Lights, camera — ground rules

How some real estate professionals handle their close-ups

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Barbara Corcoran

Television loves real estate, maybe now more than ever. This means industry bigwigs are in high demand for everything from cable news to reality shows.

And every minute they spend in front of the camera translates, for some, into plenty of time behind the camera primping. That behind-the-scenes preparation is outlined in a pre-production memo obtained by The Real Deal about Donald Trump.

In the document, Trump’s handlers spell out in five bullet points the lighting and camera angles most flattering for their boss.

Cameras should be “slightly favoring his right side, while avoiding left hair part and back and sides of hair and head,” it says. It continues, “We had [sic] more success with being front lit and avoiding strong lighting behind top of hair/head.”

The result of this stagecraft? “A golden blond hair, warm golden (even tone) tan skin and a more defined jaw-line,” the document says, adding that Trump’s look on “The Apprentice” is the standard. A spokesperson for Trump did not respond to a request for comment.

Barbara Corcoran, the founder of the Corcoran Group, who has appeared three times a week on NBC’s “Today” show since 2007, has her own rules of thumb, but they generally deal with wardrobe.

“I wear strong, saturated colors,” said Corcoran, who’s now a real estate consultant and a motivational speaker for real estate and other business groups. “I wouldn’t dream of wearing black, beige, navy, brown or pale pink. It’s all about cobalt blue, hot pink and bright yellow.”

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Donald Trump

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Yes, lighting matters, Corcoran said, but she avoids dictating angles. It’s far better to “coochie-coo the heck” out of the makeup artist, she said, because they know their way around the lights better than the guest does.

So for “Shark Tank,” an ABC show on which Corcoran has appeared, she charmed Norman, the lighting director, with bagels and cream cheese. The upshot? When she returned to the studio a few days later after meeting, “he whispered in my ear and said, ‘You see that light?’ and pointed 40 feet up in the air,” said Corcoran, adding, “‘That’s your light. I put it up there last night.'”

And, like magic, lines on Corcoran’s face were minimized and her eyes were brightened, she said. “It was delicious light.”

Jeffrey Appel, a mortgage broker with Bank of America and co-host and producer of “Metro Residential,” which airs weekly on Sunday mornings on Channel 11, has a similar trust-a-pro approach.

“It’s a good lesson for life: Always be kind to the one who is holding the light,” said Appel, who also produced local news segments in the 1980s in Los Angeles. But he seems to take a more conservative sartorial stand than Corcoran. “No checks and stripes, and red is tough,” he said.

Still, Appel said he’s not terribly concerned about how he comes across on the flat-screen, maintaining that he sees himself as a journalist first, “presenting stories that are editorially interesting for our audience,” instead of a “television celebrity.”

“The show is not about me at all.”