Photos are one of the most powerful tools a real estate agent has at their disposal. They help to tell the story of a listing or a community.
Whether printed, uploaded to Facebook, or added to a blog, images add an appeal that words alone simply can’t.
The key to effectively using photography isn’t in the camera. It is the software you use to organize, edit and share your pictures that will make the difference.
Photo software comes in many forms. Web-based systems like Picnik.com and free programs like Picasa offer easy-to-use, basic photo management tools. Advanced users can use Photoshop CS5, but at a hefty price tag and a steep learning curve.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Splits the Difference
More robust than Picasa and easier to use than Photoshop CS5, Lightroom offers the best combination of organization, editing and sharing tools in one desktop application.
From camera to Facebook, this is the only program you will need for all of your photography needs.
Lightroom isn’t cheap ($299 retail price), but it is worth every penny. No other program offers such an easy to use interface with such powerful functionality.
Before you let the price turn you away, check out what Lightroom offers:
Lightroom provides the ability to import photos from any device. Plug in a camera, memory card or USB drive and a step-by-step dialogue appears to walk you through adding the photos to your computer.
It evens allows for a second set of the photos to be placed on an external drive to make sure you never lose a picture.
One area that even the uber-powerful Photoshop ignores is photo organization. This is where Lightroom excels.
Lightroom organizes your photos into a library. From within the library, you can group images using collections, ratings, color-coded tags or by flagging important photos.
Create collections for each listing and rate each photo to identify the best images for marketing materials.
Touching up photos is a breeze with Lightroom. Start with a one-button auto adjust feature. From there, make simple adjustments to get the look you desire.
Cropping, rotating, red-eye removal, blemish touch-ups and more are simple tasks.
There are even preset filters to create effects like vintage photography with a single click.
What to see how your changes differ from the original photo, click the Before-and-After button and see the original and changed photo side by side.
The best part of editing photos in Lightroom is that it is “non-destructive” editor. That means that you never actually touch the original photo, you work with a copy of the photo. That makes it virtually impossible to ruin the original image.
If no one ever sees your photos, they will never do your real estate business any good. Lightroom makes it easy to share your creations with the world. Options include:
- Export photos directly to Facebook, Flickr or SmugMug
- Optimize groups of photos for the web and export to a folder
- Slideshow capabilities for sharing on-screen
- Advanced printing options
- Export HTML for web galleries (for those of you without WordPress websites)
Do you have 2 monitors? Click the second monitor button in Lightroom and double your workspace.
Still want to use Photoshop CS5 for extreme editing? Lightroom will export photos directly into Photoshop.
Worried about losing precious photos? Lightroom provides periodic library backups and can even check the integrity of your backup file.
The modern real estate agent is rarely without a camera. That may come in the form of an iPhone, a compact camera, or an advanced dSLR.
With more photos being taken than even before, it is important to use a quality photo management tool like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.