the Pathetic state of everyday architecture photography

Discussion in 'Architecture' started by BradS, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    I have come to accept as a given that real estate agents selling ordinary, single family homes have absolutely no regard for photography. I don't remember the last time I saw real estate photo that did not look like a complete hack job (save those fancy, multimillion dollar homes on the other side of the tracks...). I'm pretty sure that most middle of the road real estate agents just go out to the site and photograph the home for sale themselves. It is so pervasive that I just tune it out.

    But, then today, I was looking through the Walll Street Journal and right there on Page A-10, is one of the most shockingly crummy photos of a building I've ever seen printed in a news article. I understand that the WSJ has gone down hill since News corp took it over but...this is apalling...and the photo is credited to Getty Images...


    I found the story on line....check it out for yourself...
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123991207123426359.html
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    i know what you mean brad ..
    i have friends who are realtors and they told me
    it really doesn't matter what the images look like bad and worse,
    because it is just supposed to "spark the interest of a potential buyer" ...
    not to mention they don't want to pay for anything since it comes out of their
    commission ...

    can't see the image since i am not a subscriber :sad:

    john
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Brad,

    Crappy snapshot helped the film industry refine their products buy providing film sales. Crappy digisnaps will do the same for both analog and d------l industries.

    It would be a good idea to encourage every lousy snapshoter and digisnapper to take every snapshot or image they can.

    Steve
     
  4. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Odd. I googled "carl icahn kerkorian" - the subject of the article - and was able to see the photo when I followed the first link provided by google....copied that URL here but, when I follow the link above (should be same page - right?), I cannot see the photo or read the whole article. Perhaps, I got re-directed.
     
  5. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Just out of interest, what does the 'real' in 'real estate agent' mean? In the UK, the term is just 'estate agent' without the 'real' which seems more logical (at least, to us!).


    Steve.
     
  6. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Oh...we could have a whole dicussion of weirdness in the two languages...

    In the UK a solicitor is the guy who asks questions in a courtroom in an effort to get witnesses to reveal the facts of the case. In the US, a solicitor is an annoying person who comes to your door asking you to buy magazine subscriptions you don't want or need...


    We could go on and on...

    PS. I have no idea what makes our estates "REAL" those over there ...uh, not real :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2009
  7. naeroscatu

    naeroscatu Subscriber

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    from the on-line dictionary/ reference real estate means:

    somehow it makes sense.
     
  8. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    No, only one of them is weird!

    Which one depends on your location.



    Steve.
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    It does indeed. Now back to our regular program..... (sorry, I meant programme).



    Steve.
     
  10. aluk

    aluk Member

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    Speak and write Canadian: then you have the best of both...
     
  11. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member

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    If you can come up with an efficient (cheap) way to produce quality images real estate agents will buy them. I have a friend who did this. He had a menu list of x exteriors, interiors and QTVR's that where very quick and easy for him to produce (30-60mins per site plus drive time) and were far better than the quality of the stuff most real estate agents produced on their own. The problem for traditional photog's is that he charged ~100.00 per house whereas most Archetectural photogs would require a min of a 1/2 day (600.0 0and up).

    I got my largest Architectural client because of the crap that is produced. They had gone through a couple 'photographers' who were cheap and fast and equally as bad. I am happy that there are boneheads out there it makes my meager offerings look so much better.

    The way I see it the buyer decides. A real estate agent wants something cheap and fast, an Architect or Designer wants something attractive and will pay what they can the former will understand perspective control and lighting the latter may not, a contractor wants something that is serviceable and as often as not wants it cheap, and photo editors may only want something to fill the hole that represents the subject, is not out of focus and is reasonably professional looking -- they are not looking for art.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2009
  12. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    Are you a regular reader, or perhaps a subscriber? I have been the former for a long time, the latter for a decade. "I understand that..." conveys that you are neither. If you were, then you'd know that News Corp's purchase of the WSJ was not the apocalyptic victory for the VRWC* portrayed by outlets on the short-wavelength end of the ideological spectrum. The paper remains a staunch proponent of the unarguable virtues of freer trade and markets, smaller government, and individual liberty.

    That aside, simple economics explains the crappy quality of residential real-estate photos. There's no perceived value in excellent images, as houses have sold without them just fine (present situation noted). Why pay extra for Julius Shulman when Digicam Realtor can get the job done for free?


    *Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
     
  13. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member

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    WSJ has great reporters/journalists so good that you can almost always find a news article that contradicts the never ending stream of rightwing nut case editorials. FWIW if the Journal was a proponent of anything in its news coverage (for example Fox News or the NY Post) it wouldn't be a newspaper, but something else altogether.

    It is in my mind one of the three great US newspapers the others being the Washington Post and the NYT.
     
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  15. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Mike, I am sorry you took offense to my opionion of the "new" WSJ.
    For the record, the WSJ is delivered to my house every morning and has been for the past year year or so. Yes, I am a subscriber. Prior to becoming a subscriber, I used to pick it up at a news stand about two or three times a week. I regularily read the first section pretty thoroughly and skim the others.
     
  16. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    In my opinion, it used to be...but no longer is.
     
  17. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    I know a guy who does real estate photography as a company employee. They give him a Canon 350D & he goes to a house & blasts away & then uploads the files to the company where their digital employees do the finishing touches. They correct any convergence, stitch images together etc. The photographer is just one cog in the machine, something I'm still coming to terms with. I think most of us are accustomed to think of the photographer as the sole author of their production but that is less and less the case these days. So yes, real estate, architectural & other genres of commercial photography may be looking worse but it's not a simple case of being able to pin it on the photographer anymore. It's the system, man.
     
  18. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member

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    The guy you know does essentially what my friend does on his own. He uses a QTVR head for 360 pano's and low end DSLR with attention to colour temp/white balance and PS and QTVR (or similar) for finishing. His work falls well shy of LF view camera, but it is intended for use on the internet or postage stamp reproduction and it is head and shoulders better than the p/s work that is the standard. His work is very formulaic which allows him to produce quantity with reasonably good quantity. I haven't talked to him in four years and he works in Metro Detroit so I wonder how he is doing.
     
  19. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Back in the '70s I made some fairly good money photoing homes for real estate brokers--Now days, they take one of those new fangled POS things that somehow make images in their computer, and leave us out in the cold. We should all lobey our congress men to pass a law to only be able to post pix shot by a competent FILM photographer, and putting them in jail, and a fine for owning a d@#@#$% whatever those things are!
    Rick
     
  20. AgX

    AgX Member

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    But it is not only real estate photography. I see worse images at the annual national buildings heritage days in the brochures that list all the buildings on show at theses days.
    I find it hard to believe that historians can be so negligent.
     
  21. walter23

    walter23 Subscriber

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  22. A_M_Johnson

    A_M_Johnson Member

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    That would be the City Center, just down the street from me. This project is supposed to be architectural gold in that the designers of each building are at the top of their fields and well regarded.

    I said here that "City Center is impressive in it’s size and to me, an antiseptic look. All that glass and stone is astonishing. It is clean, polished and sharp. City Center is definitely a testament to the talent and creativity of the designers and builders."

    However, I haven't been back. After the initial awe wore off, I went back to shooting buildings with more character, ones with flaws, that I found more interesting.
     
  23. lilserenity

    lilserenity Member

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    Oddly enough I do take a lot of pictures of people's houses. I don't work for an estate agents, it's something I'm strangely quite interested in, architecturally anyway and p[erhaps about where people live etc. How where they live influences their life etc.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lilserenity/collections/72157622140576887/

    That said I have seen some truly appalling estate agent photos; today I was looking with my parents and one of the photos was angled down to show just a square patch of grass....

    Vicky
     
  24. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    Digging a bit farther back, the word real apparently originates with the Latin res, for law; and it's akin to a sanskrit word rayi, or property.

    Love this word stuff. Now, what was the original topic here? :smile:
     
  25. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    Trophy shots and other architectural stuff used to be a small but worth doing part of my biz (not claiming to be an actual architechural photographer, and refering proper jobs to a buddy who is). These days, nothing, and my bud's business sucks. I blame the increasingly pedestrian tastes of a nation headed for idiocracy.
     
  26. jmooney

    jmooney Member

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    I agree. Don't get me started on what people accept as passable photography these days.

    I cry that we lose a chunk of our national and societal visual history every time someone's camera phone falls in a toilet....