Jeri, from San Jose, CA writes:
“Recently, a couple of really high-end agents who do multi-million dollar listings have brought me in to do some shoots for them. It’s been fun! Unlike my other clients, who want lots of photos and they want all of them shot ultra-wide, these new agents made it clear that they don't want ultra-wide. I’m actually having to think more about composition and to be honest, it’s not as easy as I thought it was going to be, especially looking at things from the tiny screen on the back of my camera. I keep hearing all about the CamRanger and that I can see the image on a tablet before I take it. Should I just bite the bullet and get one?”
First, for those in our community who've never heard of a CamRanger (CR), it is a device that attaches to your camera. It creates a WiFi signal that, when paired up with the app that is downloaded on a tablet or cellphone, allows you to shoot tethered (e.g., you can control the camera from the tablet or phone.) If you'd like to see it in action, there are a bunch of YouTube tutorials available on it.
With that said Jeri, I’ll start by saying that I’m a little biased when it comes to answering your question. For me personally, using a CR was one of the two things that took my photography to the proverbial “next level”. So, my first reaction to your question is, “go for it”... but... I have to qualify that.
If you're a real estate shooter working in a business model that's based on volume and you're needing to shoot multiple houses in a day, then shooting with a CR probably doesn’t make a lot of sense. I can only assume that, in such a model, you're likely going to be taking a majority of your images shooting ultra-wide and corner-to-corner, so there’s no real need to spend time using a device that's geared to helping you think through nuances in composition. Beyond this, there’s also the fact that at times, connectivity can be an issue with the CR. When it goes down, you usually need to re-boot both the CR device, as well as the tablet. This could prove to be quite a nuisance; especially if things are not going well in the current house you're shooting which causes you to run late for your next shoot.
That said Jeri, if your business model is not driven by volume and you're only shooting one or two houses per day, then using a CR may be worth your while--particularly with these new clients of yours, stating that they don't want ultra-wide shots for their high-end listings. I use a 10” tablet with my CR and it’s so great to be able to see exactly what I'm shooting on a relatively big screen. I also think that, with increased proficiency at using a CR, speed would improve too. In fact, I seem to recall that Mike Kelley once said somewhere (maybe in one of his articles/videos?) that he’d use a CamRanger for real estate work because it would be easier to get the shot he wanted right away, rather than taking the time to do the "spray-and-pray" thing, hoping to get a good composition.
Anyway, as an FYI, CR users have been waiting forever for the new, updated version and as far as I know, you can't get the v.1 model anymore. I think that the only CR version you can get nowadays is a smaller version called the CamRanger Mini. I’ve never used it, so I’ll leave it to folks in our community who have, to give you some feedback on it and whether it might be worth getting, until the the CR v.2 model comes out (supposedly later this year, according to the CR website). My bottom-line is that if I were in your shoes Jeri, and needing to place more attention on composition and working in larger, higher-end homes, then I’d be inclined to use it.
So, I'm curious... is anyone out there using a CamRanger for real estate work? If so, what advice to you have for Jeri? If you've tried it but then stopped using it, I'm hoping you can share your experience, too.