A House. A Photographer. And Getting the Color Correct

In my last post I promised I would share some images from the shoot I did.  So here they are.  I’ve been trying some new techniques I’ve learned reading the Scott Hargis book and studying what Mike Kelley does.   I’m really liking the results.  Real estate photography is not as easy as most people think it is.  Dealing with wide dynamic range of dark interiors balanced against bright windows and sunshine is very tricky.  Making things look natural and not over lit by too much flash.  Getting the view out the window but not too much.  And most importantly capturing the essence of the space.  Along with all of this is the ability to render colors accurately.  I was the 3rd or 4th photographer to shoot this property.  While there the owner expressed to me her concern that none of the previous  photographers had reproduced the colors correctly.  They ranged from a soft peach in the entry to a deep almost brick red in dining room to a soft yellow in the kitchen.   Challenged accepted.  She later showed me brochure with some of the images from one of the other photographers.  Let’s just say they weren’t accurate and leave it at that.  I tried to explain to her that it might not be entirely the photographers fault.  That there are a lot of variables when printing an image and making sure that colors are rendered correctly.  All while trying not get too technical.  After this conversation I thought for a moment about what the client said.  That it was a problem with the photographer.  Not it was a problem with the printer or the photographer sent images in the wrong color space or the realtor had used the wrong version of the images.  No.  It was the photographer’s problem.  Perception is everything.

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A Great Start!!!

At the end of 2013 I made a commitment to myself to not only grow as a photographer but to grow the business as well.  If January is any indication, I’m not going to have any problem growing the business.  I’ve already done 4 real estate shoots in the past week.  I’ve got 3 more scheduled for next week along with an event for the JDRF South Jersey Chapter, a wedding for Faymus Media and one more real estate shoot at the end of the month.   If everything on schedule comes through I will have more than doubled the number of real estate shoots I did last January.  Plus put another wedding under my belt.  The biggest trick is getting all of the future promotions and work together and getting my name out to more realtors.  This year I’m also going to put significantly more effort in getting my name to architects and designers.  I REALLY want to get into more architectural work.  It would be nice to spend the time really putting together a nice architectural shoot.  I love getting all of the details together for shoots like that.  The planning.  The preproduction. And the ability to really craft an image.  In the meantime I will continue honing my craft with real estate shoots.  Speaking of which.  I did a shoot last week for Charles Rappa.  A realtor based in Northern Delaware and SEPA.  He had me over to shoot a beautiful home of about 4500 sq. ft.  While I was getting set-up Charles mentioned to me that house had been on the market before with another realtor.  And that realtor had had the house shot several times because the owners were extremely picky in how they wanted the house represented.  All Charles said to me was that the owners said  “It’s all about the lighting.”  Oh boy.  Well, I did what I do and held my breath.  The owners were out of town and wouldn’t be back for a couple of days.  I completed the images and sent them off.  Fingers and toes crossed.  I heard back two days later.  The owners loved the pictures!  Thought that they truly represented the house.  YEAH!  Here’s a couple of examples from the shoot.

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‘Twas the Day/Night Before

Haven’t blogged in a couple of days.  Not a whole log going on.  Finalizing accounting for the year.  Trying to get some sort of game plan together for 2014.  I really need to step-up my game next year.  I fully realize that I’m going to have to be much more aggressive in my marketing and try even harder to separate myself from the masses.  Not quite sure how but it has to happen.  Next year marks 3 years I’ve been doing this as my sole income.  While not quite unsuccessful, I really need to be more successful.  The real estate market is doing much better and I really hope to increase the number of shoots I do 2014.  But I do need to find other sources of income.  I am really going to push the architectural aspect.  I’m sure there is a little confusion when I say that.  Most people would be asking, “Aren’t real estate and architecture the same thing?”  Well not really.  Over the past year or so I’ve come to some really profound realizations regarding the delineation between the two.  First is to understand that for realtors the images are just another tool.  One that they aren’t going to care about after the property is sold.  Secondly realtors don’t really care about how good your images are.  As long as they are better than they can take with their point and shoot that’s all that matters.  Thirdly because the initial cost comes out of their pocket, they don’t want to spend a lot of money.  I’ve done some research on this and the national average price for a real estate shoot is $300.  That is for 20-25 images.  When you break this down to a per image price it is $12-$15.  Remember that’s for unlimited usage.  Which usually includes, MLS, Realtors website, print brochures, and God knows what else.  As for architectural.  These are typically for portfolios, advertising, magazine spreads.  These images will be used for years by the architect, builder, or designer.  A much different area.  As a photographer you get to spread your creative wings a little and can really craft an image.  These clients are considerably more discerning when it comes to the quality of image they want.  This is where you can really show off your talents as a photographer and create that special image.  These clients are also willing to pay for that creativity.  I would really love the opportunity to spend several days photographing a property.  Waiting for the light to be just right in each room.  With real estate you never get that opportunity.  Because of the cost limitations you can’t afford to scout the property and wait for the right time of day to shoot each room and spend all day at the property.  Personally I like to limit my on-site time to no more than 3 hours when doing a real estate shoot.  This way I can get  two done in a day when I have to.

Well here’s to a great 2014.  Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!!

Westtown Demo_V2I’ll leave you with the Holiday ad I did for Westtown Township.

A Long Summer

Once again I feel that I have not kept up my end of the blog agreement.  I looked today and my last post was back in May.  Wow where has the time gone? Well things have finally settled down a little and I feel like I can breathe a little easier.  Not to make excuses but there is good reason for such a long hiatus.  I wish I could rack it up way too much work and while that is large part of it, it is not the whole story.  At the beginning of the summer Kim and I promised each other that it was not going to be a summer like we had last year where we weren’t home any weekend between Memorial Day and Labor day.  While a great plan (in theory) the Universe had a completely different plan.  While business has been good and I’ve shot more real estate in the last 3 months than all of last year, I don’t know how I’ve achieved these numbers.  I’m not going to bore you with all of the details but since the middle of May Kim and I have spent more time in Myrtle Beach than here at home.  You see her mom’s health deteriorated very rapidly and we were dealing with all the fun that “end of life” has to offer.  This past week is the first full week we’ve spent in our bed and it feels great!  Now I’ve got to get back on track and get my business going again.

Here’s some images from some of the shoots I managed to squeeze in.

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It’s Not the Cover But…….

Well I didn’t get the cover.  Drag.  I thought the exterior shot was really great.  I’ll be interested to see what image they chose.  It is the first time I’ve seen my name next to the words Photography by.  I hope this feeling of seeing my name as the photographer of record never gets old.  Jo Anne from County Lines magazine forwarded me the pdf of the article and I’m very pleased with how the images turned out.  There is always that trepidation when sending things to print.  Are the colors going to be accurate?  How are they going to crop the images? Which image are they going to use for main shot?  Not that you have too much control over it.  You prep your files as requested.  Check your color space for any major shifts.  Then it’s up to the layout artist, editors and printers to handle the rest.  I think they did a really nice job.

Here’s the article

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Working on My Website

I’ve been working on revamping my website.  I’ve changed a bunch of the galleries mainly by reducing the number of images.  I’ve been trying to only present the best of the best for each of the categories.  I’ve also added a Weddings gallery showing off some of my wedding work.  I’m not but wouldn’t mind a little feed back at this point as I’m kinda stuck on where to go next.  Thanks in advance for checking it out.  I look forward to hearing what you have to say.  www.fullframefotography.com

The Cover shot (maybe)

Well last week was an exciting week.  I received a phone call from one of my realtor clients asking me if I could do a shoot for them.  Not a problem.  So we scheduled the shoot for last Thursday.  Well Thursday came and it was your typical grey, overcast late winter day.  Not that  I was thinking the Sun would come out but I was hoping.  I arrived at the property to be greeted by the owner and a woman by the name of Jo Anne Durako.  At this point I really wasn’t sure what was transpiring.  My initial thoughts were that Jo Anne was part of the realtor’s team and was there to kind of oversee things.  Well after talking with Jo Anne for a few minutes it turns out that she is the editor and VP of County Lines magazine and that I was there to provide photographs for the magazine as the property was being featured in the April issue.  Wow!  Awesome!  So I was given relatively free reign.  There were a couple of shots that they asked for specifically but other than that I was told to do what I normally did.   Meanwhile Jo Anne interviewed the homeowner about the features, designer, architect and contractor.   It was a really nice, clean, contemporary home that was actually a conversion that started off as an early 19th century farmhouse.  I would have never guessed that in a million years if I hadn’t inquired.  The day never got any better and I got some exterior shots but they weren’t anything to write home about.  I was really hoping for something that “popped” but I wasn’t going to get it that day that was for sure.  So I went back on Saturday hoping to get something more dramatic.  Again the Sun did not cooperate so I waited for a nice dusk or night shot.  No such luck.  It got cloudy and there was just no color to the sky.  So I sent what I had off to the magazine on Monday morning.  It didn’t take long for Jo Anne to get back to me saying everything looked good except the exterior.  I was expecting that.  Monday afternoon brought out the Sun. Unfortunately I was already committed to another shoot on the other side of town but I told Jo Anne that I’d get over to the property and get a couple of night time shots.   Well what a difference.  Had beautiful clear skies and managed to get this shot.

_MG_9166_fusedJo Anne liked it so much it might be the cover shot for magazine next month!

Here are a couple more from the shoot.

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