Updated grapeimaging.com – check it out

I just updated the virtual tours on my website. They are newer tours with the expanded window for viewing.

I am so glad Visual Tour® updated its viewer this past summer. The viewer has always worked well, but it always looked as though it were designed by engineers and not a graphic designer.  Now it looks great.

Please check out www.grapeimaging.com

Photo Tip – What a difference changing the carpet makes.

I think it is a great idea that once a homeowner has made changes after the home has been photographed and listed that you go back to take pictures of those changes. It’s also a good idea to refresh the listing after changing out the pictures.

I just reshot a house this week. What a difference the new brown carpet makes on this home.



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Photo Tip – Grey Skies Behind the Home? Make them Blue.

Have you ever been photographing a home and the clouds are right behind the home and there is no spot of blue in the picture? It can be so frustrating especially if it is a great day and there is blue in the sky around and the sun is shining on the house.

front with grey sky  Front with added blue sky

I have a solution – though it takes longer than the quick fix in Photoshop Elements 7.0 – which I am not convinced  works very well, at least for my purpose. I have tried the quick fix for skies, but have found two problems. 1. The blue that is inserts is a weird blue, especially for Colorado skies. 2. If there is no grey or color in the clouds it doesn’t add any color.

The process, I recommend, can take a little while in Photoshop especially if there is a tree or other vegetation that is above the roof line of the home. I think it is well worth the time to get it looking right.

sky shot    First, take a few pictures of the blue sky around the area that day. Make sure to include clouds  – it will be more convincing when incorporated into the picture of the home.


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Photo Tip – Sizing Photos for the Denver Area Metrolist

I have tried to keep up with this blog, but the last few weeks have been packed with jobs. I am not complaining at all, it’s been great!

Periodically, I call Metrolist to find out if I am sizing the photos properly – It had been 448 pixels x 290 pixels. This time I was told 640 pixels x 480 pixels – which I was pretty sure was  not the same proportions as what I had been using. So, I did a test. I uploaded a photo that was 64ox480 and then proceeded to look at it on the mls. It was distorted – the photo had been stretched to the elogated rectangle on the site.

I went back to the drawing board…and thought if the old proportions still worked, but we could upload a larger photo – I would try that. In order to figure the proportions using 640 as my width. I went to google and found http://www.scriptygoddess.com/resources/proportioncalc.htm   –  I could type in the old proportions and one new proportion and it would give me the other side. Turns out it is 640×415 pixels.

I tried the new size and presto, it worked.

797510a  mls Front

My goal is to make sure we see the best photos out there for real estate. If Realtors® and their assistants don’t know the correct proportions, their photos are never going to look right to the public. So, what do we do?

Photo Tip – Sharpening Photos for the Web

kitchen not sharpened Not Sharpened

 kitchen sharpened Sharpened

I learned an number of years ago that in order to make photos look better on the web it’s good to sharpen the image. This is easily done in Adobe Photoshop Elements (I use the newest version 7.0, but I believe the process is the same for all other versions). Open your photo in Photoshop Elements – Resize your image and lighten shadows as discussed in previous posts. Then click on “Enhance” and “Adjust Sharpness” I suggest sliding the box under “Radius” to .5 pixels – you will be able to see if the image looks better. To check out how it might look differently, slide along the bar until you find what looks best to you. Now click OK.

In the future instead of clicking on “Adjust Sharpness” you can click on “Auto Sharpen” as you have already set the sharpness that you desire. Your pictures will now look even better on the web.

Photo Tip – Take Those Magnets and Pictures Off the Fridge

Lots of clutter in a room can distract the viewer of your real estate pictures. One place that seems to get very cluttered in many homes – which we seem to miss – is the front and side of the refrigerator.  I recommend taking the time to remove anything on the fridge that will be in your pictures. Look at the difference.

with refrigerator magnets  without refrigerator magnets

558085b This photo was on the mls…what a beautiful kitchen other than that very clutter fridge.

 I also almost always remove the paper towel holder and the soap dispensers that are on the kitchen counter. Those items are fine when showing the home, but can sometimes really clutter the photograph.

Grape Photographs on Grape Street – what a hoot!

Yesterday I finally got a chance to photograph on Grape Street in Denver. I should have set up a photo of me and the street sign, but there was no good place to park where the biggest sign was posted. Ah, well.

The home is a great 1942 bungelow with nice interior details,  a nice backyard and great porch. This is when that wide angle lens came in very handy for the still shots.

mls covered patio  mls bedroom 1  

mls Kitchen  mls living room2

To see the tour click on the link: http://www.visualtour.com/show.asp?T=1945330&prt=10003 It is not on the mls yet, so if you need more detailed information check back in a couple of days.

Photo Tip – Lightening Shadows and Darkening Highlights Can Improve a Photo

When you are out photographing a home usually one side of the home has more sunlight on it than does another side. We try to take the front photos when the sun is on them, but sometimes it doesn’t work out. Here in Colorado the clouds tend to move in sometime in the afternoon. So, I usually schedule to photograph in the mornings.

You can easily use Photoshop Elements (I currently use version 7) to lighten the shadow areas and darken some of the highlight areas. Which helps me go from this:

needs to be lightened 3 to this: mls front 3

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Photo Tip – Putting a Vertical Photo in a Horizontal Frame

One of the Realtors® that took a photography class of mine called today to ask about how I put a vertical image into a horizontal frame. Sometimes you just want to show a great feature that can only be captured vertically.  Here in the Denver area the multi listing requires all photos be entered as a horizontal image that is 640 pixels wide by 480 pixels high. If you upload a vertical picture it will be stretched to fit the frame like this:


So to make your photo look like the image below I will list the step by step instructions using Photoshop Elements 7.0.  The same instructions should apply for all versions of Photoshop Elements since 3.0.

redo vertical final

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Photo Tip – What’s in a Lens?

I find that it is important to have a good quality lens for shooting real estate photography. The number of mega pixels is not as important when doing photos for the web (including virtual tours). More mega pixels are only important if you are going to be doing large photographic prints.

That said, I want show you what different lens do for a still shot. I am going to show you a sample of the same shot, from the same location in a room with three different lens.

This first shot is using a good quality point and shot camera at the widest setting:

kitchen with point and shoot

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