very natural, and genuine. They don't come accross as contrived, or over-processed. Also, watching your slideshow almost felt like I was taking a real tour of the property. An agent couldn't ask for more.


  2. I have been a fan of the Nikon D40 since it was introduced - great camera for money. What lens is being used for these great photos?

  3. Congratulations Linda. Well deserved! Great set of images from that house and I agree with Bryce - it really does feel like a tour of the home. Top work!

  4. Thank you so much everyone.
    This house was a joy to shoot! I felt excitement with each shot, and I just knew it was going to be one which produced a few for the portfolio!
    We talk so much about lighting, and how it can add dimension, depth and life to a shot. I believe the natural light at the late time of day had a great deal to do with how well this particular shoot turned out.
    This was also only the second shoot with my new Nikon/Sigma/SB/Fong setup, so it was really thrilling to see these types of results.

    Thanks again,

  5. Very nice job balancing ambient and flash. Three questions for you.

    1. Tripod or hand held?

    2. Which Fong Light Sphere do you use (he has several models) and can you describe your technique with it briefly?

    3. Do you tend to use an Auto WB, one of the presets, or a custom WB?

    Thanks - J

  6. Thanks John.

    1. Tirpod...always.
    2. Its the clear Fong. And my technique...hmmm, put it on and go! Sometimes it's pointed straight up, sometimes in front.
    3. I use auto white balance. I've found it to be very accurate and reliable.

  7. Jon, Paul and Ring.....o....never mind.....and Dan. Thanks for the comments!
    Paul, I currently only use Photoshop, and with this shot, there wasn't much post involved. The lighting was perfect. I just had to remove a flash glare that was in the window and also brightened a bit.

  8. Linda,
    Great Photography, do you use any software to enhance the photo. I am looking to get a DSLR, look it the Nikon D40 will be a good choice.

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