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.

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.

Photo Tip on Choosing a Camera for Real Estate Photography

I discovered a good blog for Real Estate photography that has been around a lot longer than I.

I am not a real techie when it comes to cameras. My Digital SLR Olympus cameras work for me. I can’t, off the top of my head tell you what lenses I use. I am visual and have to look through the lens to know if it is going to work for what I am trying to accomplish. So, if you are in need of a new camera to use for real estate photography, I suggest you go to this page: http://photographyforrealestate.net/cameras/. They also have suggestions for smaller, less expensive cameras and suggested lenses.

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)

Using Visual Tour® to Create Virtual Tours – Made for REALTORS®

As a photographer I have been using Visual Tour® to create virtual tours for my clients. This program was developed for REALTORS® who do their own photography. It is easy to use and the results can be quite wonderful.

You can have as many as 50 images within the tour. You can do a combination of still shots and panoramics – all of which can move, if you so chose.

Visual Tour® requires that you use a digital camera. It’s best if you shoot with the highest resolution possible. When I started my business 5 years ago, I just had a high quality point and shoot camera. I have since moved up to an Olympus SLR (single lens reflex) which allows me to shot very high quality images. As I have moved up with the quality of my equipment Visual Tour® has been upgrading their viewers and I think it’s one of the best interfaces for viewing tours on the web.

I generally do panoramic shots that are more of a 180° shot instead of the 360° shots that many of the tour companies do because I find that the room is not as visually distorted when viewing. In doing those pan shots I have trained myself to shot with the camera vertically by hand instead of horizontally on a tripod. I always shot each panoramic twice, just in case some of the walls, counters, etc. don’t quite line up when the images are stitched together.

Here is a recent tour for you to check out:

I will plan on talking about some tips and tricks I have learned doing virtual tours using Visual Tour® in this blog in the future. If you have particular questions or comments. Please comment above.