Matthew and Sandy's Blog


Sandy's Photography Class 4

As a professional photographer in Real Estate it makes me cringe when I see some of the listing photos put out there. If you understand the value of curb appeal, if you understand the value of a well staged home, but you neglect the value of high quality photos you are really doing yourself a huge disservice. Over 80% of home shopping begins on the internet where your pictures do ALL the talking, that's a big deal!


more about me:

My name is Sandy Jagmin, my husband and I own Brick Road Visuals. We offer professional photography, 360° interactive virtual tours, and marketing solutions to real estate agents and businesses in Benton and Washington counties in Arkansas. If you are ready to let me take on some of your workload so you can concentrate on bigger and better things don't hesitate to give me a call. If you are not ready for a professional, but you want to improve your photos read on...


There are a lot of things I watch for when taking my photos - blown out windows, flash reflections, out of focus shots, under- or overexposed shots, the list goes on.

Today we're going to go over out of focus shots.

Here are some examples from real property listings:


In all fairness, in the photos above there is likely somthing wrong with the camera as nothing is in focus. BUT I still can't believe the photos were actually posted - surely they saw them!

Do you know how to use your auto-focus? Most cameras will have a small box in the middle of the viewfinder and that's what you are focusing on. When taking pictures of a room, you will want the auto-focus box on the wall farthest away from you. Usually this is where it will fall anyway, but if your auto-focus box fell on a piece of furniture or something closer to you it would be in focus and the far wall would likely be out of focus.

Now with your auto-focus box aimed right where you want it, halfway press the shutter button on the camera. Most cameras will sound a beep or beep-beep and flash a green light letting you know that it's now in focus - at this time, without releasing the button, press it the rest of the way down to take your focused shot. If you get several beeps and a red light (or red error on the screen) that means your camera didn't focus - try again.

Cameras need an area of contrast to focus on like a picture on the wall, a fireplace, a window frame, or something similar - cameras usually have a difficult time focusing on a blank wall. So if you are having trouble focusing you may need to re-aim your auto-focus box toward something (in the same general area) with contrast. If you find a good area of contrast, but it's not where you want the picture framed (using the contrast between the wall and the ceiling, for example) you can aim toward that point, press the shutter button halfway to allow the camera to focus, then, without releasing the button, you can re-aim the camera to where you want it and press the button the rest of the way to take the shot.

The other issue that causes out of focus pictures is not getting enough light. If the room is dark (or just not bright) the camera will leave the shutter open longer to try to compensate for the dark conditions. When the shutter is open longer, and you move ever so slightly, it will cause blurry pictures. You may try to force a faster shutter speed, but then your pictures will be too dark, so the best fix for this is to get more light (open windows, turn on all lights, use flash). Then your pics will be nice and sharp.

You could also use a tripod when the light is not that great - I use a tripod on all my real estate shoots - but most people aren't going to go through the trouble of using one. So make sure you've got enough light.


Here's a sharp photo I recently shot.






Sandy Jagmin

Brick Road Visuals

Professional Virtual Tours in Northwest Arkansas

Comment balloon 8 commentsMatthew and Sandy Jagmin • September 23 2008 10:09PM
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