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RMLS, why can't they get it right?

Okay I am ranting, but please someone tell me why the RMLS uses the 4.3 aspect ratio. It’s not the dark ages anymore, our monitors, and I mean ALL of them displays images larger then 640×480. The dark ages are over. I am a photographer, I use professional equipment based on the industry standard 35mm film size. I don’t and I hope my competition doesn’t shoot with cell phones or Instamatics.

It’s time for the mls’s to move into NOW. The 35mm format is a 3.2 ratio, what does this mean to you? It means wide angle images that are not distorted. In the past the RMLS stretched images to fit their 4.3 or 640×480 ratio, I am glad they stopped doing that, but still preferring 4.3 or 640×480 they are doing us all an injustice.

Below are a couple of examples of what I am talking about. The pictures on the right look larger but actually show less of the rooms.

 0007_2414ne19thavenue  0007_2414ne19thavenue
 0013_32280swrightroad  0013_32280swrightroad
 0014_13004nwwillisroad  0014_13004nwwillisroad2

What happens if you upload an images like the ones on the left is a white space above and below the picture is added, Why, because it is now in a 4.3 ratio. The problem is when images are taken from the rmls for brochures this white top and bottom goes with them, yuck.

Remove the box code from the photo manager and stop telling you to format for 640×480 and stop asking for a specific ratio as this confuses some brokers. The RMLS photo manager should just handle this transparently. This isn’t rocket science, it’s just modern technology.

How do you want your listings to look? Tell the RMLS what you want. As for me, well I prefer 3.2 but I work for you.

RMLS now accepts 30 images

What does that mean to you and me? well if your an existing customer it doesn’t mean anything at all. I have always provided as many pictures as needed. There have been many properties that I provided 45 to 60 images. That’s what it took to give you, the broker the tools need to market the property. I never cared what the RMLS used.

If you are going to be a new client it means no additional charged for more than 16 images, no more sliding scale pricing. Just one flat fee that takes care of your needs.


A little over a year and I couldn’t be more pleased. Business started off slowly but gradually grew into a great start.

I have made many friends and have the luxury of doing what I love to do and one of the sweetest rewards has been being able to work with a Broker over and over, the feeling of trust and appreciation is heart warming.

In the spirit of building relationships I came up with the idea of providing portfolios for the Brokers. It’s a work in progress so I am open to ideas and suggestions.

Having been a Broker in Oregon and Washington I realize the difficulties in showing a perspective seller what you have done before so I added a new page “Find a Broker’ where visitors can look at what you the broker has to offer.

Just send your client the direct link to your page.

 Find a Broker


Consistency is for the big boys. When you sign up with one of the large providers of photography and tours it will always look the same because they send out which ever photographer is available and they have to look the same.

With PropertyTours.US the pictures and presentations evolve. If there is a better way to do it, we do it. Check out our active, pending and sold listings, everyone we add is better then the one we previously added. We want you to look good and we want you to reflect current technology.

With our Virtual tours we have added a speaker icon so the buyers can have music if desired, we added auto rotate and timed scene transitions because viewers have asked for it.

For our galleries we have automated them and music is available if you desire it, all of our presentations, tours and galleries can be viewed on all platforms including Apples iPad. This hasn’t been easy but even though Apple chose not to support Flash we designed everything to play on them anyway.

When we build a gallery we default to a book format, if you want a different transition, let us know and we build yours your way.

Just how good are we?

Recently we donated a couple of property shoots for the YCAR charity event in McMinville. The bidding was great, they sold for what the Realtors would have paid for the work. The surprise was that the bidding was between Realtors that already use us.

It’s very satisfying to know just how much our existing clientele appreciate what we do to help them sell their listings.

Why a Realtor needs a professional photographer

Does a Realtor know why they didn’t get a listing? not always because they don’t even know that they where passed over. Many times a prospective seller chose to interview a couple of Realtors by looking at their past listings and if your presentation wasn’t what they wanted, they didn’t even give you a chance.

What has this to do with photography? everything. We can create a portfolio for you and the listings don’t even have to yours. We aren’t suggesting you claim ownership, we are suggesting that by choosing you they are also choosing us. You are showing the quality of work you are investing in to help the listing be noticed and generate traffic. A seller appreciates the fact that the Realtor is making an investment of their own and that there is risk involved. We take that risk alongside you.

Getting What You Pay For

I do Real Estate, and it’s not easy and it takes a lot of time, maybe not so much at the shoot location, but that’s not where the work is.

Let us have a real life run through. Here is a den with a window scene, I have taken 9 different exposures as you can see below. Your wedding photographer, Realtor next to you with his new digital camera, or neighbors son will not give you a better image then the best one presented. And the walls will not be straight.

This means that if I take 50 different pictures of a property, I now have to process 450 images. And we are not even talking about the 360-Virtual Tour.

I currently use a Canon 5d MK II, each image is 21 mega-pixels on a full frame sensor.That means the end picture I provide was merged/combined from 189 mega-pixels of data.

Here is the raw combined image, but we are far from done.
Here it has been adjusted to where I want it, a little contrasty but that will be dealt with later.
Now we are in Photoshop and making sure the walls are straight even though they looked good before.
Next step is to correct for the lens distortion, this straightens any bowing effects from the wide angle lens.
Our final crop.
Here we bring back our outdoors scene. Then a final contrast adjustment and save.
Finally our picture, ready for the RMLS and other ads. Done, not yet.   Like Robin Williams and Golf, I still have to do this 49 more times.
_MG_5566-HDR 2
Ask your photographer what you can expect from them, ask about their workflow.This was easy, can’t wait to tell you about creating the 360 Virtual Tour and building the Gallery and the Slideshow.

Bottom line, you get what you pay for, and on any Home, this is what the seller expects.

Lights on or Lights off.

We used to tell the Realtor to prepare the home buy turning on all the lights, it would make it look warm and inviting as well as limit the use of flash and the harsh shadows that go with it. This actually did make the home look warm because incandescent light runs to the red.

But do we still need to do this/ The answer is YES and NO.
Below are two shots of the same scene, with and without lights on. Using our own formula for merging images we get a great scene without the additional lights and may prefer it at times over warming a scene.

Elevated Shots, do you need them?

Elevated Estate shots are becoming more and more popular, and with anything that becomes popular, they become abused.

There are very expensive tripods that reach way into the sky and allow us to take pictures that look almost like a fly over. Most that I see are taken from way to high an angle and these are generally the lead shots used in the listing. Portland’s Real Estate photography has jumped on the bandwagon, mostly to the detriment of the sellers ultimate goal, to sell their home.

Unless it is an Estate, they don’t do the property justice, just the opposite. They give a false impression. I have had a lot of buyer feedback regarding their efforts in finding their new home. They tell me that they are disappointed when they arrive and that’s their first impression, the most important one they make.

We need to eliminate the term elevated and replace it with elevation. Taking the initial shot needs to be taken at the ultimate elevation, even shooting up at the home, not down upon it.

We also understand that it may be the seller who is insisting but the job of the Realtor and Photographer is see how best to present the property. Below are just a sample of the front of a home, and elevation is more important than elevated.