Great Photos Need More Than a Great Camera

Real Estate Agent with RLAH Real Estate AB95346

Like many of us, I take a lot of photos.  Some of them are great and many go straight to the trash bin on my Mac.  And some of them start out looking like trash bin waiting to happen but turn into a great shots, thanks to my photo editing software.

The program I use is so simple it's ridculous - I-Photo.  It comes included with Macs.  

In the old days, you aimed your camera, clicked, and whatever was on the end of the lens was what you got.  Of course, digital photography is a whole other world.  You can download whatever you take and make adjustments that greatly enhance the quality of the shot.  

By straightening and cropping, you can do a lot.  There are also functions that let you sharpen up the image and mess with the lighting, contrast, de-noise and little touchups that can remove blemishes of any type.

Then there is Photoshop, which is the favorite of the professional photographers on Evers & Company's staff.  There is a lot more you can do with Photoshop, but it's a lot more complicated to use - in other words, um, it doesn't pass the Pat Test.  This is a professional program that can pick up your clients' childrens' toys off the floor.  If have good camera equipment and you do take the time to master Photoshop, the listing photos you take will be more likely to grab buyers' imaginations and lure them inside.

In reading over a lot of the photo blogs here on Active Rain, I'm seeing agents with great new cameras, and while they are taking photos that look better than their old ones, you need a combination of skills for both taking photos and for editing them.  


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Teral McDowell
Referral Patners LLC - Murphy, TX

Some good thought, Patricia I particularly like those photos that come right out of the box and don't need editing. I know they are rare but I have had a few surprises waiting for me. I cherish those photos the most. They are "the real deal, genuine". Today's photo editing software is so high tech that it has become to photography what Memorex was to the recording - is it real or is it photoshop? As you mentioned I employ basic editing techniques. I admire the work of professional photographers.

Jun 26, 2012 01:49 PM #1
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad


We are indeed fortunate that there is so much that can be done with digital photography. I have to say that I rarely do anything with my photos except to resize or perhaps crop a little. Guess I am a but of a purest, or am too lazy to take the time. I lilke seeing what I can do without fussing too much. Sometimes I am pretty impresse!

Love this photo of the monument. How can you NOT enjoy seeing this architectural gem in a photo?


Jun 26, 2012 01:55 PM #2
Mark Delgado
houses for rent, Solano County & Glen Cove - Benicia, CA
Benicia and Vallejo, Property Management, rental h
It is the artist, not the brush, that makes that art. With that said, I disagree with the previous content. Even with film cameras, choice of film speed, film type, dark room techniques etc could produce very different results. On top of that, the camera can't actually "see" the entire light spectrum that the human eye is able to discern. If that weren't enough different brands of cameras are known to produce different results when taking photos under the exact same conditions. So, exactly what is "real" in photography?
Jun 26, 2012 01:56 PM #3
Rose King
UTR, Texas Realtors - Friendswood, TX
Friendswood / Pearland / Houston Bay Area

Hi Patricia! I've got one of those "great new cameras" but I am finding that when I use all of the automatic settings, including auto focus, my pictures aren't as good as they were when I used the easy point and shoot. I'm still learning....

Jun 26, 2012 02:48 PM #4
Rob Lang
At Home Kansas / - Lawrence, KS
Local Expert in Lawrence Kansas Real Estate Homes

A good eye certainly helps but life is certainly simpler now that we have digital photos and good software.

Jun 26, 2012 02:51 PM #5
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

Remember back in the day when you had to take a good picture to get a good picture. I'm sure glad those days are gone Pat. Editing is so much better.

Jun 26, 2012 05:45 PM #6
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
I have been immersed in some iPad video tutorial apps this week called Tutor for iPhoto for Mac and Tutor for iMovie for Mac and iPad so I am headed the Pat direction of iPhoto and iMovie, too.
Jun 26, 2012 06:33 PM #7
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Pat, That's what I love about ipiccy and similar.  Snap a digital shot on the run, tweak it later and it will work for community posts.  Remove the 1/3 of the shot that's street pavement, tilt it 5 degrees to straighten it, lighten or darken, sharpen, all it about 2 minutes or less once we know what we're doing.  Pretty sweet.

Jun 26, 2012 08:30 PM #8
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

As a contractor I used a "special" Polaroid, which took "clear" photos of what work I wanted to describe!  I had to take two - one for me and one for the clients.  Mac seems to think of everything, and what they think of later is always easy to add to their systems.

Jun 26, 2012 09:22 PM #9
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


While I do have Photoshop, I'm finding that I'm using some of the simpler online photo editors. They're just so much easier to produce terrific results.


Jun 26, 2012 10:09 PM #10
Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker
Janisch & Co. - Conroe, TX
Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you!

Anyone looking for a photo editor needs to consider, or all of them will do amazing things for your photos.  And..... they are all drop dead easy to use.

Jun 26, 2012 11:10 PM #11
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Patricia - I was fortunate to do the Photoshop learning curve on version 1.0 years ago when I had time to mess with it, and the upgrades have been easier because of that. But I wouldn't recommend anyone starting out with full-featured Photoshop today - it's too expensive and difficult unless photography is your main focus. But Photoshop Elements does everything we could need as Realtors and a lot more, and it's much more affordable and accessible.

Jun 27, 2012 01:25 AM #12
Carol-Ann Palmieri
RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group - Franklin, MA
"Cal" the Real Estate Gal

Hi Pat.   I am amazed at how easy it can be to make the shot look great by just a little tweaking afterwards.    I have been using IPiccy.    Really no learning curve and it can be done from anywhere.   I am a MAC wanna be user.   :)

Jun 27, 2012 04:22 AM #13
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Pat I am not very good at taking pictures, but with the new digital cameras, and computer programs, even my stuff looks better.

Jun 27, 2012 07:37 AM #14
Bud & Beth McKinney
Cary/Raleigh/Apex NC - The Team That Cares, RE/MAX United

Those great cameras do take a long time to get used to...all of the different settings and options, it is difficult to get a good shot right from the lens to the memory card and have little to no editing involved. Computer programs for editing photos are a must in my business.

Jun 28, 2012 07:07 AM #15
Lee Jinks
Jinks Realty - McAllen, TX

I thought this was going to be about the importance of the photographer behind the camera.  I suppose if you snap away and gather the photos at the end of the day, you should get lucky on one or two of them after a few tweaks from your favoite photo editor.  But if you begin to understand what makes these few photos good, you might be able to take "GOOD" photos more often.

Like you, I happen to be in Washington DC on a stormy day this May and created this photo.  My editing on this photo was also in iPhoto.

Washington monument

Jun 28, 2012 11:54 PM #16
Steve and Jan Bachman
RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax - Herndon, VA
Realtors - Northern Virginia

Ah Pat, you told the secret. Take lots of photos and keep the 3 best :-)

I just bought Lightroom from Adobe. It was $400+...crazy...but just came down to $150. IT IS AWESOME and should pass the Pat test. It can make good photos great and salvage the ones you need when you really need them.

Don't tell anyone OK.

Jun 30, 2012 09:46 PM #17
Coldwell Banker Excellence
Coldwell Banker Excellence - Brea, CA

With great camers, softwares and systems Photography today has grown by leaps and bounds. We can make an ordinary photograph look really great by editing it. You need to click a lot and choose the best amongst them. A great photograph looks amazing even without any edits. So all the softwares are jsut a bonus to us.

Jul 16, 2012 03:45 PM #18
Paul Gapski
Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty - El Cajon, CA
619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo

wow nothing like DC in the Springtime I must say, great pic.

Jul 25, 2012 12:34 AM #19
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Patricia Kennedy

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