Photography Book Review: "CHINA: Portrait of a People" Is the Best of the Decade

I want to share with anyone that might read this how much I enjoyed Tom Carter’s new photography book “CHINA: Portrait of a People”. I ordered the book because I recently returned from China and could not get enough of the life style I had just experienced. When I first received the book from Amazon I thought it was quite a unique size for a book of photography, but once I started looking at it I really enjoyed the small size in my hand; it made it easy to just sit on the couch with book in hand.

Carter’s 640-page book is divided into 33 chapters, one for each province, and before each chapter are his recollections of his difficulties traveling to the regions as well as episodes where Chinese individuals (see “I, Shen Mei Li,” page 134) are allowed to speak for themselves, as well as fragments of poetry and other uniquely Chinese related material, some gritty, some even grotesque.

With a country as big as China, there’s a lot to see and Tom Carter provides a vast array of images and views – glimpses of a country on the cusp of a sweeping transformation: a great nation that still identifies as Communist while embracing new Capitalist ways. These photos then also provide historical artifacts as modernization plows away thousands of years of history.

Favorite images? Hard to pick since there are so many. The photo-illustrated journey starts at Beijing (‘the epicenter of the “center of the world,”’ as Tom Carter writes) and concludes with Tibet (“Middle of nowhere, center of everywhere”). With more than 600 pages in between. (The images in this final section – Tibet – are among the most emotionally compelling and beautiful of the book.)

Of the places I’d like to go back and visit on account of Carter’s book, top of the list would be Tibet and places like the Portuguese-influenced Macau, and of course Beijing (“Chaoyang”). Then: remote Heilongjiang (“Harbin”), Inner Mongolia (which is one of the most beautiful sections of the book), coastal Shandong (birthplace of Confucius), Jiangsu (with its sad and bloody history of Japanese invasion), Fujian, Guangdong (“Dapu”), of course Hong Kong (for its urban, multi-cultural variety), Guangxi ( “Zhongliu”), Guizhou (“Zengchong”), Anhui (“Mukeng Zhuhai,” the Bamboo Sea where Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was shot), Hunan (“Zhangjiajie” and “Fenghaung”), Henan (“Song Shan” for its 800-year-old Shaolin temple and its ancient association with Kung Fu), Shaabxu (“Xi’an” for the Bingmayong vault), Gansu (“Hexi” and “Langmusi” for its Tibetan yet almost Peruvian-appearing culture), Sichuan (“Jiuzhaigou” and “Emei Shan”), Yunnan (“Lijiang”)…

China is an unavoidable nation in the 21st century. It is no longer simply a topic for adventure-seeking travelers or businessmen and diplomats. Even if you have never been to China or know little about it, it is affecting your life in ways large and small. And it will surely only do so more in the years ahead. Tom Carter’s China: Portrait Of A People is a fine place to start peeking behind the silk curtain at this fascinating country. And unlike a dry foreign affairs book, this book has the added bonus of teaching you about China while providing a feast for the eyes with its lush visual spectacle.

Real Estate Photography Tips For Realtors – Don’t Do it Yourself, You’ll Lose Your Commission Check

I’ve done it myself; taken what I thought were great listing pictures and used them for my online MLS listing. My clients thought they were fine and I thought they were just fine, until I started working as a buyer’s agent in Seattle a few years back.

I worked with over 40 different buyers a week and everyday I’d hear, “Did you see those listing pictures? There’s no way we want to see that house, it’s a dump! Does the listing agent know how bad they are?” Obviously, the listing agent didn’t spend anything on real estate photography.

My buyers would also see some great listing photos and want to get in to see the home that afternoon. We’d step inside and they’d wonder if it was the same home they saw online. They felt cheated because the pictures were nothing like the real home. (but at least the listing agent got buyers walking through the house).

It all came down to the listing pictures they saw online. That’s essential marketing for listings! Give buyers a great picture and they’ll jump inside the house that day. Give them a “do-it-yourself” picture and they’ll move onto the next home. The listing pictures make the difference, especially when you spend a few bucks on professional real estate photography!

Even when the listing pictures were better than the actual house, guess what? It still got the buyers inside! That’s your goal as a listing agent; get as many showings as possible. Professional real estate photography makes that happen.

With upwards of 80%+ of buyers looking online now, the listing photos are the first thing they’re looking at and basing their initial impressions on.

How much money in lost commissions do you think you’re missing because you won’t spend a couple hundred bucks for professional real estate photography?

If you did spend the well invested marketing dollars on some professional real estate photography…….

  1. You could have more satisfied clients because the home sold faster.
  2. You could have made more cash because you didn’t have to drop the sales price when the listing became stale on the market.
  3. You could look like a top producer in the area because of the quicker sales, better looking listings and more satisfied clients. Your overall image is enhanced, big time!

Isn’t it funny how such a small aspect of your business can affect the whole thing? Anytime you realize how one issue affects your net profits, that’ll make you perk up, right?

Now don’t give me the excuse that it’s too expensive because it’s not. Look at it as a marketing and advertising expense because that’s exactly what it is. And real estate photography is one of the best things you can spend your marketing dollars on.

You have a couple options……..

You could grab a professional in real estate photography in your local area and offer them $50-$200 to come to your listing and take some fabulous photos. Make sure they’re top notch, have all the right equipment and understand the goal of these photos. You don’t want to pay for real estate photography that’s no better than your own.

Your other option is to go with a company like Vicaso.com who does real estate photography exclusively. Their business is listing photos for real estate agents!

You can schedule your photo shoot on their website, pay about $200 or so and get the most captivating listing photos you’ll ever see. Even if you have a crack house listed for sale, their real estate photography will make it look like a palace.

I’m telling you; don’t skimp on your real estate photography. Look at the cost as an investment. If you spent $200 on professional real estate photography and got back another $20,000 in commissions that year from faster sales, more clients, and higher listing prices, wouldn’t that be worth it? You betcha!