Photos: Animal Real Estate Photobombers


An important part of real estate photography is the ability to showcase a property in it’s setting and portray the lifestyle it affords to a potential buyer. Often while our photographers are busy at work capturing this, they get some curious bystanders coming in for a closer look! Here are some of our favourite animal photobombers we’ve captured while out on the job….

On the hunt for a new home? View more property photos on our website (even ones without photobombing animals!):

You can also keep up date date with our latest news, featured properties and giveaways on Facebook:

Open2view New Zealand Facebook Page

Open2view Australia Facebook Page

Photos: 20 Of Our Favourite Views

Whether it’s captivating cityscapes or breathtaking vistas, Open2view’s photographers get to work among the best views in New Zealand and Australia.

A great view can really make a property. It’s little wonder the owners of a Wellington apartment, whose sweeping harbour views were blocked by a four-metre-high wooden fence, took the matter to court. They won the battle and were awarded $72,500 this week.

With that in mind, we asked our talented team of photographers to show us some of the best views they’ve spotted from the decks, windows, gardens and skies of the properties they photograph.

Take a look at the stunning results in the gallery below.

Imagine having those views from your “office”? Well you could! Find out more about our franchise opportunities across New Zealand and Australia.

Where do you think the best views can be found in New Zealand and Australia? Let us know in the comments below or on our NZ and AU Facebook pages.


Real estate video is the future – and the future is here

Sony video ad 1967

After 99 blog posts, one tends to forget a few things. For instance, it recently occurred to me that it’s been a while since we’ve discussed real estate video. Last time was in May 2012, in fact:

Here is something we know for sure: high definition video, as Open2view provides, has a bright future. As Larry said last month, “I just noticed that in the last 7 days there have been roughly 32,800 YouTube videos that have the search string “real estate video”. I’m slowly coming to the realization that YouTube video may very well be the most significant development in real estate marketing since the invention of the big news print MLS book of the 1980′s.”

Larry, for those who don’t know, is the mastermind behind Photography for Real Estate – a website every real estate photographer (heck, agent too) oughta be familiar with.

Fifteen years ago professional real estate photos were a novelty. Today it’s a necessity – and it’s HD professional videos that find themselves the new(ish) kid on the block. It will be far fewer than 15 years before real estate videos are the norm.

Good photos will always be crucial, but video adds that extra dimension that no listing, soon enough, will want to be without.

Since I quoted Larry 15 months ago, a lot has happened with video at Open2view:

We now have video on the New Zealand homepage. More and more of us are making HD videos for our agents. We’ve now got videographers in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Wellington, Nelson, and Canterbury. And they’re good, very good. Scroll about halfway down our homepage for a gallery of our most recent videos.

We have a YouTube page. Earlier this year, YouTube passed one billion unique monthly users. Between them, these users watch more than six billion hours of video every month – and with 100 hours of video uploaded each minute, they’ll run out of breaths long before they’re out of stuff to watch.

It’d be foolish to ignore all these stats so we’ve joined in – and you can subscribe to our channel here. We have also created special playlists organised by region; if you’re house hunting in Waikato, for instance, you can select the appropriate playlist to see what’s available. And we’ve linked our YouTube channel to Facebook so you can check us out while you’re there too.

Open2view on YouTube

For the Aussies in the audience, we have channels in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland among many others – search ‘Open2view’ to catch ‘em all.

We are making agent profile videos. The principles that make property videos so important apply just as much to the agents themselves. Agents need to sell themselves to vendors before they can sell their houses to buyers. This is where we can help.

Check out two examples of what we can do for agents below. As you’ll see they’re quite different – what suits one agent doesn’t always work for another. Agents are unique, just like the rest of us. Let our team share your personality with the house-selling public today.


For more info on our video service check out our Services website.

Open2view turns 100! Sorta. (Not really.)

This here marks the Open2view blog’s 100th post. Being as well-behaved a boy as I am a prolific author, I’ve eaten no cake and I’ve resisted the 200 or so canisters of M&Ms in the office (nominate a mate to win some today!). No sir, writing this blog is reward enough.

While it’s centred around real estate photography, regular readers will know that I’ve gone on some mighty big tangents along the way. We’re a diverse team, with many interests, and if all we talked about every single week was REP, this blog would soon RIP.

Photography is more than a job for us – it’s a passion. Take Matthew Lowe, for instance. If he didn’t love what he did he would never have made time to take 2700 photos, over four hours, and create this stunning timelapse of last week’s White Island eruption:

Having said that – if you never read any other post of ours, this one explains why what Open2view does is so important to agents, home sellers and buyers, and for the real estate industry as a whole.

To those who have made it this far, a big thank you. Here’s to another 100 posts about us, about you, and goodness knows what else…

We’d take these cameras over a cell phone any day

Wouldn’t you know it. I write and rewrite this blog piece, shine it up real nice, and then right before publishing I find something I absolutely have to include.

The always excellent Photography for Real Estate blog have just posed a question very relevant to today’s topic: are cell phone cameras suitable for real estate photography?

As Larry from PFRE points out, however, cell phones are most unsuitable for interior photos as they lack both a wide-angle lens and the ability to generate enough light. You are, on the whole, better off using a professional real estate photographer.

Long before YouTube, and even before the written word, mankind relied on pictures to pass down its story to future generations. While the telling of history through the years has evolved greatly, what hasn’t changed is the importance of pictures in explaining where we’ve come from.

Ancient Egyptians drew on walls. European history was often retold through paintings and drawings. The photograph didn’t come along until 1822, and it wasn’t until 1888 that Kodak’s handheld camera made photography accessible to the public.

Once a recorder of history, Kodak has now become history. They have, as blogged in April, filed for bankruptcy and are now in the process of flogging off its photography division.

Kodak may have gone out of fashion, but photos are more popular than ever. Instagram, the golden boy of the photo app world, grew from 16 million unique visitors to 22 million between June and July.

With the rise of Instagram and nearly half of us owning a smartphone, anyone can be an amateur photographer.

Sometimes, though, phones just aren’t up to the job – and that’s when you need to go old school and use an actual camera. Evolution may have passed Kodak by, but many other entrepreneurs have picked up the slack.

Here are some of the latest innovations:

Incy wincy cameras

Your smartphone makes for a convenient compact camera, as opposed to a big bulky thing that won’t fit in a normal pocket. When you see something amazing to photograph, however, your phone won’t always do the scene justice.

Tiny Nikon Coolpix camera

This camera will. Measuring 77x51x17 millimetres, and weighing in at just 96 grams (including battery), the Nikon Coolpix S01 will fit easily into any nook and cranny. You can leave your keys and pens in the same pocket without fear, as this camera comes with a scratch-resistant body. But you don’t, so empty your pockets before bedtime or you’ll stab yourself. You’re welcome.

Anyway, the best thing about this camera is that its tiny frame still has room for a 3x wide-angle zoom and 10.10 megapixel resolution – more than the iPhone 4S and its 8 Megapixels, and far more than my phone’s 3.2mp. For such a wee thing, it sure packs a lot of punch.

Cardboard cameras

IKEA, the chain store that can furnish your entire home in approximately 16 seconds for just $4.99 (give or take), has extended their ‘keep it simple’ philosophy to the camera industry.

Those lucky recipients now own a camera made almost entirely out of cardboard. With a zoom feature, a built-in USB connector, and the capacity to hold 40 photos at a time, it could get completely soaked in the rain and still perform better than my camera phone.

Check out this neat little video on how it works:

Gingerbread cameras

Introducing the 16 megapixel Nikon Coolpix S800c. No, you can’t eat it, but you can connect directly to the Google Play store and all its photo-friendly apps as this camera runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. From this photo you’d barely even know it’s a camera.

Nikon s800c camera Android Gingerbread

Seems the only thing you can’t do with this camera is make calls, so at least it has one thing in common with my phone.

Crystal camera… bookends

Perfect for the photographers and bookworms in your life. A tribute to the Canon 7D, these beautiful bookends are completely handcrafted out of premium grade crystal. You can’t take photos with this, but no doubt one day some brilliant nutter will create a fully functional crystal camera.

Camera bookends crystal

Fancy is worthy of its own blog piece. A little like Pinterest, only deliberately more commercialised, it is host to an abundance of innovative and gorgeous products I never knew I needed. But I really do. Honest. Perhaps I’ll hold onto my old phone a little longer.

crystal camera bookends

The public appetite for visual stimulation is ever growing. Photos will, one way or another, be around forever. Smartphones are getting better at taking these, but the camera continue to evolve and stay ahead – and a good camera is still best for capturing those moments truly worth keeping.

Real estate videos, or ‘Totally unhidden candid home videos caught on camera’

Being relatively new to the worlds of real estate and photography, I have yet to come across a better source of information than the Photography for Real Estate blog. Why, the very title itself makes me drool at the thought of someone else doing the hard work for me. Don’t be surprised to see a few links to Larry Lohrman’s work here; his many years of experience makes him an absolute fountain of knowledge.

Not only that, he also causes me to ask plenty of questions of my own. Case in point – every Friday, Larry likes to post real estate videos from around the world. Watching a number of these got me wondering: when it comes to videos, what works and what doesn’t?

Watch enough of them and it becomes clear that, as with most things on this wacky planet, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way. Personal preference rules the roost. Some like videos without dialogue and set to mood enhancing background music. Others enjoy the narrated tours, or having the agent on camera talking us through. Many people prefer short videos – say, one to two minutes – while others are happy to spend five to ten minutes looking through a house via YouTube. An attractive option considering the wicked frost this morning.

Here is something we know for sure: high definition video, as Open2view provides, has a bright future. As Larry said last month, “I just noticed that in the last 7 days there have been roughly 32,800 YouTube videos that have the search string “real estate video”. I’m slowly coming to the realization that YouTube video may very well be the most significant development in real estate marketing since the invention of the big news print MLS book of the 1980′s.”

Open2view is passionate about presenting homes in their best possible light. If a house doesn’t stand out online, after all, why would anyone bother checking it out in person? Our videos make you feel as if you’re already there inside having a look around. It’s this warm, vicarious experience that gets our customers hooked.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on what style works for you. Do you prefer short or longer videos? Do you want to see the agent onscreen or would you rather let the images do the talking? Do you find music distracting or does it add to the experience?

Here are some videos to get your brain juices flowing. Let’s start, of course, with one of ours. Alex Porteous from Papamoa made this one just last week. Alex’s videos are short yet thorough – all killer, no filler.

Here’s an example of humour that, for me, frankly, falls a little flat. If it was my house in the video I’d be even less impressed. I’d be keen to know if you have a different view.

This, for me, works much better. What do you think of the deadpan delivery style of Paul Wilander as he presents this ‘Dome House’? It’s worth noting that the house owner shaved his head especially for this video. Talk about going above and beyond!

And finally – I would be remiss if I didn’t include this guy. Chris Gilmour is possibly the most eccentric real estate agent in Australia. He is also one of the very best. In this clip, Chris advertises a house while someone sprays him with a hose. As you do.

There are plenty of other styles of videos that I’ll cover in future editions. For now, put your film critic hats on and give us your opinions. Five stars, or two thumbs down? Let us know below or on our Facebook page!