Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Total Solar Eclipse 2024 - Frisco Rail Yards

Guests gathered at the Frisco Rail Yard to observe the total solar eclipse as the moon obscured the sun at 1:40 p.m. on Monday, April 8, 2024. The 125-mile-wide shadow of the moon will cross the Earth at 1,600 miles per hour. The 2024 eclipse will cross many major cities from Texas to Maine. It’s the last total eclipse visible over the USA until 23 Aug. 2044. It was one of the most viewed celestial events in recorded history.

Learn more about this eclipse.

I've Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #eclipse #SolarEclipse #Frisco #RailYard #video #photos #TotalSolarEclipse #event

Monday, February 19, 2024

Sports Photojournalism Portfolio

Sports photojournalism portfolio by Mark M. Hancock for The Beaumont Enterprise or The Dallas Morning News.

Enough for now,

Mark M. Hancock
Photojournalist, REALTOR

#DFWmark #sports #PhotoJournalism #photojournalist #portfolio #AwardWinners #ballers #competition #emotion #motion

Sunday, February 11, 2024

"Crystal" Cirque

Cirque du Soleil performs “Crystal” at Comerica Center in Frisco on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2024. The presentation is aerial and on ice to combine the dangers of both acrobatics and skating. It’s always a joy to see any of the Cirque du Soleil performances. If you’ve never seen one in person, you must.

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock

#DFWmark #CirqueDuSoleil #cirque #circus #Crystal #Frisco #ComericaCenter #acrobatic #skating #iPhotos

Monday, December 11, 2023

Quick Tips & Know Your Rights

This is an updated repost of the information presented on April 4, 2008 at the New York Press Association Annual Convention.
While there is no way to "pin" a post, I have set the date to keep this post on the front page for new visitors. Please scroll down to see newer content as it's added.

video, narration, beats by Mark M. Hancock / ©
photos by Mark M. Hancock / ©, The Beaumont Enterprise and/or The Dallas Morning News

If you find the "Quick Tips" version to be visual hot sauce, please watch "Savory Tips to Improve Photos." It's the same presentation with more time to savor each image.

Additional information is located on the All PJ-related posts section of this blog. Underlined topics are linked to previous posts with detailed information about the subject.

Read equipment manuals three times.
Have the right equipment for the job.
Know the difference between nouns and verbs.
Pre-consider potential visual problems and solutions.

Photo basics (see below for specifics) 
Fill the frame.
Have sharp focus.
Get the right exposure.
Time the images.

Fill the frame:
Get close.
Use long lens.
Crop in camera.
Get wide.
Back away when necessary.

Stabilize the camera.
Focus on lead eye.
Adjust plane of focus / angle.
Use depth of field.
Adjust focal length for available light.
When focusing manually, use one finger.
Zone focus.

Zone V.
Hand meter the area.
Use alternative meter techniques: Sunny 16, palm, grass.
Understand the dynamic range.

Have patience.
Look for repeated action patterns.
Anticipate the action.
Shoot at apex.
Shoot before collision - wind through reaction.
Get reflective shots (quiet moments)
Seek "timeless" images.
Time of day.

Shoot horizontals and verticals.
Start with a clean background.
Have dark corners.
Place subject in background.
Use subject and foreground to cover unwanted elements.
Leave leading space.
Use Rule of Thirds/Fifths.
Build a strong skeletal structure.
Frame items within other items.
Avoid tangents.
Have clean edges.
Lead eyes with light and focus.
Layer the image.
Employ leading lines.
Employ repetition of pattern.
Block corners.
Juxtaposition (harmony / irony)

Where to crop:
Avoid cropping joints.
Contain subject within rectangle (Golden Ratio).
Avoid lights, reflections and voids.
Frame arcs and lines.

Before shooting:
Research stories - find those with emotional elements.
Verify location, access.
Double-check equipment.
Have business cards, pencil and notepad.
Refuse access contracts.

Upon arrival:
Arrive early. Stay late.
Shoot signs and rosters. Collect paperwork. Shoot name tags and numbers.
Shoot basic package: scene, normal, tight
Shoot story: lede, transitions, kicker, emotion.
Get cutline information (5W & H). Get sound if possible.

Selecting subjects:
Hunting techniques: shadows, oblique angle, concealment, pre-compose, pre-focus
Use attention span limitations.

Tell the story.
Get main subjects.
Get emotion.
Shoot 100-frame minimum.
Use each lens.
Shoot each angle (left, right, high, low).
Shoot reflection / refraction.
Shoot silhouette / isolation.
Shoot blur.

Before leaving:
Understand the story.
Be able to tell the story in one frame, three frames, five frames, 20 frames.
Have all cutline information.
Have 100+ images.
Count equipment.

Find new word.
Make unique (rare) images: access, subject, news value, combination.
Multi layers
Multi meaning

Artificial light:
Use flash whenever it's helpful (no light, too slow).
Use flash from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. outdoors (fill light).
Get flash off the camera.
Understand what causes red-eye.
Try to keep flash angles from 45 to 90 degrees.
Diffuse light.
Color balance artificial light.
Learn to light large areas.
Use multiple lights to add depth.
Be ready to manually calculate exposure (guide number).
Understand inverse square law of light.
Speed techniques (stop action).
Light painting with mixed light and flash (holiday lights, fireworks, lightning).
Increase depth of field with artificial light.

 video, narration, beats by Mark M. Hancock / ©
photos by Mark M. Hancock / ©, The Beaumont Enterprise and/or The Dallas Morning News

Do you know your rights as a photojournalist?

Please watch “Know Your Rights as a Citizen Photojournalist.”

Know your rights (most is covered on this link)
It's best to be courteous to defuse confrontations.
Don't be belligerent.
The First Amendment provides the right for anyone to make photos.
Anyone can shoot in public places, streets and sidewalks.
Anyone can shoot where access is granted.
Property owners have the right to deny access.
Understand trespass law by state.
Generally, PJs can shoot until asked to stop.
Exceptions include military facilities and some areas within nuclear plants.
Model releases aren't required for editorial use (but pubs may still require).
Celebrities, politicians and emergency workers limited their right to privacy (injected themselves into spotlight).
Felony criminals have no right to privacy until in prison.
The right to privacy is seriously limited in public places.
The exception to this is medical facilities (which include ambulances in some states).
Business security isn't sufficient to prohibit photography.
Trade secrets aren't in public view. Trade dress doesn't apply to photojournalism.
Police may limit access, but can't prohibit photography (prior restraint).
You aren't required to explain the purpose of your photography.
Coercion and harassment by private security is a criminal offense in all states.
Private parties have limited rights to detain and could face criminal and civil charges.
Without a court order, private parties can't confiscate film.
Ask what law was specifically violated.
Ask for this person's name, and who they represent.
Report rights violations to police. Call before the offender does.
Enough for now,

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving 2023

Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours!

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #inflatable #turkey #Thanksgiving #YardDecoration #Frisco #CollinCounty #sunshire #pumpkin

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Harry Potter Experience 2023

We visited “Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience” last week in Little Elm. It was about as we expected. The lighting is phenomenal. The statues are designed to withstand any weather. You should go in costume if you’re extremely into Harry Potter. This short video has the highlights. It will continue through January 2024.

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build certified

#DFWmark #HarryPotter #ForbiddenForest #LittleElm #DentonCounty #colorful #lights #statues #forest

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Food Photography Portfolio

slideshow by Mark M. Hancock /, photos © The Beaumont Enterprise or The Dallas Morning News

Food photography portfolio by Mark M. Hancock for The Beaumont Enterprise or The Dallas Morning News.

Enough for now,

#DFWmark #food #photography #photojournalist #portfolio #PhotoJournalism #drinks #cocktails #snacks #meal

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Open House Toys

I’m preparing for a weekend of open houses. Please visit, get some information, get a snack, get a toy, get a dog treat (because it’s a “ruff market”) and have some fun. See you soon!

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Home certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #OpenHouse #toys #freebies #ToyCars #PlayDoh #ZooCandy #CollinCounty #DentonCounty

Friday, April 21, 2023

Chat GPT Paraphrases Me

I took a CE class today about intro to Chat GPT. It’s an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that can function as a virtual assistant for some minor tasks such as writing property descriptions and such. It has read every book, recorded and transcribed every podcast and combed through most of the internet before 2021 (a cutoff point to check accuracy). This allows it to “create” text based on its own “knowledge” and predictable speech patterns.

To test it, I asked it to define photojournalism. I started snort-laughing in class when its answer randomly paraphrased ME by NAME. 🤣🤣🤣

I've Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #ChatGPT #AI #ArtificialIntelligence #photojournalism #amusing #education #CuttingEdge #funny

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Just Takes A Little Dough

It just takes a little dough to buy a house! Veterans and USDA loans allow $0 down while conventional can be as little as 3% down. If you want to move ANYWHERE, I’m ready to help!

Enough for now,

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Home certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #LittleDough #DownPayment #RealEstate #HomeBuyer #FirstTimeBuyer #dough #OpenHouseTreats #SillyScents

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Watchful Gaze

The old timers watch the new kid with awe. This is going to get messy. Expect new images soon!

Enough for now,

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Home certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #photos #annual #PhotoShoot #NoteCards #Celebrate #treats #gifts #camera

Monday, December 26, 2022

Christmas Day Memories 2022

A fresh poinsettia rests on the kitchen table
on Christmas Day.
(Mark M. Hancock /

A Louis Jadot chardonnay cork remains amid the peels
of apples and oranges on Christmas Morning. They all
went into a slow cooker with lean beef, dried cherries
and seasonal spices. 
A centerpiece rests on the kitchen bar on Christmas Day. 
Appetizers greet guests on Christmas Day. Offerings
include sweet gherkin pickles, olive medley, assorted
cheese cubes, dried apricots, assorted nuts, mandarin
orange slices and garlic-parmesan pita chips.
Memories from our warm house in Frisco on a cold Christmas Day 2022.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Home certified

#DFWmark #Christmas #food #wine #poinsettia #corkscrew #appetizers #centerpiece #MerryChristmas #HappyHolidays

Sunday, November 06, 2022

Watching an October Sunset

Some happy photos I found in my phone from last month at Tom Thumb in Frisco. 😃

Photos by Mark M. Hancock /
Enough for now,

#DFWmark #pumpkins #fall #Thanksgiving #scarecrow #JackOLantern #chiminea #TomThumb #Frisco #orange

Friday, September 02, 2022

Come visit my open house in Bluewood

Here’s some drone photos of the house where you can get some cookies and treats during my open house tomorrow. Not only is it a corner lot with only one shared fence, it’s literally across the street from the community pool.

Open House
Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022
From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
924 Lawndale St., Celina
Listed at $625,000
Listed by Christy Williamson

This 2,809 sq. ft. corner lot home in the Bluewood community was built by Meritage in 2018. The home has 4 bedrooms, 2 and a half baths, front porch, outdoor living, game room, and flex room.
The house features both a covered front porch and a rear covered outdoor living room. Downstairs has wood and tile floors. Private flex room off the large foyer can act as an office with a nearby powder room. Walk through the butler’s pantry into the open-concept kitchen with an island sink and seating. Kitchen has white cabinets, granite countertops, gas cooktop and double ovens. 

Casual dining room and living room with a fireplace are off the kitchen.
The primary suite is on the ground floor and features a garden tub, separate shower and dual vanities, linen closet and walk-in closet. Upstairs has the game room, 3 bedrooms and a full bathroom. Community features a pool, fishing, paths, park, playground and an amenity center in the Celina ISD.


Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Home certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #OpenHouse #DronePhoto #aerial #Celina #CelinaISD #CollinCounty #Bluewood #GameRoom

Monday, August 29, 2022

I'm Obsessed with my drone

© Mark M. Hancock /

OK Y'all,
I'm going to be obsessed with the drone for a while. It lets me get the angles I've always wanted. That's how sunsets should look!

I love that the police were patrolling the neighborhood at the perfect time to be in the photo.

#DFWmark #REALTOR #LittleElm #drone #sunset #police #pond

Monday, March 28, 2022

710 Emerald Sound Blvd. in Oak Point Slideshow

710 Emerald Sound Blvd.
Oak Point 75068
Offered at $650,000
MLS# 14755249

This 2,971 sq.ft. home has 4 bedrooms, 2.1 baths, 2-car garage attached with separate detached 2-car garage/workshop, 2 living rooms, dining and breakfast rooms, game room, fireplace, screened patio, spacious barn-style shed on a full acre of land.

Roof replaced March 2022. Screened outdoor living was completed in 2021. Enjoy the firepit, yard to romp and space to park RVs.

Kitchen has double oven, island, planning desk, walk-in pantry, and window bench. Formal dining and parlor are great for entertaining or convert into a relaxed home office. Downstairs is complete with a powder room, utility room and large family room with a fireplace.

Upstairs, primary suite can easily handle a Texas King bed, has walk-in closet, garden tub, separate shower and double sinks. Three bedrooms share a Hollywood bath with two separate sinks and vanities. The large game room can convert to a 5th bedroom, media room or super-sized office. Solar panel lease must transfer.

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, Certified New Home Sales
214-862-7212 (call or text)

#DFWmark #REALTOR #OpenHouse #house #home #OakPoint #DentonCounty #Acre #land #LargeYard #RVSpace

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

PhotoJournalism 3 Million View Contest

3/13/22 Update: Congratulations to the winners. See y'all at 4 million!

2/12/22 UPDATE: I realized that I had the wrong email address, the correct email address is so I am extending the contest to 3/12/22. If you sent your information before, please send it again. Thanks!

If you like photography or photos, you can win a prize in honor of the PhotoJournalism blog getting more than 3 million views. I never expected to get 5,000 visitors, so this achievement is remarkable.

To celebrate this milestone, I'm offering a signed print of my work to three different blog visitors (one for each million views). I normally don't sign prints, so these are rare.

What's the prize?
I’ll print and mail a signed 11x14 photo print to three winners. Winners will select which print they want from any photos on my blog or Instagram feeds (personal or business) except my photo mosaics or images with © (copyright symbol) next to The Dallas Morning News.

In other words, y'all can pick any image I've posted with a © next to my name, DFWmark or The Beaumont Enterprise that isn’t a photo mosaic.

For example, this image isn't included, but this image is. They were both shot for DMN, but the first is as staff and the second is freelance. Simply look at the copyright symbol location and pick your favorite.

Older images may look out of focus on the blog, but it's an image compression problem from back when Blogger was new. They're as sharp and clear as any of the newer images.

Everyone who enters gets my monthly Information Of Value newsletter (you can download the book for free from my Google Drive). You can unsubscribe at any time.

What's the catch?
Winners will be selected in a randomized computer drawing after the contest period ends on 28 Feb. 2022. Winners’ names will be posted on the blog and those winners will be notified to select a preferred image.

Contest is limited to one entry per person/email address/phone. I need each entrant’s name, email address and phone number to verify. If the winner is under 18, the winner’s parents/guardian must approve their photo selection.

I'm only going to pay shipping inside the U.S. If the winner is outside the U.S., we can work out some arrangement to get the print to you. Otherwise, whomever wins gets a prize.

How to win?
Email your Name and phone number to Each complete entry (name and phone number via email) will be assigned a number. On March 1, I’ll load the number of complete entries into a randomizer and allow it to pick three numbers. The people assigned to those numbers will be notified to claim their prize. I’ll need physical mailing addresses at that point for the winners.

If I only get a comment, it's not a winner. I'll add the winners’ names and general location (city, state, country) to this post when there are confirmed winners.

Good luck to all. Please share a link to this information and invite your friends to enter!

Enough for now,

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Ready to Celebrate in 2022!

It's been a while since I broke out the big lights. Let's celebrate often in 2022! 

I've Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP

#DFWmark #REALTOR #RealEstate #celebrate #confetti #stars #happy #joy #gold #ChampagneFlute

Monday, June 07, 2021

DFWmark Information of Value book

Since you enjoy the Information of Value (IOV) sheets that I create and post monthly on the DFWmark blog, you’ve probably wanted them all in one place. I’ve Got Your Six!

Bookmark this addresslink.

I assembled and updated a book of all the IOVs that I’ve produced since March 2020. The book will be updated with each new IOV on my Google Drive. Because it’s a PDF file, it can be printed at home in full size without additional rasterization. Also, all the websites mentioned are hyperlinked in the PDF.

When you need access to information such as what to do after severe weather hits or where to take visitors for fun in DFW, it’s all in one place at no cost to you!

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build Certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #UsefulInfo #InformationOfValue #IOV #EmergencyInfo #safety #home #fun #Frisco

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Short Ribs and Peppers

Fayrouz made beautiful short ribs with mini peppers in a Dutch oven. This is before she added red wine and braised. 

#DFWmark #food #beef #ShortRibs #peppers #savory #dinner #DutchOven #Texas

Monday, February 08, 2021

Chichen Itza Temple of Kukulcan

Visitors climb the Temple of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza in Mexico around Jan. 1997.

(© Mark M. Hancock /

I finally fixed my film scanner!

#DFWmark #REALTOR #Mexico #ChichenItza #Kuklucan #temple #pyramid #Mayan #Aztec

Thursday, January 21, 2021

House Tour - Providence Village

Cloudy days are good for viewing cozy homes in Providence Village. Call, text or email when you're ready in northern DFW!

I've Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build Certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #photo #tour #lease #tenant #ProvidenceVillage #BiggerBetterNewer #DentonCounty #DFW

Prosper Testimonial

I’m honored beyond words to have such amazing clients! I will Always Have Your Six!

Our experience with Mark has been outstanding to say the least. He is truly a wealth of knowledge, a trove of fun facts and the ultimate spokesperson for Texas! Mark walked into every house prepared to help us find the perfect the one and having the ability to share the vision we had. When we finally decided on our forever home, Mark was there every step of the way! He was there for every meeting no matter how big or small to ensure we had the support we needed as first time home buyers. Mark ensured we were prepared with any questions that may come up as well as additional insight that ultimately help us avoid many "pitfalls". We ended with our dream house and an the addition of a new member to our family, Mark. Our conversation always ended with Mark stating he "has your six", with conviction we can say we have yours.

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build Certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #testimonial #review #NewBuild #FirstTimeBuyer #BiggerBetterNewer #Prosper #CollinCounty #DFW

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Look Who Visited

(Mark M. Hancock /
Some long-eared owls sit in a live oak tree in our yard in Frisco on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Halloween 2020 - Pandemic Edition

(Mark M. Hancock /

We had a socially distant Halloween outside our home in Frisco, Texas on Oct. 31, 2020. While the pandemic continues, so does life. Kids have had a hard year and need something that resembles normal.
We prepared individual treat bags days in advance. Set them out on a 6-foot-long table that block visitors from going up to our house. Everything was held outside, and I wore a surgical mask as part of my costume.
On a separate day, we prepared toys-only treat bags for kiddos that have nut allergies or aren’t allowed sugar. Kids who pointed at our teal pumpkin got to pick from the separate bowl that contains the toys-only treat bags.
Our neighbors were equally responsible with an elaborate candy delivery system and scary home decorations.
While it wasn’t the 350 visitors that we had last year, 150 treat bags were handed out, and we hope there were as many or more smiles.

Happy Pandemic Halloween!

#DFWmark #Halloween #pandemic #treats #candy #inflatables #decorations #lights #Frisco #CollinCounty

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Hurricane Laura Evacuation Center Locations


Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise
Port Arthur police S.W.A.T. teams prepare to secure
the city after Hurricane Rita hit on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2005.

To my friends in Southeast Texas:

According to the Texas Hurricane Center, there are two evacuation centers in DFW. In theory, they will refer you to a hotel where you will get county-provided shelter in single-family rooms to control the possible spread of COVID-19.
The centers have no listed phone numbers, but are located at:

15515 E. IH-20 in Mesquite (near Belt Line Rd)Ennis

Knights of Columbus Hall, 850 IH-45 in Ennis (near Creechville Rd).

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Hopkins Welcome Home!

Photos © Mark M. Hancock /
After selling their house on Friday, the Hopkins family went under contract on this beautiful new-built, upgraded HistoryMaker Homes property at ArrowBrooke in Aubrey on Saturday, April 25, 2020.

#MyClientsRock #NewBuilt #UnderContract #DFWmark #Realtor #Aubrey #DentonCounty #DFW #FineHomes #C21

Monday, August 17, 2020

Paint Your Cabinets

By Mark M. Hancock /
© Mark M. Hancock /

While busily social distancing, you probably noticed the kitchen cabinets. They’re dull. They’re dated. They aren’t having any fun.

It’s time for a party in the pantry!

Wood cabinets are easily painted and hold modern paint. 

Bright white and light gray are popular this year. Any light color is best for the peripheral cabinets to reflect more light and make a tight space appear roomier. Folks often use a darker color on the island. 

This Do It Yourself (DIY) project costs less than most kitchen projects. A relatively good job costs a little more than $100, or a pro can do it for $3,000 or more. If you choose to DIY, it’s important to follow all three steps: Prepare, Prime and Paint.


Remove all doors, drawers and hardware. Separate hardware into boxes or bags for safe keeping.

Clean, degrease and remove dust from surfaces. Grease bleeds through the paint. Dust under the paint looks like sand. Run a vacuum over any areas you sand.

If the cabinets were previously painted, consider stripping the old paint off first. 

Fill any gouges or holes - not hardware holes - with wood putty before painting.

Put sheet plastic over counter surfaces, tape plastic over appliances and tuck some small pieces over cabinet contents. Use high-quality masking tape to avoid stray paint along edges.

(Above) It's recommended - but not required with modern primers - to sand the surface varnish of stained wood surfaces - scratch it up some. If you must correct for a damaged area, sand it a little deeper. Use sandpaper with a 150 to 200 grit. Take the doors outside to sand them. If you choose to sand the cabinet frames, drape plastic sheets around the room openings to contain the dust. Wear a respirator mask and eye protection.

(Right) Remove all doors and drawers from cabinets. Some items can remain to the rear of shelves if you aren't painting the interior. Just cover them with sheet plastic.
(Left) Separate hardware into separate bins or sandwich bags. If hardware is specific to individual places, label the bags with the location on a piece of painters' tape. 

When removing doors and drawer fronts, place a piece of painters' tape near where the door was removed. Write an identifying number on the tape. Place a piece of painters' tape on the door or drawer front with the matching number and location. 

When painting the door, place the tape on the bottom side of an unpainted door. If one side is painted, place the ID tape near the drying door. Until the paint has hardened, tape can pull the paint off. 

Paint the backs of doors first. You can fix those mistakes and few folks will notice the mistakes on the door backs after you paint the fronts. 
(Right) Remove the drawer fronts from the drawers. Sand the surface varnish if desired. You don't want to paint anywhere near the working mechanical portions of the drawers. 

When preparing to prime and paint, you'll want to use inexpensive painters' pyramids like these. They provide the smallest touch to the underside. This approach allows the primer or paint to dry and harden without sticking to plastic or larger risers.
(Left) Mask every area abutting a painted area with high-quality painters' tape (masking tape). Even professional painters ensure they don't overpaint onto other surfaces. Clean lines are vital when the work is done. This is how they happen. 

Use a razor knife and scissors to cut the painters' tape precisely. It's impossible to accurately place a 20-foot long section of tape on the first try. Instead, tape the corner and unroll a little at a time as you work your way across an edge. If it gets off line, there's less to fix. Back up to where it was on line and start again from there. If you must, cut the tape and start again from where you cut the tape. 

Use painters' tape with thin plastic sheeting attached over built-in appliances to protect against drips. 

Use a sponge sander - with or without grooves - to scuff up varnished surfaces as needed. 
(Right) The shelves only need to be masked where the paint might slop over. 

If the interior of the shelves won't be painted, push the contents to the back and cover with plastic sheeting.

If the interior needs paint, remove everything. Then, start from the back and work forward to avoid painted elbows and forearms. 

Cover all fixed appliances with plastic sheeting. Move mobile appliances such as the refrigerator out of the way to avoid paint splashes.

Modern primers can bond to varnish. It’s still a good idea to lightly sand varnished surfaces to allow primer to get a better grip. However, if you pick between sanding or primer, choose the primer.

Use the best primer available. It covers many mistakes and sets up the paint for success. It should be about as thick as a runny milkshake. 

If you have sawhorses, save your back some pain by painting cabinet doors up high. It makes it easier to see what you're doing and avoids some strain on your knees and back. If you plan to keep the sawhorses clean, drape a plastic sheet over them.

When a brush or roller is not in use, set or wrap it with aluminum foil to keep the paint from setting and hardening on the surface. 

(Right) If you choose not to sand the cabinet frames, high-quality primer bonds to the stained varnish. There was no noticeable difference between the sanded doors and the unsanded frame.

As stated on the new home construction post, the goal is for it to look correct from 6 feet away under normal light

(Left) Place painters' tape on every surface that must stay unpainted. Time spent masking the area will be rewarded in the end results. Tape is inside the island box, around the base, under the granite counter, and around the disconnected drawer slide. 

One drawer slide was removed and the other was only disconnected and covered in tape. Since this is a non-visible area, it's best to leave the slide back connected and cover the front with tape to avoid problems remounting the drawer slides.

Have plastic sheeting on the ground as you move around with primer or paint.

A normal kitchen requires one or two gallons of paint. Buy the best quality acrylic latex-based paint. It’s durable and easy to clean. You’ll want semi-gloss or satin. 

Push paint to the corners and into shapes with a foam or bristle brush. A 1.5” touch-up pad brush works extremely well. Then roll over the large surfaces in a tight “W” pattern with a foam roller in a small tray. 

This is a great multi-day project while on a budget. Let the paint completely dry and harden to avoid redoing the entire project. Cut masking tape with a razor knife to ensure clean edges.

(Above) Try to select the perfect color the first time. Purchase a sample bottle and paint a poster board or block of wood to test the color. 

Even after you paint it, if it's the wrong color, it's best to catch it quickly while the paint is setting. Then, find the right color before you reattach the doors and drawers. 

(Left) For cabinets, use a foam paintbrush or a 1.5" cover-up brush - like this one - to get paint into the corners and shapes first. Then use a 4" foam roller for the larger surface areas. The brush handles are reusable. Pull off the heads inside a trash bag. An inexpensive and disposable paint tray makes cleanup easy. 
(Right) After painting the cabinet frames, use a razor knife along the edge of the painters' tape to ensure a clean edge. 

Latex paint pulls out of shape and leaves a ragged edge if it isn't cut free. If something goes wrong, strip paint back onto the wood, apply new tape and repaint. Clean lines can be salvaged. 

(Left) Paint is likely to drip inside the cabinet hardware holes. While nobody sees it, paint drippings interfere with the proper function of recessed hinges. This paint must be removed. 

If you have a rotary tool, grab a sanding head out of the kit, attach it to a cordless drill and grind the stray paint out of the hinge hole. 

You can use the same rotary sander on other mistakes, but it's likely to cause more problems than it is worth. Keep this option for problems that need major repairs. 
Expect to miss spots. Once it dries, look carefully at all the surfaces and especially at the corners. If there's some primer or wood showing, use a small foam brush to push paint into those places or cover the outside.

This pass can be done from a sample bottle or from a tiny touch up tray. Always keep a piece of plastic sheeting under any open paint to avoid problems. 

Have a container of treated disposable paint cleaner wipes and roll of paper towels nearby during the project. If a can of paint spills on an uncovered tile floor, fast action can save it. If the paint sets, it becomes a bigger problem. 

The completed project makes your kitchen brighter and appears roomier. Unfortunately, it doesn't help with social distancing from the refrigerator. 

I've Got Your Six!

While you're here...
You’ll want to see and compared the weekly Market Watch posts. They allow you to check the pulse of the DFW real estate market. With historically low rates, now is an ideal time for both buyers and sellers.

I tracked down each new home builder and their developments in the communities surrounding Frisco, Texas. Let me know what you want and where you want it, and I’m happy to help locate your ideal new home! My services are almost always at no cost to buyers. They’re factored into the selling price. Talk to me before you visit a new home builder. Don’t pay for services you don’t get! 

Meanwhile, I made a pre-listing video: "Let's Sell Your House!". It explains my proven marketing plan to sell your property as quickly as possible and execute a smooth transaction. If you haven’t seen me or heard my voice in a while, here’s your opportunity. 

 I also have two versions of what house sellers should expect. The bullet-point version is hyperlinked to the detailed version. The long version should answer almost any questions you’ll have.