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So far Brent Loe has created 27 blog entries.

Are You On The Right Track For Your Photography Goals?

How Do Photographers Tell If They’re Doing Good Work?

Photographers are artists by their very nature. As with any artist, photographers want to know if they’re producing good work.

After all, a photographer known for shooting stunning photos can quickly build a business, attract new clients, and command higher rates. There’s also a sense of pride in striving to perfect your work and develop your skill.

But how do photographers tell if they’re doing good work?

Review Your Photography Techniques

When you’re assessing your own skills to see where you excel and what areas need improvement, pay close attention to how you use common photography techniques, like the:

  • Rule of thirds
  • Focus and composition
  • Balance
  • Depth of field and what subjects are given emphasis
  • Cropping
  • Lighting

The use of proper photography techniques comes with time, training, and practice. Proper techniques, when used together, elevate a photo from looking like it was shot by an amateur to one taken by a professional.

Understand Your Equipment…and How to Use It

You can pour thousands of dollars into buying expensive equipment and tools. Buying all the cutting-edge equipment in the world doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to improve your work. You still need to learn the proper way to make use of your camera, lenses, tripods, flash, and other equipment.

Did you know that how you hold your camera has an impact on the quality of a photo? Gripping the camera improperly can make you shake and make a photo look blurry or out of focus.

Don’t be afraid to get down and dirty, too. While you might be inclined to lean forward or backward when framing a shot, you’re better off repositioning your entire body — even if it means laying on the ground.

If you’re shooting in bad weather, prepare for the conditions beforehand. Bring clothes to keep yourself comfortable, warm, and dry. Shell out the cash for a lens hood or some microfiber cloths to keep your lens free and clear of raindrops or snowflakes.

As you practice honing your photography techniques, work on learning how your tools work. Play around with different lenses to get a feel for which ones excel over others in certain situations.

Remember: high-quality equipment alone doesn’t make for a better shot. Spend time learning how best to use what you’ve got.

Measure How Well Your Work is Received

It’s not always easy to accurately judge the quality of your own work. You might be too self-critical or overly enamored by what you consider to be your magnum opus.

That’s why you need to consider how others receive your work. Ultimately, they’re the ones who will decide whether or not to hire you based on your portfolio and samples.

One of the key metrics in analyzing the quality of your photography is evaluating its ability to earn currency. Currency can be anything from money to attention to likes on social media. If your photo accumulates currency (whatever it may be), that means your photo is making an impact and eliciting some sort of a response from an audience.

Some photos might be better evaluated in one context more than another. A photo you post on Instagram to garner likes and social feedback may not be the best photo to enter into a contest with industry peers.

That said, entering a contest or competition is another viable strategy for assessing the quality of your photography. Even if you lose, you might receive valuable feedback from those who are well-acquainted with judging professional photography. And if you win, well…being selected for first place in a photography contest says a lot about the quality of your work.

Once you feel like your work is of a high quality, feel free to submit it to stock agencies. Stock agencies want to buy the best work, so their acceptance of what you offer is a sign you’re on the right track.

Finally, some photographers offer to review their peers’ portfolios — generally for a fee. This is a great way to get feedback from someone whose work you admire and respect.

Continue to Hone Your Photography Skills

It’s all too easy to grow complacent with your skillset, even if you’re taking home prestigious awards and raking in the big bucks. No matter your skill as a photographer, continue to develop, learn, and experiment with new or better photography techniques, tools, and means of garnering feedback.

By |2019-03-15T10:15:43-08:00March 15th, 2019|Uncategorized|1 Comment

How to Sell Your House in 2019

So, you have found yourself at that point of selling your house and moving on. Maybe you’re downsizing to a smaller house because the kids have finally left the nest, or you got a job in a new city and need to relocate, or finally, you retired and want to head south to warmer climates. Whatever your reason, you’re ready to sell your home. Luckily for you, we put together a comprehensive guide for first-time and seasoned home sellers. Continue reading to find out how to sell your house this year.

1) Hire a Home Inspector

You’re probably thinking wait, isn’t that what the buyer is going to do? You’re not wrong. When a buyer has made an offer and you’ve accepted it, the buyer will most likely hire a home inspector of their own. So, why would you hire a home inspector? First, if a home inspector turns up something that’s in need of repair, wouldn’t you prefer to resolve it long before entering into negotiations with a potential buyer?

In fact, if you end up needing to make repairs expected to take weeks to fix, you may lose that buyer altogether. Hiring a home inspector is a proactive approach to getting your home ready to sell. Known as a pre-listing home inspection, you can find out the exact condition of your property, what repairs need to be addressed beforehand, fix them, then focus on the next task to get your home sold fast.

Also, knowing the condition of your property will further assist you during the negotiation phase with potential buyers.  As you may already be aware, since you’ve already bought a home yourself, buyers often use their home inspection as a way of getting concessions from sellers, such as asking you to drop your list price. If you’ve already addressed any repairs that turned up in an inspection report, it is less likely that any new repairs will come up and impact your position during negotiations.

2) Make Repairs and Small Upgrades to Your Home

After your inspector makes a comprehensive list of repairs you should make, it’s time to get started either making the repairs yourself or contracting the right person to do them. This is may also be a great time to make small upgrades to your home that will help your house to sell fast. You don’t need to renovate your kitchen or anything, but that red accent wall that was extremely popular a decade ago might need a fresh coat of paint more neutral in color.

Understand Your Homes Selling Points

First, try understanding your home’s selling points and then try to highlight those features to make them really stand out. Not sure what those features are in your home? Just think about what sold you on your home when you first toured it. Was it the kitchen, the open floor plan, or that personal studio space? These are the features you want to concentrate on because they are most likely to sell your home again.

Brighten Your Home

You also want to think about ways to brighten your home and improve your curb appeal. Simple ways to brighten your home is painting your ceilings white and choosing a wall color that is brighter and more neutral. Though you may have enjoyed that accent wall, not everyone has the same taste as yourself. You want to make your house appeal to the largest audience possible to not only sell your home fast but to also invite more offers.

Improve Your Curb Appeal

Furthermore, improving your curb appeal is crucial for future homebuyers. You only make a first impression once, and the curb appeal of your home is the first impression of your home for potential buyers. Though you may not necessarily have to paint the exterior of your house to impress homebuyers, simple things like trimming your hedges, freshly mowed lawn and making sure any exterior lights aren’t burnt out can go a long way. Even freshly laid beauty bark and newly planted flowers can really make your yard pop!

Though this can be a lot of work, you will be happy that you did it because homes often sell faster and for more money when these small upgrades are done. If you don’t want to do all that work yourself, don’t know how to, or just don’t have the time, there are concierge type services that can do it all for you. This way you can focus on moving to your next home.

3) Declutter and Prep Your House to Sell

There’s an expression in real estate, “clutter can cost a sale.” Decluttering and prepping your home is something you want to really focus on. Especially if you’ve lived in your house for five years or more, there is a good chance you’ve collected a lot of stuff. Don’t worry it happens!

Renting storage units are becoming an increasingly popular method to decluttering one’s home before selling it. The idea is to limit the amount of stuff in your house so that potential buyers can envision themselves (and their stuff) in that space. Even removing photos is a great way to allow people touring your home to think about what they would hang on those walls or what they’d place on that fire mantel. Basically, you’re trying to present your house as a canvass from which potential buyers can create the next chapter of their lives.

Furthermore, by eliminating the majority of your stuff in your house earlier you can start deep cleaning your home more easily. And yes, you want to deep clean your home. If you sold your car to someone (not a dealership) you would probably wash it and vacuum the inside of it before you let someone test drive it, right? Well, the same goes for selling your house. You want to present your home in its best possible light so that it sells fast and you get competing offers.

Also, don’t just focus on deep cleaning just the inside of your home. You can use a pro wash to clean the outside of your home as well. These products typically attached to your garden hose and then you just spray your house down. It’s kind of like washing your car, just without the scrubbing.

4) Find a Real Estate Agent

Finding a real estate agent is easy, finding a great real estate agent can be more of a challenge. Getting referrals and reading online reviews is a great way to start narrowing down your options, and hopefully, you’ll end up with a couple of good potential candidates to interview.

You’ll want to understand what you’re looking for when hiring a real estate agent to represent your best interests. Here are some questions to consider asking any potential candidate:

  • How many clients have you served this year?
  • Has a client ever filed a complaint against you?
  • What is your fee? (3% commission is beginning to be replaced by 1% – 1.5% in many areas)
  • What services do you offer beyond negotiations and escrow?

These are just a few questions to consider asking while interviewing real estate agents. A more comprehensive list of interview questions can be found here.

After you decide on a real estate agent, you and your agent should come up with a plan of action. This plan should include a timeline, from the pricing of your home and getting it listed on MLS to open houses. It should also include when a price reduction strategy needs to take effect to get your home sold. You and your agent should be on the same page at all times and a plan of action will help ensure that.

5) Price Your Home to Sell

Now is the time to find out what price you should list your home! You can start by using online tools to help you get an idea of what your home is currently worth. This is a great starting point to get an idea of your home’s worth, but you should never set your sights on a single number and expect it to happen. Market conditions change all the time and so too does buyer behavior. Being open-minded about pricing your home as well as adjusting price is key to get your home sold.

Another option that many homeowners do to get a list price for their home is to hire a home appraiser. Home appraisers are licensed professionals that will assess the value of your house based on the state of your property and overall housing market conditions. They will look at the size of your property, the interior and exterior conditions of your house, any upgrades, additions or home improvements you’ve done, and then calculate your home’s worth based on the local market conditions.

Looking at comparables of recently sold homes in your area will also help you settle on a price with your real estate agent. These homes should be similar in size, location, and sold within the last few months. Anything outside of those parameters would not be considered true comparables and could give you false information for pricing your home.

Furthermore, you want to be strategic about your pricing. You want your house to sell fast while being competitive for current market conditions. Instead of lumping the price of your house in with others in the area, strategize your pricing based on your home’s selling features. In other words, if there are three houses for sale in the same area as your own and priced at $350,000, you might be able to justify $360,000 or more because you have a larger lot size or maybe you’re located in a popular neighborhood.

6) Get Professional Photos Taken of Your Home

Nothing sells a home faster than professional photos. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. They are searching online, looking at every home that comes up for sale within their filtered interests the moment it’s listed. If your house is being represented online by poorly shot photography, your listing will see very little traffic. Not to mention, it has been widely observed that listing your house with professionally shot photos, on average, sell for more money than other listings.

Furthermore, 3D walking tours along with aerial photography that show a bird’s eye view of one’s home and its surrounding area have become increasingly popular with buyers looking online. Many agencies include some or all of these services as a component of their overall services to you as a seller. However, you should ask while interviewing your real estate agent what services are provided, so you don’t find yourself paying out of pocket later. Just remember, the better you represent your house online, the faster it will sell.

7) List Your Home to Sell

Your real estate agent will get your home listed online on MLS (Multiple Listing Service), in order to l start showing up on real estate search platforms to potential buyers.

You may be wondering when is the best time to list your home? If you’re thinking about waiting for a specific season, then you might be waiting for nothing. In 2016, Redfin analyzed more than 7 million home sales to identify specific seasonal trends in homes being sold. What was determined was that though spring was slightly better for homes that sold within 30 days and for above-asking price, winter was surprisingly a close second. What plays a bigger role in a house being sold quickly and/or above asking price has more to do with current market conditions than the season a house is sold.

Also, don’t limit the marketing of your house to your real estate agent and online search. Market your house yourself! Spread the word through your family and friends, share your listing on social media, send out emails asking people to share your listing with others, and even advertising with online ads are ways of getting your house in front of more people and increase the chance of selling your home faster.

8) Have Open Houses and Personal Showings

Your first open house is what you’ve been working towards and now it’s about to happen. It’s time to step up your game and stage your home to sell. Here is a list of things to consider that will really help you make your house shine:

  • Clear the clutter: You may have already transferred most of your belongings to a storage unit by now. Focus on just cleaning up the clutter that gets left out on countertops and tables. Put away newspapers, mail or magazines, or if you have children help them pick up their toys.
  • Deep clean your house: Nothing turns off a buyer more than an unclean bathroom. That could also be said about the rest of your house. Now more than ever is that time to wash your windows, window sills, and scrub your grimy glass shower doors.
  • Add white accents: White accents such as flowers or towels in the bathroom create a sense of welcome cleanliness.
  • Arrange furniture: You don’t have to necessarily rent furniture to stage your home. You can most likely use what you have. The key is to limit the number of furniture pieces in any one room and then arrange them in a way that’s inviting to people as they enter the room.
  • Bring in light: Think about removing your curtains or keeping them drawn back to allow as much light into your house as possible. If you have rather large elaborate curtains, consider storing them away until you get to your next home.
  • Showcase your floors: Floors are key feature homebuyers are looking at, especially if you have wood floors. Show them off by removing any rugs or unneeded furniture so that more of your flooring can be seen. If you have wood floors, think about getting them polished to really make them pop!
  • Create a welcoming ambiance: You may have heard about that old trick of lighting a candle that smells like freshly baked cookies? Well, it’s not wrong, but a single candle might not do the trick. Focus on reducing odors in your home. If you have a mudroom, or a cat or dog, use a neutralizing spray for a few days before an open house to limit any odors that you may not actually realize are there.
  • Organize all closets and drawers: Homebuyers touring your home will most likely look in your closets to determine space and, frankly, to see if their stuff will fit in there. Also, they will likely open kitchen drawers and cabinets as well, so make sure everything is nice and tidy.
  • Dust: Concentrate on all the areas that you’ve most likely have turned a blind eye to for some time, like ceiling fans, baseboards, on top of doorways, appliances, etc.
  • Make your entrance inviting: If the exterior of your house has outdated light fixtures or worn out address numbers, consider replacing them along with your welcome mat. A new mat is always inviting to people touring your home.
  • Secure your valuables: If you didn’t already store your valuables away in the storage unit you rented, you’ll want to make sure that these are not kept in plain sight. In fact, if you have a safe of some kind, that would be a perfect place to store your valuables while open houses and home tours are taking place.

Unlike open houses that are planned in advance, personal showings can happen at any point during the home selling process. The key is to be flexible and maintain your home’s cleanliness to make it easier on yourself in case of unexpected tours that may just pop up at moment’s notice. You want to make a great first impression every time!

10) Have a Plan in Case Your Home Doesn’t Sell Quick Enough

You and your real estate agent should have already gone over this beforehand, but not every house sells after the first open house. There are many factors at play and depending on the condition of the housing market for your area, your real estate agent may have to use some other strategies in their arsenal to get your house sold.

If it’s lowering the price of your home or holding more open houses, you’ll want to agree on what the next steps should be in case your house isn’t seeing any offers.

11) Negotiate the Selling Price of Your Home

One thing to consider is that the buyer is trying to get the absolute best price they can, while you’re doing the exact same. There will be multiple factors to consider as each home sold and purchased is different. For example, if it’s a buyer’s market that means the buyer has the upper hand because there are multiple listings with fewer offers being made. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make huge concessions in order to sell your home.

This is where your agent really steps up. They will help you navigate the negotiation process, and will give you their advice on how to proceed when offers are being made. Luckily, you interviewed and hired the right agent, so you know they have your best interests in mind. There are several factors and tactics to consider when entering this phase. Your agent will help you every step of the way as you navigate through the negotiation process.

You most likely have made many great memories in your home. Your children may have grown up in your house and marks of their heights years past still scar the wall near the kitchen. It’s difficult, but try to separate yourself – emotionally – from your house. Whatever your memories may be, just remember they are not lost, but they also have no place in negotiations. Try to remain objective during this process and rely on your real estate agent for advice and how to proceed.

12) Sign and Close

This is the moment you and your agent have been working towards. You’ve agreed on a price with the buyers, any and all inspections and appraisals of your home have been completed, and you are now signing the papers to sell your house. Congratulations, you’ve done it!

Source: Redfin

By |2019-03-08T09:55:03-08:00March 8th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Why You Need to Carry a Wide Angle Lens and a Zoom Lens

Photographers tend to carry what feels like a metric ton of gear. Whether we’re carrying equipment to shoot in bad weather or different pairs of shoes, we’re always prepared for a variety of situations and shots.

Our heavy packs often mean we leave a lot of gear behind at our offices and studios, however. While it’s always necessary to leave some of our equipment behind, there are two items photographers should always carry: a wide-angle lens and a zoom lens.

The Benefits of a Wide-Angle Lens

Wide-angle and ultra-wide angle lenses are an important piece of gear for landscape, architectural, real estate, and still-life photographers. They “add depth and drama” to a shot and can more easily add background context to a photo.

Wide-angle lenses offer a short focus distance, which allows a photographer to capture the subject of a photo without ignoring the background.

Using a wide-angle lens allows you to capture an entire shot (like a room or building). This is particularly useful in confined spaces, such as those you’d find when photographing real estate.

The edges of a photo can become distorted when shooting a wider shot. Though such distortion isn’t always desired, the effect on a shot’s edges can make for some interesting and exaggerated perspectives.

The Benefits of a Zoom Lens

Zoom lenses bring distant subjects closer. A zoom lens uses variable focal lengths that grant photographers the ability to transition from wide-angle to standard to telephoto focal lengths all in one lens.

It’s best to use a zoom lens for “action” shots of physical activities, like sports or wildlife photography. A zoom lens is also ideal for event photography where it’s important to focus on the subject of your photo, as at a wedding.

Why Photographers Need Both a Wide-Angle and Zoom Lens

With all the gear in your bag, why do I recommend photographers carry a wide-angle lens and a zoom lens?

Both types of lenses fulfill a specific purpose and can help you more effectively take a photo. Using a wide angle lens means you can capture an entire scene — a wide shot. But to truly capture a specific subject within that scene, you’ll be better served with a zoom lens.

Each lens treats the subject, foreground, and background differently, leading to a change in perspective. A wide-angle lens distorts the foreground and subject. A zoom lens brings the subject and background closer together.

Carrying Both Lenses is a Boon to Your Photography

A photographer will only be helped by having a wide-angle and a zoom lens available on shoots. Each lens is ideal for shooting a certain type of photo, so experiment, compare, and contrast during a shoot. Strive to get a feel for which lens you should use when, and up your photography game by having both lenses available to you whenever the need arises for one or the other.

Sources/references:

https://www.adorama.com/alc/wide-angle-vs-telephoto-which-lens-should-you-choose

https://expertphotography.com/wide-angle-lens/

https://digital-photography-school.com/wide-angle-versus-telephoto-lenses-for-beautiful-landscape-photography/

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/buying-guide/wide-and-extreme-wide-angle-lenses-guide

https://www.lifewire.com/understand-camera-zoom-lenses-493015

https://www.adorama.com/alc/0008282/article/Buying-Guide-Choosing-a-Lens

By |2019-02-01T16:09:14-08:00February 1st, 2019|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Should I go to college for photography?

Do Photographers Need College Degrees?

Novice photographers are often faced with two choices before embarking on a professional career path: attend school or learn as they go.

There’s no one right answer. Every photographer has a unique situation and set of goals. Some novices may not be able to afford college tuition, while others may simply learn better in a classroom.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to learn photography, but which one is right for you?

Formal Education for Photographers

Formal education is the path many take after high school, regardless of a student’s choice of major or career goals. It’s the typical “college experience” that helps prepare you for the working world.

As with other fields, would-be photographers must choose a school that offers a program that appeals to them. Schools offer a variety of photography majors and programs and often encourage (or require) specialization in a specific aspect of photography, such as digital or advertising photography.

Before pursuing formal education, however, would-be photographers must consider:

  • The cost of obtaining a degree
  • Time spent in classes
  • Courses that don’t adapt as quickly to changes in the field

On the flip side, those that do attend college in pursuit of a photography degree can benefit from:

  • Networking and connections
  • Internships
  • A more well-rounded education, such as time dedicated to learning history, craft, and theory
  • A professional certificate or college degree

Formal education helps open doors of opportunity for those that graduate a photography program. In this way, it may be easier for them to find a job or branch into another field, like teaching.

Self-Taught Education for Photographers

In contrast to a structured education, self-taught photographers are not bound by any one path or curriculum. Instead, they can pursue their passion for photography immediately after (and even before) high school graduation.

By following a self-directed regimen, photographers can focus on a particular specialization. They may also choose to attend a technical school aimed entirely at developing photography skills. From there, experience can be earned in real-world situations: on the job, either as an intern, employee, freelancer, or self-employed business owner.

Self-taught photographers miss out on:

  • Earning a degree in photography
  • A structured learning curriculum, such as courses in theory and history
  • Access to experts and equipment found in a college setting

In contrast, self-taught photographers:

  • Gain real-world experience
  • Can begin their career immediately
  • May adapt to the ever-changing landscape of photography

Self-taught photographers hone their skills through trial and error, with less guidance than those who attend school. For many, the ability to be in control of their own destiny is well-worth the trade-offs.

Choosing Formal Education or a Self-Guided Education

Between a formal education or self-guided education, which choice is best for a would-be photographer?

It depends.

Either choice brings its fair share of pros and cons. What ultimately matters is choosing a path that complements your lifestyle, finances, and goals.

There are merits to being, or hiring, either type of photographer. Passion for photography and a desire to continually hone and improve your craft will take you far, no matter the path you choose to walk.

By |2019-01-07T10:38:50-08:00January 7th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Should Real Estate Photographers Edit Their Own Photos?

A real estate photographer’s job doesn’t end after snapping a few photos of a property. In fact, taking photos is only one aspect of our job.

 

After each shoot, a real estate photographer typically refines and edits photos in post-processing. During this editing stage, we make sure each photo works to attract a buyer’s attention and help sell homes faster and for more money.

 

But editing comes with a trade-off: our time. Quality editing can be time-consuming, which reduces a photographer’s ability to photograph more properties in a given day. So, should real estate photographers edit their own photos or outsource to a dedicated editing professional?

The Benefits of Editing Real Estate Photos

Why should real estate photographers edit their photos at all? After all, if you’re trying to entice people to visit or buy your home, shouldn’t it look as authentic as possible in the photos?

 

Of course.

 

But even the best photos can be speckled with impurities and imperfections:

 

  • The camera’s flash might be reflected in an object
  • The sky through a window may be somber and unappealing
  • The photo could benefit from color correction

 

Editing a photo makes a scene appear the best it can be, as if potential homebuyers were there in person themselves.

How Much Time Does a Photographer Spend in Post-Processing?

Time spent in the editing process varies from photographer to photographer and shoot to shoot. In general, I spend between two to three hours editing photos, which is also about the time it takes to shoot a property.

 

There are many techniques that can be employed to process a single shot in 10 to 20 minutes, but that technique then needs to be replicated for multiple shots.

 

That means, in total, almost an entire workday is devoted to a single shoot.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Real Estate Photo Editing

Some real estate photographers choose to outsource their photo editing.

 

Finding a reliable and trustworthy editor can free up a photographer’s time to shoot even more properties.

 

Because a photographer can take on more jobs by outsourcing the editing work, he or she is making more money and is free to offer more affordable prices to clients.

 

And photo quality isn’t sacrificed, either. In fact, it might even be increased. If a photographer hires the right editor, it’s likely someone with substantial knowledge of editing software and techniques. While photographers are naturally familiar with editing, a dedicated editor focuses primarily on that singular task — and excels at it.

 

An editor’s expertise, then, translates directly to the final shots, which are then handed to a client and used to sell their property.

To Self-Edit or Outsource: That is the Question

There’s no right answer for whether or not a photographer should edit their own photos or outsource to a professional. Instead, the best solution depends entirely on the photographer and his or her workload.

 

A photographer may choose to self-edit a small shoot or when time permits — or may simply choose to do so from pure preference. On the other hand, outsourcing the editing process can help a photographer grow his or her business, book a full schedule, or meet plenty of close deadlines.

 

Whatever the choice, what’s paramount to every photographer is handing clients a set of the best possible photos — photos that will help a property sell for the most money.

By |2018-12-17T17:10:34-08:00December 17th, 2018|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Differences of Dimensions: 3D, 4D, and 5D

The Difference in Dimensions: 3D, 4D, and 5D

All of us are familiar with the various dimensions of objects and places we experience and interact with on a daily basis. One-dimensional objects, for example, are made up of one measurement, similar to a line that connects point A to point B. Objects are two-dimensional when they can be described with two measurements, such as height and width.

 

You’re likely familiar with the concept of 3D, or three-dimensional, objects. But what about the differences between 3D, 4D, and 5D? Let’s take a look at them!

What is 3D?

3D stands for three-dimensional and is used to describe objects that can be measured on three planes. In comparison to flat 2D, 3D uses a third dimension of “depth.” This creates the illusion that the figures viewers are looking at — such as a person modeling some new fashion or a home staged for sale — are authentic and right there, just like in real life.

 

Consider Avatar, a film heralded for its extensive use of 3D cinematography. Moviegoers were (obviously) not present on the fictional planet of Pandora, but the 3D objects on-screen created a compelling suspension of disbelief. Flower petals drifting through the air toward viewers often elicited a genuine reaction as arms across the theater shot up to attempting swiping or grabbing them.

What is 4D?

In film and cinematography, 4D enhances the suspension of disbelief by incorporating physical elements. This often includes physical sensations such as movement, lighting, and temperature.

 

4D helps to transport viewers further into the realm of the subject matter they’re consuming. Some amusement park rides make use of these elements to further entertain audience members.

 

Imagine our Avatar example once more. Your seat shifting and shaking during an on-screen flight or battle scene would constitute use of 4D. Similarly, a light mist covering you while a character walks through the jungle would also be an example of 4D in film.

What is 5D?

5D builds upon 3D and 4D by using more of your senses. 5D tantalizes your senses of smell, touch, and taste.

 

Imagine following a character along through a forest and actually smelling the scent of the earth or fresh-fallen rain. While a scene including fire plays out on-screen, heaters in the theater may give off warmth to mimic the feel of actually being there.

 

5D combines 3D and the added sensations of 4D. Together, 5D helps you witness the scene that transpires before your eyes (and other senses), lending credence to the belief that you’re actually present.

What About VR?

With the advent of virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, VR is making a bit of a comeback. But how does VR relate to 3D, 4D, and 5D?

 

Well, not all VR content is in 3D. While some images can certainly be experienced better through VR, the same exact shots can be seen through a 2D medium. These are often made up of 360 degrees of photos or video — or a panorama. It’s beautiful and immersive, but not entirely 3D.

 

The largest difference between 3D and virtual reality is interactivity. While there are varying degrees of just how interactive VR can get, it at least provides consumers control over the movement and direction of the camera. You may or may not be able to open a door, for instance, but you can certainly approach it — or choose to look at the ceiling above, for instance.

 

VR is not necessarily 3D, but it may make use of elements of 3D.

Which Dimension is the Best?

When photographing or filming, there’s no one clear answer to which dimension is the best to use. Each project is, of course, limited by budget and time constraints. On top of that, not all projects lend themselves to the added features of an extra dimension.

 

But understanding the differences between each dimension can benefit your work when the opportunity is available to you. Creating an immersive experience for your customers, clients, or consumers in general elicits stronger reactions and emotions — one of the biggest rewards of being a photographer, right?

By |2018-10-05T10:42:05-08:00October 5th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Virtual Staging: An Innovative Way to Sell Your Home

As technology continues to improve, growing numbers of home sellers find themselves looking into the benefits of using virtual staging to help sell their home. But just what is virtual staging and how does it stack up against physically staging a home to sell?

As the name implies, virtual staging is done on the computer rather than in real life. This means that, unlike traditional staging, you don’t rent any furniture, decor, or accents. Instead, virtual staging digitally inserts all of those same items into photographs of empty rooms in the home. This, in turn, helps to attract potential buyers online to tour the home, where they can then use their imagination and consult the virtual staging photos in order to envision how each room would look with furniture inside.

Preparing for Virtual Staging

One of the most important steps when preparing to virtually stage a home is to professionally photograph the rooms that will be virtually furnished. It’s crucial that these images are high-resolution to ensure that the final listing product is perfected for online buyers.

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Make sure to remove any unwanted items before capturing each room on camera – this will speed up the process of editing. Once the photos are primed and ready for staging, the virtual stager can add furniture and decor to compliment the overall style of the home. High-quality listing photos improve the final staged product by giving the stager the opportunity to work with an ideal canvas.

Benefits of Virtual Staging

Virtual staging has a number of benefits but the biggest is of course price. While staging a condo the old fashioned way costs an average of $2500 per month, virtual staging typically costs between $39 to $199 per room. What’s more is that this fee is a one time cost as you don’t have to pay for renting furniture. As the average home for sale in 2018 stays on market between 34 to 53 days, this means that virtual staging could save sellers several thousands of dollars.

Another pro of virtual staging is that gives sellers the opportunity to create a strong first impression with potential buyers. As Jen Williams, Redfin Market Manager says, this is important because “buyers will imprint on the first photos they see of a home and will develop their first positive feelings and attraction to a property at that time.”
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Downfalls of Virtual Staging

The biggest drawback, of course, is the fact that because the home is only staged virtually when potential buyers show up they may be underwhelmed compared to the experience they had when they found the home online. While this may not be an issue for younger buyers, this could present problems with older audiences.

Being able to see the home fully furnished is also the main benefit of traditional staging. It allows prospective buyers to walk into a home and picture themselves living there without any of the guesswork of what kind of furniture they may need to purchase and where to place it. That work is done for them and, as a result, 33 percent of Realtors say that the home’s value actually increases an additional one to five percent when professionally staged, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

If you choose to stage your home virtually, remember to provide potential buyers with photos of the empty rooms as well as their virtually staged counterparts. This will help to show buyers that the home they’re thinking of touring not staged in person so that they are not confused when entering the home. Also be sure to not overdo the furniture and decor. Just because it isn’t real doesn’t mean you can’t go overboard.

Regardless of which method you choose, it’s important to make sure your home looks ready to sell before it’s listed. First impressions are often a deciding factor for buyers and staging is a powerful tool to create a strong impression and sell your home quicker.

By |2018-08-07T10:12:41-08:00August 7th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Photography and Sales Tax

As a photographer, are you collecting sales tax?

 

Probably not, right?

 

In the state of Washington, digital photographs are treated the same as tangible, physical photographs — even if they’re transferred and sold electronically.

This means that each photograph taken for a client is subject to retail B&O and sales tax. Photographers are responsible for collecting and reporting such tax.

In contrast, the service you’re providing — actually taking the photos — is not subject to taxation. You only need to collect tax for each photo you provide.

To do so, you must determine the cost of each photo, and then collect tax based on each photo sent to a client or customer.

If, for example, a photoshoot costs $250 and you price each photo at $5, you would collect taxes for each $5 photo.

The cost of digital goods should be displayed as a separate line item on an invoice, with the next line showing the amount of sales tax being charged based on the cost of digital goods, i.e. not the actual photoshoot (which is deemed a service, not goods).
Consult a CPA or financial professional for help determining the percent of sales tax you should be collecting.

By |2018-03-19T09:48:22-08:00March 19th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

3 Ways Professional Photos Sell Homes

3 Ways Professional Photos Sell Homes

The internet is one of the best tools for posting a real estate listing. With more than 80 percent of home buyers using the internet to search for a home and a stunning 93 percent of buyers younger than 36 years old finding their new home online, it’s important that the photos in your listing capture their attention and generate interest in your home.

 

One mistake made frequently by home sellers and real estate agents is the lack of quality, professionally-taken photos. Hiring a professional real estate photographer is an investment that will pay off by increasing the interest in your listing, selling the home faster, and putting more money in your pocket.

First Impressions are Everything

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Photos are “the most important website feature . . . for nine in 10 buyers under the age of 62,” according to the National Association of Realtors. If your photos are grainy, blurry, or out-of-focus, you’re already putting off potential buyers of your property.

 

You only have one chance to make a first impression. According to Market Leader, “40 percent of all participants don’t even look at the agent remarks section.” If your photos don’t immediately capture the interest of someone viewing your listing, chances are they’re moving on—and not in to your property.

 

As a professional photographer, I understand how to utilize proper lighting to create the warm, inviting look of a room—as well as a uniform light not affected by burnt-out or discolored lights and fixtures. I also understand the proper angles to take photographs from, especially when it comes to rooms that are generally difficult to capture in a photo, such as a bathroom or other small spaces.

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Professional photographers also process photos in post-production to ensure every photo is as true-to-life as possible. Our goal is to have a potential buyer visit a home and not be able to tell the difference between the photos they’ve seen online and what’s actually in front of them.

Professional Photos Sell Homes Faster

In general, it takes an average of 65 days to sell a home. Yet as with any sort of marketing or advertising, it’s all about getting as many eyeballs as possible to see the product—in this case, your house.

 

Professional photos create a better first impression than amateur or “cell phone” photos, which results in more clicks and views on your listing. As any salesman will tell you, sales is a numbers game—the more people reached, the more likely it is you’ll make a sale.

 

That’s true in the world of real estate photography, as well. A study by VHT Studios in the Chicago market demonstrated that listings with photos taken by professional real estate photographers “sold 32% faster.”

Professional Photos Put More Money in Your Pocket

When your home listing includes photos taken by a professional real estate photographer, you’re more likely to sell the home for close to—or even more than—the original asking price. In fact, a study by Redfin shows that listings that use professional photos sell “for $3,400 to $11,200 more relative to their list prices.”

 

Of course, you’ve got to pay the photographer, so that means you’re out some cash, right? True, but it’s an investment well worth making. In fact, according to Market Leader (and my own rates), “hiring a professional listing photographer costs 0.09% of the median U.S. home price,” or “1/10 of 1 percent of the list price.”

 

For a fraction of a fraction of the sale price of a home, you’ll average an extra $3,400 to $11,200 in your wallet.

Working With a Professional Real Estate Photographer

All forms of specialized photography are different and each type of photographer has skills specific to their area of expertise. A nature photographer may not be the best choice for shooting a wedding in the same way a photojournalist may not be the best option for taking photos of real estate.
Hiring a specialized real estate photographer is the smart choice when it comes to selling your home or property faster and for as close to or more than your listing price.

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By |2017-12-18T14:14:59-08:00December 18th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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