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image courtesy of John Kratz

What is your Weapon of Choice?

Fresh from RE Bar Camp and Inman Connect SF, there has been a lot of photo sharing from everyone that attended. So I thought it would be a great time for everyone to share:

  • What your camera do you use?
  • What do you like about it?
  • What do you dislike?
  • If you are in the market for a camera, what features are you looking for?

We all know that in our industry- buyers like pictures the more the better. Many use pictures to tell stories or to share their city with potential families relocating to your area. Great photographs of homes, neighborhoods and local amenities can certainly help your listings stand out.

One More Thing…

Another question, what phone do you use to take those impromptu pictures when you may not have your camera available. And what is the best software app you use with your phone to post to Twitter, Utterz etc.

So for me, I have Panasonic DMC-FX01, a cute little compact camera that is easy to carry around. I purchased it when my last camera quit on me, and needed a new one the same day. I did not do any research before purchasing, as I needed an affordable camera fast. With that being said, it does an adequate job, and to be honest, I have yet to take the time, to play with some of the features and I sure can’t blame the camera for that!

I am now a proud member of the 365 Tweeters Group on Flickr-that hopefully will help me improve my photog skills.

As for my phone, I am sad to say that my Blackberry does not have a camera gasp!

Writer for national real estate opinion column, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

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  1. Benn Rosales

    July 27, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    rather than a flipcam I use the sony GC1 netsharing cam it is intuitive, easy to hold, manipulate and kicks the flip to the curb. Very powerful, lightweight, buttons in the right place etc…

    I’ll be buying a new stand alone camera as we seem to have come home short some equipment from inman- go figure. I’ll update in the next few days.

  2. Bill Lublin

    July 27, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Jamie; You force me to confess that I am just a camera of convenience type of guy. I am the first to tell you I am no Teresa Boardman or Kristal Kraft.

    I use one of a few sony cameras for family pictures, and taking house photos. There are a couple of requirements, decent zoom, good flash (sony has a red pre-photo light handy in vacant houses) and I like them to fit in a pocket. I try to stay with cameras that use AA batteries which I can always get. I have a number of rechargeable batteries I keep a number of them ready to go . If I get stuck , I can run to a nearby store and get a couple of batteries to get me through.

    My phone camera is a TREO 755p – so I have 1x and 2x zoom and video – none of great quality, but OK in a pinch. And sometimes the video is used for the sound track as I wander through the house.

  3. Norm Fisher

    July 27, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    I have a Canon 40D which is one of those fancy rigs that allows you to change lens’ and add a hot shoe flash. I really like it for taking RE photos but it’s a pain in the butt for everyday, running around kind of stuff.

    I also have a Flip which Benn is making me want to “kick to the curb” before I even make a video with it.

    My phone is a BB Curve, so the camera isn’t rvery good and I rarely use it.

    I’m looking forward to hearing some advice on your question about software to load photos to Twitter, etc. I haven’t got the foggiest idea how you guys are doing that. 🙂

    Welcome to AG Jamie!

  4. Jay Thompson

    July 27, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    One of our agents takes wonderful photos, so I use her (and her camera) for most listing photos. She uses a Nikon D50. My better “point and shoot” is a Canon PowerShot S2. I have a “pocket camera” that I take on trips that is mostly for fun shots and that is a Nikon CoolPix L11.

    I still don’t know what all the buttons are for on any of my cameras.

    My Blackberry Curve actually takes pretty decent photos.

    I suspect much of what makes good pictures good is the person behind the camera, more than the camera itself. Tiger Woods could use my driver and split the fairway 300 yards away. I on the other hand, not-so-much. I’ve heard someone play my cheesy guitar and it blew me away. Good equipment helps, but nothing helps more than practice. I seem to get better every time I use a camera. Or maybe just luckier. I’m of the school that if you take enough photos, you’re bound to get a few right…

  5. Benn Rosales

    July 27, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Norm, for Twitter, use and just use your twitter login/password. If you use the sony I’m referring to, it has pictbridge, you give the bridge your information and it sticks it there on the fly, youtube, etc… I believe flip may have similar capability, but I’m not sure. Also the sony can do vid or pics which is very useful.

  6. Roberta Murphy

    July 27, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    I followed Jeff Turner’s advice last year, bought the Kodak v705–and have never looked back. Kodak no longer makes the camera and it has done nothing but go up in value on ebay. Its wide angle lenses and compact size make it perfect for real estate photography.

  7. Larry Yatkowsky

    July 27, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    Blackberry but who cares

    Belt clip Nikon Coolpix L3 for shots in a bar or car accidents when I follow the ambulance. Has a sucky zoom and now I find out I got mice living inside as the autofocus is hooped (that’s for JD) but will be in the shop for warranty. Got another Coolpix with an 18X zoom and much higher resolution. Needs tripod for the zoom as I rattle too much. Mostly just for jumping around exterior shots. Both do the video with sound stuff quite well. The big gun is dare I say it a Canon Rebel (film version). It’s my baby as the lenses have stablizers in them so you can shoot without a tripod. This is my house shooting camera as it hooks up to trigger multiple flashes to fill in the dark spots. Note: all of these are on auto pilot as I know nothing about taking a picture on manual.

  8. Bruce Breger

    July 28, 2008 at 12:42 am

    Today I went out and purchased the new Sony High Definition Handycam® Camcorder HDR-TG1, The small camcorder that fits in the palm of your hand and takes great pictures also, I switched from a Canon PowerShot SD870 IS. So far the results have been amazing,

    On a separate note congrats to Agent Genius for the Top Award at Inman!!

  9. Glenn fm Naples

    July 28, 2008 at 5:43 am

    I am using a Olympus FE250 – because it fits nicely into my breast pocket in my shirt. It does a fair job and does video as well. Also have a Sony Supershot – but too bulky for me.

  10. Ken B.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:57 am

    Nice post – totally on-point topic.

    At Inman Connect, lots bright ideas and illumination, one thing was absolutely consistent among all accomplished panelists, portal geniuses and savant technorati, the VALUE OF PICTURES, the more pictures, the better the quality of the pictures, the more citizens are attracted too and compelled to view property details.

    Bottom line, a smart agent can kick lazy competitors to the curb, delight their seller’s and attract new clients by posting mo-better pictures.

    I’m a sales manager and don’t list properties anymore, so I use my iPhone and the Flip Mino.

    Thanks for the reminder and the “what camera do you use” sharing.

  11. Norm Fisher

    July 28, 2008 at 6:35 am

    @ Jay – “My Blackberry Curve actually takes pretty decent photos. I suspect much of what makes good pictures good is the person behind the camera”

    Thanks man! 🙂

    @ Benn – Thanks. I’ll check those out today. Read some stuff on the Sony which said it takes 5 megapixel stills. Can you get a pretty decent still image out of it?

  12. Jay Thompson

    July 28, 2008 at 9:28 am

    @Norm – my pleasure! 😉

  13. Mariana Wagner

    July 28, 2008 at 10:14 am

    I use a Canon Powershot G9 with the wide angle lens adapter and aux. flash. I have a PALM 750 but do not use the camera function unless I am posting to
    (And I LOVE my flipcam, Benn.)
    I edit all my pics with Picnik and MS Office Picture Manager.

  14. Jamie Geiger

    July 28, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    @Benn-look forward to you new choice

    @Bill-I am no Teresa or Kristal myself-but trying to do a little bit better 🙂

    @Norm- And I thought the Flip was all the rage- I will check out Benn’s suggestion and Thanks!

    @Jay-I am still trying to figure out what all my buttons do- I have been searching for the manual

    @Larry- I do care!!!- I am on auto-pilot too.

    @Roberta- I wonder why they quit making it if it is so popular?

    @Bruce- Thanks!! and enjoy you new toy 🙂

    @Ken- I have had a great time looking at all the picutures from Inman since I was not able to go

    @Marina-I like using Picnik-very easy-I tried Photoshop in the past-way to complicated for me

    @Glenn-My camera is nice and small- I can just thorw it in my purse and hit the road.

  15. Vicki Moore

    July 28, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    The only camera I have is a Costco special that I carry in my purse. Someday when I grow up I want to get a big girl camera with lenses and tripod. I can’t wait! I used to have a Cannon AE-1. Don’t know if they even make those anymore – it was a film camera – way back when.

  16. Steve Belt

    July 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I have 3 cameras, each has its own purpose.

    A Canon 20D Digital SLR /w an array of lenses (most often used is a 17-40L), and 2 flashes (550 EX and 580 EX). That’s the setup for taking pictures of houses and/or pictures of life’s most precious moments.

    I have a Canon 870is for “snapshots”. I call it my blogging camera. If I know the only place the photo is going is on a blog, that’s the camera. Pocket sized, image stabilizing, and even does video.

    And then the iPhone takes very good pictures. I’ve posted many of them on my personal blog. It seems to take better photos than the Blackberry photos I’ve seen, although perhaps I’m biased.

    If I was to get a new camera today, the one that needs to be updated the most is the 20D. I would buy a Canon 5D to replace it, to gain the 1.0 focal length multiplier over the typical 1.6 found in nearly every other prosumer camera. I doubt I will ever switch away from Canon for an digital SLR. I have much invested in lenses, flashes, and such.

    For (my opinion) unbiased, uncommercialized reviews about digital cameras, click on over to Be warned, like me, they favor Canon and Nikon.

  17. Thomas Johnson

    July 28, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    I use Sony W-5 and W-7. They take AA batteries and I have quite a few memory sticks acquired on sale over the years. I bought both of these cameras on eBay, along with a wide angle adapter. I also have an eBay Sony M-1 which is a hybrid video / still camera about the size of an iPhone. Once I figure out how to post the video, I will do video blogging. For the pocket, I use a Sony W-55 which is slimmer than the the W-5 or the W-7, but takes a proprietary battery. This one was acquired as a recall replacement. All the Sony cameras have Zeiss lenses, and would take great pictures but for the operator.

    My next expedition into Real Estate photography excellence will be a Sony alpha digital SLR body which apparently will accept the Minolta Xi lenses from my 35mm SLR.

    Since almost all our pictures are destined for the internet, an agent can save quite a bit of money buying used equipment, and not give up photographic quality. My collection of redundant cameras cost less than $400.

  18. Chuck G

    July 28, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    @Benn The Sony camera sounds intriguing, but how much “net” is really in the camera? From what I can tell on the spec sheet, the only connection is via a USB cable. Pls correct me if I’m not reading that right. If so, I don’t know how that would be more net friendly than other cameras.

    The ability to do solid stills and good video is a big plus. My dream application is to do all of that, plus be able to easily send it wirelessly (either WiFi or cell network) to wherever (Flickr, TwitPic, etc…)



  19. Benn Rosales

    July 28, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    the bridge is what makes it simple, Chuck. When you set up the software on your computer, you take your pictures, plug in the camera via usb, and the bridge will export your images to flickr, youtube or other destinations automatically, or as you choose- no wireless though.

  20. Benn Rosales

    July 28, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    ps, it’s also a webcam…

    and plz guys, no signatures w/links, your name link is enough- we have enough issues with spam as it is and we hate having to dig you guys out.

  21. Chuck G

    July 29, 2008 at 6:51 am

    Thanks for the clarification on the specs, Benn. I’ll definitely check the Sony out.

  22. sabrina Huang

    July 31, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    In May I wrote a blog entry about Real Estate Photography for Realtors and I have picked 4 compact cameras (DSLR is too big and complicate for most agents) for agents which has the wide-angle feature.

  23. small business blog

    October 20, 2012 at 4:50 am

    I use a mirrorless camera since it’s more compact and handy than a DSLR.

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Opinion Editorials

The truth about unemployment from someone who’s been through it

(EDITORIAL) Unemployment benefits aren’t what you thought they were. Here’s a first-hand experience and what you need to know.




Have I ever told you how I owed the government over two grand because of unemployment in 2019, and only just finished paying it back this year?

This isn’t exactly the forum for memoirs, but this is relevant to everyone. So I’ll tell y’all anyway.

It all started back in 2018 when I came into work early, microwaved my breakfast, poured coffee, and got pulled into a collaboration room to hear, “We love you and your work, April, but we’ve been bought out and you’re being laid off.”

It was kind of awkward carrying my stuff out to the car with that Jimmy Dean sandwich in my mouth.

More awkward still was the nine months of unemployment I went through afterwards. Between the fully clothed shower crying, the stream of job denial, catering to people who carried rocks in their nostrils at my part-time job (yes, ew, yes, really), and almost dying of no-health-insurance-itis, I learned a lot!

The bigger lesson though, came in the spring of the following year when I filed my taxes. I should back up for a moment and take the time to let those of you unfamiliar with unemployment in Texas in on a few things that aren’t common knowledge.

1: You’re only eligible if you were laid off. Not if you had quit. Not fired. Your former company can also choose to challenge your eligibility for benefits if they didn’t like your face on the way out. So the only way you’re 100% guaranteed to get paid in (what the state calls) “a timely manner”, is a completely amicable split.

2: Overpayments have to go back. Immediately. If there’s an error, like several thousand of Texans found out this week, the government needs that cash back before you can access any more. If you’re not watching your bank account to make sure you’re getting the exact same check each time and you have an overpayment, rest assured that mistake isn’t going to take long to correct. Unfortunately, if you spent that money unknowingly–thought you got an ‘in these uncertain times’ kinder and gentler adjustment and have 0 income, you have a problem. Tying into Coronavirus nonsense is point three!

3: There are no sick days. If ever you’re unable to work for any reason, be it a car accident, childbirth, horrible internal infection (see also no-health-insurance-itis), you are legally required to report it, and you will not be paid for any days you were incapacitated. Personally, my no-health-insurance-itis came with a bad fever and bedrest order that axed me out of my part time job AND killed my unemployment benefits for the week I spent getting my internal organs to like me again. But as it turned out, the payment denial came at the right time because–

4: Unemployment benefits are finite. Even if you choose to lie on your request forms about how hard you’re searching for work, coasting is ill-advised because once the number the state allots you runs out…it’s out. Don’t lie on your request forms, by the way. In my case, since I got cut from my part-time gig, I got a call from the Texas Workforce Commission about why my hours were short. I was able to point out where I’d reported my sickness to them and to my employer, so my unpaid week rolled over to a later request date. I continued to get paid right up until my hiring date which was also EXACTLY when my benefits ran out.

Unemployment isn’t a career, which is odd considering the fact that unemployment payments are qualified by the government as income.

Ergo, fact number five…

5: Your benefits? They’re taxed.

That’s right, you will be TAXED for not having a job.

The stereotype of the ‘lazy unemployment collector burdening society’ should be fading pretty quickly for the hitherto uninformed about now.

To bring it back to my story, I’d completely forgotten that when I filed for unemployment in the first place, I’d asked for my taxes NOT to be withheld from it–assuming that I wasn’t going to be searching for full time work for very long. I figured “Well, I’ll have a tax refund coming since I’ll get work again no problem, it’ll cancel out.”

Except, it was a problem. Because of the nine month situation.

I’d completely forgotten about it by the time I threw myself into my new job, but after doing my taxes, triple checking the laws and what I’d signed, it was clear. Somehow…despite being at my lowest point in life, I owed the highest amount in taxes, somewhere around the 2k mark.

Despite being based on a system that’s tied to how much income you were getting before, and all the frustrating “safeguards” put in place to keep payments as low and infrequent as possible, Uncle Sam still wants a bite out of the gas-station Hostess pie that is your unemployment check. And as I’m writing this, more and more people are finding that out.

I’d like to end this on a more positive note…so let’s say we’ve all been positively educated! That’s a net gain, surely.

Keep your heads up, and masked.

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Opinion Editorials

COVID-19 acts are unfortunately too short sighted

(BUSINESS NEWS) The biggest flaw in the CARES act is simply that it won’t last. Numerous issues have extended the life of COVID-19 but the act hasn’t matched it.



rev pay issues act

The CARES act gives an additional $600 weekly to those on unemployment assistance. The idea being that, combined with the $380 already granted by unemployment, the payments would roughly equal the wage of the average worker prior to the pandemic- about $1,000 weekly.

But on July 31st, the expansion that CARES provides will expire, and benefits will return to pre-pandemic amounts. Those currently receiving the maximum payment will see a 61% decrease in their income. In states that offer lower benefit payments, that percentage goes even higher. All of this comes during a national rental crisis, and moratoriums on evictions across the country are also nearing their ends or being extended last minute.

This isn’t the first or only “yuge” hole in the federal government’s COVID-19 safety net. Many Americans (this writer included) have seen neither hide nor hair of their promised stimulus checks. The HEROES act, which is being billed as a second round of stimulus money, remains under debate- as it has been for several weeks.

And the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which requires certain businesses to provide two weeks of paid leave to workers who may be sick (or caring for someone who is) has plenty of problems too, namely the laundry list of exceptions to it.

This is just the most recent push to return to the pre-virus economy before effective protective measures have been put in place for workers and consumers alike. After all, with cases of COVID-19 spiking again in the US, it’s apparent that the act is still absolutely necessary. Our lawmakers either lack patience, or compassion – take your pick. Frankly, I say it’s both.

Not only have countless health experts warned that reopening too early will be disastrous, but if a second lockdown is in our future, all of the time, money, and human lives that went into reopening will be wasted.

There is a silver lining among the storm clouds on the horizon. Because ballooning unemployment has created long wait times for benefit applicants, unemployment assistance programs are shelling out retroactive back payments to those deemed eligible.

Good news, at least, for laid off workers who have been waiting months to hear their fate.

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Opinion Editorials

Women-owned businesses make up 42% of all businesses – heck yeah!

(EDITORIAL) Women-owned businesses make a huge impact on the U.S economy. They make up 42% of all businesses, outpace the national growth rate by 50%, and hire billions of workers.



women-owned business

Women entrepreneurs make history in the U.S as female-owned businesses represent 42% of all businesses, while continuing to increase at DOUBLE the national growth rate!

Women are running the world, and we are here for it! The 2019 American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, states 13 million women are now self-employed entrepreneurs. From 2014 to 2019, women-owned businesses grew 21%. Think that’s impressive? Well, businesses owned by women of color grew 43% within the same timeframe, with a growth rate of 50%, and currently account for 50% of all women-owned businesses! Way to go! What this also means is that women employ over 2.4 million workers who together generate $422.5 billion in revenue.

What can we learn from these women that’ll help you achieve success in your businesses?

  1. Get informed: In a male-dominated business industry, women are often at a disadvantage and face multiple biases. So, know your stuff; study, research, and when you think you know it all…dig deeper!
  2. Stay hungry: Remember why you started this journey. Write down notes and reminders, goals, and inspirations, hang them up and keep them close.
  3. Ask for advice: Life is not meant to go through alone, so ask questions. Find a mentor and talk to people who have walked a similar path. Learning from them will only benefit your business.

Many of these women found ways to use their passion to drive their business. It may not be exactly what they thought it would be when they started out, but is it ever? Everyone has to start off small and rejection is part of the process. In fact, stories of rejection often serve as inspiration and encouragement to soon-to-be self starters.

Did you know J.K Rowling’s “Harry Potter” book was turned down TWELVE times? Seven books later with over 400 million copies sold, the Harry Potter brand is currently valued at over 15 billion. While you might not become a wizard-writing fantasy legend like J.K Rowling, you sure as heck can be successful. So go for it, and chase your dreams.

If you want to support women-owned businesses, start by scrolling through Facebook or doing some research to find women-owned businesses in your community. Then, support by buying or helping to promote their products. Small businesses, especially women-owned, black women-owned, and women of color-owned, are disproportionally affected by the current economic crisis ignited by a health pandemic. So if you can, shop small and support local. And remember, there’s a girl (or more) doing a happy dance when you checkout!

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