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Taking Advantage of "Actions" in Photoshop to Improve Editing Workflow

Published: 22/04/2020

Bhavani, of Albuquerque, NM writes:

"I'm really enjoying doing real estate photography part-time (I'm semi-retired). I don't do enough shooting to warrant outsourcing my photos and to be honest, I'm not really crazy about that idea anyway. I would like to get better at editing though. Especially getting more efficient with my editing in Photoshop. Do you have any suggestions?"

Thanks for writing in, Bhavani. Yes, it's my sense that more and more photographers are outsourcing their editing. Certainly, if you're a volume shooter or your have a team of shooters to achieve volume, then this makes a great deal of sense. After all, who wants to shoot several homes a day and then stay up until all hours of the morning editing those photos?

That said, I also know that there are many shooters like you, Bhavani, who are perfectly happy doing one or two shoots a day or a few shoots per week. Even though you don't have the pressure of editing multiple shoots a day, I think there's still value in being efficient in your editing workflow. One of the things that I think most experienced Photoshop users do is take advantage of Photoshop's "Actions" feature. An Action within PS is a process in which you record all editing steps you take (in the order you take them) in-between pressing the "start" and the "stop" button.

If you haven't been using actions as part of your workflow, then I'd encourage you to do so, Bhavani. One of my favorite online resources for Photoshop is Aaron Nace, the owner of PHLEARN. He's a really engaging presenter and he definitely knows his stuff! Anyway, to view the video and to read a bit more about Photoshop Actions, please click here.

For some of the more experienced PS users in the community, what additional efficiency tips do you use in your editing workflow?

19 comments on “Taking Advantage of "Actions" in Photoshop to Improve Editing Workflow”

  1. The easiest way to streamline your post production is to come back with images that don't need much work. When you have situations that are going to require some fiddling in Photoshop, shoot for the easiest workflow. Most people use Lightroom to manage their images and if you do, presets are your friend. Anything you do to every image such as lens correction, a bit of sharpening, noise reduction, some clarity, etc should be a preset that's applied as the images are imported. Don't be afraid that anything is being baked in. You always have the option of changing those settings later. Many people also have different presets for exterior photos, bright rooms, dark rooms, natural wood finishes and more that can get them really close with just a few tweaks to dial the image in. As I do more color work, I'm making more presets both to finish images in LR and to create virtual copies to composite in PS. The last one was a virtual copy to kill a blue cast on floors and surfaces. I take the original and the the blue minus version into PS where I can use layers and a brush. Since I'm working with presets, I find it faster to do it that way than to apply a HSL layer unless I need very fine control. For arch work, I'd do it all in PS, but for RE where I need to work fast, I cheat a bit.

    Actions in Photoshop are a sine quo non if you want to speed up your work. When your setups take more than 3 clicks, it's time for making an action to do them with one click. If you are doing window pulls using the darken mode technique, make an action that takes a selected layer, changes the layer mode to darken, adds a black mask and turns the layer off so it's out of the way until you get to working on the windows. The same goes for frequency separations and all sorts of other routine tasks.

    I second Tony's recommendation of Phlearn. Aaron's tutorial on PS actions is where I learned how to do them. You can also go way beyond what Aaron shows. If you've ever looked at something like PPA Sky Swap, you can see how complex of an action it's possible to build.

  2. Hi, one the biggest changes I made to my workflow was to get a programmable gaming keyboard. There several process that I do that are the same for every image, be it resizing, adding a logo etc. With a gaming keyboard you can take the actions in PS up a level. Gaming keyboards have more keys and you can assign them to key strokes, actions etc. I have a Steelseries keyboard that has 20 plus extra keys (plus 4 layers - I haven't been that adventurous yet...), yes it takes up more desktop but just click one key for a variety of actions and options. I just label the keys that I have programmed with tape and it's an amazing time saver.

    I don't use Lightroom, I prefer to use Camera a RAW, personal preference - similar thing really if you don't need/want the database/catalogue thingy, and then I work on them in PS.

    Like Ken Brown said, one of the more important things is to get the images as close to your preferred outcome in camera. Pretty difficult in RE but really on most interior shots you should be able to get away with an ambient and a flash image. Plus another ambient for flash marks in windows etc. There seems to be a fashion for not including views out of windows at the moment but I prefer to shoot what I see and in most cases I can see out of a window - hence the flash fill image to blend with the ambient in PS.

  3. I use Lightroom and Photoshop, and I don't make as much use of presets as I'd like, but I do use actions. Some I've learned from other real estate photographers over the years. Some I've made myself as I've found myself using certain chains of functions and it got troublesome to manually do these things time after time. I have an action for flattening images and adding a smart sharpen filter, an action for aligning layers (which is not really something that works properly with flash and ambient layers), a frequency separation action that separates into texture and color frequencies, then groups them (yes, I do use frequency separation a lot for complex object removal), a regular flatten action for when I don't want to oversharpen an image, and many others. I even had a luminosity masking action, until I discovered it was easier to do it manually because making the series of luminosity selection masks means you don't brush at 100% opacity. You can make an action for almost anything you want or need to do, but to get into more complex actions, you need to get into the simple keystrokes that do things like select GENERIC layers instead of selecting them by name, and incorporating those keystrokes into your actions so they don't hang up when a layer's name doesn't match up with what it's looking for.

    I'd also look into Rich Baum's videos, specifically where he details his Lightroom presets. You can do his presets and tweak them to complement your style of shooting and your camera's settings. Presets ARE really valuable--they really cut down on the seconds that build up sliding left and right. They do add up. If you keep your WB a certain way, you can make a preset to correct that. You can make a series of presets to be applied at import when it comes to all different types of WB situations.

  4. @Frank ... Thanks for your comment. You're right ... I should've done a search on the blogsite to see if this topic had been done recently. I did a search just now and saw that Brandon had done a post on PS actions too, a few months ago. Luckily, I ended up giving the same advice as Brandon, and referring to the same video that he and @ Ken Brown have used.

    Anyway, thanks for calling me out on it, Frank ... I will be more diligent next time! 🙂

  5. Tony & Brandon

    If I seem raw or even a bit of an ass, it is purposeful. But only because I have attempted a few times
    to inspire Brandon to think outside the box. This site, I believe, has run it's course. There is not
    much more to glean from it. It is a storage space for articles/posts. As it is now, there is not much
    more it can do unless Brandon can see something bigger. I wouldn't say there isn't anything else to
    discuss here but, I would say there is probably only 2-3 issues for the industry to iron out. The biggest
    example being copyrights. Once these are "fixed", what hasn't been beat to death here already? 1 or 2
    articles per week is weak for a blog but, I believe it is the best PFRE can do. The sad thing is all
    the repeats. I get it, content is hard to come by. So what is the purpose of coming here? To look at the
    banner ads? Even those don't change.

    I asked Brandon awhile back, when I was contemplating advertising here, what his unique visitor counts
    where. He couldn't tell me. Either he did not know or he wouldn't tell me. Either way...lame.

    Brandon, I'm sorry to call you out like this but, you don't respond to my "Contact Brandon" submissions.

    I believe independent real estate photographers are the end game for this industry as far as the ultimate
    best solution for Realtors. However, I do not believe it can be done on an individual basis. The problem we have is
    also what we all love about being entrepreneurs...lone wolfism. As individuals we have relatively tiny $$
    to advertise and cold calling is not a good look. We are outgunned and outmanned because there is no
    common voice. No arena or marketplace for the independent.

    Larry started something interesting. He started a photographer directory here...
    I assume he made some pretty good $$ on that for a few years. Now? It is loaded with broken links and/or links that don't take you to where you thought you would end up. Take a look for yourself.

    So, Frank, what is the answer? Well, I hope a question like this can be asked of the group. Brainstorming.

  6. @Frank

    Thanks for your input.

    I'll do my best to address your points one at a time.

    1) Back when Larry made this site so popular there were literally no other resources available online to discuss the topic of RE photography, on top of that it was a very new topic in general, so opportunities for new and fresh content were virtually endless. Larry did an amazing service for the industry and this community. That said, the world is different now. With the rise of Facebook, Youtube, Instagram etc. it has become increasingly challenging to keep peoples attention, an effort that is further challenged by the fact that we are in an incredibly niche industry and when we do try to "think outside the box" we seem to get more pushback than encouragement. I'm not trying to make excuses here, it's just a reality. Coming up with fresh, original content on a regular basis in a niche industry with few resources and even less help is very difficult. I should also take this opportunity to point out how difficult it has become to get people to contribute articles (even when I am offering very good money) because of the fear they have of getting crucified at the slightest misstep. There are people who write novels on this site every day in response to others, have you ever asked yourself why they don't contribute to the articles? Now you know.

    2) Sharing our traffic: You have been anonymous since day one and claim to have a very good reason for it. That may be the case, and I've never pushed you on the issue, but if you think I'm going to share our numbers with someone who won't even tell me their real name, then you're out of your mind.

    3) I haven't received any "Contact Brandon" emails from you in a long time (last one I could find was 2018) I receive other peoples emails from the contact button weekly so if it appears that I'm ignoring you that's not the case. Plus, I'm easy to find other ways, you know my full name.

    4) The paragraph where you talk about independents being outgunned and that there is no collective voice or marketplace for the independent is spot on! I am an independent photographer, I shoot multiple homes per day, seven days per week while trying to keep PFRE alive and whether you believe me or not, I am completely dedicated to creating a hub for this community so that we can come together, share best practices and try to elevate the industry as a whole. I have to tell you Frank, that's hard to do on a good day, virtually impossible when I have to spend my time defending my character and intentions to people who offer zero support but are perfectly happy to criticize at the drop of a hat. To clarify, I'm not saying you're one of those people, but I'm sure you know where I'm coming from.

    5) Larry's idea of starting a directory was excellent, and he did make some decent $ on it, there was just one fatal flaw. The directory was built on a system where photographers paid a one time fee to be added to the directory for life. With a one time fee and 1500 listings, there is no incentive for directory members to keep their information up to date or delete accounts when they retire or go out of business. This can work fine for a year or two (maybe), but after that, it becomes an administrative nightmare. When we launch the new site we plan to have a similar service, only this time it will be based on a small re-occurring fee, this will help to keep it self-managed and always up to date. It doesn't need to be a moneymaker, but it does need to stay relevant and up to date.

    Moving forward...

    Full disclosure, PFRE has been a tough go these last few months. My time has been divided between daily shoots, raising a young family, managing PFRE and trying to create what I believe the future of this site should be. I've invested every resource I have trying to build an updated site that will bring new life to the community while honoring the rich history of it's past. I hope the new site will help mitigate some of the shortcomings that you've pointed out and I'm optimistic that people will find a renewed excitement for where things are going.

    In Summary,

    Frank, you don't need to apologize for calling me out. I appreciate your concern and passion for PFRE and the community. I am, and always will be open to constructive criticism and thoughtful input. If at any point during this response I came across a bit frustrated and defensive it's because that's how I've been feeling for a while now.

    Nothing personal to you, I just wanted to try and give you an open and honest glimpse into the things you brought up. Despite the challenges and negativity, I'm excited for what the future has in store.

  7. Brandon, maybe you should spend some time reflecting upon the people you’ve decided to surround yourself with and why you’ve been alienated — you can’t even pay people to create content for PFRE and that speaks volumes!

    You mention how it was easier for Larry to create content because Real Estate Photography was a relatively new thing when he started this website. That’s interesting because Architecture Photography has been around since 1839 and it’s arguably more niche than Real Estate Photography, but sites like APAlmanac have no problem putting out fresh content on a consistent basis!

    Let’s use this post as an example. Nobody wants Photoshop advice from someone like Tony Colangelo. Frankly, he has little to no business talking about post production with such a rudimentary skill set. Why not have someone more qualified to create this type of content?

    I’m sure the trajectory of this site would be much different if people felt more comfortable speaking up. Unfortunately, the majority remain silent because the dialog around here from you and others is always some arcane reply filled with deflections and excuses.

    With all that said, and without firing any more shots, I can tell you that you up until recently you had many, many allies that would’ve jumped at the opportunity to help move PFRE forward but you’ve pushed them all away and they likely won’t be coming back.

  8. @ Barry ... My faith teaches me to turn the other cheek--and I have done so on many, many occasions when I’ve been attacked and trolled. I’ve even had a person open up a scam account on Linked-In to troll me there. This is getting ridiculous! I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this level of contempt.

    Your comments on this thread and on the one related to the PFRE Census announcement, have been remarkable. Shall we review? First, let’s talk about your apparent disregard for my “rudimentary skill set” in PS. Tell me, Barry, does everyone have to have your level of expertise in PS to be qualified to make a simple recommendation to Aaron Nace at Phlearn re: a common item like a PS action, to a photographer looking to improve efficiency? I have never once claimed to be a PS expert and the purpose of the article wasn’t to discuss my own technique. It was a simple referral, that’s all. You ask Brandon to “have someone more qualified to create this type of content” than I am. OK, so why don’t *you* take the mantle? Barry, while I’m not personally crazy about some aspects of your editing, I acknowledge that you are *brilliant* at PS. So, who better to write articles about it? If you’d cared about PFRE a fraction as much as you’ve claimed in your recent slew of comments, you’d do that in a heartbeat. In fact, I’d guess that, in the amount of time it took you the think through and type out your hurtful comments in this thread, you could’ve actually written an article to help a newbie with Photoshop, just like I was trying to do. So, in no specific order, let’s talk about some of your other key points.

    A False Equivalency:
    You cited APA as a comparison against PFRE, in that it has “no problem putting out fresh content”. I say this with *enormous respect* for Mike Kelley and what he’s created at APA but making that comparison is a false equivalency. Yes, the field of architecture photography has been around a long time, as you say, but it is a vast field which, by its very nature, is open to much broader and deeper levels of creativity and interpretation, with many long-standing documented resources put out by masters in the field. RE photography is much narrower in scope - both as an art form and in the strategies and tactics used to execute a shoot. Unlike architectural photography, much of the recent professional development thrust for REP is devoted to an increasing push into finding efficiencies. This is understandable, given the requirements of cost-containment and serving a clientele that, in many cases, doesn’t truly appreciate the work.

    It’s easy to push a false equivalency, Barry; it’s far more difficult to try and find real solutions aimed at helping people in a very niche genre, many of whom are struggling with it. How many of those struggling shooters, did you help in the last couple of posts, with your hurtful comments and insults? I’m guessing not many. How many full-fledged articles have you written for this community since Brandon took over -- or for that matter, in the 2-3 years prior to Larry retiring? Let me refresh your memory: None. When you were a juror in the monthly contests, how many comments did you make, beyond your typical “Killer shot, dude!”? I’d guess not many. How many shooters, who rely on those contests to learn about and improve their craft, got value out of such a comment? Probably not too many.

    A Lack of Speaking Up?
    You also claim that the “trajectory of the site would be much different if people felt more comfortable speaking up.” What makes you think that there are countless people who are uncomfortable speaking up? To the best of my recollection, I don’t recall Brandon ever squashing a voice by deleting a challenging and unflattering comment related to himself or the state of PFRE, like they do on so many FB sites, for instance. It’s my sense that most people here DO feel comfortable speaking up. As an example, when AREP tried to launch their business, a LOT of people in the PFRE community were up-in-arms and had zero trouble expressing and fully airing their grievances and hostility to AREP. More than this, I seem to recall that a small number of comments were made challenging Brandon directly. Guess what, Barry? He did not lash out or make people feel less than, the way you did tonight. Not one, repeat: NOT ONE of those AREP comments was taken down. Instead, Brandon made AREP aware of our community’s serious and valid concerns with their bumbling launch and how they positioned it. Then, he invited one of the community members who was most vocal in expressing their distrust within the comment thread on that announcement, someone who is very well-respected in the community, to join him in a teleconference with AREP. He tried to be as inclusive as possible in his approach; and THAT is leadership, Barry!

    Making Excuses?
    You also say that “the majority remain silent because the dialog around here from you and others is always some arcane reply filled with deflections and excuses.” Really? Who is this silent majority you’re speaking about? On a slow day, PFRE gets thousands of hits. How do you know what the majority of those folks are feeling? Or are you, instead, speaking to a few others who share your concerns and then generalizing to the whole community? Confirmation bias is a dangerous thing, Barry. PFRE is far from perfect...if you have concerns, that’s great. Highlight them and offer a solution(s).

    And BTW, who’s deflecting and making excuses, as you say? In this very thread, @Frank *correctly* called me out on my inadvertently recycling a topic. Guess what? I owned it and publicly committed to doing better next time...because that’s what people DO when they care for something. In his reply, Frank to his credit, made some very strong statements about his less-than-optimistic views on the future of PFRE. Brandon didn’t deflect or make excuses, he gave a heartfelt reply to some of the challenges that he was/is experiencing in trying to run PFRE operations.

    If It’s Really About Caring...
    And that leads me to the main point I want to make: it’s about CARING! If you, Barry, truly cared about this community, you wouldn’t be bringing up nostalgia as the cornerstone for why you don’t like PFRE. In a previous comment thread, you cite a great example of something that Larry personally did for you and that’s great! Larry is a great guy. I’ve had the good fortune of having lunch with him and his wife a few years ago. I've also chatted with him about PFRE, off-and-on, for years and I, too, have seen how much he cares about this community. But you bring up that helping-hand example as if things like that only happened in the past. Do you honestly think that Brandon has not done the same types of things for others, since he took over PFRE? I could list lots of examples but Brandon would be mortified if I did. He simply chooses not to toot his own horn, in the exact same way Larry would never have publicly shared with others, what he did for you. That said, we can’t live in the past. Life changes and we have to adapt. Yes, gone are the days of Larry Lohrman’s PFRE. Like you, me, Brandon and so many others, we owe much of our careers to Larry and this thing he created; and we should all be FOREVER grateful. But we CAN move forward, while still respecting the past. Brandon said that this is one of his goals in his reply to @Frank.

    Slanderous Accusations:
    Brandon is trying to move PFRE forward. Among the many things he’s done, he’s recruited others to write many of the posts because he wanted the community to have different voices/perspectives. So over the past couple of years, we’ve heard from folks like Tacey Jungman, Mike Boatman, Garey Gomez, Kerry Bern, Mike Lefebvre, Jordan Powers, and others. And, yet, he continues to be accused of ruining the site. In fact, a couple of posts ago, some charming person who didn’t have the courage to use her own name (using a pseudonym that someone else has used many times ... hmmm, interesting!) suggested (with zero evidence) that Brandon, as “an admitted run and gunner” bought PFRE because he’s “just in it for the money”. Let’s move past the preposterous notion that, somehow, one’s selected RE photography method makes them unqualified to buy a blog, it is slanderous to say that most everything that Brandon and others do in PFRE is a blatant money grab. Barry, I can tell you,, that you or anyone else that thinks this, is dead wrong!! Regardless, this conspiracy theory is applied to seemingly many aspects of the site. For instance, you have called the PFRE Conference a “shameless money grab”. If you had ANY idea of the *personal* risk Brandon took to make that conference a reality, you would call him up and apologize for making those accusations and besmirching his character and integrity! YOU should be ashamed for saying these things!! Despite all of that, he has forged ahead and, once again, put himself in harm’s way, financially, by spending an enormous amount of his own money to launch (soon) a new PFRE website.

    And, yet, despite all of this and all that he’s done and the sacrifices he’s made (in terms of anxiety, risk, finances, time away from family), he doesn’t even get a benefit of the doubt, let alone, a “thank you” from yourself, because Brandon has the gall and the audacity to run a business that he’s paid for, in a way that does not conform to YOUR romantic, nostalgic view of what PFRE should be. Am I saying that everything he’s done has been spot on? Of course not. Who among us makes great decisions 100% of the time? Yes, he’s made errors in judgement periodically, but he’s owned up to them and has tried to make things right. Just because Brandon is not doing things the way you would prefer it, doesn’t mean he’s wrong.

    In Closing:
    All blogs have turnover. Yes, there are lots of folks here who, like you and me, were around in the good-old-days. Yet, there are probably lots of new shooters that have come to PFRE over the last 2-3 years that have no clue about the PFRE you’re longing for. The current PFRE has helped people to become better at their craft; has allowed people to move away from a job they hated to start a new life in REP; it has allowed them to earn a bit more money on the side, allowing them to take their family on a vacation that they might not have been able to afford, otherwise; and so on and so on. More importantly--and this is key--does it ever occur to you Barry, that there are probably RE photographers *right now* who’ve joined PFRE since Brandon took over, that feel just as warmly and as appreciative about the current PFRE, as you and I and others felt about the old PFRE?

    If you succeed in bashing PFRE into the ground, a great many of these people will turn away. You are a leading figure in the field, Barry. You can make a more constructive difference than just selling a REP video. Reach out to Brandon and offer solutions, rather than presuming the worst in him and others who stand by him, including myself. We are not the unscrupulous, self-serving, incompetent people you seem intent on portraying us as! I know Brandon would be very grateful to hear your thoughts directly, and you might be surprised at how flexible and open he is to such input.

  9. Tony & Brandon

    I didn't mean to bring up Larry's name as a way to goad you. It must be frustrating to have people continually bringing up his name. He was no Steve Jobs by any stretch of anyone's imagination. When you took over, I was actually relieved the PFRE would have new and younger blood.

    Personally, I don't think articles are going to cut it. Social media is taking over, correct? Are they doing it with articles? No, they aren't. Their doing it with connections. This inane obsession with anonymity is weird. I could easily add a name to the website I use and no one would question it. What matters, is the time people take to help. You are in the information business. Focus on listening to and connecting with people instead of worrying about stupid crap that has no bearing on what is being said. It's childish imo.

    You may be offering very good $$ for articles. Tell me why no one is paying you to to allow them write Saturday articles advertising their services? What is this site's traffic numbers? That number is the #1 indicator of your success. Is it dropping, staying flat or rising?

    What is the #1 goal of PFRE? To be the #1 real estate photography site? If so, I think you've already bought that. If it's to increase revenue to a point where you can devote 100% of your time to PFRE, I believe it is achievable but only if you increase the VALUE of PFRE to the community.

    I feel for you concerning the criticism. I really do. Larry and Scott were the top people, as far as I could tell, building up the reputation of the site. Good or bad, the 2 of them were extremely snarky. It goes both ways. I'm not saying you're snarky. I don't think you're snarky at all, actually. I keep coming here hoping that the 1 best place on the net for our niche will open up to people with ideas. I once read that Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. I believe PFRE should focus on ideas. Stop blowing off people who want to create something great. If my name is that important to you...let me ask you a question.

    Want to become partners in PFRE?

    You said: "5) Larry’s idea of starting a directory was excellent, and he did make some decent $ on it, there was just one fatal flaw. The directory was built on a system where photographers paid a one time fee to be added to the directory for life. With a one time fee and 1500 listings, there is no incentive for directory members to keep their information up to date or delete accounts when they retire or go out of business."

    And bingo was his name oh. The directory is only 25% of the solution. Photographers say Realtors are cheap and don't want to spend. They say if only Realtors would see the VALUE. Well, the same is true for photographers. The directory on PFRE is not going to have reach. What good is paying to be on the directory here?

    My final thought is, imo, launching PFRE 2.0 is akin to rearranging deck chairs. The podcast idea along with users(?) being able to post sounds good but not original ideas. I'm not trying to pooh pooh PFRE 2.0. Ideas.

  10. I am VERY far from the best photographer here, and I continually try to search for the peak of my abilities as a real estate photographer because I enjoy doing it. That wouldn't be possible for me without this site. I have only entered one or two of the contests in the past years, but I regularly look at them and check in and see who won. But what's most valuable to me, and what should be valuable to everyone else that enters or simply just looks at the photos in the contests, is the critique offered by Tony and other heavyweights in the industry. I use that, and surely I'm not the only one. It's essentially a free coaching mini-session (sorry, Tony!) that anyone can find if they just look. And this is just one of many ways to use this website to learn and take inspiration. Given that I feel as though I'm a decent enough photographer but not the best out there by any stretch, when Brandon made the call for article contributors, I initially expressed my interest but that waned quickly. This wasn't because of any feelings I have for PFRE, positive or negative, but mostly because I can say I am one of those people who is a little wary of backlash and ridicule for the possibility I may dare to proffer an opinion, technique, or idea someone else feels is wrong enough that I'd get lambasted and shamed for it. My wife tells me all the time she thinks I'm in the top five REPs here in my area of North Texas. I don't feel that's so, but I appreciate her sentiment--she is encouraging me. But I hope that I never get to be at the level of Tony, Gary, Tacey, et al, if it's going to get to my head to the point I'm here posting extremely negative things about an individual whose ownership of this site is probably the only reason it's still around for people to post those negative things. I haven't posted much here lately because I see many negative posts from the same people over and over again, and to be honest it's hard for me to read. Sure, I like to read dramatic interactions just as much as the next person, but whatever the reason for all these negative comments about PFRE, Brandon, Tony, etc, it's holding back the site from even approaching the utopia these commenters seem to wish it to be.

    In fact, I've seen few changes in PFRE since Brandon took over. Brandon, that's not a negative comment on you at all, first off. The point I want to make here is, I see at least one industry leader (described similarly to how Tony described him) here wishing for the bygone "good old days" when Larry ran the site--when I see no evidence that the site has changed for the worse since Brandon took over, other than the usual negative Nancy comments that seem to have become a staple here in the last year or so. I have no idea what that's about. Granted, perhaps I've missed something? I followed the AREP situation fairly closely, but again, I haven't posted here or read the blog in some months, so I'm very curious as to what soured people over Brandon. If it's change, or the perception of change that some don't like, it's understandable. Change is difficult.

    People don't always become who or what we want them to be. When you don't have a personal or financial stake in a website such as this, freely opining about the state of it seems short-sighted at best, even worse when you're tossing grenades at the owner (and some industry leaders are taking fragments), who from what I've seen typically does respond and interact with his userbase. It feels like he's really being transparent and addressing even the most vitriolic grievances with less hostility than the comments to which he's responding, even deserve. My question would be, to those who feel so strongly about this website and Brandon and Tony and whoever else, if you're unhappy, what are you still doing here? Some of you seem to view this website as a resource for you specifically, a thing for you to use and control at your own personal delight, then something with which to get frustrated and start to lash out at the most visible people here when it's not going exactly where YOU wanted it to go. But it's for all REPs, a resource for all of us to read and take part in. Those who aren't as established can use the blog as a resource, and some may not go all the way back to read posts where a topic they were looking for was discussed perhaps years ago. And when a budding REP happens across this blog or finds out about it elsewhere then visits, they get greeted with a bunch of mean-spirited rhetoric from established industry vets who, instead of being leaders and helping people get started in this business, are doing anything but that. People who should know better. Then you'e got journeymen who know what they're doing but aren't necessarily making six figures our even high five figures, who might otherwise comment but perhaps throw up their hands and say forget it. People who should be helping as leaders, aren't, and people who would and could be helping, possibly get driven away.

    Whatever the problems are that will kill this blog or whatever the opinion of whether perhaps this blog has reached its apogee and maybe even has already begun to descend, it looks to me as though the people most vocal about those perceived problems are ironically the ones leeching fuel and preventing the blog's further rise. I've never believed in the phrase, "If you're not a part of the solution, you're part of the problem," because that's too simply-stated. But I do believe that if you have a problem, you can either complain about it, be silent, or help toward a solution. Whoever was so insanely against the nascent AREP they spoke endlessly about how it wasn't for us, I don't know if you were right or wrong. But I do know that there were opportunities to be involved beyond spitballing a complaint on a blog catering to a niche photography discipline, so if anyone wanted it to be any different than it was or is, there was a chance to change it. My wife and I have season tickets for Baylor football and our seats are the same every year. A couple rows down and one column over, there's an armchair QB coach. I'm sure everyone has met a guy like him--the guy that yells and screams what a player should or shouldn't have done, but maybe his efforts would be better spent on applying for a coaching position, because that's an opportunity to actually change things. Or perhaps he doesn't have the ability to go down there and do it himself but is perfectly happy to bemoan what others do. Either way, his yelling and screaming is ineffective because he has no control over what the players do. Except as a community we have control over many things (Brandon hasn't been slow to allow more interaction by his userbase), but the screaming and yelling is still ineffective unless you put yourself in a position where it does more than just annoy people.

    As an aside, I find it rather disrespectful that after Tony poured his heart out to type out a reply and defend PFRE and Brandon, and the person to whom he replied couldn't muster up more than, "OK Tony." The real value in what this person was saying, the real clout, is now clearly seen; if the position was defensible, there'd have been a foxhole dug, but this was retreat. I look forward to seeing more grumbling and whining about PFRE and Brandon in the future, begging for literally anyone to engage--and then getting that engagement from a guy to whom people typically pay real money to get advice and critique on their work. If you're going to beg for someone to read and respond to your complaining, at least continue the debate in good faith. Better yet, real grievances are handled between two people, meaning contacting them personally is the best bet. But no, we must shame them online in public, then retreat when our grumblings not only receive a level response, but are ultimately shown to be without teeth and without any purpose than to hear oneself talk.

  11. Ryan

    I just read your comment. Very nice defense of PFRE, Brandon and Tony. I gave Tony a bit of a hard time because of repeat articles. Repeat articles make a site such as this look stale. I was only trying to help in my own way. I gave Brandon a bit of a hard time because I was not getting any responses to my "Contact Brandon" submissions which I thought were because Brandon knows Frank is not my real name (I have my reasons). Yes, that is his prerogative but, I still want to be involved. I also want to help create a solution the industry is searching for.

    As far as comments of any nature, I believe they all help if the person reading/listening can glean something from it. Brandon and Tony aren't pushovers. They aren't people who run and hide. They do a fine job of defending themselves. Something that they will have to continue to do, imo. Why? Because they have the strength/confidence to put themselves out there. That is a requirement for success.

  12. As a newcomer to the real estate and architectural photography niche, I am so grateful for this site, its contributors and members. It has exposed me to so much information and introduced me to so many photographer names/websites, podcasts and YouTube tutorials.

    While it may be recycled information to some, it is new to me.

    During a time of uncertainty, the one thing that I am certain of is that there will be a PFRE email in my mailbox when I wake up each morning. And I am thankful for that.

  13. @Deric
    "Hi, one the biggest changes I made to my workflow was to get a programmable gaming keyboard."

    I keep saying that I'll build a button board with an Arduino microcontroller someday to have a whole mess of one button controls. Things like merging all layers to a single layer on top could be programmed as one button instead of the finger mangling combo it normally takes. With the virus thing, I have some spare time. hmmmmm. I just need to design a box that works well on the desktop. Somewhere in the garage I have a bag of push button switches that could work.

  14. @Ken. Wow, just checked back after all the self entitled verbage going on in the posts after yours. i didn't realise you had replied. I'm glad you're still on topic! I once used an old keyboard wired into a USB port to garner extra buttons - but that was a long time ago. The Steelseries board I use now has access to way more extra buttons than I could ever use in PS.
    Bhavani, whom the post was apparently in answer to, is probably long gone and well and truly scared off!

  15. @Deric, I'm on a Mac and most gaming keyboards are for Windows, but that's a really good idea that I hadn't thought of. I'll have to look for a Mac gaming keyboard with programmable keys. There must be something.

    I dont want another big device on the desk as an addon like the loupedeck that isn't wireless and easy to get out of the way when it's not being used. I could live with a larger keyboard though it would mean cleaning the desk so maybe that's out too. I continue to work on taking laziness to whole new heights.

    Take a look at the Elgato Stream Deck. I found it at B&H for $149. It's wired, which is a pain.

    What I am finding is mostly bog standard keyboards with bling. Not keyboards with lots of extra programmable keys. Can anybody chip in with some recommendations?

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