Real Estate Photography Question and Answers – #8

QandALinda’s Question: Since I’m doing mostly video I was leaning toward the Tokina 11-16 for the f/2.8, since you cannot use a tripod like you can for stills, at least for the walk-through videos that I do.  My question for you is, given that I’m only gaining less than a stop (2.8 – 3.5), do you think the Canon 10-22 still trumps the Tokina? The Tokina costs less, but I’m willing to pay what’s necessary for the better lens.

Answer: This is a tough call that probably only you can make. On close calls on important issues like what lens will meet your needs people sometimes don’t realize that you can try out lenses very inexpensively. If I were you I’d rent (see: the Tokina ($38/five days) and the Canon lens ($41/five days) and see which you like best for your use.

Matt’s Question: Would you mind telling me if I’ve effectively grasped the concept of straightening the verticals on this last flyer I shot/edited ? I shoot with a Canon 24-105mm 4.0L. I always shoot at 24mm. I use the lens profile correction on Lightroom, then fiddle with the vertical settings in your instructions until I feel I get the best result, but I still feel like I’m not getting it right.

Answer: No, almost all of your verticals are still way off! The first step is to be thinking about keeping verticals, vertical while you are shooting. Use the left and right side of the camera frame in the viewfinder to keep your camera level in the front to back plain. It’s tilting the camera up or down that makes the verticals off. If you need to, shoot with a tripod that has a built-in level or put a bubble level in the hot shoe. But you can also see the effect while you are shooting in the viewfinder – all verticals must be parallel to the vertical edges of the viewfinder frame. If you do a good job keeping the camera level, front to back, when you shoot there’s very little that will need to be done in Lightroom. The LR 5 Upright/Auto feature (in the lens correction panel) will do the job automatically for you if the verticals aren’t too far off. The lens profile just corrects barrel distortion, not verticals. Here is a link to a summary post on the subject of verticals.

Steve’s Question: I was talking with a fellow Realtor who told me that when the professional photographer, he uses, does her work he comes in and takes one photo of each room with no lights.  I reviewed the photo company’s website which was advertised in our Florida Real Estate Magazine and they said their field photographers do not process. They obviously do so in house.  Maybe they are taking HDR  Maybe something else….Your thoughts?

Answer: There are a handful companies, like out of Seattle, that have proprietary post-processing techniques that can do better than most photographers with a few RAW files. I have a hard time believing they do it with one exposure. If you listen closely, when she presses the shutter release, the camera captures 3 photos. These companies are VERY tight lipped about their process. They’ve been in business for about 7 years and no one I know has been able to reproduce their exact process. They keep all their post processing guys locked up in a back room. Vicaso’s process is probably a variation on Exposure Fusion or HDR with some clever Photoshop work.

Jake’s Question: Which software you use for creating flyers for listings. I’ve been using Photoshop, which works, but its a bit cumbersome with resizing photos, rearranging layouts, etc. Do you have a solution/workflow that basically gives you a template that you can fire off these printouts without too much fiddling around?

Answer: Not that many real estate photographers create flyers for agents because most real estate offices have internal free resources (secretaries answering phones that need something to do to fill in between phone calls) and company templates to create flyers. The process of creating an effective flyer involves writing some marketing copy and a review cycle or two with the Realtor that is tedious for photographers. That said, in some situations, flyers can be a natural add on product for photographers that have clients that care about how their flyers look. Along with my Business of Real Estate Photography ebook I include Photoshop templates for flyers, postcards and brochures that I used for years to promote my wife’s listings. You are right, Photoshop isn’t the ideal application to for flyers. Nowadays I’d use Adobe Indesign. Most real estate offices use MS Publisher to create flyers but frankly I’d rather use Photoshop.

Realtors who are really into professional looking marketing materials use sites like because they provide professionally designed and integrated marketing materials.

In the end having a few Photoshop templates is an inexpensive approach unless you have Adobe Indesign.

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