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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

Gloves that translate sign language in real time

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new wearable tech translates American Sign Language into audible English in real time.

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Advancements in technology never cease to amaze. The same is true right this moment as a new technology has been released that helps translate American Sign Language (ASL) signs into spoken English in real time.

This technology comes in the form of a hand glove – similar looking on the front side to what one would wear in the winter, but much more advanced when in view of the palm. The palm side of the glove contains sensors on the wearer to identify each word, phrase, or letter that they form via ASL, and is then translated into audible English via an app that coincides with the glove.

This is all done in real time and allows for instant communication without the need for a human translator. The signals are translated at a rate of one word per second.

The project was developed by scientists at UCLA. “Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them,” said lead researcher Jun Chen.

The hope is to make communication easier for those who rely on ASL, and to help those unfamiliar with ASL adapt to the signs. It is thought that between 250,000 and 500,000 people in the United States use ASL. As of now, the glove does not translate British Sign Language – the other form a sign language that utilizes English.

According to CNN, the researchers also added adhesive sensors to the faces of people used to test the device — between their eyebrows and on one side of their mouths — to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language. However, this facet of the technology is not loved by all.

“The tech is redundant because deaf signers already make extensive use of text-to-speech or text translation software on their phones, or simply write with pen and paper, or even gesture clearly,” said Gabrielle Hodge, a deaf post-doctoral researcher from the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at University College London. “There is nothing wrong with these forms of communication.”

What are your thoughts on this advancement? Comment below!

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Business Marketing

Stand out with video as part of your resume (but be careful)

(MARKETING) This new tool helps you stand out in the job market, as video now dominates – so it’s possible to use this to your advantage (with caution).

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job market video

In the midst of a pandemic, people are finding themselves thrust back into the job market sooner than expected due to mass company layoffs or underemployment as a freelancer. Fields are oversaturated and jobs are sparse so it can be hard to stand out in today’s job market.

Although standing out in the job market is hardly a new problem, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use some new and creative solutions. One company, VCV.ME has designed a tool to help you get creative and stand out from your competition.

VCV.ME turns your traditional resume into a video à la Instagram stories.

The process is simple. You answer a few questions and upload a video of yourself then the tool will provide you with a sharable link.

VCV Founder and CEO, Arik Akverdian, believes that video is the future saying, “Video will represent 80% of all internet traffic by 2021 according to Cisco, and according to eMarketer 94.1% of millennial internet users were streaming digital video in 2019. With growing demand for video social media such as TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram stories, and others, we’re bringing the short video format to the job market.”

There are some obvious limitations to using this tool in your job hunt.

First, not all employers will take videos as part of an application both for technical and legal reasons.

On the technical side, many automated tracking systems are not designed to filter that kind of file, so there may not even be an opportunity to showcase it. That’s not to say there aren’t some work-arounds. Many job applications will have a place for applicants to link to their portfolio or websites. An alternate option for this tool could be to place the video introduction on your website.

Another problem with the tool is how it exposes candidates and hiring managers to bias.

As more companies work to remove bias from their hiring practices and hire more diverse candidates, a video intro just won’t fly. Some companies have removed names and even alma maters from their applicants in order to make more unbiased hiring decisions. A video introduction would expose many characteristics that people have conscious and subconscious biases towards such as race, gender, age, and ethnicity.

Although VCV.ME’s intentions are to help candidates stand out in the job market, it’s worth questioning whether they would be standing out for the right reasons, so tread carefully.

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Business Marketing

Why should you take Facebook’s ‘Summer of Support’ courses

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Every company can use a little marketing advice, well Facebook has partnered with big companies to give you some free digital marketing courses.

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marketing courses

Our world has turned into a place of upheaval and unrest and we are continuously surrounded by more and more evidence of it. One thing that the majority of us are constantly seeing is announcements from companies. Some of those are about closing hours, but others are more helpful. As they all attempt to get used to this new world that COVID-19 has created we begin to see some different tactics. Some are only politically motivated, but others are more focused on helping out their communities.

Earlier this week Facebook announced that they will be putting on a six-week digital marketing education series. This series will be an extensive collection of videos with a full in depth set of courses that will cover a large amount of topics. The company has put together a cast of renowned entrepreneurs for the presenters as well.

The topics will be done in themed weeks starting on June 24th, and running through the month of July. They include categories such “The Changing World” & “Resilience”. Focusing primarily on the world that is here and now, with recommendations on how to adapt to it. With this world in a constant state of flux the push for adapting to change and staying in front of the tide is crucial for a small business.

The next two courses will be going forward with discussing “Reinvention” & “Re-Emergence”. Encouraging struggling companies to take a serious look at their potential for moving forward, or changing the things that they can to stay more on top of their client base. They also plan on attacking the confusing world that we will have when things get closer to normal.

The last two weeks are focused on community and customer care, which is actually their names as well: “Customers & Commerce” & “Community”. These will help develop a sense of how your business affects your community and the impact you have on it. Keeping that in mind you can then develop a plan for how you want your community to see you and shape things within it.

These courses are all set up for free and open to anyone. With a completely online set up with their new “Summer of Support” mini-site they are prepped to reach millions of people. They’ve organized this with a range of partners as well: Dell, PayPal, American Express, & Small Business Roundtable. A helping hand for people who wouldn’t currently be able to source things like this.

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