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  #1  
Old 05-02-2014, 10:21 AM
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tonygreek tonygreek is offline
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Location: Lancaster, PA
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Spring is finally here: Take photos of your work

For those of you with websites, or thinking you'll have one in the future, now that everything is finally greening up, get out there and take some good photos. Even if you don't have a website, you can upload them to your free Google/Bing/Yahoo pages, so there's no reason not to be doing this.

A serious weak point for just about every site we review on here is the photography. If you have access to anything other than a cell phone's camera, by all means, please take advantage of that (or take advantage of your friends who have nice camera gear. ). If you have to use your cell phone, which can crank out some surprisingly decent photos, learn the various settings, try to get some great angles, pay attention to the lighting, and take photos of anything and everything you see. There's no reason not to. You always have your phone with you and you can always delete the junk.

A few tips:

- Early morning or just before dusk are great times for photos, helping you avoid the sun washout problem that seems to be really common. 12 noon is not usually the best time. Basically, if the color richness looks good to your eye, it's probably a good time to take some photos. If everything looks white, or you have to squint to see through the glare coming off of those beautiful Hostas, it's probably not going to turn out to well. Photoshop can really only fix so much. Washed out photos are in the category of nearly unfixable.

- If it's an overcast day, go back on a different day.

- Unlike the old days of film, digital photos cost nothing. Take as many as you want. 1 out of 100 may be usable, but that's 1 more than you previously had. Delete the unusable so any future marketing person you may hire doesn't have to sift through them.

- Taking Before and After photos cannot be stressed enough. A crappy yard that now looks great is what can sell your work. What you really want to make sure you do is use your before photo as a point of reference to take your after photo. Time and again, I see the before photo taken from the Southwest corner of a yard and then the after seems to be taken from behind a mailbox, with a Fedex truck in partial frame, via somewhere near the Southeast corner of the yard.

Anyone else have some tips?
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  #2  
Old 05-02-2014, 11:04 AM
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Snydermf Snydermf is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Alfred NY
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Trying to take before and after photos around the same time of day also helps to accentuate the difference, as a different angle of the sun can add or subtract from the positive effect of your work so you might have to go back the next day to take your after photos.
When taking photos for before and after I try to find something easy to remember to stand by for reference such as a street sign, tree, street drain, ect, and then when I take the photo reference a line near the edge of the frame such as another tree, a corner of the house, a fence post, ect. So that when I go back to take the second photo I can get almost the exact same picture and its easy for people to look for the differences rather than try to figure out the similarities : )

Not sure, but I think taking photos after a rain will tend to look cleaner and brighter than after several days of hot and dry.

I actually like to take photos on a slightly overcast day as you completely avoid the washed out look, but morning and evening probably do the same thing.

Thanks for the reminder Tony, these days you can pick up a decent digital camera for $100 and write it off as a business expense, I'm just about ready to buy one for every truck so I never have an excuse, although my iPhone does take pretty decent pictures
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  #3  
Old 05-02-2014, 11:54 AM
yardsites yardsites is offline
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This is a GREAT reminder! One thing we keep hearing from people setting up websites on Yardsites is that they don't have pictures of their work.

Another tip (not related to photo technique) is to post pictures to your social media accounts. You can post before-and-after pictures as they happen with captions like "We're about to make this home shine!" when you arrive, and then "Another job well done." after you are finished. What's really cool about this is that your clients will get the updates at their desk while they are at work and it will get them thinking about the projects they want to call you about.
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:09 PM
TheLugNutZ TheLugNutZ is offline
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Location: Howell, NJ
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thanks for the tips and reminders. I def need to take some pics this weekend!
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  #5  
Old 05-02-2014, 04:52 PM
PaperCutter PaperCutter is online now
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I don't always remember, but when I start a job I pound pieces of rebar in a few locations around the project and paint them orange. The guys know not to move them, and I take my pics from those spots. Way easier than trying to recall exactly where I was.

I like overcast days, myself. Not "omg there's a tornado imminent" overcast, just non-glare-y

Canon T3i DSLR was the best $1000 I could've spent. Not only is the picture quality outstanding, my videographer uses one for his primary video camera. Pretty versatile.

No one gives a flying f*** at a rolling doughnut what your equipment looks like. Sorry.

While you're at it, get a good headshot to put on your About page, and to use throughout your social media.
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  #6  
Old 05-03-2014, 04:01 AM
greg8872 greg8872 is online now
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Practice before going out. Learn how to zoom in to the photo when reviewing it. Nothing worse that snapping a pic that looks good, to then later seeing it full size on the computer, and here the details were actually blurry but you couldn't tell with the image fitting a 3" screen

Depending on what type of picture you take, get permission from homeowner to use it for marketing purposes, mainly on ones that would have identifying objects in it (house number, vehicles, and most importantly, if the people living there are in the photo, especially if children)

Also, as a tip for keeping track of the photos, before each set, snap a photo of a paper with the address on it. Later when you are back at computer going through a ton of photos, and you were snapping pics at 5 different location, it makes it a lot easier to tell where you went from one to another.

Also, on the idea of keeping same spot to take the photos, take a photo of the spot you will be taking it from, and get your hand in the shot, pointing to the spot you will stand. Even if it is obvious where the place you stood would be, having your hand in the shot also gives a cue when going through the pics that it is a "marker" photo, not an actual "photo" of the property.
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