Kurt Alderman Photography: Blog http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Kurt Alderman Photography kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Tue, 23 Aug 2016 21:01:00 GMT Tue, 23 Aug 2016 21:01:00 GMT http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/img/s/v-5/u437545639-o1005608496-50.jpg Kurt Alderman Photography: Blog http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog 120 120 "The photo taken is gross" - A Lesson In What Real Estate Photographers Can and Can't Fix http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2016/7/-the-photo-taken-is-gross---a-lesson-in-what-real-estate-photographers-can-and-cant-fix The Back Story  
This post is unequal parts education, public service message, sales pitch, rant, and is something I've considered writing for quite sometime. I'm going to do my best to keep my rant to a minimum, but the genesis of this writing comes from my frustrations downright anger with another photographer who happened to be the home owner the listing agent represented. This photographer stated, "Here are my comments as a detail oriented photographer (who looked at house pictures for the past 4 months)." What followed was a blow-by-blow critique of my work and what I perceived as a demand that I fix or remove things like spots and cracks on ceiling beams, removing a dog door from a screen, taking all the spots off the carpets, removing power lines from the back yard exteriors, and not to use a side patio photo as well as a few other images. It also included words like "gross" and dirty," and my initial reaction was one of great furry. When I cooled off I saw an opportunity to vent but also to educate potential home sellers and the agents who will represent them. What this detail oriented photographer wasn't aware of are the ethics involved with real estate photography, and as such didn't send critiques of my work, but rather a commentary on the state of the property. I ultimately chose to  digitally remove what is permissible but should have been removed by the home owner before my arrival - hey, I want to work for the listing agent again so I swallowed hard and did a favor for the agent and the home owner. So what then is permissible? What can and can't be removed or fixed?

Real Estate Photography Is Photo Journalism - Mostly
My job as a real estate photographer is to photograph a property as it is presented to me, more pointedly, the photography I and every other reputable real estate photographer produce is photo journalistic in nature. Here is a great quote taken from photographyforrealestate.net, "Removing permanent objects like power lines, telephone poles, neighboring homes, etc. are customarily considered materially misrepresenting the property because they hide undesirable permanent property features."  

What this essentially means is that the work I do, though beautiful and artistic, is also a form of photo journalism. I'm not allowed to digitally or otherwise make structural changes to the home or anything that is staying in the home after its sale. This includes: lighting fixtures, cabinets, driveway/patio cracks, fireplaces, counters, window coverings, carpet, paint or anything mounted to the home. Take for example this image from photo journalist Philipe Lopez's Twitter feed featuring an airport filled with Panda's in Hong Kong. The image works for a lot of reasons, but what if I told you Philipe didn't photograph an airport full of Panda's but instead an airport with one Panda, and because it would look better he copied one and turned it into hundreds? Furthermore when Philipe doesn't tell anyone he manipulated the photo he essentially misrepresented the entire event. I've never met Philipe and given his job title of Photo Journalist I trust that in fact there was an airport full of Panda's in Hong Kong, but this somewhat humorous example illustrates an important rule of both photo journalism and real estate photography. Both Philipe and I are photographing things as they really are;  we're not allowed to manipulate them in post production, but there are exceptions, and I want you to be privy to what I can and cannot do when it comes to post-production digital photography, and how the listing agent can mitigate unsightly things in a home that cost both of us heart ache, time, and money.

Woe Is Me
This is a no-brainer but I've learned that the words "clean" and "organized" are totally subjective as is the term "Less is more." As a real estate photographer I accept that (too often) I am asked to be a home stager, interior decorator, thing mover, and world champion at holding armfuls of other people's stuff while tripping the shutter on my camera. I don't mind doing some of those things; if a blanket doesn't look right, or a throw rug isn't centered, I'm happy to fix it. Remember I can't change the structure of the home but I can change the things inside the home that aren't going to stay with it to make it look better. I want as much as the real estate agent and the property owner to produce amazing photos that help sell a home fast, and for a lot of money because it likely means I get to work for the listing agent again. As the real estate agent, you want beautiful photographs but you need photographs that depict the true state of the property, and like most agents I know, you likely also want them yesterday. If you want your images from me faster the home will be photography and show ready prior to my arrival.

When it comes to photo manipulation I'm allowed and often do remove or fix things in PhotoShop. It's okay to do some things because none of them will stay in the home upon its sale. My suggestion, request, and borderline demand, on behalf of just about every photographer in the business, is that the listing agent ensures a home is ready for photography before photography begins. If however things aren't quite up to par it is never, unless previously agreed upon, the responsibility of the photographer. The reality is that it is often something we do even though it isn't what we're paid for. It takes time to either do it myself on site or even more time in post production. 

Take this photo from another house as an acceptable example of digital manipulation. The above original photograph is one I could have submitted to my client, and I could have taken two minutes to move all the items off the shelf myself then another five putting it all back (I'd have forgotten the order it was placed in), but I instead spent time digitally organizing the laundry room. If the owners had taken their  two minutes to move those items while they were cleaning the rest of the house I would not have had to do so - and they did an amazing job of cleaning the rest of the home so I suspect the laundry room was simply a case of "Oops, I forgot." If I do nothing I likely get a call from the listing agent asking me to do something, which from their perspective is my fault for not having done it in the first place, but remember, this entire laundry room exercise isn't my job - it is a favor to my client and the home owner.

Hey, Look What I Can't Do!
Notice the plant shelf above the hallway, the photo below shows the shelf removed. What I can't do to a photo in real estate photographyHere is the same photo sans the plant shelf above the hallway. This is something I can't do. Here is an example of unacceptable image manipulation. I can't do it ethically, and it takes time. I took an image of a living room with a nice looking plant shelf over the hallway in the first image. In the second image I (quickly) continued the wall to the ceiling in photoshop. The photo is now misleading, making something appear as though it wasn't there. The real-world examples of fixing carpet stains, cracks in the driveway or ceiling, the rust on a bathtub, are all things a buyer will likely need to fix and use to negotiate the sale price of the house. If I take that away from the buyer, I tip the scales in favor of the seller and that isn't my job. I suspect the home owner/photographer who offered their critiques mentioned earlier was interested in the final images for the sake of the images without the context that must accompany the final product - which is representing the property as it really is. To be fair, from a photography standpoint the critiques were spot on, and they would have made much better images, but this proves my point, gotta have context!

Get Down And Dirty
In a perfect world the property has been cleaned and organized prior to photography.  I was once told by a real estate agent before selling my home many years ago to box up everything that isn't essential because A) we're moving anyway and B) because having less of my stuff in the house gives the potential buyer the chance to mentally place their own stuff instead.  To get better images ensure that all the light bulbs work, clean both sides of the exterior windows, clean the carpets, clean the mirrors, remove excess clutter, remove everything from the outside of the refrigerator, remove the extra roll of toilet paper sitting near the sink, hide the shampoo bottles, roll up the garden hoses...you get the idea.  It is good business to have the home ready and the time required to prepare it seems not only a hassle, and of little consequence on the front end of a sale, but we all come out ahead on the back end.  I would challenge any listing agent to not go "live" with a listing until the home truly is ready.  Everyone feels better about it, owners feel good to have gotten the house clean, the agent feels good because they have a home that is ready to show, and I feel good because all I have to do is frame up the amazing angles that were created when the home owner left me a clean organized home. 



kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Digital Photography Ethical photography PhotoShop Photography Real Estate Photography Real Estate Photography photoshop http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2016/7/-the-photo-taken-is-gross---a-lesson-in-what-real-estate-photographers-can-and-cant-fix Fri, 15 Jul 2016 19:10:56 GMT
Photographing Hummingbirds Is A Bear http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2015/5/Photographing-Hummingbirds-is-a-bear HummingbirdHummingbird HummingbirdHummingbird I've got this friend who takes a lot Hummingbird photos, although her Facebook feed has been very pig-centric lately. I can't say I blame her as she owns a really sweet looking potbelly pig who I believe is considerably smarter than the dog we have at home, if only perhaps ⅔ to ¾ as cute. I only considered photographing Hummingbirds after I'd seen some of her work and was inspired by it. When my dad told me that he'd seen his first hummingbirds of the year it was time for me to pack up my gear and head to the friendly confines of his covered patio to try my hand at wildlife photography.

I'd done some research beforehand to see what the experts had to say because, as they pointed out, they are tiny, and they are fast.  My set up was much more extravagant than I'd anticipated it would be, but as I had the gear, I might as well use it.  For anyone that cares I used two strobes, one underneath with an umbrella with a remote trigger attached and the other light opposite and above the feeder.  They were triggered using a speed light mounted on camera.  There was a recommendation that one might use a blurred out background on foam core that could be lit additionally.  It makes sense if you're going to use fast shutter speeds as I did. After a lazy afternoon experimenting I agree that a lit background would have helped, but it seemed too much like cheating given I was shooting wildlife, even if it was in my dad's backyard.  My ISO was at 1200 while my shutter speed was at 8000 and my aperture was at 2.8 but at one point I stopped down to 3.5.  Shutter speeds that fast just refuse to let much ambient light to register, which drives me nuts, but also a necessary evil to freeze the wings (mostly), and without flash it would be just too dark.  These shots were both taken in mid-day shade if that helps illustrate how shutter speed affects ambient light.

I think the first image is pretty good, good enough to want to try again while the second is so borderline awful that I need to try again. I need more practice with this medium.  Here are my take-aways from today:

  • The first image is plenty sharp for my taste, but using a shutter speed of 1/8000 is just too fast for my liking, making it nearly impossible to register any ambient light. Next time I'll drag the shutter in the neighborhood of 1/6500 or even 1/4000 just to see what it looks like. 
  • Both images are too "flashy" for my taste. Looking at them together its obvious to me that flash was used, which isn't something I wanted to advertise with these shots, and the light is too harsh to boot. Next time I'll dial down the power of the strobes and use a light box rather than an umbrella.  I might even consider dropping the ISO to 800.
  • The image with the wings moving was almost awesome but the area I'd prefocused on wasn't exactly where the bird showed up. Add to that I was taken by surprise when the bird showed up, and the lack of sharpness is likely due to me jumping out of my chair and jostling my camera when I hit the shutter. The truth is most of the afternoon was spent waiting in a chair with a rum and coke in my hand, which by my standards of wildlife photography, is the correct way to enjoy the event.
  • I'll get closer to my subject next time.  I shot at 200mm which was far enough away to not scare the bird off, but these images were cropped down in a HUGE way! I'll get much closer to achieve the same level of closeness while not having to crop out all those glorious pixels I paid for.

I'm now invested in hummingbirds because though I like these images I really, really want to get the shot with these little guys. I took on a project that is challenging and fun. I'm glad to say that today, that bird got the better of me but we aren't done yet. I'm gonna get ya, but photographing hummingbirds is a bear!   


kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Hummingbird http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2015/5/Photographing-Hummingbirds-is-a-bear Mon, 25 May 2015 02:16:14 GMT
A New Puppy In The House http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/11/a-new-puppy-in-the-house Teddy-82Teddy-82 Our friend Sharon recently got a new puppy that I felt obligated to photograph because who doesn't love a puppy, right? He's a great little guy named Teddy and he has all the trappings one expects from puppy's breath, boundless energy one minute, and the need to nap the next.  He sadly also comes with a tiny bladder and the inability to control it yet.  However we're so thankful that she has a new friend to keep her company as going outside in the frigid cold isn't something she needs to be doing.  He's a small dog breed with a Chiahuahua father while mom is another breed I don't recall.  If you have a pet that you'd like photographed, give me a call and we can work something out!  Until next time.

Teddy-145Teddy-145 Teddy-171Teddy-171

Teddy-169Teddy-169 Teddy-96Teddy-96 Teddy-47Teddy-47 Teddy-64Teddy-64 Teddy-104Teddy-104

kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) dog puppy http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/11/a-new-puppy-in-the-house Thu, 20 Nov 2014 20:13:09 GMT
Kids Playing Soccer http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/11/kids-playing-soccer Bisagno Soccer-1118Bisagno Soccer-1118 I had some friends ask me to come out to photograph their son playing soccer with the idea that they would then choose several images to put into a collage on canvas.  I said I would be more than happy to do so, but also suggested that they use metal prints instead.  Metal prints just look stunning, and I have sold several of them.  They really do look great!  I also chose to shoot the entire game as I'm a sports fan, especially live sports.  This game was between a younger team (wearing blue uniforms) against a team that was a level up.  What essentially took place was a soccer game that pitted 16 year olds against 14 year olds, and though only two years separated, the difference was obvious from a size standpoint.  I applaud the coach of the younger squad for playing up, it makes his team better in the long run, and what I saw was a very physical game from both sides.  There was no love lost.  Enjoy!

Bisagno Soccer-398Bisagno Soccer-398 Bisagno Soccer-775Bisagno Soccer-775 Bisagno Soccer-1117Bisagno Soccer-1117 Bisagno Soccer-86Bisagno Soccer-86 Bisagno Soccer-294Bisagno Soccer-294 Bisagno Soccer-62Bisagno Soccer-62

kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) soccer sports http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/11/kids-playing-soccer Tue, 04 Nov 2014 23:47:07 GMT
After Two Steampunk Events I'm Hooked On The Genre http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/10/after-two-steampunk-events-im-hooked-on-a-few-different-things Steampact 2014-151Steampact 2014-151

Last week I had the chance to shoot the second annual Steampact event hosted by Balihoo of Boise to benefit the Family Advocates Program.  I shot this event last year, too, and until then I had no idea what steampunk was, or that there is an entire culture behind it. For the uninitiated, Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction based on the 19th century era stories of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Mary Shelley.  If you're really interested, a quick search will enlighten you or you could read this article from Wikipedia.
Bidding for a prize

I am fascinated with the amount of detail that is put into costumes; guests at the party were enthusiastic about their own work crafting their costumes, and were quite eager to see the others.  I'll be first to admit that I'm cautious to adopt anything when it comes to playing dress-up, particularly around Halloween as poor costume experiences over the years had cooled my enthusiasm to the temperature of a modern day Ebenezer Scrooge.  I started to soften at last years event, and this year turned me to mush.  I am hooked on the genre, and given time in the coming weeks I fully plan to build my own costume.  I'm really looking forward to it even if all I do is walk around the neighborhood with my kids. 

There was a new addition to this years event, a group of story tellers who use fire as props, and it all fit seamlessly into the nights theme.  Unaware they would be performing, my challenge was to shoot the scene without use of a monopod or tripod so I improvised by contorting my body into something stable-like, and shooting at 12,000 ISO, which wasn't pleasing yet it was the only way I was going to be able to pull it off hand-held.  Leaving a shutter open from half to a full second may not seem like much, but in photography it is an eternity.  The results were pretty fair for my first time, and at the very least guests will be able to recall the show they put on. 

Fire Steampact 2014-4Steampact 2014-4 Steampact 2014-20Steampact 2014-20 The best part of the evening was not so much the party, as great as it was.  The party was merely a vehicle to help raise funds for the Family Advocates Program, an organization whose purpose is to help and support children who have been abused.  CEO Richard Johnson took a few sobering minutes to remind guests and supporters why they were all there, and for all their revelry, there was captivating silence as he shared touching stories.  It was truly moving. I believe they raised 65K for the program, and afterwards we all rested well knowing that those funds will go to help a group of young people who can't advocate for themselves.  Until next time.    

kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Balihoo Family Advocates Steampunk http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/10/after-two-steampunk-events-im-hooked-on-a-few-different-things Sat, 18 Oct 2014 22:18:07 GMT
Rooms With A View - A Home In McCall, Idaho http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/10/rooms-with-a-view---a-home-in-mccall-idaho A View From The DeckA View From The Deck There are many joys photographing real estate, one of which is the variety of homes and properties.  Once in a while you get an opportunity to shoot a property that not only has an exceptional home, but exceptional views.  I was in McCall, Idaho recently where I was gifted both.  I say gifted because I relished squeezing off each frame.  This property sits on I believe five plus acres, has a shop nearly the size of the home, and a fire place that just keeps going up.  In general when I shoot outside during mid-day, such as the case with this property, I am forced to use HDR as there is just too much contrast.  The clouds present in the sky eliminated the need for that so all the exterior shots were single frame exposures, and made for spectacular images.  The interiors were shot using HDR, as usual.  

There is a grandness to this home, and the architect took full advantage of the views with extremely large windows showcasing the tranquil countryside; the fall weather made for great shots both inside and out.  I hope you enjoy these images, and if you are interested in looking at the home for your self you can contact the selling agent by following this link.  Have a great day!  Until next time.

Pond facing back of homePond facing back of home From the pondFrom the pond From the pondFrom the pond From the pondFrom the pond Room with a viewRoom with a view Kitchen with a view Kitchen with a view KitchenKitchen Loft with a viewLoft with a view Living room and barLiving room and bar Master bedroomMaster bedroom

kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Idaho Landscape Landscape Photography McCall McCall Idaho Real estate http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/10/rooms-with-a-view---a-home-in-mccall-idaho Tue, 14 Oct 2014 18:14:01 GMT
Of Nature and Machines http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/9/a-busy-weekend-of-nature-and-machines There are two things I really like: nature, and machines.  For me, rushing white water among the mountains compares favorably to intersecting teeth on a gear drive.  The weekend proved fruitful for me as there was a Prostate Cancer bike rally that conveniently ran right through my neighborhood on Saturday, on Sunday we took the family to an air show at Mountain Home AFB that featured the Thunderbirds.  On Monday I cheated because it isn't the weekend, but I'm counting it anyway, as I was out shooting for the third day to capture Initial Point, and the Snake River.  Here are some of my favorite shots of the weekend.  Until next time.

Not quite top-secretNot quite top-secret Hanging aroundHanging around USAF ThunderbirdsUSAF Thuderbirds Guns blazingGuns Blazing GladiatorGladiator SmileSmile Nowhere RoadNowhere Road Dedication PointDedication Point Dedication PointDedication Point Dedication PointDedication Point Initial PointInitial PointInitial Point, the start of land surveys in Idaho

kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) 2nd annual prostate cancer bike rally Dedication Point Initial Point Idaho Mountain Home AFB Snake River Idaho http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/9/a-busy-weekend-of-nature-and-machines Mon, 22 Sep 2014 22:05:22 GMT
Walla Walla Washington http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/8/walla-walla-washington I've really grown to like visiting Walla Walla Washington.  The scenery is just stunning and offers an array of views and places to visit.  Less the four hour drive to get there, it is a favorite stop-over for me and the family.  Downtown is always beautiful, and we managed to catch the Labor Day parade as well as a violin playing Unicorn that frequents the downtown area.  The Dunham winery, one of the premiere in the area was awesome as usual, but this time we got to take a tour which resulted in several hundred dollars worth of great wine purchased between all of us.  We picked some blackberries which was an adventure in of itself as my sister-in-law was stung on the lip by a bee and swelled up like a balloon.  I also learned that one can't pick blackberries without being gifted a number of scratches from all the thorns.  Another summer is in the books, and this was a great way to finish it off.  Until next time.

WeedsWeeds BottlingBottlingPart of the Dunham Winery bottling machines Blackberry PickingBlackberry Picking Three Legged Red at DunhamThree Legged Red at Dunham Wine TourWine Tour Vino By The BarrelVino By The Barrel Dunham Tasting RoomDunham Tasting Room Downtown Walla WallaDowntown Walla Walla WallaWalla 2014-13WallaWalla 2014-13 UnicornUnicorn


kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Dunham Winery Labor Day Walla Walla Washington http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/8/walla-walla-washington Mon, 01 Sep 2014 02:01:30 GMT
Emmett's Most Excellent Triathlon http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/8/emmetts-most-excellent-triathlon My sister-in-law participated in Emmett's Most Excellent Triathlon today and she was awesome!  It is actually a mini-triathlon, but it was just her second event and she killed it!  There were about 500 entrants for the event and I was able to capture some of them as they dismounted bikes to prepare for the run.  The coolest part of the day was seeing the athletes of differing ages, fitness levels, and abilities.  There was a woman who did the event with one leg, using a special bike, and some pretty mean looking crutches to run the race.  The youngest athlete was a boy of 11 while the oldest was a man of 88. My conclusion on the day is that there isn't really an excuse to not do one of these events.  If you've never done a race such as this, then based on the breadth of experience there, there is hope for people like the rest of us.  Enjoy!

My sister-in-law after the raceSis-in-law, post race smilesMy sister-in-law after the race Go get your running shoes!One more legGo get your running shoes! Sister-in-law dismounting her bikeThe dismountSister-in-law dismounting her bike I believe a runner tattoo for each Ironman event.  This guys is a stud!Ironman TatsI believe a runner tattoo for each Ironman event. This guy is a stud! Finishing the race!Color coordinated triathleteFinishing the race! This athlete dismounts her bike before the run.Color coordinated dismountThis athlete dismounts her bike before the run.

kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Emmett's Most Excellent Triathlon http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/8/emmetts-most-excellent-triathlon Sat, 09 Aug 2014 21:14:22 GMT
Is It Jackson Or Jackson Hole? http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/7/is-it-jackson-or-jackson-hole I have a question for folks who live in Wyoming, is it called Jackson or Jackson Hole?  This question vexed me for the duration of our six hour trip to Wyoming to visit the Tetons.  We'd never traveled there before and with that much time to kill in a car my kids stretched the conversation with me as far as they could, about three minutes.  To find the answer we asked our server at a restaurant we were visiting, who happened to be from Colorado.  Normally I would have immediately disqualified his answer by being from another state, but I realized that although I live in Idaho I was born and raised in California, so I let it slide.  The answer he gave was that the city of Jackson Wyoming has its own name, and the ski resort located at Teton Village some 10 miles away is called Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, but everyone just refers to the area as Jackson Hole because that is familiar to most people.  I did a little research and found that the "Hole" in "Jackson Hole" is derived from early trappers who entered the wilderness from the north and east slopes giving them the feeling they were in a "hole" as they worked their way to the valley floor.  With that question answered I was ready to take some photos.

Great pains are taken to make sure visitors are aware of the wildlife present by posting signs all over the roads warning us to all "Be bear aware."  I don't possess the "Be bear aware" skills required to venture into the wilderness so I opted out of any serious wildlife photography, instead choosing nature photography that was much closer to home.  We did however go to many wonderful places in and around the Teton Range, but never during the golden hours (this was after all a family vacation), but that doesn't mean you don't take the shots because it isn't during golden hour.  So here are some of the shots I took while visiting a wilderness I most certainly will be going back to visit again.  Until next time.  

Morning dewMorning dewMorning dew Morning fog in Teton VillageMorning fog in Teton VillageMorning fog in Teton Village Jenny Lake TrailJenny Lake TrailJenny Lake Trail A resting foalA resting foal A resting foal Hidden falls at Jenny LakeHidden falls at Jenny LakeHidden falls at Jenny Lake A view at Jenny LakeA view at Jenny LakeA view at Jenny Lake From Granite Falls Hot SpringsFrom Granite Falls Hot SpringsFrom Granite Falls Hot Springs From Granite Falls Hot SpringsFrom Granite Falls Hot SpringsFrom Granite Falls Hot Springs

kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Granite Falls Hot Springs Jackson Hole Wyoming Jackson Wyoming Jenny Lake water falls http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/7/is-it-jackson-or-jackson-hole Tue, 22 Jul 2014 18:01:28 GMT
My Version of Real Estate Photography http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/6/my-version-of-real-estate-photography KitchenKitchen I have been doing real estate photography for about a year now and being honest with myself, I only can conclude that I love it!  I get to work with a variety of people, with some agents knowing full well what they don't know, simply letting me do my thing, while others are very involved in each shot.  The divergence between those attitudes, and everyone else in between, in my eyes, is a welcome challenge.  The commonality among all these relationships is personal, or rather personality.  We all get along, and we are all involved in the project.  In fact I rather don't like working with agents who use my services and then don't provide feedback, or don't seem to care (which perhaps their home sellers or buyers feel too).  After all, I'm a creative, and though I follow the "rules" of photography, at the end of the day, I'm still an artist, and I view my work as such.  I want to know when I've hit one out of the park for you, and I also want to know if you felt I simply just showed up and didn't give my best effort - which doesn't happen.  That said, I tend to verbally drool over a home that has a certain level of awesomeness to it.  Ask the agents I work with and they'll tell you that when I get excited about photographing a property I wear it on my sleeve.  Lastly, I am a member of the Professional Photographers of America, and a member of the Real Estate Photographers of America & International.  Okay, enough about me.  Let's talk turkey.

HDR versus lighting a home
I spoke with a photographer friend of mine and we discussed HDR versus bringing in lights for the job.  I use HDR and I'll tell you what it is, and why I use it.  For the uninitiated, any image made using HDR (High Dynamic Range) pulls in the highlights as well as the shadows in the final image.  Done correctly, it looks very natural, while for artistic reasons, it can be made to look highly saturated giving a "cooked" feel to it.  Real estate photography requires natural, so, like a good steak, I don't overcook my HDR either.  Lighting a home, done correctly, can provide the same kinds of natural looks, but additional lighting must be brought in which takes time, time that an agent often doesn't have the luxury to give in a competitive market.  One is not better than the other (though you'd hear differently in photography forums) but merely different.  Because it saves time, I use HDR.  Using a great tripod, a full-frame camera, and a tack sharp 17-40mm lens, I can shoot a 2,000 square foot home in roughly 90 minutes.  I can have edits complete in 2-3 hours, and I deliver complete images within 24 hours.

Image sizes and file names
The delivered images are sized for IMLS and, and if you use any third-party companies, I'll gladly size them for you provided you give me the image and file size requirements.  I also add SEO (search engine optimization) information in the file names to help you out.  That means a home in the north end of Boise will have a file name like this, "1234-Main-Street-Boise-Idaho-83702-north-end."  This helps search engines categorize your listing.

Courtship and tire-kicking
My business model is one of developing great working relationships that can stand the test of time.  Ultimately I'd like to be the first photographer you call when you get a listing.  To that end I offer what I think is a neat way to figure out if the work I do is helpful to your business.  I offer an introductory period to all my new customers where I'll shoot any two residential properties at a discounted price.  That is a great time to get to know me, to see how I work, and to get a feel for my style. 

I truly love my job, and I love the people I work with.  People that buy homes start on-line.  As a real estate photographer it is my charge to get people interested in a property with captivating images, to get your phone ringing, your email box filling up, to get you showing homes, and to help you turn them quickly.  I can help you with that, and we can have a great time doing it.  If you have questions I'd love to answer them for you!  Here is a link to my real estate portfolio so you can check out my work.  Until next time, have a great day!


kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Real Estate Photography http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/6/my-version-of-real-estate-photography Tue, 17 Jun 2014 15:30:34 GMT
Mature Impulse Shopper: All Things Macro http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/5/the-anticipation-of-macro-greatness It has been about a year since I purchased a new lens and I started to get the itch for something new and shiny - like a macro lens.  I'm a little bit of an impulse shopper. Well, I am an impulse shopper.  But the difference now is that I'm a maturing impulse shopper which makes a great deal of sense.  Hey, if I'm growing wiser with age, it would be great to demonstrate that from time to time, right?  I didn't splurge on a Zeiss lens at some $1,800, but I did manage to get into a 90mm Tamron macro, which I'm quite happy with.  The reviews are quite good on this lens, and there are only two possible downsides to a purchase I haven't received yet.  At last check it left from Hodgkins, IL this morning, so my new buddy is sitting in the back of a UPS truck someplace in the midwest in route to my house.  It is my hope that my friend is safe, and moderately comfortable, perhaps eyeing a box of plastic flowers dreaming of the day it'll get to look down the barrel of the real mccoy.  I digress.  The two potential downsides are somewhat real concerns, one more so than the other, but I'm comfortable, and that is all that matters.

The first possible "real" concern is the brand.  I only own one third party lens, and that is the Tamron 24-70 f2.8.  She's a real beauty, and I really love using it.  Tamron has had an issue with quality control at times and I've read numerous comments from people that say they can't get a good copy of the lens they bought, and therefore hate Tamron.  I get it, I'd be that guy too, but I got a great copy so I've had no reason to worry about that critique.  Plus, my recollection tells me they've solved that issue.  The other issue, which is no issue at all, is that at 90mm, it isn't considered a "pro" lens because many working pros use longer focal length lenses, usually from 100mm and longer.  At 90mm I'm just 10mm short of what I think is an imaginary "minimum" length, but there still is 11 some inches of minimum focus distance so I can get light to my subject without trouble, and there are nine diaphragm blades so specular highlights and bokeh should be quite nice.  That said, if you're shooting a poisonous spider, more length makes sense, so there is that consideration.  But for the price, I'm all in because, well, I hate spiders, snakes, and all things that crawl.

Let me back up for a moment, last fall I did some commercial work for a restaurant using a rented macro lens which turned out to be a week-long love affair with macro that I haven't been able to shake.  I've included an image from that shoot here, which I wanted to be quite aggressive as the subject was a set of blades used for grinding meat.  Having true 1:1 representation of the subject matter really made these shots worth while and the images I created using a longer focal length, not macro, fell short of my expectations.  They lacked that "ahhh" factor I think only macro can provide.

Having an aperture range from f32-f2.8, I'll get all the depth, or lack of it, that I want.  I chose not to get the vibration compensation (VC) that Tamron offers because I only shoot off a tripod anyway so VC doesn't offer me any advantage.  The sample images I've seen look great and being a prime lens I get the added benefit of additional sharpness, particularly along the edge of the frame.  That said, using Lightroom in post would solve any minor issues that might arise anyway.  I just don't see the downside.  So, I'm pretty geeked about my new lens, and I hope that my Wednesday, the arrival date, will be full of shooting tiny little things in a big way.  Until next time.

MacroMacroMeat Grinder


kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Macro Photography http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/5/the-anticipation-of-macro-greatness Mon, 05 May 2014 02:45:40 GMT
A Visit to McCall Idaho http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/4/a-visit-to-mccall-idaho I took a trip to McCall Idaho this spring to celebrate my Father-In-Law's 80th birthday.  The spring is one of the great times to visit because the ski mountain is closed but it is too cold to be on the lake.  In fact the lake is still mostly frozen over this time of year, and as such there are very few people visiting the area.  I felt as local as a visitor can, and it was great! 

I don't shoot a lot of HDR when it comes to landscape, but I took several on this outing.  The processing of these images is totally subjective, and leaves lots of people either in awe of it, or peeved that someone wasted their time to shoot and process.  I like it on occasion, and there is a little something here for the photographically traditional as well.  I hope you enjoy the images, and have a great spring! Little dam, Payette Lake, IdahoLittle dam, Payette Lake, IdahoAn HDR image of the dam at Payette Lake Cattails in McCall, IdahoCattails in McCall, IdahoI'm not certain these are cattails, but either way, I really like this image. Little Payette Lake, IdahoLittle Payette Lake, IdahoSunrise at Little Payette Lake, Idaho Waiting For SummerWaiting For SummerHDR - Payette Lake, Idaho Shore Lodge McCall, IdahoShore Lodge McCall, IdahoSunrise over Shorelodge SunsetSunsetHDR - The sun setting on the east side of Payette Lake, Idaho Sunrise over Shore Lodge McCall, IdahoSunrise over Shore Lodge McCall, IdahoSunrise over Shore Lodge Snowpack RunofSnowpack RunoffHDR - Snowpack runoff

kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) HDR McCall, ID Shore Lodge http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/4/a-visit-to-mccall-idaho Mon, 14 Apr 2014 21:38:04 GMT
Water http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/4/water WaterWaterWaterfall Being outside when the rest of the world is sleeping is pretty awesome.  It may feel like garbage right when you wake up but there is something surreal when you're out in nature.  Among other things, it is peaceful, and I'd venture to guess we all need a bit more of that these days.  Here's to getting out and about before the rest of the world.  Until next time.


kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) waterfalls http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/4/water Sun, 06 Apr 2014 15:11:36 GMT
Truly Beautiful Homes http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/4/truly-beautiful-homes I've had some really, truly beautiful homes to photograph of late.  The larger of the two, some 4,700 square feet of home, was decorated with a meticulous style that was consistent throughout the home.  The other home was decorated with such a beautiful and minimalist style that all I wanted to do was to sit down in the white leather chairs and just think.  The owners even told me that they are willing to sell the home furnished; it makes me want to put an offer on it just so I can have the furniture.  Here are a few of the shots that really lit me up.

Real EstateReal EstateLiving room Real Estate PhotographyReal Estate PhotographyBeautiful homes, tasteful design Real Estate PhotographyReal Estate PhotographyBeautiful homes, tasteful design Real Estate PhotographyReal Estate PhotographyBeautiful homes, tasteful design

kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Real Estate Photography http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/4/truly-beautiful-homes Tue, 01 Apr 2014 21:29:24 GMT
[In]Comlete Magazine http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/2/-in-comlete-magazine If you haven't had the chance to swing by and take a look at [In]Complete Magazine, you really ought to.  Founder and Editor in Chief, Macey Snelson, had a vision about publishing her own magazine and the short of the story is that an editor essentially told her, "Macey, you need to do this!"  Well...she did.  As part of her new adventure I get a call from time to time to contribute photography, and I hope down the road, some written material as well.  I don't want to ruin the fun but I will say that I was asked to photograph lemons, and these are my two favorites.  I love shooting food so it was a no-brainer for me.  I submitted several images, some very aggressive while others were light and fun, and frankly reminded me a little too much of summer, which is great because today nearly every kid in the valley is off school because of a snow day.  

The light reflected from the snow coming in from a south facing window was all the light I needed for the lemons in the bowl, while a single flashgun placed near level with the lemons provided light for the image I call "Slaughtered Lemon" - that was really fun to set up!  Well, it's time to enjoy the snow with my kids, until next time. 

Zesty LemonZesty LemonWhole and sliced lemons with lemon zest Zesty LemonZesty LemonWhole and sliced lemons with lemon zest

kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Incomplete Magazine food lemons http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/2/-in-comlete-magazine Fri, 07 Feb 2014 23:37:00 GMT
A Beautiful Day In The City of Trees http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/1/a-beautiful-day-in-the-city-of-trees January in Idaho is typically not a great time to go outside to shoot portraits, but it was a beautiful day in the city of trees.  For two days I sat atop the CW Moore building in Boise on the nicest days we've had this winter, and they were darn near spring-like in many regards.  I got some great shots for my clients, but I also picked up some of the requisite shots of downtown you have to take when you are up there.  I also had to deal with my fear of heights; I could feel my camera slipping from my hands, and then me falling right behind it.  It's actually making me ill even recalling the feeling.  I think I should finish this post and get some fresh air because getting vertigo while sitting on a chair in my office is not cool.  'Till next time.

State CapitalState Capital BeamingBeaming Red RoofRed Roof Many BanksMany Banks The PenthouseThe Penthouse HospitalHospital

kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Architecture Boise City of Trees http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2014/1/a-beautiful-day-in-the-city-of-trees Wed, 15 Jan 2014 22:47:14 GMT
Norman Rockwell Family Portraits http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2013/12/norman-rockwell-family-portraits Norman Rockwell Inspired Family PortraitNorman Rockwell Inspired Family PortraitNorman Rockwell Inspired Family Portrait This morning at 5AM I was inspired by Norman Rockwell.  There are certain instances when an idea is either going to work or it just isn't going to work, with no in between.  This was a pass/fail exam and I think it passed.  I'm even considering incorporating it as a regular offering to all my clients who want family portraits.  As this image reflects their totally awesome style, it also reflects my personality, too: ham and little cheese, please.  This was the carrot at the end of the stick after we took the formals.  

Full disclosure, I know this family quite well, and I also knew that because of the acting and singing chops this family has, I was certain to get the okay to try and pull it off.  It is my recollection that no family ever has felt excited about family portraits early on the Saturday after Christmas; that day I believe, is meant for sleeping in, but this woke them up a little.  

My two issues are that I wish both the matriarch and patriarch of the family were more centered as the idea was that this was their portrait, and their family just happened to be in the frame, that one is on me.  We also tried coaxing the boy in green to tug on that big beard and then get a look similar to that of the scene from The Polar Express during the Caribou crossing, but no dice.  This however, isn't a bad compromise by any stretch.  I'm going to play with this image a lot as there are a ton of possibilities to enjoy.  Speaking of enjoyment, I hope you enjoyed this post, and as usual, 'till next time.  

kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Family Portraits Norman Rockwell http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2013/12/norman-rockwell-family-portraits Sun, 29 Dec 2013 00:03:47 GMT
Directional Light and Portraits http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2013/11/directional-light-and-pet-portraits I'm a sucker for little animals.  As a kid we had a cat named Molly, and even though we were buddies, I did spend a fair bit of time terrorizing her.  As an adult my wife gave me a Miniature Pincher named Bosco-Pete and soon to follow was his "little brother" Oliver, another min-pin.  As much as people peg me for a bigger-dog-guy (which people would be correct in guessing, I'm a pretty big guy), I dig the little one's.  I've written about her in the past but our current is a three legged rescued Chihuahua named Caroline.  She's a piece of work, and totally beloved by everyone in our family.  That said, this post is more about what directional light does for portraits than Caroline.  It simply does wonders, be it dog or person, and either way, I hope you enjoy.  Till next time. 

07250725 I DogI Dog What's Up?What's Up?

kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Off-camera flash http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2013/11/directional-light-and-pet-portraits Tue, 19 Nov 2013 01:49:56 GMT
Breaking Down Butch Otter's Throwing Mechanics http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2013/11/breaking-down-butch-otters-throwing-mechanics Earlier this year I had the pleasure of shooting several Boise Hawks baseball games, the local short-season affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.  On one of those nights Idaho's Governor Butch Otter came to throw out the first pitch as part of a political convention. I had the chance to watch him play some catch while he got loose before the game, and I thought it would be great Friday fun to break down the Gov's mechanics.  I can say that I'd stack our governor up against any other governor in the union when it comes to baseball, and rodeo, though that is probably a much closer race to call (I can only assume Rick Perry of Texas has ridden before).  At any rate, it sure looks like he played when he was younger, and he doesn't need a sling-shot or any other apparatus to create velocity.  Bring the heat governor, bring the heat.  

In the first frame, I can only imagine he's telling the player in the foreground, "Son, you haven't seen real heat until you've seen governor heat."  He catches well, not flinching or ducking out of the way when the ball comes, and even looks it right into his glove.  He's got the classic "L" with his arm, and his glove hand is clearing out of the way as he rotates his hips and drives his feet.  Even with boots on he still generates velocity, that's a man's man right there.  He's throwing with two seams, so I can only assume he's got a filthy sinker.  His political foes ought to pay attention to both power and craftiness? Pff, I don't think Russ Fulcher can handle his fastball from what I saw, but I'd guess that Butch ought not to hang any breaking stuff over the plate, as Russ can make an adjustment or two I'm sure.  Hey, Governor Otter, you're welcome to play some ball with us this summer on our senior league baseball team.  I can already vouch for the fact that you've got game.  Till next time.

Governor Butch OtterGovernor Butch Otter Governor CatchingGovernor Catching Governor ThrowingGovernor Throwing


kurt@kurtaldermanphotography.com (Kurt Alderman Photography) Butch Otter http://www.kurtaldermanphotography.com/blog/2013/11/breaking-down-butch-otters-throwing-mechanics Sat, 16 Nov 2013 00:12:00 GMT