Preparing a home for a photo shoot

In the 7 years I have been photographing homes for sale, I have moved many trash cans, tissue boxes and numerous other items. So, with the suggestion of another photographer across the country, I put together a handout to send to home owners. Once a homeowner has this in hand, the house is usually in photo ready shape for me when I arrive.

Feel free to use my suggestions to create your own handout.

Virtual Tour of an 11,000+ Square Foot Home

Wow, this home was so much fun and a challenge to photograph in the late summer of 2010. I did have to go back the next morning to capture the sun on the front of the home and it was well worth it for the result.

Click on any of the photos to see the tour.

Virtual Tour of a 1620 Square Foot Home

6029 S Windermere Street – Virtual Tour.

It really is great fun to do virtual tours of small houses, especially when they look great. We are just starting to come into Spring, so the outdoor yard colors aren’t great. Luckily the homeowner had some nice photos of the yard in the summer time. The photos were large enough that they remain crisp within the tour.

My goal within my tours is to present the home as one would walk through exploring the home. I want the viewer to see the relationships of the rooms and spaces. This way a viewer can imagine oneself within the home.     Click on the Address to see the tour.

A Tool for Enhancing the Pole Pixie for Your Point & Shoot – The Pixie Click

If you are using a point and shoot camera on your Pole Pixie and want a great way to click off a number of pictures easily. It’s time to check out the Pixie Click http://polepixie.com/pixie-click-remote-trigger.cfm

As you may or may not know there are currently no remote radio triggers for point and shoot cameras. So, to use the Pole Pixie one has to set the timer on the camera, click the shutter release and raise the pole up and shot. Each time bringing the camera back down and setting it up again. The advantage of the Pixie Click is that allows you to shoot a whole raft of photos shifting the camera around without bringing the pole down each time. And out of all of those photos usually one will work best for your job.

Though the Pixie Click is not designed for a DSLR, I was initially hoping that I could use this new product with my DSLR, but neither of my cameras fit. And after using this device with a point and shot camera I realized the whole system would be too heavy with a DSLR camera. And it would be especially heavy with a wide angle lens attached.

So, I tried the Pixie Click with my point and shoot Nikon camera. It did take a while to set up the camera within the Pixie Click frame – which the instructions say it will. But, once I got it all set up I had a great time trying it out. The instructions are clear to understand with photos illustrating the setup. It also is definitely easier to set up the second time since all of my settings remained in place and all I had to do was attach the camera and I was ready to go.

Once I was all set up, I had a good time testing it out. Here I shot from the middle of the street. One is an example of a missed shot the other a good shot. During this round I shot about 10 photos in the matter of a minute.

I then decided I needed to go in closer to see how the house would look and again I took around 10 shots in the matter of a minute. Here are two of my results, one not so good and one good.

Then I just tried photographing down the street and this was the result.

So, if you are using your point and shoot camera for some of your exterior shots and already either have or are looking at purchasing the Pole Pixie, I recommend the additional investment in the Pixie Click to give you a full system for shooting those high shots.

Virtual Tours with a New Look

I have just started using a new tour company so that I can now brand the tours for my clients. Still working out some of the bugs and getting used to a new way of doing things. I thought I should post the first three here and as for some feedback on how they look and work for you. The company is working on how the stills pan in and out which I should probably be able to change within the next month. I am still working on the partial panoramics to get them to move the way I want. It’s a learning curve.

Click on the photos below to take you to the tour.

My First Video Home Tour

A Realtor® friend of mine, Hope Hughes and I were working on social networking when she said that she wanted to try doing a video home tour. I volunteered to try it out. I have a small Sony Handycam (DCR-SR85) – I now wish I had bought the HD version last year instead because it would better match the still shots I incorporated. Though the final results are ok at the size of a YouTube video.

It was my first venture using my iMovie program. I took advantage of my One-on-One subscription at the Apple store. I hauled in my computer and worked there for about 5.5 hours. I was only supposed to work for 3 hours, but because only one person had signed up for the following 3 hours, they let me stay. I learned so much more that I expected and was able to pretty much complete the video. And wow, iMovie was so much better than using Windows MovieMaker.

There is some discussion out there about video tours of homes. I found very recent blog post on http://photographyforrealestate.net/ where they asked how many photographers were thinking about or already doing video tours. Answer, not that many…so, who knows we may be on the cutting edge for Denver.

Here is the first video tour.

I would appreciate some constructive criticism (I went to art school – I can take it)

Photo Tip – How to Straighten Walls in Photoshop Elements

Have you ever ended up with an oddly angled wall in a photograph of a room?   If you are using a wide angle lens, this seems to happen more often. Sometimes if you are looking from a high angle down on a room – I do this a lot in kitchens to show off appliances –  it works well to leave the odd angles.

It is obvious in this picture that I am looking down on the room to show off the appliances and tops of the counters.

When you are really looking more directly at  room and the walls are slanted like the second photo, it is better to try and correct the angle.

With a few simple steps you can make the walls in a photo straighter.

Step by Step instructions:

While your photo is open and in the workspace of Photoshop Elements go to the top menu bar and click on “Image” > “Transform” > “Skew”

You might get a message asking if you wish to create a new layer. If so, select “Yes”

Now make sure that your image is small enough to see all of the corners of your image with additional space around all four sides. You can do this easily on your PC by clicking “Ctrl -” (the minus symbol) on your Mac it’s “Command -” (also the minus symbol).

Place your cursor on the corner you wish to move out – hold down the left mouse button and drag the corner out until your wall is mostly straight. Go to the opposite corner and drag that corner out to straighten the other side.

This image shows how far I dragged out the corners to straighten the walls in this particular image.

Once you are pleased with the results click on the Check Mark. Next you want to go to “Layer” > “Flatten Image” . The reason for this is make the file itself smaller and easier to save as a jpeg file.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions.