Nice Webinar, but no Content

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Madeline Island Realty 50317-90

Last week, I signed up for a webinar on photographic techniques that I was curious about.  I teach a course on photography for real estate and was interested in seeing if there was something outstanding or current that I was missing.

The course was taught by a fellow whom I admire (no names here, I don't wish to embarrass anyone).  He has a good style of delivery and is very personable.  He's a competent instructor and I had confidence that the one-hour online webinar would be worth viewing.

Everything was fine, as they say, until the curtain went up.

The WebEx webinar format doesn't always work so well, and that was certainly the case this time.  I had audio, but no video, for the first twenty minutes of the webinar.  During the first one-third of the class, I was instructed to log in again, and was told the video would work.  I logged in again and again, and the video component of the webinar finally did appear.

The course was very basic.  Attendees were surveyed during the course to see if they had any prior experience with Picasa, PhotoStory, SnagIt, Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.  From the surveys, the picture emerged indicating that seven to ten percent of the class (around 121 logged in) had used those techniques and software programs in the past.  I knew early on that there wasn't going to be anything new or earthshaking offered in this webinar.

Things got worse.  At no point in the entire webinar did the instructor mention the merits of using a tripod.  The brief discussion about "what camera to buy" was glib and basic.  There was no discussion on the merits of point-and-shoot cameras vs. digital SLRs.   There was no discussion about full-frame sensors in SLRs or the effects of crop factor in cameras without full-frame capability.  And there was no mention of panoramic photography or photo stitching.

Most real estate agents could use a good lesson on how to compose a shot, but there was nothing about that in the webinar either.  And no discussion of lens speed in low-light environments.

Some of the real estate photography examples used during the webinar looked just plain lousy.  And the speaker seems to think that a 28mm lens is the gold standard in wide-angle lenses.  28mm is often considered to be fairly wide by some photographers.  But in order to achieve really stunning results while shooting indoors, you have to get into the 18 to 21mm (or shorter) range. 

The course ended (mercifully) after an hour, but I'm pretty sure a good number of those who paid to attend came away with that empty feeling. 

Okay, there are great resources out there on the Web if you're truly looking for advice on real estate photography.  First off, let me say that there are some great posts and tutorials on ActiveRain about real estate photography.  You may have to dig for the best stuff, but it's worthwhile.  I recommend the Ken Rockwell website (www.kenrockwell.com) for some of the best reviews of cameras and software that you'll read anywhere.  And Stan Barron has published some superb information about using ultrawide lenses and digital cameras with full-frame sensors to achieve the best results.

 

 

 

WORK WITH AN AGENT WHO TRAINS AND MENTORS OTHERS IN THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY

CONTACT BROKER ERIC KODNER, CRS, ABR, E-PRO, AHWD, MADELINE ISLAND REALTY LLC

CALL OR TEXT MESSAGE 612.670.2539

EMKODNER@GMAIL.COM or MADELINEISLAND@GMAIL.COM

Madeline Island Real Estate Broker Eric Kodner is licensed in Wisconsin & Minnesota

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Steve Hoffacker
Steve Hoffacker LLC - West Palm Beach, FL
Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor

Eric,

The webinar hosting platform makes a huge difference in the success, and the one-hour time limit is too long for nearly all webinars. :)

Steve

Jul 24, 2010 04:34 PM #1
Rainmaker
253,129
Lee Jinks
Jinks Realty - McAllen, TX

In terms of teaching you real estate photography, I would suggest Larry Lohrman's book Photography for Real Estate.  On his website, by the same name, you can also find several articles on the subject.

Jul 25, 2010 12:34 AM #2
Rainmaker
565,890
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

Steve, thanks for commenting.  I agree that the hosting platform is crucial.  I've had problems with WebEx before.  I thought the fellow who offered the course I described could have offered a lot more useful content in sixty minutes.

Lee - I'm familiar with Lohrman's book.  Personally, I much prefer the ideas in Stan Barron's "How to Photograph Houses".

Jul 25, 2010 05:35 AM #3
Rainmaker
253,129
Lee Jinks
Jinks Realty - McAllen, TX

Eric, I took the time to read Barron's book.  I agree that he has some good ideas.  Lorhrman's book is more of a nuts and bolts how-to book written from the perspective of a photographer.  Barron's booklet presents some good ideas about real estate photography from the point of view of a marketing expert.

I started out as a real estate broker who fell in love with photography as a result of necessity.  My mind works more on the technical level verses the conceptual level.  Maybe that's why I like Lorhman's nut and bolts approach.

Barron advocates the use of a full frame camera and accompanying wide angle lens costing in the $5,000 range.  I say you can get equally amazing photos from about a $1,000 of equipment.  In fact, I have photos taken from my $200 point and shoot that I consider as good as those in Barron's booklet.  It's much more about technique than it is about the equipment.

I do think Barron hits all the right points:  use a tripod, turn off the flash, turn on all the lights of the house, learn to use photo editing software and use a wide angle lens.  I would recommend his booklet.  I think it's well done and is a quick enough read that people will get through it before loosing interest.  Lorhman's book, being over 100 pages of a more technically intense approach requires some real dedication to get through.  I'm not even sure I've read every page myself.

 

Jul 26, 2010 03:13 AM #4
Rainmaker
565,890
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

Lee,

I understand the necessity of being knowledgeable about photography.  One of my real estate offices is in a remote area that is mostly "resort - recreational" in nature.  There's nobody to call up here if you want photos taken. 

My dad was a photographer and I worked in his darkroom for nearly a year, developing and printing his work.  I got hooked on working with 35mm SLRs at that time.  So I have over 35 years of puttering with cameras and with shooting a wide variety of photos, from indoor/architectural/real estate to outdoor and portrait work.

I agree you can do a lot with a less-expensive camera than the one Stan mentions in his book.  I like my Canon 5D Mark II, but it's heavy and the ergonomics are a bit unnatural.  Plus, when you add a telephoto or another heavy piece of glass, like the Canon 16-35mm Ultrawide, the result is a bulky piece of equipment that can be a strain to lug around!

Full-frame is great because it makes use of the lenses I add and there's no crop factor to deal with (http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/crop-factor.htm).  As the cost comes down, I think it will make sense for real estate photographers to consider a camera with a full-frame sensor.

I carry a point-and-shoot myself, an aging Nikon point-and-shoot that I bought maybe six years ago.  I can get good results from it without schlepping the Canon around..it's lightweight and easy to use.

Happy shooting!

Jul 26, 2010 03:38 AM #5
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Eric Kodner

CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
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