Tuesday, March 20, 2012
A few new things are going on in my photographic life that I'm excited to share. These new developments are all going to expand my photography business exponentially. I'm looking forward to it!
1) New virtual tour software. I've been frustated in the past with virtual tour software. Either it was very expensive for me or the agent, bad quality software, didn't send the virtual tour to realtor.com, or didn't brand me at all. I've been playing with the idea of having some customized software developed for me (costly and time consuming) but discovered a great virtual tour platform last week.
It is easy to use, inexpensive for the agent (free in fact - I absorb the cost), linked to realtor.com. It sends out stats every week to the agent, displays the tours in high definition, and brands me well. I was so happy with it that I immediately shot two virtual tours for agents using this software. You can find them here and here.
As well, these tours won't expire and also there is no monthly fee to keep them up. Besides a standard tour, there are also options of floor plans, posting to youtube, and and agent panel control. These tours are MREIS/IDx compliant.
2)Some of my fine art photography is at a store in the old port in Portland. It is at The Alpaca Shed on 23 Temple St, and we will be participating in First Fridays Art Walk later this spring. You can also see some of my fine art on my envisionpix website, under the still photos link.
3)Barn project. I've been thinking about taking pictures of dilapidated barns in Maine for about five years (ever since I used to drive around the state as a real estate agent). The Alpaca Shed very gracefully offered to hang any pictures of barns that I shot. I'd ideally like to do a calendar, and a book, as a long term project.
That's my latest news. I'm really excited about all the developments!
Friday, August 12, 2011
I've recently been working on a pet calendar for A Paw in the Door, a rescue organization primarily for cats. I've also done some volunteer photography for their adoptable kitties, just to get some good photographs of these sweet cats. Just like houses, most people start their search for a pet online, and I thought I'd help out with some nice photographs of these guys. As well, its nice to see my name in print, and I'm going to transition into more pet photography in the future. I've also been doing some pet sitting, (Scoot Pet Care) so its good promotion for this business as well.
Here are some photos of recent cat shoots.
Marley - a very sweet cat. So affectionate I had to push him away a bit so I could get decent pictures of him. He's FIV positive, but not contagious to dogs or humans. He's at Wags & Whiskers, a pet store in Bath, ME. Look for a large poster I took of him in the window.
Maisie and Baby
Maisie was shy so stuck to her dog bed (they were in Pet Quarters in Brunswick) so it was a bit tricky to shoot pictures of her. I didn't want to freak her out, so just took pictures of her sitting down.
Baby was in a cage and didn't feel like getting out, so I tried to minimize the bars and did tight shots of her. What's important in pet photography is to work with the animal as well, trying to pull out the best in their personalities, and not pushing them if they don't want to be pushed. That's most important with cats, though dogs can be a challenge as well. They tend to be in motion so I push the ASA up pretty high to freeze their activities.
She was also at pet quarters and had such beautiful markings that I worked with her quite a bit to get her relaxed. The store manager helped me as well, playing with her so she would be distracted from the intrusive camera.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Sometimes a listing goes under so fast that I don't even have time to post the pictures before it does. That is a very happy occurrence, of course.
The listing in Portland is a multi unit, with an artist's loft in the back, quite an interesting property to shoot. I especially enjoyed how spare and light-filled the loft was. Those kind of architectural details really are a joy to shoot.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
What to do when there is a tenant living in a the listing that is being sold? This house was in need of staging, but I enjoy when I have a challenge. The place was very modest - a rental property - and the tenants had many small objects and oversized furniture (and a python in the kitchen). With the house being so modest in size, it was important to de-clutter as much as possible.
As a further challenge, none of the bedrooms (there were 3), were photographable (too dark, painted black, and too small respectively), so we had a limited number of rooms to take pictures in (the "we" is Diane Wescott and I, who is the listing agent and certified stager).
The kitchen was the selling point (large, new, nice granite and backsplash) so we did that the last and spent the most time on.
The challenge for the living room was there was at least one too many pieces of furniture (we moved a couch out of the way) and tons of clutter (flying pigs, anyone?). There were many plants though, so we utilized those.
The outside was very modest, so what I tried to do is use the best light, bluest sky, and made sure that the house was centered very symmetrically in the picture. I avoided the various cars parked in the driveway (I’ll make people move their cars usually but there were at least four of them, and the angle wasn’t great anyway so I didn’t bother). Pick your battles with these kinds of houses. Don’t take shots from every angle, just pick the best, most workable one, and stage for that.
[Its always amusing to me when we stage the house for the shots, and then put the house exactly back the way it was (usually for tenants), even though we are basically making it messy again.]
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I recently traveled up to Auburn to shoot headshots for Katy Taylor, in return for a lovely massage and energy work. It really helped relax my back, especially after the car accident I had in February - she is a great massage therapist and a MyNetKing member. (By the way, I am offering a discount to MYNK members for headshots; please contact me if interested at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
As headshots are a relatively new venture for me (I usually shoot inanimate objects), what I most focus on is getting the subject to relax in front of the camera. I like to have them demonstrate what they do, so with Katy I had her massage a client, and posed her in front of her table and in her office. I felt it worked well. It always takes a bit of time for the person to get past the awkwardness of being photographed and then they relax into it. It is very enjoyable to see the great shots that come out.
With Andy Stone, I felt I brought out the sweetness that he hides just below the surface. With Katy, I think I discovered her inner joy that surfaces when she works on people. It was one of the best massages that I have ever gotten and I felt rejuvenated afterwards. Thanks, Katy! Her website is http://kripalu-therapeutic-massage.com/index.htm
Friday, March 4, 2011
Friday, July 9, 2010
I may be repeating myself but I cannot stress enough how important good lighting is for a picture. I try to only use natural light as it imparts a natural glow to the picture, but sometimes this lighting need to be tweaked a bit.
With a recent photo shoot (thanks Janice Selig of Allen & Selig Realty), I was challenged a bit with the harsh light outside that created defined streaks indoors. As you can see in both exterior photos (at the beginning and end of this blog), this was strong, midday light. It was at about 2pm in July, not a time I would usually pick to shoot a house, because midday light can be overbearing. I usually like either morning or afternoon light, as its lower on the horizon and imparts a soft glow. However, this wasn't an option for this shooting as the house was on a wooded lot, which would have created shadows on the exterior parts of the house if later in the day (morning wouldn't work either as the sun would be on the back part of the house, rather than the front).
I sorted out the outside but the back to the inside challenge, which was the strong light seeping in and creating unwanted beams of light. Now our eyes edit this streaking out (in fact I think it adds drama to a room) but the camera doesn't add any emotion, and instead takes away from the photo and what I'm trying to convey.
One of the rooms that I had this challenge was in the downstairs bedroom. As you can see in the photo, the afternoon sun cast its light on the bed, leading the eye to the middle of the room, not towards the back, which is what I wanted the buyer's eye to go (to give a sense of depth to the room, I wanted the buyer's eye to be pulled to the small lamp by the side of the bed.)
So I tried completely shutting the blinds, and bumping up the exposure on my camera, but with the dark wood, walls and bedspread, the room looked too cave like. The eye was pulled back to the lamp as I wanted, but would the buyer even like the room?
My final solution was to partially raise the blinds so some natural light came in but without the streakiness on the bed. I then shifted the angle of the picture I was taking just a bit, so that you couldn't see the window where the light was coming in (also a bit distracting). The final result was a room that made use of natural light the best way it could without any strong rays to take away from the picture.
(Another exterior view, that shows the strong light of midday)