Posts By Brad Moore

How I Became a Real Estate Photographer + 8 Tips to Help You Get Started

As I reflect on my 20s, I realize it probably sounds like the same story as a lot of other millennials: broke, confused, directionless, and full of wanderlust. Upon graduating with a degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences from Texas A&M University in 2012, I was having difficulty landing a job and honestly had no idea what to do with myself. So, I did the only thing I could afford to do, which was move home to my parent’s house in Beaumont, Texas.

I spent the next two years aimlessly working in a daycare and then as an administrative assistant in a private school. The wanderlust I mentioned previously became too much to bear, so I quit my job and moved to Rome, Italy for a year to be a live-in nanny. When I returned home again (this time with a belly full of fresh pasta, wine, and gelato), my wanderlust was temporarily cured, but I was still broke, confused, and directionless.

My dad, being a business owner himself, has always attempted to guide me in the direction of self-employment. I had a decent enough background in photography, Lightroom, and Photoshop, so when he suggested that I try my hand at real estate photography, I was up for the challenge. I spent the next couple of months attempting to wrap my head around this style of photography and have been photographing real estate ever since.

Before I get into the nitty gritty, I think it is noteworthy to mention that there are essentially three types of real estate photographers, and it is important to figure out what category you want to fall into. Keep in mind that there are no wrong answers and you can always evolve.

The first type are ‘run and gunners.’ They are in and out of homes in a matter of minutes and handhold their camera. They may or may not have a flash mounted on top and typically take one exposure. (High efficiency and low cost.)

The second type are the most common of the bunch. They use a tripod, take multiple exposures and are most likely using at least a bounce flash. (Average efficiency and average cost.)

The third type are the artists. They definitely use a tripod, make sure each shot is perfectly composed and level, use pops of flash throughout the space with the intention of manually hand blending multiple frames in post processing. (Low efficiency and high cost.)

I fall into the third category simply because I have goals of working exclusively with designers and architects one day and am working towards building a portfolio worthy of doing so. Moving forward, you have to figure out what works best for you and the market in which you are planning to build your business.

Here are 8 tips to get you up and running as a real estate photographer:

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What To Shoot When There Is Nothing To Shoot with Jeff Leimbach

We’ve all had those days when you’re racking your brain for something to photograph. Join Jeff Leimbach for a class packed with inspiration for new ideas, places, and times to create photos! It’s always a good idea to have some additional photographic ideas in your back pocket for those occasions when your original plans just don’t work out. No matter where you are, the time of day, or the type of weather, there’s always something to shoot if you are creative. By the end of the class you’ll be motivated to grab your camera, get out there, and make some photo magic.



In Case You Missed It

Composition is important to any good photo. Professional photographer Scott Kelby covers the basic rules, but then demonstrates how to actually apply these techniques in a real world setting. He shares his secrets and some trial and error examples in getting the photo you want. This class is perfect for a beginner photographer needing to learn about composition.

He stared at me with a blank look on his face. It was a look of surprise and embarrassment that betrayed the fact that he had never considered this very fundamental question before. He was a marketer for a large international law firm, and the answer to this question should have informed many different decisions he made in marketing the firm. I wasn’t very surprised by his reaction.

This headshot of my youngest son is one of my favorites. Most people don’t think about headshots for children, but this is what I picture when I think about him, and I love it. It has nothing to do with the text below, but I wanted to be able to show him his face on the Kelby blog.

I used to be a trial lawyer and I am accustomed to cross examining people. This felt exactly like that. “Why do you put pictures of the lawyers on your website?” He stared blankly for a moment and then stammered out, “So you know what they look like?” I promise I am not making this up.

This answer isn’t wrong, but it isn’t very good either. Perhaps a better way to say it is, “To put a name with a face.” When I am talking to or emailing Johnny Lawyer, I can picture his lovable mug. Considering how unpopular having your headshot made can be with some people, this does not seem like a fantastic answer.

This is the worst lawyer headshot ever.

Another answer I commonly get to that question is, “Well, you just have to. Most people do.” Again, while this isn’t a great answer, it definitely is not wrong. It is true that most people do it, and if you don’t it looks strange, like you are not serious. Have you ever received a friend request on social media such as Facebook or LinkedIn where the requester did not have a profile picture? It’s like that. It’s strange. You wonder if they’re even a real person.

For the clients that I market myself to, there is often a more important reason. That online headshot is going to be the first impression they make on many potential clients. First impressions and the common knowledge surrounding them are one of those things that everybody knows is true and actually is true. The research in this area is overwhelming. First impressions are formed almost instantaneously, visuals are far more important than text, they are very sticky, and first impressions formed online carry over into the real world. Since that is the case, it is a good idea to make that first impression a very strong one.

Okay, this looks a little more like a lawyer.

The majority of headshots I see do not make good first impressions. What really makes me mad about these shots is that it is not the subject’s fault at all. They don’t deserve it. They just have no idea what to do in front of the camera, and of course they should not. It is not their area of expertise. The expressions on their faces when they were being photographed should not have been left up to them.

Just so you don’t think I am beating up on other people, I will use myself as an example.

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Improving Your Creative Vision By Getting It Right In Camera with Rick Sammon

Learn how to improve your creative vision by mastering techniques to nail your in-camera exposure. Join Rick Sammon for an incredibly comprehensive class where you’ll learn about important camera settings, the exposure triangle, exposure compensation, white balance, the histogram, qualities of light, exposing for flash, creating compelling HDR, and so much more. Rick draws on decades of experience using an incredible diversity of visual examples to illustrate these important concepts, and all along the way sharing the tips, tricks, and easy to remember sayings that will help you incorporate what you’ve learned into your photographic style.

In Case You Missed It

Don’t just take pictures, make pictures! Join Rick Sammon as he dives deep into his 20 time proven rules of composition. It’s up to you to tell your story with creative composition, and in this class Rick provides you with new ways of seeing when you are holding your camera in hand. Whether you call them rules or recommended guidelines, Rick shares over 250 visual examples to help you understand how to use these tools to make great shots instead of snapshots. In the end you’ll be a better photographer for not only knowing the rules, but knowing when to break them, and have fun while doing it.

The Learning Light with Scott Kelby

Scott Kelby demonstrates how the Learning Light works, utilizing different lighting styles and set ups. He will discuss diffused vs. hard Lighting, how to use lighting patterns and Gobos, how to set up for split lighting, as well as broad and short lighting styles.



In Case You Missed It

Create a cool fashion shoot on a budget! Join Scott Kelby as he shows you how you can pull together a high-end looking fashion shoot on a low-end budget. Scott takes you step-by-step through the process of building a set, re-creating window light with a single speed light, shooting a variety of looks, and all the while sharing money saving tips and tricks that you can put to use on your next shoot. Throughout the class you’ll learn resources for acquiring sets and clothing, how to prepare before the shoot, what gear you’ll need, how to set the lighting, and so much more. Scott wraps up the class with a look at his streamlined post processing workflow. You don’t need a large budget if you can be resourceful, clever, and creative.

The Personal Side of Dave Clayton with Kalebra

Dave Clayton has been fascinated with good design since he was a child, but there is much more to Dave than just being a graphic designer. In this in-depth interview with Kalebra Kelby, Dave opens up about his personal side in a way we’ve never seen before. In this interview you’ll hear Dave share stories about how his family, friends, and mentors have opened him up to the opportunities and experiences that have made him who he is today. Plus, you’ll love hearing the story of how he met his wife.


In Case You Missed It

Sit down with Kalebra Kelby and meet Melanie Kern-Favilla! You may recognize her as the winner of our second Gallery at KelbyOne contest with her beautiful floral work. And now she is sharing her wide-array of knowledge with you! In this in-depth interview, Melanie opens up about her job as a train engineer for the Long Island Railroad, her husband and two dogs, and of course, her passion for photography. Would you ever guess that her fascination with thunderstorms would lead her to where she is today? She loves everything nature and her perseverance to always keep going and improve her creative side is motivating and inspiring. We are so excited for you to get to know her and welcome her to the KelbyOne family!

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