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So far Brently Loe has created 16 blog entries.

Home Staging: Is Virtual or Traditional Right for You?

As virtual reality and 3D imaging tech continue to encroach upon the real estate industry, many agents and consumers are asking the same question: what is virtual staging and how can I use it to my advantage?

We already know that traditional staging enables buyers to better visualize themselves actually living in the home they are touring. 77% of buyers’ agents agree that it gives a buyer the opportunity to see the home for what it could be and to see its potential as a unique living space. Virtual staging aims to supplant the traditional staging process for homes where real furniture and decor may not be viable.

In order to know which choice is best for you, you have to understand the key differences between traditional and virtual staging.

What is Virtual Staging?

Similar to traditional staging, virtual staging involves decorating a property to showcase its best features and qualities. Ideally, this attracts and motivates buyers by allowing them to visualize what the home might look like should they choose to move in.

“I have always explained to my sellers that buyers will imprint on the first photos they see of a home and will develop their first positive feelings and attraction to a property at that time” describes Jen Williams, Redfin Market Manager in California.

But as the name implies, virtual staging is done with a computer. There’s exactly zero real furniture, area rugs, potted plants or other décor involved. Professional virtual stagers digitally insert decorative elements in high- resolution photos to show the full potential of an unfinished or empty room.

Is Virtual Staging for Me?

It is important to note that virtual staging won’t work for all homes. There are many cases in which traditional staging is the superior choice. However, virtual staging can be a lifesaver if used in the right situation. These include:

● Vacant homes
● Homes with outdated furniture
● Properties with tenants in them, or similar incidences where the homeowner possesses little control over space’s appearance

If you still occupy your home and you can stage it to make it as appealing as possible to potential buyers, whole-house virtual staging isn’t for you. (You can still virtually stage some rooms if you and your agent think it’s appropriate, though.)

What Are the Key Differences?

Virtual staging is usually a lot cheaper than traditional staging is. Here’s a quick glimpse at what you’re looking at:

● Virtual staging costs somewhere between $39 and $199 per room, depending on the contractor you use, your location and the amount of space you need staged.

● Traditional staging can cost several hundred dollars per month, depending on the stager you use, how much furniture you need to rent, your location and the number of rooms you need staged.

Price isn’t the only sticking point, though. Each method has its own pros and cons that you’ll have to consider, particularly if you’re trying to sell an empty house.

The Strengths and Weaknesses of Virtual Staging

As you can see, virtual staging can help sell a home faster and for more money – but only if it’s done right. In order to make sure you reap all of the benefits virtual staging has to offer, you’ll need to hire a professional photographer with experience in virtual staging, or a reputable company with a proven track record and a top-notch portfolio of completed work.

To ensure you make the decision that’s right for you, here’s a quick rundown of virtual staging’s pros and cons:

Pros of Virtual Staging

● Can help you showcase an empty home’s best features
● Is cost-effective when compared to traditional staging
● Attracts prospective buyers’ attention online
● Offers you the opportunity to stage any number of rooms
● Allows you to stage flex rooms in multiple ways Cons of Virtual Staging
● Becomes more expensive when you need to remove furniture or items from photos
● Can be difficult to use when the house is occupied, unless you have previous listing photos

● Furniture and décor only exist in the virtual space – buyers will never see it in person

Pros and Cons of Traditional Staging

The tried and true practice of traditional staging has been used by agents for decades and doesn’t always require a professional stager. However, it does require an eye for detail and the ability to create a space that appeals to the widest possible range of buyers.

To determine whether or not it’s the best way to sell your house, here’s a brief list of traditional staging’s pros and cons:

Pros of Traditional Staging

● Gives buyers real-life perspective when they tour the home
● Prevents buyers from having to tour a completely empty, vacant home
● Appeals to buyers’ sense of imagination
● Makes spaces appear larger and enables prospective buyers to gauge size
● Helps your home stand out in buyers’ memories after they leave

Cons of Traditional Staging

● Can be expensive, and you’ll keep incurring costs until the home sells
● Requires stagers to bring in furnishings, décor and other items
● May be unnecessary, depending on how quickly homes are selling in your market

Common Virtual Staging Missteps

The biggest mistake a seller can make is hiring a virtual staging company that’s not good enough. Virtually staged photos should be exceptionally realistic – so real, in fact, that buyers won’t know they’re computer-generated unless someone tells them. As you can see in the image below, the lighting and shadows don’t appear to be quite right and the chairs on the right side seem to be floating.

Other mistakes many people make with virtual staging is:

• Only providing the picture of the room after it has been furnished. Because buyers may be expecting the same pictures as the listing, be sure to provide both the staged image and unstaged image.
• Overdoing furniture and decorative elements. Just because virtual staging provides limitless opportunities doesn’t mean the room should be packed to
the brim with every chair, plant, and couch that was available. It’s important to use pictures that actually make the room look better than it did.
• Using virtual staging when it’s unnecessary. Replacing furnishings and decorative elements in photos when they’re perfectly fine to begin with can be
a significant waste of time (and money).

Will Virtual Staging Help Sell My Home?

Virtual staging can be a tremendous asset when you’re selling a vacant home
or one that has wild-card tenants or outdated décor. It allows prospective
buyers to view the right vision of the home – not an empty, cavernous space,
but one that’s comfortable and easy to live in.

Have you used virtual staging to sell a home? We’d love to hear your story
and how it worked out for you, so please share your thoughts in the comments
below.

By |2019-02-21T11:14:32+00:00February 21st, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

What Footwear Should Photographers Wear?

Footwear is an oft-overlooked aspect of preparing for a shoot. Every situation calls for variation in what’s on your feet. In some cases, it can even be dangerous for a photographer to wear the wrong shoes.

Practicality, venues, and dress codes require photographers to wear different types of footwear. Your shoes need to be:

  • Comfortable
  • Protective
  • And suited to the environment you’re shooting

Let’s talk about how to decide what shoes photographers should wear.

Shoes to Shoot a Wedding

Weddings are long affairs. As a photographer, you’re on your feet for the better part of a wedding. You need to constantly move and shuffle to capture the perfect shots on a couple’s perfect day. And even though you’re attending a wedding, you’re not a wedding guest.

When shooting a wedding, you need to look professional as much as you need to be comfortable. You also need to blend into the background, so choose a shoe that’s dark — black, if possible.

Shoes worn to a wedding should be comfortable and durable. You may have to climb on an outcropping of rocks or step in a puddle to take the perfect outdoor wedding shot. When indoors, you want a pair of shoes with a solid grip so you don’t slip and cause a fiasco on the dance floor.

Footwear for Real Estate Photography

Shooting real estate isn’t as formal as a wedding, but you’ll still be on your feet for much of the shoot. You’re also likely to walk on a variety of surfaces, from tile floors and carpet to grass and dirt outdoors.

A comfortable pair of sneakers works wonders for helping you stay on your feet over the course of a real estate shoot. Sneakers that are light, flexible, and thin are versatile enough for the different surfaces you’ll be walking and standing on, without taking a toll on your feet and legs.

Again, darker shoes are your best bet for shooting real estate. Dark sneakers are less likely to cast reflections on your shots, saving you from a reshoot or extra time spent in post-processing.

Boots for Landscape Photography

Trekking through the wilderness to shoot Mother Nature at her finest makes for some stunning photos. It can also involve a dangerous hike, especially without proper footwear.

Landscape and wildlife photographers should invest in a pair of durable, comfortable boots. If possible, try to find a pair that is also waterproof or water-resistant for hikes in inclement weather or over challenging terrain.

Some photographers may even consider carrying an extra pair of rubber or mucking boots. These boots are often made of a material that allows you to walk through mud and water without getting wet and dirty.

Shoe Covers for Photographers

Shoe covers are another helpful addition to a photographer’s gear. Not only do they help prevent tracking dirt or mud into a clean location (like an open house), but they can keep your feet dry, too.

The versatility of shoe covers means photographers should always keep a few stashed in the car trunk or gear bag.

Stay Comfortable With Proper Footwear

Photographers are on their feet for the better part of a day, so it’s important to stay comfortable. Wearing proper footwear can keep you safe when you’re angling for the perfect shot. The right shoes help prevent you from growing fatigued over a long shoot and help stave off the effects of Mother Nature.

At the least, photographers should invest in a pair of dark or black sneakers and, if shooting outdoors, a pair of boots. When combined with a pack of shoe covers, you’ll be ready to shoot in nearly any condition.

By |2019-02-01T16:07:37+00:00February 1st, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Shooting in Bad Weather

Every photographer is familiar with bad weather. In this line of work, contending with a thunderstorm or some snow is simply a fact of life.

But bad weather makes for a bad excuse when it comes to a shoot, though. To those with a keen eye, poor weather conditions have plenty of opportunity — if you’re prepared for them.

Bad Weather Leads to Stunning Shots

Before I talk about how to shoot photos in bad weather, let’s talk about why you’d even bother.

Ask yourself: What happens before a beautiful rainbow is revealed across a lush valley?

That’s right — a storm.

Braving Mother Nature presents the opportunity for photographers to take stunning, emotional, and atmospheric photos.

Ominous and dark storm clouds cast a sense of mystery over a landscape. Drops of rain hanging from a leaf can create interesting and thought-provoking reflections. Snow can evoke feelings of coziness or add a layer of texture or mystique to a shot.

More, photos taken in and after bad weather can be added to a library of shots to be used in editing projects or more artistic works.

Protect Yourself and Your Equipment

It’s important to protect both yourself and your gear when shooting in bad weather. While camera equipment is expensive, it’s ultimately replaceable. You, yourself, are not.

Preparation starts long before you even venture out into nature. Start by making sure your camera and lens are weather-resistant. Once you’re sure your gear is weather-resistant, be mindful still to protect it from moisture.

Stow away some napkins and microfiber cloth to wipe down your camera when needed. Try not to put your camera too near your body, as the warmth can cause issues with any collected moisture.

Before heading to a shoot, check the forecast for what to expect. A light thunderstorm or snowstorm isn’t anything to scoff at, but it’s cause for concern when inclement weather becomes severe weather.

Check in with a family, friend, or peer before heading to a more remote or dangerous shoot. If you’re going hiking or delving into the wilderness, let someone else know your plans. In a worst-case scenario, rescuers will have some idea where to start searching for you.

Don’t rely on a single device for plotting your route. If the batteries die or the device is broken or lost, you need to have a backup. While you’re at it, plan multiple routes to and from your shoot. If weather conditions make one route impassable, having a second already plotted can get you out of a hairy situation quickly.

Most importantly, don’t forget to pack warm clothes, a change of clothes, an emergency blanket, snacks, and any other equipment or tools you’ll need to combat bad weather.

How to Shoot in Bad Weather

Once you’re onsite and marveling at the wonders of nature, it’s time to get shooting.

Certain weather conditions enhance a given shoot, like the backdrop of a cloudy sky vs. an impressive waterfall surrounded by lush green. Likewise, light can complement or frame the colors of a shot.

Sometimes, however, the toughest part of shooting in bad weather is the wait. Some of the best opportunities come shortly after clouds part or immediately following a storm when the landscape is shown in a completely new (and renewed) way.

Consider what time of day you’re shooting, too. Weather makes for a different effect on a shot taken at morning, noon, or night. What impact would an early morning rain have on a shot you’re planning to take? What about a light snowfall at dusk?

While you’re likely using a lens hood, don’t be afraid to take advantage of water droplets on the lens. Allow yourself to be creative, even when it comes to your equipment. Change the aperture or rig an umbrella to your tripod (when weather permits). As you experiment, you’ll make the bad weather work for you.

Explore the Effects of Bad Weather on a Shoot

It’s not always comfortable or fun to be under the effects of bad weather. But by properly preparing for inclement conditions, you can capture some of the most interesting and beautiful shots of your career.

By |2019-01-17T14:41:32+00:00January 17th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Giving Back to the Community with Educurious

I strongly believe in the power of volunteering and giving back to one’s local community. To that end, I recently joined my friend and Brent Loe Photography admin, Rachel Barnett, as a volunteer for Educurious.

 

Educurious is a platform to connect students and young adults to business professionals. Its mission is “to empower and motivate young people to achieve academic, career and personal success through transformative learning experiences.”

 

Students who participate in Educurious are given the opportunity to practice real-world interactions with business professionals. They’re given the chance to ask questions of business mentors to learn how to apply their skills to the world that comes post-schooling.

 

As part of Educurious, Rachel and I recently visited a high school as part of a group of 15 other business professionals. We conducted mock interviews with high school students to give them a sense of what to expect as they transition from high school to the professional world.

 

I look forward to continuing to volunteer with great organizations such as Educurious! Giving back to the community is an incredibly rewarding experience and is just one way to help make our home that much better.

By |2018-10-03T10:48:39+00:00June 29th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Dedicated

Homelessness will always be apart of our society until we can move past the competitive arena. That said, it doesn’t have to be as severe and constraining as the current circumstance in Seattle / New York.

Homelessness can be attributed to two categories:

  • Individualistic Problems
    • Mental Health, Addiction, Domestic Violence, etc.
  • Managment Problems
    • Money, Zoning, Inaction, etc.

To alleviate these problems we need to work on long-term solutions and not continue to put out the fire.

Actions:

Open safe space clinics in something similar to storage facilities for addicts and individuals – making people feel they’re apart of a new community and that they have a place to be productive when they’re ready. Force is not the answer.

Funding – where do we get it? Look at the region and see what outpaces the balance. Real Estate and tech are the two big ones in the Seattle area. Tax or incentivize the Real Estate industry. “Cash-for-cars” the single-family homes and devise an initiative to streamline the rezoning effort.  Tax homes over $750k. Incentivize tech and businesses to showcase their support for the homelessness initiatives – work with review website (google, yelp, zillow, likewise, etc.) to display a banner for the businesses that donate or show dedicated support.

Create an institution with the authority to reprimand inaction by government officials. Consider the loopholes and indecision.

Effort, experience, generational-empathy, and community-willingness will prove most valuable.

 

By |2018-06-15T12:52:08+00:00June 15th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Lens Compression = Perspective Compression

Lens Compression: Does It Exist?

It’s easy for photographers to assume lenses affect the compression of a shot. The belief is that a wide-angle lens will distort the subject and cause the background to look much further away than it is.

 

If you take a few steps back and switch to a telephoto lens, the subject and background will appear closer together, or “compressed.”

 

Many photographers make the mistake of assuming it’s the lens that creates this compression effect — hence the term “lens compression,” after all. In truth, it’s not actually a result of your choice of lens. This distortion is created by the distance between you, your subject, and the background.

Why Lens Compression Doesn’t Exist

Lee Morris over at Fstoppers conducted an interesting study to demonstrate that “a wide-angle lens cropped in and a telephoto lens will create the same amount of foreground and background ‘compression,’” so long as the camera remains in the same place.

 

As shown in Morris’s sample photos, compression occurs when you increase the distance between yourself, your subject, and the background. To halve the size of a subject that is one foot away, you would need to move back another foot. At the same time, the background remains almost identical — it doesn’t become halved at all.

 

That’s because your subject is so close, and the background so far, that the ratio dictates your subject grows smaller faster. In order to maintain the same size of your subject, you will need to zoom in or crop the photo afterward.

What’s Actually Happening Then?

What’s happening in any of these situations isn’t actually lens compression, but perspective distortion. The distance from your camera to your subject is what causes distortion.

 

The term “lens compression” should, as Morris states in his YouTube video, be replaced by something more akin to “perspective compression.”
This knowledge won’t affect how you shoot photos, of course, but it’s an interesting technicality that explains a phenomenon we’re all quite used to.

By |2018-05-30T18:32:35+00:00May 30th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A New Season and a New Me

This past weekend kicked off the start of Holi, a Hindu spring festival that marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It’s also a time of celebration and forgiveness, of thanksgiving and laughter…and a time to mend broken relationships.

I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about my own personal growth and development recently, made all the more prominent by relationships I’ve been forming and cultivating.

Holi is a time of new beginnings, and I’ve started to reaffirm my focus on growing as an individual. I’ve realized that developing relationships is a key part of bettering myself in spite of my inner introvert.

You’ve often got to push yourself out of your comfort zone in the business world, as my friend Rachel Barnett has shown me. Rachel is a master of networking and is quite persistent with her requests for me to join her at local networking meetups.

Though my introversion left me resistant to attending, Rachel practically dragged me to an event. Soon after, I realized that my personal growth—overcoming my own dread of attending a networking event—equated to business growth.

I’ve even begun attending local BNI events where attendees are required to stand up and speak about our businesses. Public speaking isn’t my forte, but it’s a valuable skill to develop. The more I speak, the more comfortable I become with it—and it’s had a positive impact on my business, too. Through small-scale group networking, I’ve had multiple one-on-one meetings with new clients and interested leads.

I’m a firm believer that everything in life is connected. This belief is the meaning behind my “infinity” tattoo. In life, sometimes all it takes is one domino crashing into the next to begin a reaction.

Opening myself up to be more receptive to personal growth and pushing past my boundaries has opened up new doors of opportunity for me. I feel a sense of kinship with those currently celebrating Holi. As revelers build relationships and celebrate renewal, I, too, celebrate the first steps to a new path full of meaningful relationships and personal growth.

Life begins once you step out of your comfort zone.

By |2018-10-03T10:48:39+00:00March 5th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Versus

It’s interesting when someone, including myself, really starts getting into photography they are shooting every day and processing every image from the shoot. As time and skill progress you’ll get paying gigs and soon realize that 80%  is NOT actually photography but marketing and networking… and I’m honestly not too sure how I feel about this. It’s always fun and exciting building relationships but my inner introvert clings to the artistic and introspective side of visual art.

Maybe it’s because I’m at the beginning of the middle and it seems like running a photography business is more about building relationships rather than a better portfolio. Maybe as the business grows I’ll be able to focus more on creating rather than running. It’s really just a journey to learn what fits best I suppose. Trial and Error. Failure. 10,000 hours. Yada Yada.

In the end, it’ll be worth the sacrifices and if you’re on the same path – you know it too. Don’t give up!

By |2018-10-03T10:48:39+00:00November 2nd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Camera Gear

I recently had an aspiring Real Estate / Interiors Photographer ask what gear he/she should use. This was my reply:
Heres the list of recommended gear for aspiring Real Estate Photographers. This list has some pieces that even I would like to buy soon.

For the sake of staying economical, we’ll use mostly Amazon as a buying place but other recommended sites are Adorama and B&H as they offer great customer service and return policies.

Camera Body:

Sony A6000 – https://www.amazon.com/Sony-Mirrorless-Digital-Camera-16-50mm/dp/B00I8BICB2/ref=sr_1_3?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1506521955&sr=1-3&keywords=sony+a6000

The Sony A6000 is mirrorless, compact, lightweight, and has some great wireless features. Don’t let its small size fool you – it’s a fantastic camera and we’re moving into an era that recognizes bigger isn’t always better. The Amazon deal does come with a 16-55 lens which will be perfect for day-to-day use of capturing portraits or other artsy shots.

Lens:

Rokinon 12mm – https://www.amazon.com/Rokinon-Ultra-Angle-E-Mount-RK12M-E/dp/B00JD4TAWI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1485380731&sr=1-1&keywords=Rokinon+12mm+F2.0&linkCode=sl1&tag=phoforreaest-20&linkId=6802d8c4f5a294fcde0d66973e319116

As some photographers put it, this is a UFWA (Ultra… Wide Angle) and creates a lot of barrel distortion. This is usually rectified by Lightroom’s auto-calibrating features but can be corrected even further through Photoshop’s transform adjustment. It’s a super fast lens at F2.0 which means you’ll be able to push the boundaries of low-light photography and have some fun with depth-of-field shots.

Lighting: It really depends on which route you want to take for editing. HDR/Enfuse will require one basic flash. Full Lighting will require at least 3 basic flashes. Flambient will require 1-2 basic-advanced flashes. HDR/Enfuse is very easy but common. Full Lighting takes a long time to perfect. Flambient is right in the middle.

Yungnuo YN560 IV x3: https://www.amazon.com/Yongnuo-YN560-Speedlite-YN560TX-Canon-Diffuser/dp/B0146M307C/ref=sr_1_12?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1506522796&sr=1-12&keywords=YONGNUO+sony

or

Godox AD200: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X1FBC3F/ref=sxr_pa_click_within_right_2?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=3163805422&pf_rd_r=E2W15HJQPV3QR56B4PX4&pd_rd_wg=AIOTb&pf_rd_s=desktop-rhs-carousels&pf_rd_t=301&pd_rd_w=rbFEe&pf_rd_i=YONGNUO+sony&pd_rd_r=D1QYGGV33HDEQMMQ40P1&psc=1

It’s recommended that you get light stands for the Yungnuos – something like these will do just fine but you may also want brackets to go with them. A pistol grip is popular with the Godox AD200 but a light stand is just as good.

Tripod: This can be a photographer’s best friend and says a lot about what you like to shoot. This is because they’re so dang bulky, heavy, and just not fun to tote around that if you’re carrying one – people know you’ve got something serious to shoot.

Newwer Carbon Fiber: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NSEKEMO

Vanguard Aluminum: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CCA1Y3S

Some RE photographers (including myself) rely on something called a Cam Ranger to shoot without having to set a timer (don’t want to touch the camera!). Fortunately, the Sony A6000 comes with Wireless Capabilities and can be triggered with a smartphone app. You’ll also be able to review the photo on your smartphone app and make exposure adjustments from a distance.

Other than Lightroom and Photoshop, Enfuse is a great tool to have. If I think of anything else I’ll be sure to jot it down. Let me know if you have any questions or need help with anything!

By |2017-10-03T13:06:18+00:00October 3rd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Afghanistan

An additional 4,000 troops are honestly peanuts in the grand scheme of war. The U.S. military budget will never lessen until war is a distant thought due to total annihilation. Ground troops have such an insignificant impact on today’s advanced warfare that there is little reason for this addition. The president and his advisors are hoping that time will pass, they’ll collect a check, the people will not care, and the next person will figure out what to do (but not before they’re paid off).

To move forward as a race we have to understand that bloodshed is anything but productive.

War against ignorance, corruption, and greed will be our prime motivators in the future. Stand together and seek to aid a neighbor, not force your beliefs upon them.

By |2018-10-03T10:48:39+00:00August 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments