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Real Estate Photography

October 18, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Are you a realtor taking your own real estate photographs?

First a short story…

My father was an attorney, but he liked to do his own repair work around the house. He was pretty handy, but there were certain things that were best left to the pro’s. One time in particular I recall was when he attempted a plumbing repair. Let’s just say that it wasn’t his best repair. He ended up calling one of his clients who was a plumber that came over to fix what my father started. I’ll never forget as he said, “Frank, do me a favor: you take care of the legal stuff and leave the plumbing to me.” There is a moral to this story – do what you do best, and get the pro’s to do what they do best. They have the right tools for the job, the experience, and the time to do it right.

Are you still taking your own real estate photographs? Are you getting the best quality?

Dining Room Photo by realtorrealtor photophotographed by Realtor

As a matter of course, I browse the multiple listings periodically to look at the pictures and have made the observation that the great majority of photos posted are, to put it kindly, less than ideal. Some are crooked; some are out of focus; most suffer from poor lighting. I imagine that these were more than likely photographed by a realtor trying to save money. Some realtors have decent enough camera’s that are capable to getting a decent picture, but others use point and shoot cameras, and I suspect some are using an iPhone or similar camera-phone. Don’t get me wrong – some point and shoot cameras take excellent pictures, and the iPhone does nice job too. I have both and always have them with me, especially when I just want to snap a picture and don’t want to be lugging around my “good” camera. As good as these perform, they are really not suitable for the professional quality that you need to show off your homes listed for sale. Even if you  have a Nikon, Canon, Sony, or other DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that can take  good pictures, do you have the time to spend getting the best results possible? Both during and after the photography?

When we enter the home to photograph it, we do so with the right tools for the job. We use the appropriate lens or lenses to capture the rooms and exterior with the best angles. We use lighting equipment and techniques to properly combine natural and studio lighting to minimize shadows and properly illuminate the rooms. We take the time to ensure that certain distractions in the room are either removed or placed out of sight. After the session is over, we download the photos and use software like Adobe Photoshop® and Adobe Lightroom® to remove (clone) unsightly wires (hanging from the back of a TV or telephone, for example), crop the photos, and make any lighting enhancements – all with the objective of ensuring the ideal presentation of your listed homes.

Are you still taking your own real estate photographs? Can you afford the time?

The primary focus of a realtor is to show and sell homes. Anything else that is not directly related to this objective is a distraction that diminishes the effectiveness of achieving the primary objective – and potential success.

If you are a realtor taking your own home photographs, how much time are you spending do that task? 30 minutes? An hour? Wouldn’t that time have been better spent preparing to show a new home or showing the home to a potential buyer? Consider how much better your time could have been spent in the time it took photographing 8 homes. That’s a full day that could have/should have been dedicated to potential buyers or sellers.

We enter the home, not only with the right tools for the job, but also with the experience of knowing how to use them and where to use them most effectively. The camera is on a tripod. Lighting equipment (strobe’s flashes, umbrella’s) is positioned properly to obtain the best results. When we enter the home, we are dedicated to taking the time to do the job right. This is generally about 2 hours, and sometimes more depending on the size of the home and property. Then there is the time after the photography spent downloading, selecting, processing and uploading pictures, which can sometimes take nearly as long as the photography itself. Can you allocate that much time to photography?

Are you still taking your own real estate photographs? Can you really afford it?

When you go to the grocery store to buy a box of cereal, a can of soup, or anything else that is packaged, which one do you pick from the shelf: the box with faded colors or the one with bright, vibrant colors? You know the answer. Studies have proven that everyone, every time will choose the better looking package – even though the contents are identical. The same philosophy applies to real estate photography…

The very first thing a homebuyer sees when considering the purchase of a home is a photograph. I know it because I did it. You know it because you are posting photos of your listings on the Multiple Listing Service site and maybe on your own site. With this in mind, wouldn’t you agree that it is not only important, but critical that your home photography is the best it can be? Anything short of great photography may cause the potential buyer to look to the next picture, the next home, the next realtor. Like the cereal box.

Can you afford your listings being overlooked due to less than perfect photography? The most successful realtors use professional photographers that they trust to get the highest quality photographs of their listings while they are focusing on the prime objective: the business of showing and selling homes. Your clients will know that you are serious about selling their homes when you send in a professional. The price for professional photography is a small price to pay for your success. 


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