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PolePixie: Making Elevated Real Estate Photography With a Painters Pole Easy

Published: 05/05/2010

I'm a big advocate of using a painters pole to get some extra elevation on your front exterior shots. You can use a light weight camera and a painter's pole, that you can find in any hardware store, to get your camera 10 to 15 feet in the air. It makes a huge positive difference in the front shot for many homes and for some elevated homes it is essential. The problem I've had in recommending painter's poles to people is that it used to take some mechanical hacking to get the right size bolt attached to the top of the painter's pole securely. Not difficult, but it's not something that everyone is prepared to do.

John Hokkanen, a real estate broker in San Diego has started manufacturing some painter's pole accessories that make putting you camera on top of a painters pole much easier. See for complete details and ordering:

  1. The PolePixie ($29.95): This is a nifty little metal plastic adapter that threads onto a painters pole just like a paint roller would. On the other end it has a standard camera tripod bolt. Very cool! No need to mangle the top of your painters pole trying to get a bolt attached. Just screw the pole pixie on and you are ready to attach a camera.
  2. Tilting Camera Mount ($24.95): This is the little piece of hardware that you normally find on the top of a monopod. It allows you to permanently tilt the camera downward so you don't have to guess how much the pole needs to be slanted to get the camera aimed at the home. It also has a quick release plate.
  3. Resting Plate ($19.95): This is the white piece of plastic in the photo on the right. It allows you to easily lay down your whole painter's pole rig without worrying about banging up your camera when you lay it down. There are two versions of this resting plate, one that is plexiglass material and another that is softer, foam padded material.

After refitting my painter's pole with these three items and using them for the last few days . I think the PolePixie is absolutely an necessity. It's the best way I've seen to mount a camera on a painter's pole. Before I discovered the PolePixie, I had my camera mounted on my pole with a special bolt. It took a while looking through hardware stores trying to find the right size bolt that would thread into a hole that I drilled in the plastic top of the pole. Mounting your camera on a painter pole with the PolePixie takes about 10 seconds. You just screw it together.

Thanks John for providing a source for much these much needed PAP accessories!

Update on May 6, 2010: Jon's question below in the comments alerted me to a mistake I made in identifying the PolePixie as metal. I just checked with John Hokkanen and it's "high density plastic" and he is in the process of creating an aluminum model. John says it will be 30 to 45 days before he gets any production units of the aluminum model.

Larry Lohrman

12 comments on “PolePixie: Making Elevated Real Estate Photography With a Painters Pole Easy”

  1. I got one just a few days ago. Great idea. It makes converting the painter's pole so easy. I've used my new "pole" a couple of times and it's pretty easy, and the results are well worth the effort.

  2. That is cool. I bet the higher elevation of the the image makes the house looks more grand and also more welcoming.

  3. I saw the original post in PFRE and thought at the time that this was the way to go for painters pole PAP. Simple and inexpensive. I will be ordering one soon.

    M. James

  4. "This is a nifty little metal adapter..."
    Is the threaded collar that screws onto the pole made of metal? I know they are working on a milled aluminum version, but I thought the earlier ones were plastic.

  5. @Jon- I just contacted John and it is my mistake. The PolePixie that I have is "high density plastic". I had to cut the edge with a razor knife to realize that it was plastic... I thought it was anodized aluminum, but it's not... it's plastic. John says he will have some production aluminum units in 30 to 45 days.

  6. That is cool. I bet the higher elevation of the the image makes the house looks more grand and also more welcoming.

  7. I've been doing something similar with my tripod.
    I extend the tripod full out to the full 6' length. set the camera bracket settings to -2, 0,+2 (because I use Photomatix for HDR) and put the camera on the 10 second delay.
    Press the button and then hold the tripod at the bottom and push it over my head. This places the camera about 13' above ground. I don't much worry about holding the tripod perfectly still although I do try. Photomatix will align the three photos by matching features in the photos. Works like magic!
    Example of this at

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