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Real Estate Photography Question and Answers – #10

Published: 17/07/2014
By: larry

Questions And Answers

Diana's Question:  I would like to buy one of your books, I'm just not sure which book is best for me. I am a realtor, not exactly a beginner but not proficient by any means either! I have two DSLR camera's, a Sony A350 and a Nikon D90. I have a wide angle and couple other zoom lenses for the Sony but only one 18-105m for the Nikon. Sometimes my photo's are awesome when shooting a property but not consistently. I assume it is the settings and flash I'm using that is causing me the biggest headache. I do not know what settings for either camera are the best no matter the trial and error I repeatedly go through!. What can you recommend as help?

Answer: It's hard to give advice without seeing your work. When I look at your listings MLS#13256 is great work (it was done by a professional) but the next one MLS#13446 needs work. If MLS#13446 is your work (it was) I would suggest the Photography For Real Estate ebook. It is designed for anyone that is getting started in real estate photography. It covers all the basics of real estate photography. That is, what are the important decisions you need to make and the options for each. 

Glenn's Question:   I wanted to get your advice, and ideas and services/products that you offer that could help me out. I've been internet marketing and website developer for over 10 years. Recently got back into digital photography, and having a blast, and more for fun now.  I've been thinking about making this a business...and my ideas are pictures for houses for realtor local network, WITH added digital marketing creating a landing page, video, website submissions, etc to take advantage of my digital marketing background. I'm thinking big boys ie. Keller Williams have all the pieces to do this...but average agent has no clue how to make it all work?? So my idea is combining passion for great photos of the property, with digital marketing assistance for various programs and systems to get it all setup for them. I could really be a big difference from just a photographer as a differentiator, especially for higher end homes and realtors.

Answer: There are several considerations that relate to the answer to your question:

  1. Almost all brokerages have free websites for their agents.
  2. Many companies are selling turn-key sites to upper-end agents who are the ones that can afford the kind of services you talk about.
Having been an agent working with my wife in the Seattle market for 10 years I would say that yes, agents need the kind of services you talk about but very few are going spend a lot of money on it. Best thing to do would be to test it in your market and see if you can sell it to anyone.

Chuck's Question:  My wife is interested in learning real estate photography for my listings and eventually others.  She is a complete beginner and does not know where to start. How would you suggest she starts learning this trade? 

Answer: This is exactly what my e-book Photography For Real Estate Is designed for... to help people get started in this industry. I also suggest that she join the Photography For Real Estate flickr group associated with this blog to look at and discuss good real estate photos. Thousands of real estate photographers world wide have successfully used these two resources along with the PFRE blog to get started in real estate photography. Also, feel free to have her ask me questions via email  any time... I enjoy helping people get started.

Byron's Question:  I just had a quick question for you regarding a flash set-up if you wouldn't mind pointing me in the right direction?

Currently my equipment is;

  • Nikon d3300 (if I had my time over again I would've chose a camera with Automatic Exposure Bracketing and some more exterior buttons/controls ie. Nikon D90 or Canon 7D).
  • Sigma 10-20mm
  • The sturdiest tripod I could afford/find locally based on your recommendation
  • One flash I use on camera: Metz 52 AF-1 (Again, if I had my time again may have went with the Yongnuo flashes which I have now read about on your site.)

Just wondering what your recommendation would be for a multiple flash setup incorporating my current flash? Am I best off getting one or two flashes the same as my current one and some sort of triggering device? or perhaps 1-2 Yongnuo flashes and a trigger that will tie them all in? Have looked a lot online and haven't been able to come across any information detailing a setup that will work for my situation.

Answer: There's a couple of ways that would work with your current flash:

  1. You could leave the Metz 52 on-Camera, get some YN-560-IIIs and let the Metz trigger the Yongnuos optically.
  2. Or you could get a pair of Yongnuo RF-603 N3's and some Yongnuo YN-560-IIIs. Put one RF-603 on the camera hot shoe and one RF-603 on the Metz 52 and then all the flashes would be off camera and all would be triggered by the RF-603 on the camera. To get the best results you should get your flashes off your camera so I'd recommend this option because all flashes would be off-camera.
I'd recommend the YN-560-III over the Metz 52, if you purchase more flashes because the YN-560-III is MUCH less expensive and can be triggered optically.

10 comments on “Real Estate Photography Question and Answers – #10”

  1. @Chuck - If your wife is completely new to photography, in addition to Larry's book, she may also want to invest in a subscription to I highly recommend the "Foundations of Photography" series with Ben Long as a starting point. Those tutorials cover the basics of photography in great detail and will give a good foundation to work from. For training specific to interiors, Scott Hargis' videos are highly thought of. There are also many videos on YouTube, but the quality of the production and information is all over the map. Learning to make routine corrections in Adobe Lightroom is crucial to an efficient workflow. Learning to replace skies, mask in windows and gracefully remove stray power cords in Photoshop are more processes that will be used frequently.

    @Diana - Concentrate on getting good with your Nikon. Both Nikon and Canon are the market leaders when it comes to professional camera gear and both brands have a tremendous variety of third party accessories that will probably not be available for your Sony. I offer the same advice to you as I did to Chuck in signing up for and spending some time learning the basics so you can analyze your work to see what you are doing right and why some images aren't coming out as you expected. There is a coupon for a free 10-day trial at .

    Always be objective when it comes to shooting your own photos. There are a few agents that I have seen that shoot their own images and do it well, but the vast majority of agents don't have the time to invest in learning to be a good listing photographer or have the time to spend on the process. Hiring a pro gets you a person that will bring thousands of dollars worth of equipment, software and education to help market the properties you are listing.

  2. I would also add into the site, for any off camera flash learning I would add in David Hobby's blog and going through the lighting 101 series.

  3. I don't understand realtors who want to do their own pictures... It makes no sense. When you compare real estate commissions to photography/retouching money, it's insane not to spend your time selling and showing. It's like a surgeon thinking it might be cool to manage a warehouse. I'm thinking I should go get a real estate license instead, and we can trade occupations. 🙂

  4. @Kelvin - I understand it. That's how I got into this business, working with my wife doing her online marketing. About 30% of readers of this blog are agents that shoot their own listings. There's nothing that is so complicated about real estate photography that prevents licensed agents from learning it. Some of the top shooters are agents. It certainly doesn't make sense for all agents and if your are an agent that lists 40 or 50 properties a year it probably makes more sense to spend your time with your listing clients and have someone else do the photography. But not all listing agents do that much business. Also, when an agent gets to the point they need someone else on their team the most likely possibility is to hire their spouse just like Chuck's case. Maybe 10% or more agent teams have both spouses on the team... it is extremely common.

  5. There is a series on iTunes called "Real Estate Photography Podcast". Mike does a pretty good good job and it's free. A different person took over after episode 171 that wasn't very good and I would suggest skipping them. The last installment was in early 2012 when Mike got too busy with work and family to continue producing new shows.

  6. I should have checked first. I can't seem to find the Real Estate Photography Podcast listing on iTunes. Mike may have taken it down. Bummer.

  7. I am interested in pursuing Byron's question. -- Flash triggers -- I just purchased the new Yongnuo YN-622C-TX Bundle With YN-622C. These are a transmitter attached to the hotshoe and a receiver for each flash unit. Apparently this tmodel allows you to adjust the flash power output for each unit directly from the transmitter rather than walking around to each flash..This is great. However, mine are not working... The directions provided are easy to follow, but somewhere something is not communicating with the flash receiver.

    Has anyone tried these yet and can you give some recommendations?

  8. Kelvin Hammond is exactly RIGHT! (IMO)

    Real Estate Professionals need to realize;
    1. Over 90% of your customer see your listing on-line before ever meeting you. (Information directly from NBR)
    2. What the potential customer sees IS a direct reflection of your commitment, attention to detail, what you are doing to promote their (often) most valuable investment. etc.

    This means that EVERY photo you upload as a Real Estate Professional is YOUR Personal Business Card and testament to the quality or your services!
    Quality shortens sales times and provides higher asking prices.....fact.

    Its like an aspiring actor thinking they will get consideration for a role after submitting a 'Tear Sheet' (Head Shot) using an iPhone selfie or a point-n-shoot. Imagine.........

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