Hacker Connect January 16 in New York
An event for and by the real estate tech community

I recently purchased the Canon EOS 60D. It’s a fantastic camera for photographing real estate. It offers some robust features, so there is a learning curve.

After shooting a bunch of photos I quickly realized that image quality was going to need improvement in post-production. So I launched one of my favorite tried-and-true applications, Adobe Photoshop.

With the popularity of cloud computing, social media, HTML5 and other "sexy" platforms, you may wonder whether Photoshop has fallen out of favor. Back in 2008, Jason Fried, the co-founder of 37 Signals, wrote about why he skips Photoshop, and there are certainly less expensive alternatives available.

There are open-source applications such as Gimp and even free Web-based tools, including Picnik, for editing photos. However, none of these applications consistently deliver the standard that Photoshop does.

Sure, video has taken real estate by storm, but photography is still an essential piece in real estate marketing. We still utilize photography in printed materials such as fliers and brochures, and it’s imperative on our websites, community pages and multiple listing services.

Brian Boero, co-founder of 1000Watt Consulting, writes regularly about the poor use of stock photos and the importance of original, quality photography. With a few tips, Photoshop can make your photos pop!

There are literally millions of Photoshop tutorials online, though some of the techniques would violate most MLS regulations that prohibit the digital modification of photography, as heavy editing of house photos could mislead consumers about the actual condition.

Here are 3 everyday Photoshop tips that will not only improve the quality of your images, but also your workflow.

Tip 1: Image Processor

The Image Processor will automatically resize a batch of photos in a folder and save you a ton a time. My department handles hundreds of photos each day, to be utilized in different mediums including Flickr, the MLS, Xpressdocs, our website, magazines, etc., and the Image Processor is a valuable tool.

Steps:

1. In the Photoshop menu, select "File," "Scripts," and then "Image Processor."

2. In the dialog window choose "Select Folder."

3. Save in the same location.

4. Choose JPEG as the file type

5. Choose "Resize to fit" and enter your preferred dimensions.

6. Choose "Include ICC Profile."

7: Finally, click "Run."

Tip 2: Curves

"Curves" is a powerful Photoshop tool that is used for color correction and is a pretty extensive feature that can take some time to perfect. Here is a simple exercise to optimize your color.

Steps:

1. With an image open in Photoshop, select "Image," then "Adjustments," then "Curves."

2. In the dialog window click "Auto."

3. Grab the diagonal line in the center and pull it up to brighten and down to darken.

4. Finally, click "OK."

Feel free to experiment with this tool. Try using the eyedropper to select the black and white tones of a photo. You will be surprised at the difference a slight color correction can make.

Tip 3: Hue and Saturation

"Hue and Saturation" is another fantastic tool for color correction in Photoshop. Similar to Curves, it offers many different options that can take some time to master. One of the most common color errors that I see in real estate is with grass and other greens.

It’s a challenge for many amateur photographers to capture vibrant exteriors. Here’s a simple tip to accentuate lawns, shrubs and other greenery.

Steps:

1. With an image open in Photoshop, select "Image," then "Adjustments," and then "Hue and Saturation."

2. In the dialog window select "Yellow" from the drop-down menu.

3. Adjust the hue to "+15," saturation to "-5," and lightness to "-5."

4. Change the drop-down menu from "Yellow" to "Green."

5. Repeat step No. 3: change the hue to "+15," saturation to "-5" and lightness to "-5."

6. Finally, click OK.

The results are subtle, but the grass and the tones should appear more vibrant, making the photo stand out more. Also, here a video tutorial from Photoshop.com, titled, "Core Techniques for Photographers," that also demonstrates these techniques.

I have been a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals for many years, and I have watched the application develop and be reinvented over the years.

Photoshop has launched some pretty cool products recently, including a mobile app, Adobe Photoshop Express, that ranks as the most popular photography app for iPhone and iPad devices, and Photoshop.com, a companion site to the application that allows users to edit, organize and share photos online.

Tom Flanagan is the director of information technology at Residential Properties Ltd. in Providence, R.I. You can contact him at tflanagan@residentialproperties.com or @tflan on Twitter.

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