Last week we spoke with Nathan Cool from Nathan Cool Photography. Besides his real estate work, Nathan is also proficient in fitness portraiture. We had a great chat about the business, his work and his side career as a surfing forecaster. You can read the transcript below or download a PDF at the bottom fo this page!
Welcome to shooting spaces real estate photography podcast discussions on gear technique industry news in interviews with the best in the business.
Now here’s your host Rich Baum and Brian Berkowitz.
Hello and welcome to our newest episode of shooting spaces I’m Brian from New York and I’m Rich Baum from Sacramento California.
And we have a fantastic guest for today’s episode out of Southern California right outside L.A. We have Nathan cool who is a top real estate photographer as well as master educator. Nathan why don’t you just take a quick second to say hello and introduce yourself.
Hey everybody. Nathan cool I’m over here in Thousand Oaks California and Turner county do a lot of real estate photography here in this area also stretch down into L.A. as need be. We were hit a little bit hard on the with some of the business here recently we’re kind of close to some of the Thomas fire but luckily we survived. We didn’t have to evacuate or anything like that. So sort of things are definitely calming down but definitely that’s ahead on our marketing it goes to show you how Sekel things can be also from Mother Nature.
But besides that also I’m a forecaster with Surfer magazine so I’ve been doing that for about 20 years so kind of a combination. Do you see when when the weather is going to be prime for real estate here in the area so you’ve got a combination of things going on there. Definitely it definitely keeps me Haaften but that’s kind of me in a nutshell.
How many followers you have. Nathan on the Surfer magazine or whatever the platform is you do it on.
Yeah I’m responsible for between 100 and 150 thousand hits a month from surfers and that’s for the Southern California area. Some of the software that I’ve written that runs the back end you know gets gets more on there.
We’ve at times they’ve they’ve hired me to do other areas too including like Costa Rica Florida New Jersey northern California Central California and some of Hawaii. And during those times you know we’d have more we were into about 250 to 500000 hits a month. Those forecast. But nowadays some of that’s kind of waned there’s more of for the written forecasts for the followers there there’s more of a concentration of Southern California. Long story there Hawaii has a lot of information that comes from their own national weather service and some of the other areas are just seasonal bowl season also. Like for instance Costa Rica I mean it’s mostly for people traveling not some DXT paths that lived down there an hour or whatever so that usually picks back up and sometimes I’ll do some work with them you know on the side and then I also do occasional articles with them for you know big swells that are coming up and of course then we get that surfer magazine has a has a larger fall and I don’t know exactly what all all of that is but yeah I’ve been a Raider following though that you know reads all the forecasts a few times a week on it.
And are you are you a surfer yourself if you watch your videos you notice that you usually don’t have shoes that I can’t surf like I used to. I
mean I’m definitely doing more photography and forecasting that I am actually getting in the water. But yeah that’s kind of how a lot of this started to I was a software engineer many years ago and in fact even up until recently I was still doing and still do a little bit of contracting every now and then. But I had written some software to automate the forecast instead to be able to take data generate models able to predict what not just the waves but also wind and then also to some degree some of the weather. And so then the weather is something I do still manually to base software. That’s kind of how that whole thing got started was hey you know I could maybe just I don’t have to pay for Surf Forecasts I could do it myself. And then after you know right and some of the automated stuff it’s like hey people are saying I’d pay you for that.
So it kind of took off from there and I had had a site wave cast dot com which was just as it’s a derelict ship that’s out there nowadays with just some ads it still runs still as valid information on it everyday it’s all automated. But then I got picked up by other people those different media companies pick me up and then the media company that owns Surfer magazine pick me up at the network. They had different magazines I they have outside magazine a pop photo and some others. So they had me with surfing magazine. They combined. It’s a big long history. But anyways it’s just turned into a media draw. You know for the for the surfing demographic kind of little niche thing.
I’m a big windsurfers and kite and skiers so very tuned into the wind the waves and the snow. So it is good. Let’s get on the track and talk about you and your photography and the business. Anything besides interiors or buildings that people in sports anything else.
Oh yeah. You know a big thing that I got into before real estate was in fitness photography so there wasn’t a there was a lot of competitors in the area out here that would have to go to Los Angeles to to book you know somebody or they’d have to pay for like a 30 minute session or a 20 minute mini session with somebody at one of the shows that they’d compete at. And so the market got saturated fairly quickly because it’s something that you know it’s not as much a turnaround as you would like on real estate or even weddings you know. So it’s a smaller demographic but I did that for one I had a niche. I still have some people every once in awhile that will fly out a couple few times a year and they’ll they’ll shoot with me here at the house and all in the business photography business. So what that is is it’s people that have you know like usually body builders and they want to have something not just showcases what they look like but also it’s a lot of special effects so you know where I do a lot of one type stuff very dramatic very shadowy but then also with a lot of effects of backlighting put it in different to make it look like are in stadiums or to make them look like you know. And it’s kind of hard to describe. Some people call it fallacy photography but realize realize. Yes it’s kind of like revolved around that so I got into a niche doing that which is profitable if you can get the market for it because you really don’t take that many pictures. It’s mostly you know a lot of postprocessing you know involved with it. So I had been doing a lot of that and I still do some of that you know throughout the year. But the other is everyone’s throwing headshots and portraits those are very much but the big turn has been the big churn. I guess I should say is the real estate photography.
And I know you’ve got really really good following on social media and YouTube. And you like I kind of like it because it’s that I’ve got you on the show because it’s many times I don’t know how many how many times people have put your name in my name next to each other. It seems that we’re doing the kind of you know getting people going and learning how to do this thing. And I think it’s a good service. I really appreciate what you do. I think people like it.
Well thanks for. And actually I’ve got to give credit to you because there is a big turning point when I saw your first video on doing the flash Ambien blending and the window polls don’t say they don’t say the word because everybody said I do Effler.
I called the flash Ambien and I hope for the voice and I’m calling him flamboyant but damn that was a big turning point to me that there was a you know an easier way to go about it.
It was itch and actually it became something Monitise lable because it’s not taken me forever you know to put together a real high end product. So you know you have something that you know really good quality you can charge for it. It came out to be a really good balance so based off of what I’d seen off of your initial videos what took off with. OK now I can actually put together something that makes no business sense.
GREENE What else is going on. I know there’s one thing I want to talk about and you probably know.
Oh yeah my books while I have I’ve been you know a writer all along especially working for the different media companies now surfer and I’ve written a couple books before. One is on climate change on his on on surf forecasting. But recently I was inspired to write some books and I did a series on real estate photography and so there’s a three book series to get him on Amazon.com. You can also get a nice and cool photo dotcom and I’ve got a learned section which has a link to all my books. And then in there there’s a three three book series I started this last summer and just released the exterior book but it covers everything from an entire book on interiors. There’s another book that covers a lot of advanced techniques. You know doing the sky swaps doing different color validations throughout Photoshop using all the various editing tools. Not a top to bottom. Here’s everything in toto shopper here’s everything in Lightroom. But what are the tools that are best used to for real estate photography for and then of course the third book in the series is on getting on the outside doing exteriors which is the most deceiving thing. I think for most people they think oh I can get outside and shoot something new with a cell phone and there’s a lot of days and circumstances where you could but you know that that’s not always the case so I cover that in that as well. So anyways you all three books there in e-book format and also paperback that are out there now. And where do they get it. You get it through Amazon.com. You can also go through my Web site which is Nathan cool photo dot com and you’ll see on my website there’s a lern link. And of course that I’ve got on my Web site there’s a link also out to to my YouTube channel so all throughout my videos the more recent ones I have links to those books as well but if you go directly to Amazon.com and look up nice and cool photography you’ll my books will start popping up.
Well we’ll be sure to put the information in the footnotes.
Sure. Yeah I’m looking at them right here on your website Neith and I’m looking to put them up. And there’s never a limit to how much education you can learn despite how upsetting you are with your method.
See there’s always room for growth and so on.
And I’ve gotten some really good feedback. At first I was just going to be a one book series. And it was really to show something that I think has been really underappreciated and I give the kudos to rich on this.
I know the richest humble enough is going to say that well I’ve learned it from somebody else but it really was this idea of if you really want to show something that looks natural if you can blend properly flash and ambient and then be able to put window pools and there doing this stuff realistically you know there was a lot of angst that came out of angry HDR shooters. I don’t mean to condemn anybody who does HDR scenes so it’s fantastic stuff with it and it’s another tool to use. But there was kind of a single piece like well I don’t think people really quite understood. In some cases what it was or maybe they needed a way so it’s not that I was necessarily trying to pontificate you know the idea of yes you’ve got to use flash memory play use lights don’t don’t use HDR. It wasn’t that but it was just that I saw the results from I had tried HDR I had done it and it was OK. But when I was able to get a different set of clients based off of using the lights when I was able to grow my business because of the quality that got spread around not just oh I delivered it but these realtors talk they all compete and it’s not that somebody refers you directly to a lot of times it’s like oh my gosh they got a list and it’s like who does your pictures. And then you start getting calls that those people pay more for it. So anyways there was a little bit of pontification and pulpit ties in probably to preaching you know the purification impulse.
But that didn’t happen to a pulpit stump in my stump spot on my soapbox now but it’s definitely true what you say Nathan because there was a time when I was first starting my business and hasted and I used to shoot a lot of HDR only because when you weigh what you’re getting paid by a lot of these realtors it’s just more convenient and richer on site.
So you shoot that way. And once I started mixing the flash in the NBA and like you said it opened up the doors to more money and I started getting calls from architects and interior designers which obviously I can charge more to. Those calls were coming in when I was shooting all Ambien and all HDR. So it’s not even the real estate agents you know the higher end which which did happen too but it was also the you know being able to move into architectural and you know interiors and even commercial endeavors and stuff like that you know having that technique open those doors for me as well.
Yeah and you know it’s an interesting thing too I’ve found something that’s so unique and real estate business that I don’t know and you’ve kind of touched on it there when you talked about some of the progression and the epiphany that you had with with kind of your switch was that it’s not always to just your real estate agent that you’re used to working with or can be a new field that opens up and I have actually in some cases the actual homeowners request that I do their pictures and I’ve gotten to know real estate agents you know clients that way. But it’s that idea that it’s also the home owner when a home owner selling something that you know there are going to be paying out if they’re selling their home for a million dollars. And you know and there which isn’t that much out in your neck of the woods in Manhattan or out here in California. But you know compared you know maybe misere in some other place I understand that’s a different price range but when they’re paying out you know 50 thousand dollars to a realtor to sell their house for them they’re expecting that realtor to pay good money for real good pictures a day. They love their house they lived in the house they loved in that house. They laughed. There they took pride in remodeling it. It was their pride and joy. And to see these pictures that make it just a sign as any other pictures that they have that bring back other memories that they’ve had over their life. That also drives a lot of it. I would think that some of the real estate photographers that just do high churn HDR. I don’t think they might see that. I think they might be missing that it’s kind of like not seeing the forest for the trees because you’re so far down in the weeds of just constant churn. It was a different set of I shouldn’t say clientèle but a little bit of a different market when you get into lights you do kind of bridge some of those different gaps.
No for sure. And obviously there are always exceptions to the rule. I was telling rich last week I have one very high end commercial real estate agency in Manhattan that I do tons of work for.
And they insist on natural light and they pay me really really well and they own some of the biggest buildings they own mall of Manhattan that building which is you know right in the center of midtown Manhattan 34 Street and Second Avenue. And when I show for them they insist a natural light and you know because I’ve been doing that for years. I’m experienced and can do it and they’re happy with the results. But you know what I prefer lights. Sure but you know that’s what they request.
And you know they pay me well so her network I’m looking for. All right.
I actually though especially on really big big spaces I find you know I used to freak out how am I going to like this. And you know you just really don’t.
You can use lights but a lot of times the big jobs are ambient only way to make it work by the way Nathan I’m on your Web site and I am going through these fitness photos and I’m blown away. These are awesome markets.
I was looking at them also and talking about them before.
Yeah I know a couple of the guys I think they shoot Spartan Races a spartan photographer and I I think a couple of them are spartan racers. Upshot mate. That’s awesome. What do you do this. You have a studio.
Yeah I well at my house I set up some studio gear so I’ve got in the front room I’ve got enough room to set up. It’s got a 20 foot tall ceiling. So what I can do is I can set up one of those nine foot wide backdrops so I use some of that savage paper you know that comes in those big long rolls I can roll a bunch of it out tape it all down and then I can get my use Einstein’s and I’ll get them up on some ten foot light stand so I can angle them down quite a bit and there’s a lot of room for them to move around know do different stuff so it’s just enough room at once it’s all in then we can’t get into the kitchen. But you was like so so but it’s it it’s just done yeah right here and it mostly probably I’d say 90 percent of it is shot on savage thunder Gray and I just get so much versatility out of use in that paper so it’s easy to then do overlays and edit other stuff and if I need to know these guys on your website.
Man I Used To Look Like I was just like him. I mean you know I never it never looked like ever.
I know I have to.
It definitely is a little bit humbling when they come in and they take their shirts off and you’re just some of the women too that I’ve shot. And they come in and it’s just they do too. But when you see that they can definitely kick your butt. The problem isn’t just how fit they are and the dedication that goes into getting in that shape I’m just saying it makes me feel guilty afterwards like I’m sorry. Right. For days. Eventually it fades and it goes. But it does it’s an influence of guilt.
And that’s what it’s about to say I think I’m skipping my next three meals now.
You get to check out a picture. If you haven’t seen it go to Nathan cool to come and check out those pictures anyway.
Hey maybe I wanted to ask you a question we got to ask everybody. What are you shooting with these days. Real briefly. You know what’s what’s your camera lights and stuff your tripod.
Yes for me I love to use stuff until it collapses I like to drive the car until the wheels fall off so I have three different bodies.
I use one or digital metal and actually just announced. Maybe that’s why you’re here.
Oh but no. And two are always with me on site. I keep it home just in case there’s anything else that I do. I always have to. They’re dedicated just to real estate photography and they’re both D6 towns Nikon D6 tense and one of them is even just a used body. I mean you could pick up a used body now like a thousand bucks. It’s a 24 megapixel you know full frame. And the reason the camera I know I can get by is a crop sensor and a lot of the real estate stuff but there’s Reizei talking about and some of the books. But no one I do other types of photography and some of the stuff that I do especially fitness that gets blown up big you know so they all have this stuff blown up not just for themselves but also an advertisement where they are anyways and also some of the product photography so I’ve always I’ve got the versatility it doesn’t cost me that much more to have that you know having having the full frame and I got plenty of you know pixels to play with him for cropping. So anyway long story short I’m sure Mideast extends always to those in my bag at a time once a backup but I also then keep one lens on one lens on the other. For interiors I keep on the stickiness 16 to 28 f 2 8 and it rivals the quality of the Nikon 14 to 24 for some people may argue with that but it really has. And they have to keen on mine as I’ve had now. It can be a flare monster just like any other Bulbus you know front and like on the Nikon 14 to 24 but anyway so I keep that on for my interiors that serves me serves me real well.
Of course it’s always on a tripod so I never worry about the weight of it it doesn’t have auto focus and stuff but you know it’s like a 500 dollar lands or something I think even on sale I picked up for 450 watts. And then on the other one it’s got my favorite lines probably of all time. My favorite favorite lines of everything I do has got to be my Nikon 85 millimeter F1 8 but the lens. My second favorite which is then for real estate my ultimate favorite is my Nicor 20 millimeter at F1 F1 4 but it’s Nikon 20 millimeter and that thing is just luscious. Oh man I love. I love to take that thing out when I do landscapes around the area to just fall in love with it so I keep those cameras on hand the what I do is I shoot my exteriors with a body that has a 20 millimeter on it.
And then when I go inside I don’t worry about flare from nothing at all being outside. And then when I’m inside I break out to Sakinah it. You know I’ve used a combination I use a cam Ranger but not so much for interiors. I’ve gotten so used to and this is just from doing other type of work. I had a whole collection of cactus triggers laying around from all the other work that I did especially some of the fitness stuff you’d have multiple lights set up and speed lights here and Mondo lights there and all that going on. So I just use those also for my shutter release and I’m just so used to what to use for settings as I’m shooting to go along I don’t really use the camera so I can just fire an off real quick. It’s just my process that I’ve gotten used to. So with that then I have a collection of lights. That’s the reason to I’ve got cactus trigger Essawi just bought whatever is on sale except for when it came to my Einsteins. Those were different for doing the different stuff to get the right color consistency and some of the higher end works was paying for it but when I’m on real estate stuff my favorite like right now is the explore 6 Condra. I know they have a new one that’s come out to TTL that’s ridiculously priced at almost a thousand bucks but I’ve got the non retail version out or more. I was like 500 bucks. Things are a workhorse. I love.
To use my today on a monitor that would stand for a month or perhaps it was great.
It’s funny. Also I just bought two of them it was on Black Friday and inspectional and I switched from dynamites to those older dynamites and just great lights.
I have one that I keep on a stand.
I have an old Rove light that I keep as a backup in case I need a big mana light. But once again I have such a collection of light so I use cactus triggers and I’ll pop in for the mono lights. A male to male. You know what is it true whatever that is connecter 3 millimeter to connect into the sink port and then I use cactus triggers on on Bunchy young Nuwas too so I keep two young new o’s in my bag and I’ve got a kit bag. I call my my grip bag and it’s got no other speed lights. Edit If I should need them but by keepa speed light on my belt. He’s a monkey clip. I keep one that’s young no that’s clipped there so I can go around and do multi Popz if I need to. And also once I get into doing bedroom’s I don’t take the mana light and their arms fire and off real quick whatever and like Bridget mentioned before you have to brine them just using a lot of ambient filament with flash soda’s for the most part that’s pretty much my light setup. Sometimes I will for larger spaces I’ll use another speed light on another stand and then what I’ll do is I’ll use that at 2 with along with the mana light to light up one side of the room all of a sudden boom move into the other light up outside of the room and then later in postprocessing blend those with some ambient to a composite was ambient but for the most part yeah I’m a real kind of MacGyver lite type equipment type guy. That’s why I’ve got the cactus triggers. They can be any brand of triggers but I use them for everything you know and then whatever brand lights I just happen to have laying around. I’ve even got some lights that came in like I think I’ve got a flash point speed light also in my bag that came free with something I bought from Adharma. So that’s kind of my collection my collection of stuff but I would have to say that out of all the gear that I have for doing real estate photography the favorite thing I have is that explore 600 I love. Out of all the things and it might sound crazy but I love the idea that can point to make up at the ceiling and have the controls right there not on the back but on the side of it. And what we know with the guy that needs to wear reading glasses I wear you know Progressive’s they’re basically tri focal so I don’t have to tilt my head and try to get underneath and see where my settings are set. It’s lickety split. I think that’s one of the greatest inventions of all time since sliced bread.
That is one thing I will say negative about the 200 I get a few things I don’t like about it but the Adeyemi evolved to hundreds. You can’t see it when it’s pointed straight that you can’t see into the screen and you can barely see it anyway but that’s a that’s a nice part about the 600 I feel the same way about the 360.
You can see the screen. They’re great. I love them. Listen. Nathan I know that you know you have a big following and what would you like to say to people or give maybe a tip or something to keep in people’s minds that are are getting into this and you know the little things you got anything to tell people.
You know first thing I would tell everybody that follows me and is Bob my books are follows my YouTube channel you know follow me on Facebook or wherever. I’m just flattered. I’m I’m really flattered I don’t take it for a minute of it for granted. People ask me questions every day and I try to answer every single one of them whether it’s on YouTube or whether it’s through email Facebook or whatever. Because the fact is is that nobody should be afraid to learn.
And so with that you know one of the best things that I can suggest is that you try to concentrate on what the picture should look like.
You know and not so much on you know Nikon’s going to be pushing you and Cannon is going to be pushing or Sony is going to be pushing you constantly a flood of advertisements of the latest greatest gizmo to buy but any Leibowitz. She was quoted as saying more than wants about you know equipment it’s not about the gear it’s about taking pictures and what it comes to real estate photography you can figure it out there’s a lot of stuff you can do in postprocessing. And the biggest thing though of all if you’re starting to real estate photography from my opinion start at home. I don’t care what your house looks like I don’t care what your apartment looks like or your bedroom or whatever it is that you have that you live and use that and shoot to live and crap out of it try to set up the most difficult of circumstances sink as though you were a scientific laboratory and you’re going to try to try to solve the worst of problems. You get that stuff nailed down in your own backyard in your own home when you do go out. You’re going to have a lot more confidence of what you can do.
And the other side of the coin I tell people go inside everybody has a 10 by 12 bedroom hopefully with a window and a ceiling fan and camera and tripod in the doorway and just start playing with your lights and seeing which way you can point them out which way you with the power is in everything and you should get this finally get this down. And then just go from there. And I think again I agree with you 100 percent you could do some really great testing and trying in your own house. Absolutely. Absolutely.
And while we’re on giving advice for people that are against getting started. Let me ask you Nathan what your thoughts are on how it worked for you when you were starting out. How did you get these real estate agents to become clients.
Huge cold called you walk in with the brochure. What was your method and what what works for you what those in and obviously every market is different but you know what are those little tips they can give you that should work in every market the amount or where you are to try and get those first few lines on your belt. Because we all know it’s word of mouth. Once you have a few clients the rest will trickle down.
But just think that’s the biggest challenge you said for just about everybody. And you know whether it was you know kind of multifaceted and different things I’ve done in my career just even outside of photography. But everywhere along the way I was I was always inspired by something I read as a young man. It was something that said the first to success or find a need and sell it so whatever it was I saw oh there’s an opportunity. Someone asks me for something but somebody else will ask for something more. And so when it came to real estate photography that’s how I kind of progressed into that I knew a realtor. And as I’m seeing that there’s potential and they were complaining about some pictures that they had paid for to have done and not really given a lot of thought to get into that market. Daffs what kind of opened the door and I tried it so I think it’s important to start out. This is based off my experience so it’s going to be anecdotal but it’s the idea that you know if you can find one realtor somebody who’s in real estate and you can work with them just to get things going. And you know I did for my real estate friend I did the first couple of shoes for free and after that she demanded that she start paying me for it because she wanted to use her for the long term. And that was great. So I think the same thing and be careful of charging until you are satisfied that this is something you can do. But the fact is you know you practice enough on your own you’re ready to go out there and do it. And also remember that this is different from shooting some shots. Not just the technical aspect of it but there’s a lot of money on the table that’s now on this and realtors are crammed for time so it’s to be fully prepared and get into that. And so from my perspective and once again it’s just anecdotal from my experience has been that if you can find a bit of you know just a couple realtors or close to you show what you do. You start building up your portfolio. When they sell those houses that have your pictures listed in it I will guarantee you that one of the agents that’s brought somebody over and loved the house and wanted to see the house they wanted to see the house because they were impressed with the pictures and that’s going to leave a lasting impression they will probably ask that real or that you shop for Who was your photographer and things can start taking off from there. So that would be my advice starting out to actually make a close relationship with at least one real estate agent. Do Wandoo one very very well. And then you’ll be able to work with them. They’ll be able to guide you along also to tell you what works what doesn’t and you’ll be able to get more insight into the business instead of doing a broad scattershot to just start out and ticking off a little bit of realtors here and there who won’t have the patience to necessarily work with you they won’t know you and it necessarily a friend and have a close relationship so they’ll be more apt to drop you like a hot potato as soon as something goes wrong.
Wow that’s good. Good stuff. Can you buy it. You’ve been saving that up tell yet again.
Yeah I tell people though. You made a really good point. And I know Brian you have experienced this way and I do a fair amount of design and I wouldn’t really call myself an architectural photographer in any stretch of the imagination but I think that a lot of people are asking you know how much do I charge you. I tell people it’s really difficult. In one of the main things it’s it’s it’s it’s so important what is what is a degree of of an image or a product you are delivering. You know I don’t I don’t think that somebody’s just getting out there in charge you know can get from somebody in the upper end is getting you know two three thousand dollars a day or or way more than that. But I don’t think that you could expect that because you just have to you know start from the bottom and then work your way up. Every job is is great learning everything you should learn from and you get folio stuff and then you know you take it from there.
And I am I’m telling people all the time I think you have reached a point that you just made you hit the nail on the head where it’s almost an investment of your time. Every job like you said counts no matter what it is. And I think some of the newer photographers say they get sidetracked on that because they need to make an income.
But the fact is this any business takes an investment and it’s not just investing in your gear but you have to be ready not to make money for a while or make very little money so you can actually go through those that the learning curve how many people do you get replies from or do you read replies better.
You’re saying I can’t do that type of photography that you are idea you know Nathan we’re rich but you are telling people to do because I’d be making a dollar an hour well that’s not the way to go into it. It’s not the way to look at it and it’s just plain wrong. But you have to be going Who do I want to be shooting for in five years and then you get to be geared in that way and you made me know him making less money the beginning to get figured out.
But it gets me tell everybody Nathan it does get us shooting and editing it does it does it.
And I think that said is that you have to be patient with it if if though there are real real estate photographers out there can be also driven by you know the particular market that they are in or what they’ve been used to where they have to do a high churn you know where they’ve got to get in and out there is no time. But that’s a certain market that they’re in. So just like anything else if you want to be in the fast food market or do you want to be and you know the more expensive restaurant or there’s stuff in between. It doesn’t have to be just a Volkswagen or a Ferrari. You know there’s a lot of grey area in between for the market. But knowing that park knowing what you want to get into and then targeting that market. So when I started doing you know in building up my clients I didn’t care what the shoot was that I was doing I didn’t care for a small condo. I did it as though it was the Taj Mahal and that was one of the things that also it’s like yeah you know for what I’m charging for some of these small places when I was first start now wasn’t really paying for me. But what it was doing is helping to pay off my time for investment because word spread quickly that you got to check this guy out. And that’s an end to break into the market where people are willing to to do high churn and keep their prices really low. Yeah how do you charge more. Well when people see the results and people also an important thing in marketing is that people want what other people already have. So if they’re if they’re real or is competing against somebody that’s getting high and textures you betcha they’ll probably want to go and pay a little extra so they can compete against them because their commissions their commissions can pay for it.
I think also even if you’re taking those lower paying jobs despite the pay you’re still learning and that’s the most important thing also and you use it as an educational tool and you learn from it whether it’s one little line technique or something you know you know to use a story I’m shooting next week a local tattoo shop in my area tattoo studio that’s designed really really uniquely. And I’m doing the shoot free of charge for portfolio stuff. And the reason is because I somehow came across the Web site by accident and I said this base is fantastic.
It’ll be a challenge for me to shoot this. I wonder how you can shoot and I called him up and I said Hey can I come in and take two or three shots from my portfolio and I’ll give you full license for them and they said Sure come on in and out you know. Now I have to go and figure out how to do it and how to light it and all that and it’s a challenge for me and I look at it as an opportunity. First off to you know expand my portfolio. And number two I’m challenging myself by forcing myself into a situation where it’s not as simple as room bouncing a light into a ceiling and shooting. You know it’s all dark so dark rooms and there’s wood everywhere and it’s one big open space and it’s kind of an open concept and it has a very you know so almost you know 17 hundreds Western feel to it so it’s can be a challenge to shoot it.
And I’m looking forward to it you know.
Yeah sounds like a challenge. Sounds like a good challenge.
So we’re going to wrap up in a few but just take us into your post processing process a little bit and tell us what that’s like or you know what software using and how you go about that whole that whole process.
Oh sure yeah so the first thing I do everything is backup backup backup so my body’s have a dual sd slots so everything’s backed up I use the second SD slot as a backup so I always there I never have to worry about you know card failure on site but as soon as I get home one of those cards gets shoved into one of my computers they get offloaded and then that gets offloaded again to another external drive so I’ve got multiple backups and that way that I can go ahead and erase those cards once I’ve got the redundant backups. But then the actual processing itself.
All for exteriors.
If I really want to maintain quality I’ll first use OEM software or I’ll use Nikon’s capture and XTI to go ahead and do the raw conversion and it does a variety of you know vignette takes care of that lends corrections and then also I just tournament a test so that gets me my really good color correction because the DB bearing is found in Lightroom isn’t that accurate. For interiors it’s totally fine. But for exteriors sometimes that just doesn’t work as well so I do have one I’m in a hurry just use Lightroom but my preference is to use OEM software on exteriors not interiors just fixtures. They’re usually not that much anyways not a usually high count and I’ll go and convert those tips to next processes I’m just using lightroom and Photoshop for everything and so it’s a matter of just going through the exterior. Sometimes I’ll do some exposure blending where I’ve got a few you know that I bring in a few images but it’s all this using what I love about Lightroom and Photoshop a lot of things I hate about Lightroom but the one thing I really love with it is it makes it so easy and so fast to go through a workflow to work interactively with Photoshop and so between those two there’s progress a process that I have. Of course I’ve got to keep pitching my books but I’ve got an entire workflow listed in my interiors book and also on my exteriors book step by step by step. You know what that is and what part of the workflow that I would play a preset maybe another preset or a different part of the workflow in my room and then also what would I do for certain blending at different different situations but basically using lightroom as my starting kickoff point and then photoshop for doing all the structural stuff and a lot of times two fixtures I can just use Lightroom 4 ply a priest to it and I’ve got probably about a dozen presets that I use and there’s probably only about 3 or 4 that I use regularly the others are just some offshoots.
No outlier a naked question where I just want to break in and go. I’ve recently got a lot of people asking me on my YouTube channel can I buy the by the presets. I mean I’ve got this silly little thing called the special sauce small bump and it’s just basically a little this little of that but what do you say to people that are like Oh man I get to buy presents and I’m like I can’t tell you present.
I tell him to buy my books because my girls are willing to spend money on something because really quite as I put the presets in my books they’re so easy to do yourself.
You know I’ve even on my videos there’s videos where I show the screenshot just posit what the priest said is you know and there’s just so simple to use. I have some that are even listed on my blogs on my website. They’re just basically bottom line to be really serious. Not to demean anybody who wants to buy a priest. I totally understand where this would make it easier it’s faster you’ve got a time crunch but it really is so easy to do yourself to do this. You can you can get them out of my books you can get them off my blog. And once you have them know that their starting points and you’ll then evolve your own. You only need once one preset to start for like interiors and then you’ll figure out the rest. Kind of from there.
I think all I’ll have to do a video and presets. There you go.
You got it I think. I think that would really be helpful for a lot of folks because I think a lot of people don’t understand it really is so simple to do and what you did.
You know Rich. I mean I know that people say know you know rich Romney you think quote but quite honest man you’re the guy who started it all. I mean this stuff that I’ve learned I learned a lot of this from you so I think a video coming from you would really benefit a lot of people. I think a lot of people would really appreciate that.
All right. So Brian why don’t you. You want to take a Souders any last word.
Yeah just want to thank Nathan for coming on. Nathan what drew you Nathan plugger.
Hello listeners where they can find you across your website. Social media your books give all your different links and all that and then we’ll you would do Hesher.
So basically you can find just about everything on my website which is Nathan cool photo com and cool really has my last name SEO.
No. No joke.
It’s an Irish name and didn’t make it up and it had been of the generation for years are going to look it up and see there’s the old the fabled finde Makhoul you know the legend of Ireland anyways. Dropped the mic when it became English. My ancestors. That’s why I always have pauperism Colbung always. Nathan Cool’s photo Dohm. And that’s where you can find me on not just my websites but also they’re nice and cool photo on Facebook and then also on YouTube you can find a nice and cool photo on YouTube as you do Instagram.
Do you know I have an Instagram account but I just haven’t found it useful yet. Yeah okay. Well that’s that’s a conversation for another time.
And how much for coming on it was a real pleasure because you know we you and I have been friends for a while and just just a testament to the power of Facebook and the power of a society and a group of like minded people and we have one of the best the realistic photography group know just not some people.
It is it’s a great group. Thanks guys for having me on.
Again I want to remind everyone to leave our view and to subscribe to the podcast until next time.
Rich Ana is rich Bob Sacramento California. Sam thank you so much for joining us. And we’re going to be having a lot of new things coming up in the podcast. And we’re going to have ways that you’re going to be able to call in and ask your questions. We’ll be playing that and answering them for you. We’ll be doing a few other things too but we’re just getting going and we really really appreciate your feedback and your subscriptions and just to keep on Schuitema guess we’ll get better and better sure that feature is actually live as we speak on our Web nice feature so somebody anybody can just come on record a question for us.
And it could be the topic of the future episode.
So definitely get on to that and be sure to tell your friends tell your other real estate photographers that this podcast is out there. And we’re really looking forward to it.
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