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Today I’m very excited to feature an interview I had with Chrystal Scanlon, a photographer who fills vFlyer landing pages with some of the best home photos you’ll ever see. Chrystal is the owner of Chicks that Shoot, and provides real estate photos for Huff Rentals, a longtime client of vFlyer. Since I first stumbled upon Chrystal’s work, I’ve been dying to learn more; I finally got the chance when she graciously agreed to an interview. We discussed, among other things, photography and the role it plays in real estate.
Where are you from, and how did you get into photography?
I am from Cincinnati, Ohio and I fell in love with photography during the winter of 2004. Something in the air just whispered in my ear... telling me to go take pictures.
Have you had professional art schooling? Photography training?
Yes, I gained my Associates from Antonelli College, Cincinnati, Ohio, which was the best decision I have made yet! Learning about something you love everyday is amazing. I highly recommend it to everyone.
I studied art in school, and always took questions about the earning potential afforded by an art degree. Did you ever encounter this sort of skepticism?
Definitely, and I do think that most are not rewarded enough for their talents and imaginations. I also think that most artists do not have a choice either because we’re usually not in it for the money. It’s the love and passion that drives us to create more. So I would tell them its not money I’m after… I want to love what I am going to be doing for the rest of my life… and so should you.
We at vFlyer know you through Huff Rentals; how did you find Huff, or how did they find you?
I have been photographing for HUFF’s Rental Division Managers, Brian Herron and Meghan Ferguson, for over 5 years now. Our relationship originated through property photography and has continued to grow over the years. When they joined HUFF and their Rental Division was created, they knew how important photography was to marketing any property, whether for rent or for sale.
What makes a good photo? How does this apply to home photography?
Tough question, but I think I would have to say emotion; and applying emotion to property photography is also very tough. I try to do this by reflecting the style of the home in my photos. Whether it’s more country or city or even industrial, I think there is always a feeling that a home gives and it’s what I try to convey within my photographs.
Home staging - what works for you? Do it yourself or hire a professional?
I get asked this a lot and I feel that it should always be left to the professionals. I can honestly say that I have never seen a staged home that did not look amazing. However, I think the most important thing to having your home ready to be photographed is to have it well organized and clutter free. These pictures are your homes first impression and we all know how important that first impression is.
Walk me through a house photo shoot.
A typical day for me starts around 9 and never ends... No, but seriously I start around 9, and as I am arriving to a location I take notice of the community that surrounds the property. I like to think of shooting a home as if I am telling its story. What it looks like when you are pulling into the driveway, eating in your kitchen looking out that bay window, or chillin’ in your man-cave watching Monday Night Football with the guys. It’s important to me to showcase the character of a home. Within 30 minutes I can photograph an average property (under 4,000 sq) with 30+ images being taken.
Talk a bit about your production tools. Cameras, lenses, and lights.
I am a Mac and Nikon user and I do my best to photograph only the elements that I want in the final picture. Rarely do I Photoshop an image. I prefer to use Adobe’s Lightroom, as it is much more productive for me since I can be editing several hundred photographs a day. On location I use my camera (Nikon D300), tripod (Manfrotto), and flash (SB800).
How about post-production?
It’s important to me to be a better photographer than to rely on an editing program to correct something that perhaps I could have done in the field. So when I edit photos I mostly am just color correcting and adjusting the exposure. Time is very important to me and as we all know in the world of real estate… everything needed to be finished yesterday.
Recently we’ve seen more and more HDR images in house flyers. Can you briefly explain what HDR imaging is?
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It’s where you shoot multiple exposures of the same scene and blend them together to capture the greatest of detail within the highlights and shadows of your image. I think we are seeing more HDRs because it is different, vivid and new. They are a fantastic addition to any listing. HDRs can be very dramatic and eye catching.
If I’m a real estate agent and a very amateur photographer, what advice would you give me?
This is also a very common topic that I get asked by agents, sellers and real estate agencies on a daily basis. My answer like before is ‘leave it to the professionals’. In an article by Gar Benedick in RIS Media, he states:
“The photograph is almost always the first element in any ad that connects with the buyer. It is the handshake, the first impression, the thing that cuts through the visual clutter to capture the buyer’s attention. Everything in the marketing campaign to sell your home relies on the quantity and quality of the photographs of your home. Photographs are needed for the MLS listing on the Web and in print, a website, brochures, flyers, photoboards, newspaper ads, possible magazine articles, real estate preview guides, blogs, etc. Many times, buyers will decide if they will visit a home, and agents will decide if they will show a property based on the strength (or weaknesses) of the photos accompanying a listing. Quality photos can and do make a difference, a big difference.”
Your work at darkchrystal.com is very beautiful. Tell me a little about one of the portfolios displayed there.
If I had to pick one it would have to be the one that is closest to my heart. The Larry Fink Scholarship from LOOK3: The Festival of the Photograph is my most rewarding portfolio. The knowledge, memories, inspiration and friends that I made from that workshop has had the most impact on me not only as a photographer but simply as a person. The LOOK3 workshop offers a week-long intensive opportunity to work and learn with guidance from Magnum, National Geographic and many other of the world’s best photographers. Finished off with a weekend full of exhibitions & talks of photographs from across the globe, these images fill the streets, trees, and windows of the Charlottesville outdoor Mall. Spectacular.
If you look inside that portfolio you will find my LOOK3 experience and the strangers I met. Most of the images I photographed were shot on 120 Medium format black & white film; with a camera and chemicals that I borrowed from school and had to be developed in the bathroom of the home that I was staying in.
Anything else for our readers?
I would like to share a famous quote by Siddhartha Gautama, Buddha that I absolutely love and try to live by: “your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”
Hear hear! Many thanks to Chrystal for taking the time to talk with us and share some of her secrets. As always, we're proud to see vFlyer used to showcase such good stuff.
ABOUT COMPANY vFlyer is an online marketing and distribution platform that allows real estate professionals to turn their listings into "virtual flyers" that can posted on dozens of leading online marketplaces, posted on Craigslist, distributed via email or SMS, outputted as PDF, or embedded as widgets on blogs and social networks.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.