Last month I had a great time doing a photoshoot at Surena Rugs. The owner asked me for some advice on proper lighting when they take photos of their new merchandise. And while there I was able to take a few photos of their store. How is your website looking? Facebook page? Your cellphone photos looking just so-so? Call me today (727) 418-9016 and let’s schedule an architectural photoshoot! Interior photos of your shop can make a big difference when clients search businesses and look at their photos online. I have all day, half-day and 2 hour sessions available at different prices!
I shoot real estate in Atlanta and pretty much all over Metro Area, like Marietta, Alpharetta, Kennesaw and so on. Occasionally I am booked to shoot a brand new home that hasn’t been staged or a vacant home where all furniture and belongings have been removed. One might think, well, that should be easy, in and out in 20 minutes! Not so. Yes, perhaps you will spend less time figuring out your compositions and hiding lights behind furniture but there are still challenges.
1) Beige, beige, beige
Yes, most new construction homes in Atlanta have beige paint on their walls. Many have beige tile, beige counter tops and beige rug. Beige! I’m not against beige, neutral works great as a starting pallet for a new home buyer. For a photographer it can be a nightmare. Everything seems to be a blur so you have to work carefully and light the rooms just right to create some contrast.
2) No place to hide your flash
Sure, you can try your best HDR technique but I try to go further. Even when there isn’t much to show in the room but the room itself it doesn’t mean you have to go extremely wide with your lens. Zooming in just a little gives me extra room along the walls to place my remote lights. Also I often place a light on the floor bouncing it’s light off the wall from about 2 or 3 feet. That provides a bit more light and texture across the carpeted area of the room.
3) Closets and bathrooms
With one flash in the room and only ambient light in a closet or bathroom they will look as dark holes on the photo. So to create even lighting and some interest beyond the room itself I place remotely triggered lights both in the closet and bathroom. It creates character and mood.
4) Balancing flash and ambient light
Many times the rooms will not have any lamps to help you with lighting so you will have to add more power to your flashes in addition to whatever ambient light you will get. I use at least two SB-80 Nikons in one room to make the light look more even and at the same time to be able to use fast enough exposure to not blow out the windows too much.
5) Opportunity to be creative
It’s easy to be creative in a nicely staged homes, lots of compositions to play with. Empty home? Different game. Be creative with your kitchen shots, use all the lights you have to light up the cabinets, to create depth in your photos. Kitchens and baths sell, remember? Help your Realtor sell that home! Take good exterior shots, see if there’s anything interesting in the neighborhood. Offer a short video tour.
Practice and get these things under control and you will produce good real estate photography even when you are shooting empty homes.
What You Need To Know About Twilight Photos In Atlanta and Marietta
Have you ever seen a featured listing in Atlanta on Realtor.com or Zillow and Trulia and it really stood out to you? Chance are you saw some twilight photos of that home. Especially if the house is outfitted with elegant lighting and landscaping is lit up too. It just looks magical. Sometimes I create my own light to accent darker areas of the property. There are only a few minutes of magic light when the sun sets. I get to capture those minutes and create beautiful photos of your listing. I work in Atlanta and Metro area. My pricing is here.
Why not add twilight photos to your listing? Call me today (727) 418-9016 and lets schedule our evening photoshoot!
Here are a few samples from my latest twilight session.
Are You Using Video In Real Estate Marketing in Atlanta?
Because if you aren’t, you may be missing some clients. I once made a property video for a client and a buyer bought it site unseen after he watched the video on his iPad while on the plane 30,000 ft in the air.
Search Google for a property address. If that property has a video tour it will pop up in the top of the results! You can place a video link in your MLS, On Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia. All my video are made with purchased copyrighted soundtracks, so you will never be kicked off if you load it directly to Facebook!
Do you know you can now also directly upload videos to LinkedIn? THIS IS HUGE! Think about it. The more eyeballs you will have on your listing, the higher your chances are for selling that property quickly. And that’s what your seller wants. That is what you want too. I charge $200 for small homes, and $300 for properties over 2,000 sq.ft. Currently I include drone video in all my property video (if drone use is allowed in your area). Call me today (727) 418-9016 or send me a message to schedule your property video! Here are a few samples.
I make real estate videos anywhere in Atlanta, Marietta, Kennesaw and other towns of Atlanta Metro area. Ask me also about property photos, twilight photography, drone pictures and your headshots!
In this age of thumbnail profiles your photo, even thought small, is what your friends and clients first see. Before they even read your bio or feed on your wall they see your little thumbnail photo. It’s you in your car, doing the “duck face”, or selfie in the elevator or maybe your bathroom (does the background look sanitary?). It’s all fun! Until you are trying to look for a job. Yes, most HR people will look through your social media profiles and, possibly make some unjustified conclusions. Don’t give them a reason, make yourself look good with a professionally taken headshot.
LinkedIn is a great place to connect and build a network with other professionals. Want it or not, you will be judged by how you look. There are a few reasons you must have a professional headshot if you work in a big city like Atlanta or any small town.
- You want to look professional.
- It is part of your branding.
- You will be taken seriously.
- You will look appealing and recognizable.
- Makes you stand out.
- It’s your shot at doing more business.
I work with professionals in Atlanta and all Metro Area. Give me a call (727) 418-9016 or send me a message to schedule your headshot session!
Best Method for Real Estate Photos in Atlanta
Hello, Atlanta Realtor or any other professional who cares about Real Estate Photography. Before I go into details, I have to say that the described methods of taking real estate interior photos is a matter or preference and justified cost. I’ll show and explain why I prefer a multiple lights set up over single mount-on flash or HDR.
I’ll try to explain using this small simple bathroom. This is from today’s photo shoot, there’s no editing (just brought a little brightness up on HDR), straight out of the camera.
This is an HDR photo
(high-dynamic range), which is accomplished by taking several shots at different exposure settings and then blending them using software. It is not a bad shot. What HDR allows you to do is produce a single shot with everything in it exposed properly: the windows are not blown out and the shadows don’t go to extreme black. I’ve seen decent HDR shots when a photographer takes at least one shot with flash before compiling them. When no flash is used (like in this shot), lots or orange and yellow colors show up in the picture, which can somewhat be reduced in photoshop. But overall look is very flat.
This is a shot taken with a mount-on flash.
The issues are obvious, heavy shadows, much brighter in the foreground, and some areas are not lit properly. It is possible to achieve a good shot with a mount-on flash, but the setting has to be just right. preferably no fans or other standing object in the front as they will cast shadows. The best way to take a shot with single flash, when possible, is by pointing it up or even backwards towards the wall instead of forward. That will give you a larger bounced ray of light and will soften the shadows. Another problem with this method is that it’s harder to accommodate much of ambient light, so the interiors end up with lots of flash light, and little natural light.
In this shot I used three speedlights.
One in the shower, one bouncing off the wall near floor to lighten up the front of the cabinet and one more above my head, bouncing into the wall behind me. I had little time to play and adjust the lights, but you can see how much more definition there is in this photo. There’s also a doze of character, which potential buyers can easily identify with.
In my view using a miltiple lights method for interior real estate photography will produce more interesting photos. They more often than not will take a little more time in the field (I often spend two hours shooting a 3,000 sq.ft home, where an HDR or single-flash shooter can be done in one hour). But there’s a little less time used for Photoshop manipulation. I personally enjoy spending more time behind the camera than in front of the computer screen.
I shoot real estate photos and video in Tampa Bay, and some times a little further. You can see samples of my work on Flickr.
Stop Marketing and Start Selling
I know, Atlanta Realtor, I may get some critique from you about this post. I recently read an article outlining important skills a Realtor must have in order to be a “good” agent. They were all good skills but 7 out of 9 were types of marketing know-hows that would somehow prove that the real estate professional has deep knowledge, experience and works very hard for the seller. Things like taking good pictures, creating high-quality brochures, writing a property description, help you prepare your house for a showing, etc.
I LOVE all these things, and that’s precisely why I don’t sell real estate any more. I like being a marketer more than a sales person. A Realtor is a sales person? Of course! Last time I checked it’s commission kind of work. So, if I wanted to list my home for sale, what qualities would I seek in my listing agent?
Ok, here’s a short list:
1) A good listing agent is a great negotiator, a sales person of great skill
2) Knows transaction flow in and out
3) Knows contract, addenda and any deal related paperwork very well
4) Knows real estate news in his community
5) Knows inventory and pricing well
6) Well-connected with vendors and other agents
7) Great closer and problem-solver
8) Great communicator who keeps things under control
9) Delegates tasks
Marketing skills? I’d put those at the end of the list. Why? Because marketing can and, in my opinion, should be outsourced or delegated. You can control your marketing, you can be the face and voice of your marketing, you can be involved in it somewhat on your personal time (like blogging), but putting together brochures, editing videos, taking pictures, fixing websites – is time that should’ve been spent building relationships, finding business, working with your sphere of influence and with your leads.
Some may say: I can’t afford to pay someone else to do my marketing. What you can’t afford is spending your time on it instead of focusing on generating business. Trust me, I’ve made that mistake. Even your most creative marketing efforts that will generate you leads are worthless if you are not working those leads.
Do you eat your lunch alone? What are you doing with your 500+ friend list of Facebook? Your 10 closest friends – do you know what’s going on in their family life? Do you know 5 most successful people in your town and do you know if they have a Twitter account? Do you follow? Answer these questions before you spend two hours making a brochure or thinking about your marketing plan.
I hope you know WHY you got into real estate. I hope you are taking your “why” seriously and your vocation as a full-time job. There isn’t much room for you in real estate business these days if you are not. In the last 10 years the way we do real estate evolved rapidly. However, if you are new to this business or struggling to build it to a level of success – I have some thoughts to share with you. But that’s in my next post…
Why Saying You Are Better Than Others Is Stupid. Especially If You Aren’t
“Soaring above the rest”, “Why we are different from the rest”, “We answer our phones” – and so many other ways some of us advertise come across as passive aggressive, heck, sometimes plain aggressive.
A friend told me: I don’t want to be known for what I am against, but what I am for. Negative notes often speak to our ego. They reflect our immaturity. It’s one thing to address something wrong done by others, another to use a blanket statement to the rest of your competition. What will push you above the crowd is the respect of others, never just your own promotional efforts. The bullshit radar is so very sensitive right now among all generations. We spot arrogance, we see when someone lies and we don’t want to deal with them. Rolling that way online only magnifies things.
It will take someone 5 minutes to check on your real presence online, your work and your reviews. If there isn’t much to show then your statements of being “different” are foolish.
So how do you promote yourself correctly?
The simple answer is that you don’t just promote yourself. Today’s marketing is offering help and telling a story, providing service and education about product. It is not blasting mass emails to 1000 addresses you just bought and then try to immediately close, churn and burn style. Today it’s give, give, give, politely ask. Love them to sale. And I see more and more professionals in Altanta and Metro area doing just that.
1) Like Gary Vaynerchuk says: become self-aware . What are your strengths? How can you use them in your business?
2) Decide how much of personal life you want to share with your audience. But share some.
3) Don’t just push your listings on your wall. Start thinking like your clients, what do they really want from you?
That’s right, they’ve already seen all new listings, maybe even those you yourself haven’t seen yet. What is your value to your client? Define it, package it, offer it.
4) Thank before you bank. Your past clientele is your best advertising tool. Take a selfie with your happy buyers or sellers. Help them move in. Ask for a positive review.
5) If you do something much better than others, don’t say so. Simply show it and offer it. “I love making property videos for all my new listings! Love to show to my community what’s new for sale in the neighborhood! Follow me on YouTube, new listings coming this week!” – Something like this is positive and offers value.
I have worked with Domain Homes for a couple years now. I could see passion in what they do and their enthusiasm for creating a brand name that is recognizable and carries a great reputation. My passion was to work with such passionate people. I wanted to come along and help them in this pursuit. Idea after idea, project after project, Domain Homes has grown into a reputable company in Tampa Bay whose brand is well recognised.
For Domain Homes it was not a question wether they needed to present their homes with great photography. They wanted quality and consistency. Every model home was photographed and featured with a video tour.
They wanted more. They honored owners of the lots they bought from, threw parties for them and presented gifts. When a kids baseball league found some of their equipment stolen Domain Homes stepped in and purchased new item for them. They also kept the story-line going with photos and video.
When I suggested we create a video presentation of their Enclave Model in the style of House Hunters – they jumped on it without hesitation. The video is now on their YouTube channel and uploaded directly to their Facebook Page.
For a small Tampa home builder they created a strong following on Facebook and you will find their daily posts on Twitter and regular videos on YouTube. The awareness of their brand is huge in Tampa Bay. People in St Pete know of them, Tampa Heights, Seminole and Safety Harbor – all heard about Domain Homes. Not an easy task when you are competing with national new home builder giants. Same goes for builders in Atlanta, Marietta, Alpharetta and other Metro Area towns.
Is Your Story Heard By Your Market?
Hey, Atlanta Realtor. The red pill took you into the world of digital, the world of Internet. Are you surviving? Are you thriving?
Good news is before digital world and in it people always wanted to work with exceptional companies. But In 2017 exceptional companies usually will have exceptional presence online. Maybe you’ve heard that a good product sells itself. Sorry, it’s not true. The reality is even addictive products like tobacco require some creative marketing to have successful sales. Your amazing product, service or charity will thrive if you tell your story. But how?
Marketing methods constantly evolve. In the last 50 years we went from black and white paper ads, to QR-codes, social media and mobile-only tools. What haven’t changed is that people still desire to work with people they like and trust.
If Your Goal Is Success – Stop Hiding
I want you to think of marketing as a 2-step venture: 1. – helping people find you and 2. – giving them what they want once they find you. What is your story? 20 years ago it was strange when you shared too much about yourself online, but now it is considered strange if there’s no public info about your business or yourself. Think about Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Internet is no longer some mysterious outlet; it is now an extension of your life, your communication with the world, friends, parents and co-workers; Internet is your dictionary, encyclopedia, cook book, shopping cart, research tool, it’s your bookshelf and your stereo-center. We ALL took the red pill, we are ALL in the world of digital. But not all adapt easily.
Tell Your Story
How can you showcase your red pin and make it stand out on the vibrant map of the Internet? Building a company website is intimidating. From design and layout development to menu and plug-ins set up, it can be overwhelming. If you’ve hired a web-developer, you’ve solved a half of your problems. The other half is – content. Are you a creative copy-writer or blogger? If you don’t provide quality content like write-ups, bios, pictures, videos, service info, history, continuously updated storyline – your developers will have their hands tied. Your content must also be relevant to the context and platform where you choose to share it besides your site. Think about getting help from content and media professional.
Learn how to bring your site to life. It can happen naturally when you accept that the Internet is an extension of you, both personally and professionally, and that every day the world is more likely to see that extension of you first. Your content may involve regular copy-writing, personalized photography, video, creative customer loyalty ideas, engaging and offering help – it’s all part of building relationships with your clients. If you are in the beginning stage of your site development and integration with social media, and want to have a strong presence online, let’s talk, I’d be glad to offer a review and ideas.