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Real estate photography editing ethics debate rages on

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Real estate photography

Last week, we asked what you, the readers think about the ethical nature of photographers using HDR editing in real estate photography and it was widely discussed with most people agreeing with us that if done within reason and not done to mislead or remove existing objects, it was perfectly ethical despite a preference for or against the editing software.

In the video above, photographer Dom Bower shows in great detail the methodology of a photographer’s decision to use HDR editing software or internal flash. For Realtors who hire out photography without an understanding of how it works, all you want is a quality product and maybe somewhere online, you read that HDR is the best way for a property to be presented. For real estate photographers, the challenge is in explaining deeply technical methods to a lay person.

Regardless of a persons technical knowledge or chosen profession, it is clear that there are a variety of methods that a professional can take and Realtors that do their own photography can learn quite a bit from Dom Bower and Realtors that don’t can take away from this continuing ethics debate and from the video above that real estate photography is so much more than just point and click and a quality photographer will have preferred methods and a portfolio to back it up.

Bower’s photos

From the video above, here are larger versions of Dom Bower’s photography examples:

HDR edited photograph


Slow shutter 20th


1/250th and flash


1/5th and flash

Weigh in

Now that you’ve seen more methods than just HDR that achieve a realistic look to photographs, tell us in the comments what you think of the methods and options available. Realtors, do you still prefer HDR or are you now open to internal flash methods?

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Lucas

    June 9, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Found this page while looking for something totally different. I'm a professional photographer who specializes in Real Estate photography and a few thoughts came to mind as I viewed the video and followed the previous articles about on AG about photography.

    There are a ton of problems with this video and the photo. These are just my opinions but if a professional real estate photographer shows up without a tripod don’t use them, period!!! Second, the photographer should attempt to have straight vertical walls when possible. This photograph is terrible with the walls moving in every direction. I understand sometimes is isn’t possible to make the room completely “straight” (trust me, it happens often when you just can’t straighten every wall to make the photo look right). However, this room could have been shot level. There’s a bunch of other problems that make me think Dom Bower doesn’t concentrate on real estate but I’ve already criticized his photography beyond what I’m comfortable with.

    Some general thoughts:

    1) All still photographs represent a "moment in time" and are inherently only truthful at the moment the photo was taken.

    2) For most houses architectural photographers will use an ultra wide angle lens. This allows the photographer to show the layout and represent the house in fewer photographs. How about the use of panoramas? Is this a distortion of the truth? Probably to some viewers.

    3) No technique is perfect for every situation. A photographer may use multiple techniques, HDR, Flash, or neither, when photographing a property. However, neither shows the property "honestly". It is a representation. Whatever the technique used the photographer needs to be an expert at making it work. Poor HDR creates a bad photograph. Poor use of flash creates a bad photograph. Saying one is better is just wrong. Photography is a representation of the property and regardless of the technique used we will ighten the dark areas and darken the over bright areas. This is why you hire a professional so we can make the photo look closer to what your eyes see.

    4) With monitors ranging from high end desktops to low end phones it is impossible to correctly represent the colors of a property. All you need to do is pull up the same photo on two or three computers and you will see a major difference.

    5) I personally do not like to remove wires or other permanent structures from photos. However, I will compose photographs to minimize them in the photos. I photographed houses with holes in the floor, no grass in the back yard, and a million other problems. Shooting from angles to minimize or not show the problems is standard. Distortion of the truth by omission? Probably. Some agents want to show the flaws, most don’t.

    The truth is photographers are in the marketplace to make your listings look as interesting as possible so potential buyers will either arrange a visit or request more information from you. We aren’t in the business of presenting the house with warts and all unless it is a “fixer upper” and the agent wants the warts.

    Again, just my two cents.

  2. Sarah Baker

    July 10, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    I think that the 1/250th and Flash is the best of the selection.

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.

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Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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