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Just Shoot Me

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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 AgentGenius.com, 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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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    July 27, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    rather than a flipcam I use the sony GC1 netsharing cam https://news.sel.sony.com/en/press_room/consumer/digital_imaging/release/30828.html 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 Twitpic.com 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

    Jamie,
    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 Twitpic.com.
    (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 http://www.dpreview.com. 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…)

    Thanks!

    Chuck https://twitter.com/chuckg

  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. https://mesh.sabrinahuang.com/2008/05/real-estate-pho.html

  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

How Gen X is nailing the COVID-19 social distancing order

(EDITORIAL) Of course, someone found a way to bring up generational stereotyping during COVID-19 and claim who is best, but are they onto something?

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Demographics and categorizing people helps us to process groups. A huge part of demographics and how we market ourselves in a job search, for example, is sharing our level of experiences and skill sets related to our profession – thus alluding to our age. Millennials (b. 1981-1996) received a lot of generational shame for being elitist and growing up in a time where they all received participation trophies – therefore being judged for not always winning a fair competition.

Gen X (roughly b. 1961-1981) has often commented that they feel like the forgotten generation which so much attention being play to the Baby Boomers (b. 1946-1964) who seemed to be born in to a great time of prosperity for “The American Dream” and then the Millennials who overtook Gen X and some of their jobs while they weren’t enough Gen Xers to fill them.

In this article “It Took a Global Pandemic, But Generation X is Finally Getting Love”, it is discussed how great Gen X is at this social distancing thing and maybe this will be helpful to anyone who feels like they are losing their mind. This is by no means an intent to shame any generation nor claim no one else knows how to handle it but this article does a great job about why Gen X might be primed to be handling the global pandemic well with the times they were raised in.

Right now, it’s a waiting game for many people who’s professions and lives have changed in what seemed like overnight. The patience required. The uncertainty of it all. The global pandemic forced (without any forgiveness), a swift move to new ways of life. The busy-ness of our days came to a crashing halt when we were no longer allowed to be out and about in places with large groups and possibly sent home to work remotely.

Many non-essential businesses were forced to close which meant people could not only not work at the office, but also had to cease their extra-curricular activities like working out at the gym, shopping, eating brunch with friends or taking their kids to their sporting events, a playground and/or coordinating a play date or sleepover. The directive from our local and federal government was for “social distancing” before the shelter in place orders came.

Gen X may agree that there were some pretty great things about their childhood – the types of things you do with your time because you don’t have a smartphone or tablet addiction and the fact that there was no way for your work to get a hold of you 24/7. Gen X did have TV and video games and sure, Mom and Dad didn’t really want you spending all of your time behind a screen but it also seemed that there wasn’t as much of a guilt trip if you did spend some of your “summer vacation” from school playing Nintendo or Sega with your neighborhood friends.

It seems like the article alludes to the idea that COVID might be helping people to get back to some of those basics before smartphones became as important to us as one of our limbs.

Gen X has had no problem adapting to technology and in their careers, they have had to adapt to many new ways of doing things (remember when caller ID came out and it was no longer a surprise who was calling?! Whaaaat?! And you can’t prank call anyone any more with your teenage friends at a sleepover! Gasp! You also wouldn’t dare TP an ex-boyfriend’s house right now).

Regardless of the need to learn new hard skills and technologies, everyone has been forced to adjust their soft skills like how technology and still being a human can play well together (since it is really nice to be able to FaceTime with loved ones far away). It seems those slightly unquantifiable adaptable and flexible skills are even more required now. It also seems that as you grow in your career, Emotional Intelligence might be your best skill in these uncertain times.

And not that we are recommending eating like crap or too many unhealthy items, Gen X has been known to be content surviving on Pop Tarts, Spaghetti O’s, Ding-dongs and macaroni and cheese which are all pretty shelf stable items right now. Whatever way is possible for you, it might be a good time to find the balance again in work, technology, home, rest, relaxation and education if at all possible.

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Opinion Editorials

How strong leaders use times of crises to improve their company’s future

(EDITORIAL) We’re weeks into the COVID-19 crisis, and some leaders are fumbling through it, while others are quietly safeguarding their company’s future.

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strong leaders

Anthony J. Algmin is the Founder and CEO of Algmin Data Leadership, a company helping business and technology leaders transform their future with data, and author of a new book on data leadership. We asked for his insights on how a strong leader can see their teams, their companies, their people through this global pandemic (and other crises in the future). The following are his own words:

Managers sometimes forget that the people we lead have lives outside of the office. This is true always, but is amplified when a crisis like COVID-19 occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve our teams, to help them be as aligned and productive as possible in the short and long terms. 
 
Crises are exactly when we need to think about what they might be going through, and realize that the partnership we have with our employees is more than a transaction. If we’ve ever asked our people to make sacrifices, like working over a weekend without extra pay, we should be thinking first about how we can support them through the tough times. When we do right by people when they really need it, they will run through walls again for our organizations when things return to normal.

Let them know it’s okay to breathe and talk about it. In a situation like COVID-19 where everything is disrupted and people are now adjusting to things like working from home, it is naturally going to be difficult and frustrating.
 
The best advice is to encourage people to turn off the TV and stop frequently checking the news websites. As fast as news is happening, it will not make a difference in what we can control ourselves. Right now most of us know what our day will look like, and nothing that comes out in the news is going to materially change it. If we avoid the noisy inputs, we’ll be much better able to focus and get our brains to stop spinning on things we can’t control.
 
And this may be the only time I would advocate for more meetings. If you don’t have at least a daily standup with your team, you should. And encourage everyone to have a video-enabled setup if at all possible. We may not be able to be in the same room, but the sense of engagement with video is much greater than audio-only calls.
 
We also risk spiraling if we think too much about how our companies are struggling, or if our teams cannot achieve what our organizations need to be successful. It’s like the difference in sports between practice and the big game. Normal times are when we game plan, we strategize, and work on our fundamentals. Crises are the time to focus and leave it all on the field.
 
That said, do not fail to observe and note what works well and where you struggle. If you had problems with data quality or inefficient processes before the crisis, you are not fixing them now. Pull out the duct tape and find a way through it. But later, when the crisis subsides, learn from the experience and get better for next time.

Find a hobby. Anything you can do to clear your head and separate work from the other considerations in your life. We may feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and without a pressure release we will not be able to sustain this level of stress and remain as productive as our teams, businesses, and families need us.

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Opinion Editorials

I just got furloughed. Now what?

(EDITORIAL) Some companies are furloughing employees, betting on their company’s long-term recovery. Here’s what you can expect and should plan for in your furlough.

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furloughed woman

Are you furloughed? You are not alone! What now? What does “furlough” even mean? How will I get money? Will I still keep my insurance?

A furlough differs from a layoff in a few ways. Whereas a layoff means you are definitely unemployed, a furlough is at its core unpaid time off. Not all furloughs are created equal, though the basic concept is the same: to keep valued employees on ice without being on the hook for their pay until a financial turnaround occurs.

The good-ish news is that a furlough means the company wants to keep you available. When a company is unable to pay their employees for an extended (often indefinite, as is the case with COVID-19 closures) period, they may opt to furlough them instead of laying them off. This virus has decimated whole industries, at least temporarily.

Furloughed employees are forbidden by law to do so much as answer a work email or text while furloughed–or else the company must pay them. The first large waves of COVID-19 furloughs are in obvious sectors such as hospitality (Marriott International), airlines industries (Virgin Atlantic), though other industries are following suit with furloughs or layoffs.

Some furloughs may mean cutting employees’ hours/days to a minimum. Maybe you’re being asked to take off a couple days/week unpaid if you’re hourly, or one week/month off if you’re on salary. With the COVID-19 situation, though, many companies are furloughing bunches of employees by asking them not to work at all. This particular furlough will last ostensibly for a few months, or until business begins to bounce back, along with normal life.

So, what are your rights? Why would you wait for the company? Can you claim unemployment benefits? What about your other work benefits? I’d be lying if I said I knew all the answers, as the furlough packages differ from company to company, and the laws differ from state to state.

However, here are some broad truths about furloughs that should apply. I hope this information helps you sort through your options. I feel your pain, truly. It’s a tough time all around. I’m on your side.

The first answer people want to know is yes, if you’re furloughed and have lost all or most of your income, you may apply for unemployment benefits. You can’t be expected to live off of thin air. Apply IMMEDIATELY, as there is normally a one or two week wait period until the first check comes in. Don’t delay. Some states provide more livable unemployment benefits (I’m looking at you, Massachusetts) than others, but some income is better than none.

Also, most furloughed employees will likely continue to receive benefits. Typically, life and health insurance remain intact throughout the length of the furlough. This is one of the ways companies let their employees know they are serious about wanting them back as soon as it’s financially realistic. Yet some other benefits, like a matching 401k contribution, will go away, as without a paycheck, there are no contributions to match.

Should you look for a job in the interim? Can you really afford not to? What if the company goes belly up while you’re waiting? Nobody wants that to happen, but the reality is that it might.

If you absolutely love your job and the company you work for and feel fairly confident the furlough is truly short-lived, then look for a short-term job. Thousands upon thousands of positions have opened up to meet the needs of the COVID-19 economy, at grocery stores or Amazon, for example. You could also look for contract work. That way, when your company reopens the doors, you can return to your position while finishing off the contract work on the side.

If the company was on shaky ground to begin with, keep that in mind when applying to new jobs. A full-time, long-term position may serve you better. At the end of this global health and economic crisis, some industries will be slower to return to their former glory–if they ever do. If you’re furloughed from such an industry, you may want to shift to something else completely. Pivot, as they say. Now would be a good time.

The only exceptions are “Excepted” government workers in essential positions, including public health and safety. They would have to work while furloughed in case of a government shutdown (and did previously).

Furloughs are scary, but they offer a greater measure of security than a layoff. They mean the company plans on returning to a good financial situation, which is encouraging. Furloughs also generally offer the comfort–and necessity–of insurance, which means you can breathe a bit easier while deciding your next move.

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