This is an interesting take on real estate photography by a Realtor. She has some great insights and advice on what to do with your point and shoot cameras.
Interesting read from the Chicago Tribune. Lots of useful advice for Realtors and homeowners alike in this article as it relates to photography.
In a previous blog I discussed how easy it was to schedule your virtual tours. You can call me (316.644.7559), email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), or order via my web site (www.MirandaMultimedia.com). Any of those three methods is guaranteed to get you in touch with me quickly.
I know text messaging is an extremely valuable method of communication but it’s not the best way to schedule your tours. I love text messaging but I can’t guarantee you that I won’t miss your text message. There’s a lot of information that comes across my phone and an occasional text message does get by me every now and again. I would hate to miss an opportunity to serve you.
Feel free to contact me at any of the methods above if you have any questions.
Well, Spring has sprung…finally! I didn’t think it would ever get here. With the Spring season comes lots of listing activity and lots of tours. My schedule has been filling up quickly and this time of year it’s important to plan ahead. My shooting schedule has been consistently booked about a week out. A great way to stay ahead of the curve is to contact me as soon as you schedule the listing appointment. Don’t wait until you’ve already got the property on the market because it may be several days before I’ll be able to get out there to photograph it. A lot of Realtors that I shoot for on a regular basis schedule the listing date around the photo shoot. This not a bad idea, especially if you do not want to take any photos yourself. Remember, there is a new MLS guideline that requires at least one exterior photo in MLS within 7 days of the listing date. If you find yourself with a new listing, but on the back side of my schedule, please take a few photos of the property yourself so your client has something out there for prospective buyers to see. I’ll get there as quickly as I can!
This post will provide a few tips for having the home ready for your photo shoot. Feel free to share with your clients.
Generally, the smoothest shoots are the completed when no one is in the home. I can move about the house adjusting blinds, furniture, personal items as needed for the shoot. I realize this isn’t always realistic, so maybe some insight as to the methodology of the shoot will be beneficial.
The photo shoot is not the time to complete listing agreements, property disclosures, etc. You will have to keep jumping from room to room to get out of lens view and I’ll have to keep asking you to. It breaks up the rhythm of the job and the order in which the home is shot.
Usually, the shoot begins and ends outside. Your sign and flyer holders are removed and stills of the front and the back of the home are shot. It’s best to have as few cars as possible around the front of the house. If you would like to attend the photo shoot please park at least 2-3 homes away. Please have the homeowners put their car(s) in the garage or park them at least 2-3 homes away.
After shooting the exterior I will then move inside for the first pass through the house shooting still images. These are done with the camera on either a tripod or a monopod so that resulting images are level and well framed. It’s always best if the home is ready for the photos shoot when I arrive. Below is a link to some tips that you can provide your sellers to prepare for the shoot.
After all of the still images have been shot, I place the camera on a rotating head and begin shooting 360° panoramas of the larger rooms in the house. Typically panoramas of smaller rooms like bathrooms and laundry rooms are not done. When possible partial panoramas of smaller rooms will be completed, giving the viewer a 180° view or larger. Once the panoramas inside are complete, I move outside to shoot panoramic images of the front and backyard if necessary. Please note, if there are cars parked in front of the home, or if there are trash carts lining the street, a panorama of the front of the home will not be completed. Depending upon the size of the home, the photo shoot can take anywhere from 45-90 minutes.
Back at the office, post production begins. The images are downloaded from the camera, adjusted for sharpness, contrast, tone and Photoshop enhanced as needed. All of the images for the panoramas are stitched together to form one large, wide photograph that appears to moving in your virtual tour. When the images are ready they are incorporated into the virtual tour, descriptions added, uploaded to the server and distributed where necessary. The whole process from shoot to final upload can take 4-5 hours depending upon the size of the home and the number of images in the tour.
I hope this provides some insight to the virtual tour process. Feel free to download the Virtual Tour Preparation Guide here.
I’ve mentioned social bookmarks in my newsletters before, but I feel it bears repeating. Social networking sites are HUGE! It seems everyone is on them whether they are at work or at play. Massive amounts of information is being passed along via social networking sites as you read this. It could be anything from simple status updates, “I’m sitting on the patio,” to family pictures, or…your latest LISTING! I try to post most of the tours I create on Facebook. Why? It’s not my listing. True, but I’m a photographer and it’s what I do! It spreads the word. The same can be true for your listings. Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any of the other networking sites out there, exposure is good and you should capitalize on it. And… it’s free!
Posting your tours to social bookmarking sites is easy. If you’re using the new Full Screen, HD Tours you find a “Share” button in the upper right hand corner of the tour. Hover your mouse over that button a list of social networking sites will appear. Just select your favorite and post to that site. Look for this button.
If you’re using my standard tours, at the bottom of our tours you’ll find a social bookmark bar. Click the button for your favorite networking site, follow a few steps for that site and it’s posted! Your traffic goes up, your exposure goes up, and the opportunity to get that home sold has just increased. Make sure your clients know about these bookmarking links too. They can post your tour on their pages as well. Before you know it, your tour is viral! I posted a tour for an agent several weeks ago on Facebook. Their clients viewed it and posted it on their Facebook pages. They had 114 hits on the tour in one evening!
Now, go out there, get social, and get seen!
This post is actually a link to another Blog that will answer the question about whether video will kill virtual tours. Active Rain is the largest real estate network blog out there. It is an invaluable source of information for Realtors or anyone remotely involved with the real estate industry. Here’s the link:
Occasionally I get asked to shoot a property in the early morning or late in the afternoon. I normally try to steer away from shooting early or late in the day. If you’ve ever asked, you know this to be the case. The reason? That big old ball of light in the sky known as the sun! It can wreak havoc on a photo shoot. If your shoot is scheduled too early in the morning, the sun is really low in the sky and there’s a good chance that it could be peaking right over the top of your listing. If it’s a west facing property that scenario can make for really ugly exteriors of the front of the home. Schedule too late in the day and you could be looking at a similar situation for east facing homes.
I typically try to shoot at 11:00 and 1:00. This finds the sun pretty high in the sky and will normally allow me a chance to find an angle from which to shoot the home without a lot of lens flare or the sun blasting directly over the property. If an earlier or later appointment is needed, I’m always willing to accommodate. Keep in mind that the proportion of how early or late we shoot will have a dramatic impact on the quality of the images.
What about rain? If it’s raining (by that I mean if there is moisture falling from the sky) I will not shoot. Camera gear can get pretty expensive and I’m not willing to ruin it for a shoot. If it’s just cloudy, you can plan on me arriving at our scheduled time. Ninety percent of your tour is comprised of interior shots of the home and a cloudy day is a great time shoot interiors! I’ve applied some new techniques to alter the appearance of a cloudy day that are working pretty well. If you’re just not happy with what mother nature is throwing our way on the day of your shoot give me a call. I’d be happy to reschedule for you.
Questions? Don’t hesitate to call me, or just comment to this post.
I haven’t had a chance to send out a newsletter recently because I’ve been extremely busy. Busy doing what, Mark? Well, I’ll tell you in this blog. This blog is one of the things I’ve been working on in an attempt to keep everyone informed. The newsletter was a fine tool for reaching out to everyone but I noticed that not everyone was reading it. In fact, less than half were reading it. Sigh. That could be due to spam filters, lack of time…desire, whatever. I think that by blogging some of these ideas instead of using the newsletter, you can view them whenever it is convenient and the posts remain archived for you to refer back to. And, if I have a thought (sometimes I do) I can post it immediately on the blog and get it out there without having to wait for the next newsletter.
In addition, you will have the opportunity to add your own thoughts and comments to my posts so our entire MM Virtual Tour Community can hear your opinions and feedback. (See the “leave a comment” link at the bottom?) You can ask questions or just say “hey” if you like. Since the newsletters weren’t well read, I will be posting some of the tips from recent newsletters on the blog.
Changes? What changes? For starters, a new Full Screen, Hi-Def tour window was introduced last week. In a word – awesome! More on that later. It deserves it’s own blog post. Second, I’m in the process of completely restyling the Miranda Multimedia web site. Hopefully that will be complete in the next week or so.
That’s it for now, thanks for reading. Enjoy the Blog!
I’ve made the switch to a new tour program. Yea!!! My previous tour host has been teasing their network of photographers for a year now with full screen tours. They finally released them…and I don’t like them. From a development standpoint they are a pain to build and add more time to an already lengthy process to build a great tour. The standard tour, which I am still using, is still great, but these new tours are full screen, high definition and they are awesome! Here is a sample: http://tours.mirandamultimedia.com/10902?a=1
These tours have almost all of the same features as the old tours. I’m not even going to mention the differences because I’m betting you won’t miss them. You still have the ability to share your tours via your social networks, download the tour and there is still a report that comes out each week with the hit stats. You will even have your own landing page where you can view stats at any time and download images from the tour.
As I mentioned these tours are HD and Full Screen! If you hover your mouse at the bottom of the tour a navigation pane will pop up. On this pane you can toggle the music on or off, navigate through scenes, and if you select “full screen,” you guessed it! The tour displays in the entirety of your monitor!
Now, I still have some tour credits with my previous provider that I must use. For the time being the Full Screen tours will be available as a “Premier Tour” only. Basic and Preferred tours will be fulfilled using the old tour window until I work through remaining credits. As I mentioned in a previous post I am in the process of revamping the MM web site. Prices will be changing but not necessarily increasing. In fact, the price to post to Realtor.com has been reduced to $20.00 on the Premier Tours since I am no longer tied to the Picture Path data feed from the previous tour program.
I hope you enjoy the new tours. I know I do!