Artist vs. Photographer, Part II

Ferringway #8
Last week I wrote about “Switching From Artist to Photographer”. The article was intended to be answer to a friends question regarding portrait photography and how I can “flip the switch”. This applies equally in real estate photography.

What? Where does real estate fit into this? Simple – this is another area where you have to deliver what the client wants, not your artistic impression of what you saw. This really hit home in a recent Photography For Real Estate entry by Larry Lohrman. The subject of the entry was “How to Survive in a Competitive Environment“. Along with the usual good advice, Larry quoted a comment from a Flickr PFRE group discussion by Fred Light (still haven’t watched his DVD yet). A piece of the quote:

For Realtors, it’s not about ‘the art’, ‘the creativity’, ‘the process’, and you can’t base your pricing on something Realtors don’t care or know about. The only people that care about that are the photographers, OTHER photographers and those who really appreciate photography as ART.

Realtors care about PRICE. Realtors care that the photos look GOOD and look better than what THEY could take. It’s really that simple. As long as a photographer (pro or semi pro or amateur) takes BETTER photos than the Realtor could themselves, they will get hired.

Price discussions notwithstanding, Fred hit it squarely on the head. Photographers really are the only ones who care about the artistic side of an image when it comes to real estate or portraits. The buyer (agent/ family member) who commissions you just does so because they believe you can do a better job than they can, or than other people they know can. It’s that simple. So make sure you give them what they want, charge fairly for it, and you shouldn’t have any problems.

All of life should be this easy, no?

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A friend of mine recently had an impromptu family reunion photo shoot come up. Her background, like mine, is traditionally more of an artistic type of photography. She indicated that she had trouble switching to photographer from artist and wanted to know how I managed it.

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Courtyard, Westin Kierland Resort, Scottsdale, AZ
This image probably doesn’t seem too remarkable, but it represents a first for me. It’s the first time I have done a photo in “bulb” mode. I was trying to get photos of the lightning storm that passed through last night. It was too far away, and none of the bolts looked good in the shots. So I went with my immediate surroundings. Sometimes a shoot doesn’t work out the way you wanted. You just need to roll with it and see if you can get something salvageable. In this case, I got practice, which is worth a lot to me… PP in Lightroom, of course.

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