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PFRE Asks: What Inspires You?

Published: 26/08/2019

Author: Vince Collura

I look at a LOT of real estate photography in the current job that I am in. It's one of my favorite parts of my daily routine; scanning through what's being worked on, providing some QA, and plucking out exceptional images for my own collection.

The thing is, even when I am not working on my real estate photography business, much of the content I consume is visually similar. From AD magazine, to For Love of Old Houses to FStoppers content, and the tons of FB groups for what we do, I find myself surrounded by inspiration.

What sites, publications, accounts, and apps are you looking at often for inspiration?

12 comments on “PFRE Asks: What Inspires You?”

  1. Cars and trash cans out of the way...and if you really want to talk sweet to me, get those nasty toilet tools out of the way too (I hate touching someone else’s toilet tools).

  2. The conversations with the homeowner and realtor to find out what images they want to market every property. I walk in , set aside the camera, and walkthrough every room downstairs and take the images we talked about. I then repeat this if there is an upstairs. When the interior is done we talk about the views and exterior highlights. I also ask the agent and homeowners if they want any images of themselves to remember their home.

  3. Rude of me to not answer my own question!

    There are a ton of IG accounts that I follow which inspire me pretty often. I will post a few of them here:
    Evan Joseph, NYC Photographer
    Anne Strickland, Landscape Photographer
    You know this guy
    Shadows and Light Photographer, Isaac Alvarez
    Awesome aerials, and goes by "Drone Thugs n' Harmony" which is a bonus unto itself.
    Architectural Digest

    There are also facebook groups:
    the photography here is not particularly great - or at least no consistently, but the homes can be amazing at times.
    Real Estate Photography group on facebook: plenty of great stuff here, plus tons of content from folks just getting started. It's kind of fun to watch people find their way. I have seen plenty of rising stars here

    And of course, work that my team is putting out. I have the good fortune of being able to look at hundreds of shots a week put out by photographers that keep me in awe:

  4. Inspiration vs Motivation are different things in my book. What inspires me in my RE photography is the work by other real estate or architectural photographers who capture unique angles or compositions.

    My motivation is fairly simple, it's the desire to constantly improve my real estate photography whether I'm shooting a 1 BR condo or a large, staged home on a beautiful piece of property. I actually find those 1 BR condos to be the most challenging 😉

  5. Once in a while I go to a home and it is super obvious that the owner went above and beyond in preparing their home and staging it for the photos and showings. It happens 2 weeks ago. I spent over 2 hours at that home and realized the extent and efforts the home seller went through. They removed all their family pictures and frames and replaced them by staging type of frames and paintings (like Marshalls / TJMax), bought plastic plants and other staging items. They much have spend a few $100s and probably read a lot on home staging. It was well done. Always inspires me when folks are caring enough to walk the walk...and do a good job at it...

  6. I get inspired everyday when I see how people have decide to dress up their worlds in brick and mortar. It's the small details and and creative functional designs that get me..
    I also agree with Frank what inspires about the business (which is equally important) are the possibilities. The RE photography industry can evolve into a profession that provides a very comfortable living.This can be done while both doing a job we love and bringing a value that quality agents are willing to pay for. Currently the possibilities are endless.

  7. When it comes to shooting, the simplest answer is that I am inspired by great design and unique properties. Nothing gets me more fired up creatively than pulling up to a home and discovering a midcentury modern complete with period specific decor or an old church that’s been converted into a living space, a home where the owners have made bold decor choices that work or even grandma’s cottage that looks like it hasn’t been touched in 50 years. I appreciate unexpected details, beautiful outdoor space, and rooms that play into my love of symmetry. Sure, I shoot plenty of nice subdivision homes that are smothered in grey and have white on white on white kitchens too. Those homes are great, but so many of the feel the same and are forgettable. Give me something unusual, even if it comes with shooting challenges, and I’m a happy photographer.

  8. I love what @Chip Jones says. I do believe the one bedroom condos are some of the hardest to make look exceptional. What inspires me are Luxe, AD, Amazing Photographers that think out of the box. I love learning new techniques. And as always, a good email after the shoot from the agent, not only makes my day but inspires me to continue to treat all levels from the 320,000 condo to the 9 million dollar home I just photographed, the same.

  9. I buy magazines. Literally for the pictures. I don't read them. I grab a pen and go through page by page. When I've looked at the images on a page, I put my initials in tiny letters at the bottom corner of the page. That way when I pick it up in the future, I can find right where I need to pick up.

    This is important because I have a bunch of these laying all around the place. In the bathroom reading basket. My nightstand. My office. The TV stand. On top of the microwave. Wedged between the seats of my car and the center console. All over.

    When I'm done with a particular magazine, I close it up and initial the bottom skinny edge of it to let me know that I've looked at all the images and put it on a shelf. Never to be looked at again.

    Here's my theory on this....

    The photography that is in a magazine is being paid for. So someone sees "real" value in it. Not just "fake" value. Or..."blow smoke" value. Instagram likes are fake value. A like costs nobody anything other than a fraction of a section to double-click a screen. So you can't tell if they REALLY appreciate it or not.

    Not so with magazines. Someone liked a photogs work enough to PAY for it. And that's a much better signal that what you are seeing is worth taking the little bit of "study time" that you can squeeze in during and pointing it in that direction.

    Interestingly enough, if you do it enough you'll start seeing serious imperfections in the work that shows up in these magazines. You'll be like, "I could done better." or "Look at those flash shadows all over...they didn't even address them." Stuff like that.

    The result is a huge boost of confidence because you start connecting the dots that YOUR skills are just as high or even higher than the people being hired to create these photos for magazines. And THAT allows you to know you can expand OUT of shooting bread-and-butter real estate homes and into that higher end, higher pay space. You realize that the only reason why you are not shooting those kinds of homes and creating that kind of work is because you didn't take the steps necessary to get people to choose you so that it's your camera in those $2M+ homes and not the other guy.

    Everything is psychology. It's these kinds of realizations that allow you to chart a new path. And studying work found in magazines helps you tune your "eye" to the kinds of compositions that you need to create in order to be seen as a "next level" creator.

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