I ran across this article from a company giving its clients tips on the best resolution to upload images to its website and nearly fell out of my chair when I got to the bottom and saw the picture above with the caption: “…nor do you have to hire a professional photographer.”
Of course the image isn’t really a good example. The “before” picture is just a pixelated version of the “after” image which, I’m willing to bet was taken by a professional.
Let me share a few examples of what some of my clients have recently told me.
Client #1: “[My wife] and I can’t begin to tell you how happy we are with your
photographs. Working with a professional such as you is the only way to go.”
Client #2: “We went under contract the day after the photos were uploaded!!”
Client #3: After delivering images on a Wednesday night, the client told me on
Friday, “condo is under contract as of this morning.”
You may have already read a previous blog post I wrote which went viral and has been published all over the world about a house which languished on the market for 8 months before the real estate agent hired me to take new photos.
After Nearly 8 Months, Photos Help Sell Home in 8 Days
But hey, who needs to hire a professional, right? So the next time you need a lawyer, plumber, mechanic or doctor…just do it yourself!
I recently posted a picture on my Facebook fan page and someone asked for some behind the scenes info. While I sometimes take some set-up shots with my phone, I’m usually so busy I forget to do it more often. So instead, I thought I’d show a couple of exposures I used to make a final image.
In the photo above you can see my strobe firing into the ceiling. I took this exposure for the window on the far side of the bedroom. I had already taken one exposure for the bedroom using a single speedlight. But that flash is not powerful enough to overpower the sun. It requires a shutter speed fast enough to render detail out the window but it leaves the window frame nearly black. So I pull out the big gun. This is the final image:
It’s a similar scenario in the master bathroom. I took an exposure for the room with the speedlight in my hand bounced off the ceiling. But if I took an exposure for the outside, the flash would reflect off the window. So I had to move slightly to the left. This exposure also corrects for the light fixture which would otherwise be blown out.
This is the final image:
So there you have it. Just a couple of examples that give you a little insight into how I get my shots.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a “before and after” series (you can see the past posts linked at the end of this one). I thought you might enjoy the night and day differences between the images a client had before and what I delivered. The client was so pleased, he said it looked like two different villas.
Before and After Real Estate Photos
Before and After Real Estate Photographs
Why Realtors Should Use Professional Photography
Most of the luxury homes I photograph have at least one room dedicated to entertainment. Maybe it’s a pool table in the garage, or an in-home movie theater. Then there’s the in-home bowling alley. But a recent shoot took the cake for the number of arcade games in one room.
It’s one thing to add six arcade machines in what used to be a garage; but the homeowner went the extra step of knocking out a bedroom and bathroom to add another machine…
..and did I mention the 80-inch LCD TV?
Who needs bedrooms and bathrooms in a house when you’ve got an arcade? Actually, that red sofa does have a pull out bed.
Here are a couple more looks at the room:
All this just leaves one question: Can I borrow some tokens?
I’ve been a little busy the past couple of weeks. I was given 10 shooting days to shoot the exteriors of 113 homes. If you’re counting, the image above only shows 110; I needed an even number to make the collage work. Click on it to see it bigger.
The first step was plotting the homes on map and figuring out the best time of day to shoot them. The LighTrac app I blogged about recently was indispensable. I was able to figure out, down to the minute, when the sun would hit each home at the best angle. Unfortunately, I was at the mercy of the weather. In Florida, afternoon thunderstorms are a regular occurrence which made shooting the west-facing homes a challenge. Sometimes, it would be too cloudy. Sometimes, I’d have good sun, but dark clouds behind the house. Other times, I’d have a good sky behind the home but a huge cloud obscuring the sun. As it was, I usually had to wait for a cloud to move. There I would be, camera on a tripod and me standing next to it looking up at the sky.
I do want to share one tip which I mentioned in a previous blog regarding shooting exteriors. Absent of a tilt-shift lens, you have to make sure your verticals stay vertical. Most people have the inclination to stand in front of a house and tilt the camera up. This makes the house look like it’s falling over. So I set up across the street on a tripod. I dial in my exposure manually, raise the tripod as high as it goes and use a cable release to take the shot.
In the end, I got it done in nine days. It would’ve been sooner if it wasn’t for the darned weather!
This was probably my most unique assignment to date. I got a request not too long ago asking me how much I would charge to photograph one room. I thought, “Just one room? That’s odd.” I asked for more information and found out this was a bowling alley inside someone’s house! The lanes were installed by Fusion Bowling and they install private bowling alleys. Talk about a niche market!
I showed up for the job in a very exclusive community and found out the home belongs to a professional major league baseball player. The bowling alley is actually on the second floor.
The shoot was pretty straight forward. The lanes create natural leading lines that make composition a no-brainer. The client asked if I shot HDR. I told him I don’t because I generally don’t like the look of HDR; it just doesn’t look realistic. I have seen some interior photographers use HDR in a style I like, but I haven’t figured out the technique. Every HDR I’ve tried always has that “HDR look”. I prefer a natural look so I take multiple exposures and blend them using masks. I did take several exposures in this case specifically for HDR and I might post an update so you can see the comparison. I’m currently reading RC Concepcion’s “The HDR Book” to see if I can learn something new.
You can see more images from the shoot in the gallery; and don’t forget you can like, comment on, rate and share individual images on my site. Give it a try!