Panorama Jacks Question Corner

Dear Jack,

I hope you are doing well.  I recently connected with several real estate offices that are sending me to do virtual tours on ALL of their listings!!!  However, I am having a potential (business destroying) issue… I am hoping you can help me quickly!

The pictures I take look good (I think), but then when my clients use the pictures in flyers, several are complaining that the pictures come out too dark.  This happened before, so I increased the lighting both during shooting and editing but I am still getting complaints!  Since this is a test with these new offices and they potentially could make or break me… I really need some help.

Here is some basic information:

Camera – Canon 50D with Tokina 12-24 Lens

I shoot my virtual tours in sRaw1+S (jpeg) at about 3267×2168 pixel raw and 2352×1568 pixel jpeg

I shoot in AV mode and adjust the image for the location and then edit in Canon Digital Photo Professional

I convert and save the images to jpg at 800×532 pixel for emailing to the agents.

I see this as a potential threat to my business if I can’t provide printable pictures for the agents and the word spreads. 

Best regards,


Dear Ron,

It seems like you are making a lot of extra work for yourself.  This work might be worth it if you were shooting expensive business virtual tours.  For a real estate tour you want to be quick, efficient, and provide a product that matches or slightly exceeds the price you are asking. 

First of all, I wouldn’t work with RAW until you have had time to experiment with it and figure out the exact processes you need to provide the results you are looking for.  RAW files are very large, and take extra work to process.  These files then need to be converted into JPEG images when you finish editing them.  The advantage to RAW is that the pictures are uncompressed and unformatted so that you can make true color and image edits.  For the type of virtual tours you are shooting JPEG format will work best for now.  Everything presented in the IMAGE webinars has been done using the JPEG format.  I have not promoted using RAW because it is more involved and not necessary designed for the typical virtual tour.

Secondly, I don’t suggest taking the time to do a custom white balance in every room.  Typically, I set my WB to the primary light source in the room and go from there.  I know that in our last IMAGE webinar Bryan Peterson shared with us that he leaves his WB on the cloudy setting most of the time.  The settings that you are using on your camera look great, keep them as is, but avoid shooting in RAW until you feel comfortable working with it. I would recommend that you watch the IMAGE webinar “It’s Magic 2”.  This webinar covers basic picture editing and illustrates numerous simple and quick techniques to get you on the right path.   
As always, it is important to provide a high quality product efficiently.  In the end the product you deliver needs to match what the customer purchased and paid for. When you have spare time, use it to improve your current photography skills and to experiment with more advanced techniques. On the job experimenting will often add unnecessary stress.  Do what you know and do it well.  Then in your spare time learn something new.  Practice the new skill until you are efficient at it and confident in your ability.  Then incorporate the new skill into your business.