Atlanta Real Estate Photography – An Electrifying Night in Kennesaw, GA

Atlanta Real Estate Photography – An Electrifying Night in Kennesaw, GA

Atlanta Real Estate Photographer Iran Watson - Lightning Storm Kennesaw, GA

One of the benefits of being an Atlanta Real Estate Photographer is that I often have a camera with me where ever I go.  Every now and then an opportunity presents itself and when it does, I’m ready to get lucky!  On June 22, 2010 a pretty nasty (albeit spectacular) lightning storm rolled through Kennesaw, GA.  The storm at one point was directly over our office building and while I do not recommend going outside and taking pictures under these circumstances, I couldn’t resist.  Capturing pictures of lightning like this has a lot to do with luck.  Typically the show lasts for a fraction of a second, so waiting until you see one pop and trying to react fast enough isn’t really an option.

Here’s how I got these pictures.  First, you will need a good camera, a wide-angle lens and a tripod (something an interior photographer should already have).  When I say good, what I really mean is a camera that has a manual mode and the ability to do long exposures.  Set the camera up on the tripod and adjust the focal length of the wide angle lens until you have a good composition with plenty of sky.  Second, you will need to dial in a few settings.  For this these photos, I set the ISO to 400, The aperture to f11.0 and adjused the shutter speed until about 6 secs indicated a correct exposure (metered off the sunset area).  From this point, simply trigger the shutter to open and wait.  If you are lucky, you will get a nice big bolt of lightning somewhere in the 5 seconds the shutter is open.  Rinse and repeat.

Lightning Bolt by Atlanta Real Estate Photographer Iran Watson

So with this approach, we still get a good exposure of some of the other interesting elements in the composition (like the sunset and starburst from the lights) and if we are lucky to get the lightning, it happens so fast that it does not mess with the overall exposure.  If your camera allows you to bracket exposures, you can also set it up to take three pictures back-to-back with exposures that are within a stop or so of the original (which is easy to correct later if the picture is a little too dark or too bright).  This technique essentially gives you about 10-15 secs at a time of the camera ready to capture the action.

Oh, and my disclaimer: *DO NOT GO OUTSIDE AND TAKE PICTURES IN THE MIDDLE OF A STORM.  ONLY CRAZY PEOPLE DO THIS…

Have fun and BE SAFE!

Southboundtraveler Youtube channel

Marietta, GA Real Estate Listing Agent

and Professional Photographer

Georgia Elite Realty

Direct 770-363-3350

email iranwatson@gmail.com

Real Estate website: Iranwatson.listingware.com

Atlanta Real Estate Photographer website: IranWatsonPhoto.com

Photography Portfolio (Flash required): BestHomePhotography.com

Photo-Stitched Panoramas – The Poor Man’s Wide-Angle

One of my favorite (and most useful) techniques as an Atlanta Real Estate Photographer is photo-stitching.  As a Marietta Real Estate Agent that does his own photography I had to find a way to capture certain scenes that were either too tight or too expansive and this work around does the trick.  The great thing about it is almost anyone can utilize this as it does not require any special features on a camera to use.  Using the free software sold with most modern digital cameras, taking multiple pictures and stitching them into one panoramic image is simple, if not automatic.

Here are the six separate shots I took out of our hotel room in Fortaleza, Brazil on Christmas Eve a couple of years ago.  This sort of scene is not unlike what I normally capture in my work as an Atlanta Real Estate Photographer.  These shots are hand-held as I didn’t bring the tripod.  I did use the “stitch assist” function on my Canon P&S, but if your camera doesn’t have that feature don’t worry.  I have taken many photo-stitched pictures just by eyeballing it and they turned out great.  Practice makes perfect!

pic 1 pic 2 pic 3  pic 5 pic 6

… and here is the result from the software’s auto-stitch.

photostitch rough

Now with just a little cropping and post work, I got this…

final

With some practice, it becomes very easy to get some great shots that would otherwise be impossible to capture with a standard cameras field of view.  This technique is especially useful when trying to get large, expansive spaces like a backyard.  In fact, you can also get a good bit of mileage out of this shooting interiors as well.  Just make sure you overlap each image by about 30% on the interior shots as it is easy for the photo to look “warped” if there is too much perspective shift from one shot to the next.  Here is a link for FREE software and great info you can start using today.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/panoramic-software.htm

Southboundtraveler Youtube channel

Marietta, GA Real Estate Listing Agent

and Professional Photographer

Georgia Elite Realty

Direct 770-363-3350

email iranwatson@gmail.com

Real Estate website: Iranwatson.listingware.com

Atlanta Real Estate Photographer website: IranWatsonPhoto.com

Photography Portfolio (Flash required): BestHomePhotography.com

3 Things Great Marketing will NOT do for your Listing…

As a Listing Agent in Marietta and Cobb Co, GA I know that marketing a home is one of, if not the most, important duties I have to my sellers.  As a Real Estate Photographer, I know the way the property is presented online is crucial to the success of selling a home.

It’s not uncommon for a seller to see professional photography or a real estate video, seemingly for the first time, and get excited about the potential it has in helping their home sell.  Of course we welcome the excitement because we know it does help but we have to remember to manage those expectations carefully.  Real Estate Marketing is generally designed to get people in the door.  What happens from there is anyone’s guess because every transaction is going to be different.

3 Things Great Marketing will NOT do for your Listing…

1.  …make the appraisal come in higher. If a buyer is financing the home, more than likely there will be an appraisal.  Having already fell victim to two low appraisals (and subsequently two lost deals…) this year I know first hand what an issue the appraisal can become.  We have to be very careful not to let our Seller’s look at their beautifully represented home and then let them fall into the ol’ “My house shows so much better than the competition therefore it should be worth X more dollars”.  Appraisers don’t care about carefully crafted virtual tours or video walk-throughs.  Instead, they will be working with this: http://www.freddiemac.com/sell/forms/pdf/70.pdf .  Notice no reference to ‘quality of listing photos’ or ‘effectiveness of video tour’ …

2. …make up for deferred maintenance or other ‘unseen’ problems.  Once upon a time, it was the home inspection that got me on edge.  Now appraisals hold the title for “things I have an unreasonable fear of…”.  That doesn’t mean all the pitfalls of inspections have disappeared, it just means that even if you make it through, you’re still not out of the woods.  Knowing that, I think it’s a good practice to find out exactly what condition the property is really in, either through your own informed examination or by a qualified home inspector.  If the Buyer is caught off guard by a large ‘surprise’ that may be enough to send them walking, despite your stunning marketing.

This also applies to the things that can’t be seen, like unpleasant odors or noise from a busy road, or even dogs barking next door.  Unfortunately for the Seller, these things won’t be ignored.  In some cases the only quick solution to those problems is adjusting the price…

3. …silence the competition.  Even without great marketing, plenty of properties still sell every month.  The reason is pretty obvious and that is just about any home will sell if it is priced right.  If a Seller has a home that is perceived as a good value once Buyers are at the property, they will quickly lose site of the images and information that got them there.  The marketing can still serve a purpose, but the emotional attachment they got from experiencing the property in person will always prevail.  This is where the value of showing condition really makes an impact.  The Buyers may have loved the way your listing look at first glance but one of the competition, although poorly represented, delivered the real goods once the Buyers made it inside.

Don’t mistake this blog as an excuse not to market your listings to the best of your ability.  This is more an exercise in managing expectations.  Among other things, our job as listing agents are to get people in the door.  In this new era of web-centric real estate searching, those first impressions are as critical as ever.  So do whatever it takes to get people in the door, just kindly remind the Seller, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

Speaking of “Perceived Value”…  I think these photos illustrate my point:

photo of castle What the Seller sees

Home for sale in Marietta Georgia Real Estate Photography by Iran Watson Listing Agent in Cobb Co GA 770-363-3350 What the Buyer sees…

Charming White picket fence cottage What the Appraiser sees…

Abandon House What the Bank sees…

Southboundtraveler Youtube channel

Marietta, GA Real Estate Listing Agent

and Professional Photographer

Georgia Elite Realty

Direct 770-363-3350

email iranwatson@gmail.com

Real Estate website: Iranwatson.listingware.com

Atlanta Real Estate Photographer website: IranWatsonPhoto.com

Photography Portfolio (Flash required): BestHomePhotography.com