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Getting Social with Photos


The last couple of months have been busy, leaving me little time to write a post for one of my favorite blogs. I don’t have time to do one now, but I put my phone on silent and am ignoring my email.Sometime in April I wrote a post on Agent Genius about social networking with photos, and about how Flickr is one of the greatest social networking tools ever created. Much has happened since I wrote that post. I have been on a couple of photo walks with people who live in my area, and made some new friends. I am discovering that it isn’t just photographs that start conversations, cameras do too. On the first photo walk I attended I watched as a diverse group of people stood in a circle, introduced themselves, and then introduced their camera’s.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a new lens for mine. There is a learning curve for any lens and this one is a wide angle that I need for interior property shots of my listings. I brought the camera and new lens downtown with me, met with a client, showed him some lofts, and then headed back to my car for the camera, and some target practice. I wandered around shooting pictures here and there, so I could try the lens. I went out into a street and started using one of my favorite building for target practice, the horn honking did not get my attention. It wasn’t until I heard someone calling my name that I decided to get out of the street.

A young man standing on the curb said, “you just have to be Teresa Boardman”. He has a point, I really do have to be Teresa Boardman, no choice on that one. He told me that my camera gave me away, and that he doesn’t see many people standing in the street, on a busy street, taking pictures.

He identified himself as the person from the local convention bureau who has been sending me email. He found my photos on Flickr and contacted me. We now have an agreement in which I supply photos for the visit Saint Paul web site, and for some printed materials designed to promote St. Paul. One of my photos was selected for an “explore Minnesota” flyer.

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An exciting opportunity for me. There are photos of St. Paul on flickr that are better than mine. I believe that mine were selected partly because they are easy to find, and because I am easy to find, and contact. I use Flickr as a tool for my business. Photos are labeled, tagged and put into sets. I network with other Flickr users and leave comments on their photos. I participate in contests and must belong to 20 groups. It all takes time but I love doing it and it has been good for my business.

Now they call me “the photographer”, it has a nice ring to it, and I guess it is true. I could never explain how it all happened but I like it. It doesn’t involve any extra work, with my web sites and blog I have endless uses for photos.

None of the pictures I took that day, as I dodged traffic turned out. I learned some important truths about wide angle lenses, the camera needs to be kept level, and if the lens is put on it’s widest setting, the pictures are kind of weird. I managed to shoot one where it looks like all of the buildings on St. Peter street are leaning, into each other.

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Written By

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Paula Henry

    May 28, 2008 at 9:25 am

    T – I do admire your work with the camera. I know we don’t see all the ones you didn’t post, but – WOW, the pictures you do post are amazing. I think the reason is, the passion you possess about St. Paul is evident in every picture you post and every post you write. KUDOS!

  2. Chris Shouse

    May 28, 2008 at 9:37 am

    I love your photos and I think you are brilliant. I have just started my flickr account and am really enjoying it. I have made some great friends in my area already and plan to expand on it. You have just reinforced that I am headed in the right direction. Thank you.

  3. Teresa Boardman

    May 28, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Thanks Paula, I do love taking pictures of the ordinary. 🙂

    Chris – do it, and stick with it. it is more fun than work and the more photos you take the more of them google will find and the better you will get at taking them. you will meet people, mostly people you will like. Ger involved, join a group, create a group, and just have fun.

  4. Jay Thompson

    May 28, 2008 at 10:28 am

    The pic I would really like to see would be of T standing in the street, blocking traffic, oblivious to everything but what’s in her viewfinder. THAT would be a great shot! 🙂

    Flickr is amazing. I just recently started posting listing photos to it, and incorporating “Flickr streams” into single-property blog sites. Thanks to Teresa’s tip to put the URL of the site into the Flickr labels (or whatever term they use, I’m still a Flickr noob), people actually FIND the photos and the single property sites. It’s very cool.

    I’m not a very good photographer yet, but I have learned a couple of things — if you take a bazillion photos, sooner or later you’ll get lucky and one will turn out great. And cropping pics can turn something marginal into something that’s actually pretty decent.

  5. Ines

    May 28, 2008 at 10:33 am

    I’m with Jay – would love to take some pics of T in action! Why didn’t that guy have a camera?

  6. Andy Kaufman

    May 28, 2008 at 11:29 am

    I’m glad that I wasn’t the only one hoping we’d get a shot of T in the middle of traffic. 🙂

    I also wanted to commend our own @tboard for recommending . I’ve found myself immersed in it a few times in the past few days.

  7. Andy Kaufman

    May 28, 2008 at 11:29 am

    FAIL

  8. Andy Kaufman

    May 28, 2008 at 11:32 am

  9. Teresa Boardman

    May 28, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    LOL – me wandering around with a camera is not a pretty sight. I get into trouble, I have no idea what is going on around me. I get lost too, and lose track of the time and come home late.

    Jay – Flickr is a great way to promote listings. 🙂 nice to hear it is working. As for your idea about taking shots until you get a good one, that really does work . . if you have enough time to look at them all. 🙂

  10. Bill Lublin

    May 28, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    A young man standing on the curb said, “you just have to be Teresa Boardman”. He has a point, I really do have to be Teresa Boardman, no choice on that one.

    Man, Talk about a picture painted with words – This is the portrait I have of you in my mind!

  11. Tyler, The Wealth Creation Guy

    May 28, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Teresa,

    I’ve always admired the photos you’ve had on your website. I loved it when you had photos of flowers and you said ‘What does this have to do with real estate?…Everything’. Cracked me up.. showed your personality (just like your photos do) and give people an opportunity to come up with 1,000 words to describe it.

    AG has always been great of including photos in posts so it’s not just a bunch of text. I enjoy it. It’s even better when you know it’s someone’s original photos. It keeps me coming back to your site for more. Keep up the great work!

  12. Teresa Boardman

    May 29, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Bill – your comment actually made me laugh out loud and I am still smiling. I really do have to be Teresa Boardman and it isn’t an easy job. 🙂

  13. Eric Blackwell

    June 1, 2008 at 7:32 am

    @Teresa- Your photos are a BIG piece of your site. I enjoy your writing style as it is one of the most authentic and warm in the real estate blog world, but I really enjoy the photos from around your area. Putting proper photos is something that I desire to learn from you just like I am learning from Russell Shaw the fine art of photoshopping great graphics that make a point..

    Summertime in St Paul is awesome subject matter as well!

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