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Author Topic: Single raw real estate photos  (Read 8133 times)

Cgdillan

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2013, 01:14:27 AM »
Yeah. The client likes the unnatural looking style better. and pushed saturation and stuff.. I usually do HDR and enfuse in LR but it was just a cheaper job and didn't really want to put the time into doing hdr for this job at all.

It's interesting... I don't think I like the style, but I suppose if that's what the client wants, it's hard to argue with that. And for what it's worth, it looks like you've pulled off the style very well... things look sort of, ethereal? I dunno, but there's a certain soft quality to the light that is nice, if that's what you're into. I'd be curious to see what these looked like SOOC, if you wouldn't mind posting one for comparison's sake?

Thanks for sharing!

Here is the SOOCs for two of the shots. And the softness you are referring to I believe would be the adjustment to the "clarity" in Lightroom. I bring it way down in a lot of these shot to soften the lighting.

Raw unedited - but was of course converted from cr2 to jpeg


« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 01:23:34 AM by Cgdillan »
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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2013, 01:14:27 AM »

Cgdillan

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2013, 01:20:13 AM »
I used to do a lot of real estate photos... The issues I have with are the colors for the exterior and colors for the windows/open door just look off...  HDR tends and faux HDR tends to do that... I think it's odd and many realtors hire me because they dont like other photographers over-doing HDR.  With that said, I do like the interiors...  The living room/kitchen shot, I would crop a bit to get rid of the excess ceiling and floor...  As i was trained... if an area of the photo doesn't HELP a photo, then it's hurting a photo and get rid of it.  The excess ceiling and floor doesn't help, it just makes the walls and kitchen far away...  I'd crop that about 20-30% to make a great panorama.  I may even do that for the exterior and get rid of some sky and get rid of part of the cracked driveway.  Lastly, while I love that spiral staircase...  that looks wonderful, the wide angle makes the hanging light chandelier look VERY distorted and unnatural.  I would reposition the camera so either than light fixture isn't in the shot, or nearer the middle so it doesn't warp as much in the wide angle.

I really appreciate your critique and take it very seriously. I would do other aspect ratios and panoramas (I particularly love panorama shots) but the customer always wants 3x2. But I can absolutely crop in to remove the bad sky, cracked driveway and grass. let me know if these re-edits/crops are a little better as far as post processing is concerned. Also, I didn't do any "true HDR" processing with these photos at all. As in I didn't use an HDR processing application to produce the images look. just the basic RAW controls in lightroom to maximize the dynamic range. So i'd say they are kinda, half way hdr since they are "high(er) dynamic range" than just a standard photo.



« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 02:11:00 AM by Cgdillan »
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Cgdillan

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2013, 02:08:40 AM »
Is Stockham Media your website? Do you run it yourself or lease space off the cloud, etc?

Do you host all your real estate images there for your clients or do you give them the shot to host on their own sites? Do they just link to your site from their sites? What do you charge (if you don't mind) for hosting the images in addition to taking them?

I'm in a MUCH different part of the country than you are from looking at the houses you shoot, so, don't worry about local competition from me, but I'd love to learn the ropes and try to do a little of that down here in the New Orleans area....

I've got some contact through a friend on high end home sales down here...he's likely gonna do most of the stills, and I'm going to do most of the video, but am trying to get at least a ballpark idea on what to charge and what services (like hosting, I do have my own servers) would be worth to them if I offered.

Enjoying your stuff, keep posting and thank you for all the questions you've answered so far for me and others on the list here.

K

1. Stockham Media is my site
2. I host my server and domain through Hostmonster.com and built and manage the website myself
3. I post these photos on my blog for my own sharing/portfolio purposes
4. The client hosts the photos else where on their own server and website - I simply email them a link to the photos to download them from my server. Host monster gives unlimited storage space on my hosting plan so I have no problem leaving the photo up for them to download for a week or so.
5. I do not charge them for posting the images for them to download
6. I'm not worried about local competition, I have my own little niche with a couple local companies that like my work and bring work here and there. I actually encourage anyone to get really good at RE photos to up the quality of all the RE photos in the area and get more people wanting better photos. I am not the best RE photographer, though I am trying very hard to get better, which is why I post my images here for critique, I am happy to help with suggestions and answer question when I can.
7. I charge $200 for my nicer 7 bracketed fused shot, large houses, and usually provide around 40-50 images sized for print and mls. This house was a quicker $75 job where the client wanted me in and out and wanted a very quick turn around time. I charge anywhere from $300 for a very basic video to $600 for a more advanced video with dialogue and footage from near by attractions and evening shots.

I shoot everything my 2 5D mkIIIs and main lens of choice for the moment is my 14mm Bower. If I start to seriously do a lot of RE photos then I will upgrade to the Canon 17mm TS-E so I can always get the verticals I want. And for the video, as my company grows, I will be upgrading to either a c300 or Red Scarlet or Epic to shoot RAW video and be able to produce much nicer RE videos for much higher budgets. Unfortunately it takes much more work to try and get good shot inside looking out with video, than with stills and is much nicer with a camera that can properly capture the scenes. This is what I am doing for now though with RE, mostly a side thing for me fo the 2 local companies that I work with, Wedding video and photo really is my bread and butter at the moment. And more so the video side.
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Cgdillan

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2013, 02:16:24 AM »
The first thing I see in the first image is the cracks and the grass in the concrete joints of the driveway.  That tells me that the home was not well maintained, and I'd not really be interested. 
If thats what the client wants ....

I totally agree. I am still fairly new to RE photography so It's important for me to receive these critiques. This really was a MUCH quicker job than most of my others and really didn't think quick enough or pay attention to the crack like I should have. Your comments are what will make me be able to deliver a better product with the client knowing they needed something better. I really only work with two RE agents on the side, and they are always pleased with my work, but I would love to produce better work and catch issues better as I go. Thank you.
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Cgdillan

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2013, 02:54:20 AM »
I too, used to shoot a lot of real estate - high end real estate. My thoughts on the images are that they look way too fake - the colors don't pop (no contrast), the grass and sky are the wrong color (looks like a colored pencil drawing), the HDR effect gives a hazy white "diffused" look to the images, and there's too much vertical distortion from the WA lens (walls should be parallel). They are definitely flat and need more dynamic range.

I appreciate your critiques. And they help push me to do better with my RE photos and quick jobs. The client said he "loved the photos" and that is why they stayed the way they are. I let him know I was going to try a different look that I had seen and let him know that I could easily change the color back to a more natural state very quickly and free of charge. He did not wish to change them at all. Although, your critiques do/will help improve my work.


The compositions are good, but for the darkened areas, you should add/turn on some light (last shot - the shower should be popping with light so that it looks inviting). The kitchen shot has 3 color temperatures - that' makes the shot look unnatural and "dirty".

All the light were on and this was such a quick in and out job, I had no time to worry about extra lighting and the client did not want me to bring anything extra to the job that might slow anything down. Otherwise I would have changed all the bulb from tungsten to something closer to daylight to match the incoming light. Also, the lights under the cabinets were terrible florescent lights the he wanted on and yellow rather than off on dark. I also would have brought my 580 and 430exIIs to fill light if of course the budget would have approved for the extra time.

It's best to avoid using any HDR when doing RE imaging. It's like the truth in advertising stuff, should look natural. Now, if you add some light, that's better. It's the highlight to shadow range that is far apart, making you want to use HDR. But, if you light it right, you'll get much more contrasty, natural images. You can use a ND grad for the sky on outdoor stuff, fill strobes to brighten up shadows (under carports, etc). Indoors, turn on every light AND put bulbs in that are the right color temperature AND matching! I carry a Pelican that has nothing but 50 or so bulbs that are all the same temp.

None of these shots were processed to be HDR or were processed in HDR software. They just all single raw shots edited in LR to maximize the dynamic range, while still not being true HDR processed photos. I posted a couple images of re-edits, and would be curious to see if they seem more appealing to you. I did them really quick, but tried to keep them more natural looking while still trying to maximize the dynamic range available to me in the raw file. And again, I would never do all the extra lighting for a quick $75 job. These are not meant to be the best RE photos ever. I just wanted to see what the reaction would be to something that took me a total of 1 hour to shoot and edit. These are only meant to be critiques as "quickies", not are certainly not meant to be the "best" RE photos.

And, I would have definitely cleaned up the ground - myself or have my client do it first.

Yes, I agree. I would have liked that as well.

Even though it's a low pay job, there's still a standard you should establish. You don't want to explain to anybody and everybody who see's the shots that it was a cheap job - you want them to know what level of work you do (and assume that it was high paying!). I shoot for quite a few brokers and firms - if they were being cheap, I'd walk away gladly. I don't want to be known for being a cheap shooter, but rather a "perfectionist" and let my work negotiate the pay!

I do try and keep a certain standard, and I know these aren't the worst RE photos out there, I know they are not the best , but certainly not of the lowest standard. I simply did not have the time, or experience, to be able to shoot and edit this in 1 hour and produce amazing photos. Honestly, RE photos are only something I do on the side for two different agents and if they come to me with a $75-200 job and I have nothing else going on, then I am happy to do the work, and happy to do it quick and dirty if that is what they need. If I really got into RE photography then would take it much further and buy the Canon 17mm TS-E and maybe the 24TS-E and make sure I had all the proper lighting necessary for every job. Then it would no longer be a side job for me. I real work is in wedding videography. And that is something I have done ALOT of and have based all my gear purchasing decisions around. I also do wedding photography, but video is more my bread and butter and is where I believe I shine. RE photos are just a side thing for me and keep my mind fresh and learning by posting the images here. I am only 20 and have only been shooting photography for 1.5 years and video for 3. But I really do appreciate your critiques. I think a little bit of it just came off a little strong.
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docholliday

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2013, 09:24:51 AM »

I do try and keep a certain standard, and I know these aren't the worst RE photos out there, I know they are not the best , but certainly not of the lowest standard. I simply did not have the time, or experience, to be able to shoot and edit this in 1 hour and produce amazing photos. Honestly, RE photos are only something I do on the side for two different agents and if they come to me with a $75-200 job and I have nothing else going on, then I am happy to do the work, and happy to do it quick and dirty if that is what they need. If I really got into RE photography then would take it much further and buy the Canon 17mm TS-E and maybe the 24TS-E and make sure I had all the proper lighting necessary for every job. Then it would no longer be a side job for me. I real work is in wedding videography. And that is something I have done ALOT of and have based all my gear purchasing decisions around. I also do wedding photography, but video is more my bread and butter and is where I believe I shine. RE photos are just a side thing for me and keep my mind fresh and learning by posting the images here. I am only 20 and have only been shooting photography for 1.5 years and video for 3. But I really do appreciate your critiques. I think a little bit of it just came off a little strong.

By no means was that to say that your work was bottom of the barrel...what I intended to say was that it's always best to hold high standards rather than to 'settle' with what the client wants, even if it is only $100 per job - "always shoot like it was a million dollar set". I started a computer company when I was 18 and one of my goals is still one that I teach & lecture today - I always educate my client to what should be a minimum standard (my minimum standard, that I've decided is the lowest I'll go - which may be way above what somebody else would accept). "An educated client is a good client and good client's pay good". I don't shoot full time, I write specialty software. However, when I am shooting, I block out a few days from the programming and go shoot like it was the only thing I did.

And, I didn't mean for you to think that I meant you HDR'd the images, just that the images were processed to the point where they had an HDR effect to them - the re-edits are much better and seem much more "real" to the originals that you posted.

I hear ya about not wanting to drag out all the gear for such a fast and cheap shoot - but I would have done it anyways so that I could "educate" my client on what I could do. I've had a few clients who wanted to pay $100 for a set of shots, but I lit it properly, rich and bright, and showed them the shots compared to what they wanted (the "quick" shots). The next time, they paid me extra to "work my magic" with the properties. I even gave them an out by choosing the "cheap and quick" or "purdy" shots and they chose the latter. Kinda like giving yourself a raise!

...that's all that was meant, no intentions of "coming off a bit strong"...

kirispupis

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2013, 10:13:41 AM »
I shoot RE photos and personally strive to do the best possible job regardless of the property.  The way I look at it, whenever a home is listed with my work it is a public example of my skills.  It does not matter if the property is a $6M waterfront mansion or a $20k half destroyed condo.  If I accept the job, then I put all of my effort into it.  If I believe the effort is not worth the pay, then I do not take the job in the first place.

Sorry to be blunt, but IMHO it is not right to do a fast job just because the pay isn't enough.  This is an example of your work broadcast across the world.
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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2013, 10:13:41 AM »

Cgdillan

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2013, 10:44:16 AM »

I do try and keep a certain standard, and I know these aren't the worst RE photos out there, I know they are not the best , but certainly not of the lowest standard. I simply did not have the time, or experience, to be able to shoot and edit this in 1 hour and produce amazing photos. Honestly, RE photos are only something I do on the side for two different agents and if they come to me with a $75-200 job and I have nothing else going on, then I am happy to do the work, and happy to do it quick and dirty if that is what they need. If I really got into RE photography then would take it much further and buy the Canon 17mm TS-E and maybe the 24TS-E and make sure I had all the proper lighting necessary for every job. Then it would no longer be a side job for me. I real work is in wedding videography. And that is something I have done ALOT of and have based all my gear purchasing decisions around. I also do wedding photography, but video is more my bread and butter and is where I believe I shine. RE photos are just a side thing for me and keep my mind fresh and learning by posting the images here. I am only 20 and have only been shooting photography for 1.5 years and video for 3. But I really do appreciate your critiques. I think a little bit of it just came off a little strong.

By no means was that to say that your work was bottom of the barrel...what I intended to say was that it's always best to hold high standards rather than to 'settle' with what the client wants, even if it is only $100 per job - "always shoot like it was a million dollar set". I started a computer company when I was 18 and one of my goals is still one that I teach & lecture today - I always educate my client to what should be a minimum standard (my minimum standard, that I've decided is the lowest I'll go - which may be way above what somebody else would accept). "An educated client is a good client and good client's pay good". I don't shoot full time, I write specialty software. However, when I am shooting, I block out a few days from the programming and go shoot like it was the only thing I did.

And, I didn't mean for you to think that I meant you HDR'd the images, just that the images were processed to the point where they had an HDR effect to them - the re-edits are much better and seem much more "real" to the originals that you posted.

I hear ya about not wanting to drag out all the gear for such a fast and cheap shoot - but I would have done it anyways so that I could "educate" my client on what I could do. I've had a few clients who wanted to pay $100 for a set of shots, but I lit it properly, rich and bright, and showed them the shots compared to what they wanted (the "quick" shots). The next time, they paid me extra to "work my magic" with the properties. I even gave them an out by choosing the "cheap and quick" or "purdy" shots and they chose the latter. Kinda like giving yourself a raise!

...that's all that was meant, no intentions of "coming off a bit strong"...

I appreciate your response, and I understand where you are coming from. This however is something I have done. I've been doing work with this client for the last year and a half or so. I've always shot his expensive listings, where I spend more time and polish the images to much higher standards than these. For all of his cheaper houses, he has been shooting "standard" jpeg with T2i and Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. He recently asked me if I would be willing to shoot those cheaper houses for him and keep it much more basic than normal. So I can make a few bucks and get in and get out. He know what he can pay me for nicer jobs and he know what that looks like, and for his $1 million+ houses he does get the nicer ones. The reason I posted these here was just to share what I did fairly quickly.
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Cgdillan

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2013, 10:56:15 AM »
I shoot RE photos and personally strive to do the best possible job regardless of the property.  The way I look at it, whenever a home is listed with my work it is a public example of my skills.  It does not matter if the property is a $6M waterfront mansion or a $20k half destroyed condo.  If I accept the job, then I put all of my effort into it.  If I believe the effort is not worth the pay, then I do not take the job in the first place.

Sorry to be blunt, but IMHO it is not right to do a fast job just because the pay isn't enough.  This is an example of your work broadcast across the world.

I understand what you mean, this has always been my idea as well. It is absolutely the way I am with my wedding videography. But RE photos are more for my free time and the client asked me if I would be will to shoot the cheaper houses for less money so he can end up with better pictures then what he would take and so he wouldn't have to deal with shooting the shots on his t2i or deal with processing the photos or anything. I agreed, and this was the first cheap job. I am happy to provide him with better photos then he would have otherwise, and still get the money for my time accordingly. I respect your opinion, and everyone does things differently.

What I said to him

"let me know if these are too saturated for you. I went kinda crazy with them and could easily tone it tone a bit."

Direct quote from his response email

"Dillan,
Beautiful! I like them. Thanks for getting them over so quick."

If it was any less than that at all then I would either re-shoot or re-edit, or do whatever it takes for him to like the photos.
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Normalnorm

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2013, 12:56:07 PM »
I think you have done well to develop a workflow that will make a cheap customer happy.
My only advice would be on the front exterior image.

Try to avoid shooting the house from the garage side. This puts a large boring plane in the front of your composition . In this case the low angle is not helpful but does have  a certain drama the unsophisticated realtor may see as sizzle.

It looks to me that the opposite side view with a tighter  composition could work well.

I am also in SoCal and wrestle with the harsh lighting on daylight shoots. I use LR and have presets for these things with a ton of highlight and shadow correction. I usually add clarity of snap as the opposite seems a bit smeary for me.

Cgdillan

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2013, 01:36:53 PM »
I think you have done well to develop a workflow that will make a cheap customer happy.
My only advice would be on the front exterior image.

Try to avoid shooting the house from the garage side. This puts a large boring plane in the front of your composition . In this case the low angle is not helpful but does have  a certain drama the unsophisticated realtor may see as sizzle.

It looks to me that the opposite side view with a tighter  composition could work well.

I am also in SoCal and wrestle with the harsh lighting on daylight shoots. I use LR and have presets for these things with a ton of highlight and shadow correction. I usually add clarity of snap as the opposite seems a bit smeary for me.

Aha. I see what you mean with the garage door. Thank you =-) I think something I need to get away from is only using my 14mm for pretty much all the shots. After you saying that I could have backed up and used 24 or 35mm. What photo tripod would you recommend for the higher angle? The more RE work I do the more willing i will be to invest in photo gear. I primarily shoot video, but dabble heavily in photography. In other words, by tripods don't go higher than eye level..

My primary workflow with these shots were to bring the highlight to -100 and shadows to +100. Then contrast somewhere between +75 and +100 then clarity down a bit to smooth it out. Which I may have over done a bit. I'm still experimenting.
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docholliday

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2013, 12:24:24 AM »
I shoot RE photos and personally strive to do the best possible job regardless of the property.  The way I look at it, whenever a home is listed with my work it is a public example of my skills.  It does not matter if the property is a $6M waterfront mansion or a $20k half destroyed condo.  If I accept the job, then I put all of my effort into it.  If I believe the effort is not worth the pay, then I do not take the job in the first place.

Sorry to be blunt, but IMHO it is not right to do a fast job just because the pay isn't enough.  This is an example of your work broadcast across the world.

Amen!

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2013, 09:11:26 PM »
I think much of the commentary here is a bit overdone, and too critical towards the OP.  The photos look more than satisfactory to me.  In my area, there is no emphasis on quality real estate photo work done from the ground.  The realtors just snap the shots themselves...even for $5 million homes.  They don't consider photography to be worth anything, I guess.  So they rely on the sex appeal of their agents, and that must work pretty well. 

If you can actually get someone to pay you to do the photography, and you do a decent, honest job...and whoever is paying you is pleased, that's all that matters.  Otherwise, you're raising real estate photography to some kind of high art form, and I'm not sure that's what it is.  It's more a means to an end.  The photos aren't seen by millions of people, as opposed to high fashion photography or other advertising photography (not that I do either of those myself).  Just my two cents.  I will grant you, if the property is a $20+ million mansion or something, then I guess I can understand all sorts of energy being expended on doing the actual photo work, and the critiquing of that work by the photo Da Vinci's of our time.

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2013, 09:11:26 PM »

kirispupis

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2013, 12:34:52 AM »
I think much of the commentary here is a bit overdone, and too critical towards the OP.  The photos look more than satisfactory to me.  In my area, there is no emphasis on quality real estate photo work done from the ground.  The realtors just snap the shots themselves...even for $5 million homes.  They don't consider photography to be worth anything, I guess.  So they rely on the sex appeal of their agents, and that must work pretty well. 

If you can actually get someone to pay you to do the photography, and you do a decent, honest job...and whoever is paying you is pleased, that's all that matters.  Otherwise, you're raising real estate photography to some kind of high art form, and I'm not sure that's what it is.  It's more a means to an end.  The photos aren't seen by millions of people, as opposed to high fashion photography or other advertising photography (not that I do either of those myself).  Just my two cents.  I will grant you, if the property is a $20+ million mansion or something, then I guess I can understand all sorts of energy being expended on doing the actual photo work, and the critiquing of that work by the photo Da Vinci's of our time.

For most people buying/selling a home will be the most significant financial transaction of their lifetimes.  Yet for some insane reason there are individuals and agents out there who believe the photos responsible for driving potential buyers to the property should be no higher quality than those for a $10 item on EBay.

I live in an area where many RE agents do take photos themselves, despite having relatively high home prices compared to most other areas of the country.  I also am married to a very successful RE agent and through her know many other RE agents - both successful and not successful.  I can share several observations.

1) Among the successful RE agents, every single one of them I know uses professional RE photographers.  Many of them do not use me but instead other photographers - but all of them use some photographer. On the other hand, the vast majority of agents I know who take their own photos are not successful.

2) On a few occasions my wife has had to list a property with photos she took herself or someone else took.  These were cases where we were on vacation or a property had to be listed before I could get to it.  When I finally did photograph the property and she uploaded the professional photos, the traffic to the property increased significantly.

3) RE agents are not photographers.  They will generally judge your photos next to theirs and it doesn't take much to impress them (though most of the highly successful ones are pickier).  I look back at the photos I took when I was starting out and they were complete crap.  Nevertheless, I had people rave about them.  I even had sellers ask for copies and call me to personally thank me for taking such nice photos.  It is our job as photographers to push ourselves to take the best photos possible.  RE agents will often have good input such as "I need this angle", "make sure you photograph this because it is a selling point" or "I need these rooms and not those" but when it comes to actually taking the photo we are the ones who determine the quality.

4) You never truly know where your photos will be used.  Most of them are just placed on the MLS and flyers - so they'll be seen by a few thousand people.  I have had my photos used in the Wall Street Journal and Home Magazines though.  One photo I would never have expected made the cover of a home magazine.  The agent is free to use my photos to market the property in any way he/she likes.

Admittedly, I do this on the side to help pay for my equipment (but I have still photographed ~200 homes), but it is a serious business.  It is very difficult to take high quality RE photos, but due to the money involved it is something that must be taken with care.  So yes I do take offense when someone posts that they did a half ass job to sell someone's most important investment and writes it off as "good enough".
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CarlTN

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2013, 02:06:08 AM »
Haha, well I hope you're not taking offense at anything I said, because that would be quite unfounded.  I certainly never condoned doing a half ass job.  My point, which you might have missed, is that RE photography doesn't quite belong in the Louvre.  You seem like a fairly aggressive salesman with a relatively high opinion of your work, so I'm sure that helps you market yourself to a degree.

However, the key to your work, your leg up...is that you used your wife's connections...which is not a bad thing either.

Another key, is that you live in probably the wealthiest place in the country, so it's not as hard to imagine being able to charge a lot of money to do your work.

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Re: Single raw real estate photos
« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2013, 02:06:08 AM »