Realogy’s Better Homes and Gardens franchise has dropped their Premier Selections luxury brand and replaced it with the Distinctive Collection brand. It was perfect timing for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty as they entered their spring market campaign. The Rands decided to promote their extensive inventory of luxury homes with a catalog insert in the Wall Street Journal.
Being such a high profile marketing campaign it was incredibly important that the cover use a highly compelling photograph. Conveniently Rand Realty had just struck up a new relationship with Edberg Marketing. Edberg specializes in real estate photography and has the capability of taking elevated photographs.
Simply put, elevated photography raises a camera on an extending mast and tethers the camera to the operating photographer on the ground. The photographer has some limited ability to pivot the camera in order to get the correct angle. However, due to the height the mast often sways in the wind causing some motion blur on many of the exposures.
The Distinctive Collection cover proved to be a very complicated shoot for a variety of reasons. The first reason being that, as always in the world of marketing, we were on tight time frame. The time factor was further compounded by the terribly wet spring that prevailed in 2011. Edberg was forced to try and make the shot in iffy weather at least three times before they finally got some decent light. A second complication was that Edberg was unable to take a vertical photo due to the way that the camera mounts on the elevated mast. Typically in real estate photography this wouldn’t be an issue because horizontal compositions tend to be the preferred format. Unfortunately, Edberg was only able to mount an EOS Rebel on the mast, so a horizontal photo did not hold the required resolution for a high quality cover photo. After a great deal of back and fourth Eric Ortner finally was able to figure out a solution to the problem. With a great deal of reluctance on their part Eric managed to get Edberg to release him the Raw CR2 files. He then opened them in Photoshop at the largest Raw settings effectively faking in resolution. This gave resulted in a large enough pixel dimension to create a hi-res cover photo.
The work didn’t stop there however. Due to the home’s foliage there was a great deal of retouching required. The tree in the front of the house cast unsightly shadows all over the front of the house. The solution, remove the tree and shadows in Photoshop. This required about three hours of retouching. As we all know though, a cover photo with blemishes might as well not be printed. This is especially true when pitching to a luxury market, where everything must be perfect. The following examples are the before and after of the retouched photos.
The Distinctive Collection cover proved to be a rather hi-stress project, but in the end it resulted in a great quality high impact presentation piece.
Tags: Better Homes and Gardens, Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, Canon, Catalog, Cover, Cover Photo, Distinctive Collection, elevated photgraphy, InDesign, Luxury, mast, photography, Photoshop, Premier Selections, real estate, Realogy, Retouch, Wall Street Journal