“WE SURRENDER…. We want to move to Florida!”

blog credit jg





Record snowfall and intolerable freezing temperatures have caused many a Northerner to throw up their hands and head for Florida (and other points South)…. permanently!

ptmh-visit ithaca

Even the Visitors And Convention Bureau of Ithaca, NY redirected people to Florida and the Keys. “We’re in upstate New York and used to snowy winters and cold weather,” said Bruce Stoff, director of the Ithaca/Tompkins Convention & Visitors Bureau, “but our audience is from New Jersey, Boston and New York City and those folks are frozen in place and, like us, dreaming of palm trees and someplace warm.”

All of this increased interest and online traffic means that your listing photos are going to have to be better than ever.   

So Florida and those southern states, thank the unbearable weather this winter and get ready for lots of Northerners looking to relocate.

Five Tips For Better Exterior Photos

blog-credit-ed4How important is a good exterior photo? It may be the most important photo when listing a home.  Great photos are critical when trying to capture a potential buyer’s attention.  Here are a few tips getting the best exterior photos:

1. Chose the Best Time of Day

Depending on which direction the house is facing, the time of day may be the most important factor in the quality of your photo.  Assuming that you live somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun will rise in the southeast and set in the southwest. If you don’t happen to know which way the house is facing, you can check on Google Maps.

Make sure that the sun will be shining on the front of the house, and not be behind the house, as you will get a silhouette and the house will look dark.

If the house is facing north, the sun will never shine on the front. Best options are to shoot on an overcast day, or at dusk.

2. Wait for a Clear Blue Sky

Try to avoid shooting on a day when the sky looks white. If you must shoot against a bright sky, your camera might underexpose the house, so keep that in mind and compensate if necessary.

3. Shoot at Dusk for Drama

You can get some truly incredible photos by shooting at dusk. Use a tripod, have all of the interior lights on as well as any exterior accent lighting, make sure all window blinds are open and uniform. Start shooting just as the light begins to go down, and continue until it is dark. You can take this to the next level by combining parts of different images (the sky from one, windows from another for instance) in Photoshop.

4. Be Mindful of Landscaping

For the best photos, you may want to do some prep work. Get the lawn mowed, hedges trimmed, front door painted, flowers planted etc.

5. Take Time to Compose the Shot

Find your best angle.  Shooting straight on sometimes works, but many times shooting at an angle shows more depth and is more interesting. A tree branch at the top can also frame the photo and add interest.

Try to keep the vertical lines of the house straight by keeping the camera level. These lines can also be straightened afterwards in Photoshop.

Take photos from several angles, and use your imagination!

Check out our others blogs about using a tripod, lighting, and (NOT) taking listing photos with a cell phone.

BRRRRRRRR! Shooting outdoors in winter






I’ve been living in Atlanta for quite a while now, so I haven’t had to worry much about cameras and cold weather.  But I did experience quite a bit of 25 below zero during my days in Upstate New York.  Cameras are much different than they were back then, and in many ways more tolerant of cold weather, but some precautions can help avoid some serious problems.

Moisture: Keeping your camera dry is the biggest camera concern with cold weather.  If you’re shooting exteriors in the show, sleet or cold, you can buy weatherproof housings that will do a great job of keeping the camera dry.

Temperature change:  When your camera is indoors, all warm and snuggly, it doesn’t really hurt it much to take it outside in the cold.  But, once it’s been outside, and has acclimated to the cold temperature, bringing it into the house where it is nice and warm and relatively humid (warm air can hold much more moisture than cold air), you may now have a condensation issue. It’s like when your cold windows have condensation on the inside.

How to avoid this happening?  The obvious answer is to not let the camera get too cold. Keep the camera under your coat, unless you have been working hard and getting sweaty. If this is not an option, put the camera in a plastic bag while you are still outdoors about to go back in the house.  This way, the condensation will occur on the outside of the bag, not on and inside your camera.

Battery Power: Batteries can lose power when cold. It’s a good idea to keep spares in your pocket that are less exposed to the elements.

Gloves: Necessary, but they make it difficult to work the controls on your camera. There are interesting options out there, including thin silk gloves, glove liners, and fingerless gloves. There are even gloves that you can open up the fingertips when necessary.  I used to keep a pair of silk gloves in my camera bag that I had found at an army navy store.

Dress warm, wear a hat like your mother told you, and enjoy taking winter photos under those crystal clear winter blue skies!

What are your listing photos saying about YOU?

Real Estate Photography: You're Getting WARMER





First impressions: important, right? You dress nicely, brush your teeth, comb your hair and smile. Why? Because you want to show that you’re professional, sharp, responsible. But what kind of first impression are your listing photos making… about YOU?

Well, if they’re hastily taken, poorly composed, boring, have bad lighting or show the home in anything less than it’s best light, they’re conveying that you don’t care, that you’re lazy, nonchalant and not on the ball. They say that you’re in a hurry and don’t have an eye for detail, that you don’t respect the properties you’re selling or the people you’re selling them to. They say that you don’t really want to help the buyer select the perfect – fit home.

Likewise, if your listing photos are stellar, it shows you are a professional, passionate agent who delivers quality service. They show that you care about the properties and your clients.

If you were the potential client, which agent would you prefer to work with? Lazy, hurried, apathetic or savvy, caring and professional. Your choice.

Did we mention that over 90% of people start their home buying online? That means its critical to have great real estate photos… to keep them saying nice things about YOU… and selling homes.

Learning how to take great photos is more important than ever.  Check out our course, “How To Take Photos That Move Houses”. We’ll teach you how to make a great photo first impression.

Gone in a Flash!

Real Estate Photography: You're Getting WARMERClick. That’s the sound of your client moving onto the next listing.

In less than a second your opportunity to capture the buyer’s attention is gone.

Most real estate searches begin online and the listing photograph is the first exposure to a property. A buyer digging through hundreds of listings will make a split-second decision to click on a property or scroll on by. In the blink of an eye you may have a potential buyer or feel the sale slip through your fingertips. Your photos have got to convey quickly and clearly the appealing qualities of a home. They’ve got to stand out (in a good way), engage the buyer and pique their interest enough to make them want more information, contact you or schedule a visit.

So what makes a great photo… one that will stop shoppers in their tracks? Deliberate composition, lighting and image quality.

Don’t underestimate the value of a great photo to attract buyers and the hazards of a bad photo. Do yourself a favor: learn how to take good real estate photos. With our online course, we can teach you how to attract those buyers and sell more homes. Start now. There just isn’t time to waste.

Exterior real estate photos are a matter of timing






We’ve all got crazy schedules. But part of getting a great photo, especially an exterior photo, is taking the time to take the best shot!

It’s 10AM: you drive up to your client’s home, jump out of the car, and on your way to the front door you grab that exterior shot. The result: the sky looks white and the house looks kind of grey, or maybe the sun is behind the house and the house is in silhouette. Too bad you weren’t there at 4PM when the light skims across the face of the house. You could have taken a beautiful photo that stops folks surfing through the MLS photos dead in their tracks.

Keep in mind that the sun, (for those of us in the northern hemisphere) is always in the south.  It rises in the southeast, sets in the southwest.  Homes that face SE get morning sun, and those that face SW get late afternoon sun. If the house faces north, well, that’s a bit more of a challenge. Try shooting it when the sun is not so bright (early or late), or on a more cloudy day.  A dusk shot can be an excellent solution.

So, before you head out the door…

Check the aerial view in Google Maps to see what direction the house faces before making the trek and allow yourself some flexibility if you don’t get the perfect shot on the first try.  Patience has its rewards – maybe the difference between a photo that peaks a buyer’s interest and a lost opportunity.

Check out our course to find out more about how (and when) to take great real estate photos. And how taking better listing photos can make a big difference in sales!

The indispensable TRIPOD





The Tripod.

It’s not flashy or cool, but this simple 3-legged tool can be the second most valuable piece of equipment you use.

Sure, your camera is probably your number one piece of equipment, but this humble and unassuming tool makes a huge difference when shooting property.

Shooting indoors: a necessity in low light
When taking photos indoors, there might be only one thousandth the amount of light as there is outdoors. That means you have to adjust by using a slower shutter speed to let more light in.  Hand holding the camera at a slower shutter speed results in blurred photos.

The anti-blur device:
Low light also means that you will probably use a wide aperture to let more light in.
A wide aperture creates shallow depth of field, which means that not as much is in focus. With the camera on a tripod, you can use as slow a shutter speed and as small an aperture as you like, and the image will still be sharp as a tack.

Hands-free evaluation:
With the camera on a tripod, you’ll notice things that you might not see when hand holding the camera. Using it while arranging, de-cluttering and selecting the best angle to shoot from will result in the best composition.


You can use a lower ISO with the camera on the tripod.  This will give you better overall image quality… better detail in the highlights and shadows, as well as less “noise.”

Check out our course to find out how to using the right equipment correctly makes a big difference in your photos. And how taking better listing photos can make a big difference in sales!

Dirty Little Secrets: Real Estate Photography Tips For Bathrooms

Real Estate Photography: You're Getting WARMERThe loo, water closet, powder room, call it what you like but bathrooms are tricky business. The “business” becomes especially problematic when it comes to photographing this room for your real estate listings. With small, tight spaces, mirrors galore and immovable furniture, the bathroom may just be the hardest room to photograph. However, there is still hope for these outcast rooms. Five easy reminders will make photographing the bathroom a snap.









Here are a few real estate photography tips from a professional to keep in mind as you are shooting:

  1. Make sure the room looks presentable. Get rid of clutter on the counter tops, hang the towels neatly, remove unnecessary personal belongings, and for goodness’ sake, please make sure the seat is down.
  2. Identify the focal point of the bathroom. Does the client have a luxurious rain shower? Maybe a vintage claw-foot tub? Identify what feature will catch the eye (in a good way) and then use your camera angles to use that aspect as a centerpiece.
  3. Lighting is typically not the issue. Bathrooms usually have ample lighting, and the mirrors magnify the lighting’s affects. However, if the room is photographing too dark then definitely bring in an extra light source. Bouncing your extra light source off of the ceiling will make it look more natural and avoid harsh shadows.
  4. Cell phone cameras won’t get the job done. Given the size of the average bathroom, and the weird angles, you’ll need to bring in the heavy duty equipment. Actually, you’ll just need a wide angle lens and a tripod which will allow for a better quality picture and more professional results.
  5. Avoid the mirror pic at all costs. This may be the most important rule. Position yourself so that you do not show up in the picture via the mirror. Nothing brings a bathroom photograph down quite like a self-portrait in the mirror.

Don’t make the same real estate photography mistake so many others make. Bad bathroom photos are a major turn-off for potential buyers who are seeing the house through photographs online. Don’t skip the room altogether either. With a few adjustments, bathroom photographs can go from dumpy to the main attraction.

Tip: Practice in your own bathroom first! You’ll figure out what your challenges are and how to solve them beforehand.

More great real estate photography tips and techniques available in the online course.

Photo by: Ed Wolkis    Bathroom by: Peacock Interiors