Your local real estate photographers. On this site you will find some of the best local real estate photographers. These photographers have shown themselves to be committed to learning and improving their craft, providing the highest quality service to their clients, and uniting together to support their fellow photographers around the world.
When it comes to real estate sales homeowners and agents now have an abundance of wonderful technology that can assist them in the marketing of a home. And these aren’t gimmicks either – this is technology that really helps buyers and sellers achieve the best possible outcome, since sellers can now show what their home is really like, and buyers can fully understand what’s on offer and therefore make smarter buying decisions.
“… statistics show that homes with aerial images sell 68 percent faster than houses that are marketed using standard photos.”
That’s an incredible benefit! However, it’s worth noting that not every home benefits from an aerial image. Sometimes a home can look rather poor from that height, even if it looks great at ground level. It’s a matter of real estate agents understanding when they should, and should not, include aerial photography and video from a drone.
“Industry research firm RIS Media additionally notes that 73 percent of homeowners say that they’re more likely to list with a real estate agent who uses video to market their home.”
So even though the use of video marketing in real estate sales is still relatively low overall (although it is much more popular in some of the major markets), homeowners want to work with real estate agents that do include video within their marketing campaign.
Real estate agents who regularly use video are presenting a strong message about their professionalism as well:
“It’s really a reflection of your work and when future clients look you up they’ll find out how you marketed properties …”
If you’re a real estate agent then having professional videos of your listings, with your name associated with them, is a great way to show future home sellers what you can do with their home.
Here’s a wonderful example of a real estate video, combining drone footage and interior video, created by Jonathan Davis of PhotoKona in Hawaii:
Pandion - Kohala Mountain Road. Hawaii - YouTube
The other big technology gain in recent years are Matterport and other similar 3d tours of homes:
“Matterport gives you a doll house-like rendering of the home online,” he said. “You can break it apart and walk through the various rooms. It’s extremely impressive.”
– Justin Potier, vice president and broker associate at Boardwalk Properties in Long Beach
These 3d tours are another great tool because they allow a home buyer to wander through a property as if they are actually there, but they can do it from interstate or overseas. The advantages for sellers, who can now showcase their home to buyers anywhere, are enormous.
The use of video, drones and 3d tours is no longer for the exclusive use of million-dollar homes. Rather, it is something that is becoming commonplace, with buyers in all markets expecting this level of quality:
Jordan Levine, a senior economist with the California Association of Realtors, said consumers have come to expect the kinds of visually stunning and interactive experiences today’s technology can provide when they’re shopping for a home.”
Buyers are now used to shopping online, and even a simple pair of shoes can have 360 degree imagery and even a video associated with it, and those shoes cost a tiny fraction of the price of a new home. Given this level of marketing on sites like Amazon, which home buyers are all too familiar with, then it makes sense that agents and homeowners should try and incorporate similar levels of marketing excellence when trying to sell a home of any value, in any market. The benefits for everyone involved are obvious.
Interview with Dusty Baker Luxury Agent with Sotheby's - YouTube
Dusty is asked about what’s important when selling luxury real estate in the $3 million to $20 million range, and he made this statement which I felt really summarizes a lot of what’s important in that niche:
“It’s not about selling real estate – it’s about selling a lifestyle.”
A lot of real estate sales comes back to selling the lifestyle that is possible within a particular property, but Dusty went on to explain that within luxury real estate the lifestyle is important because the purchase of a luxury home is all about discretionary money, and they’re deciding to spend it based on the lifestyle they see that home bringing them.
For a lot of people the purchase of a home comes down to necessity – a family has three kids, so they say that they need a four bedroom home, and it needs to be close to the right schools, and be the right size for them. That’s important for some people. But when we look at the luxury market those issues are usually less important, and instead it’s about a home that offers something extra, and it always comes back to the lifestyle that it gives the owner.
So how does a real estate agent get started selling luxury homes?
According to Dusty it comes down to this:
“Thrive in excellence. … Do the best you can every single time.”
In other words, focus on making yourself and your marketing look amazing. What does that entail? Here’s what Dusty suggests:
“Don’t even think about taking your own photos. Get a professional photographer, a professional videographer, professional floor plan, get amazing brochures. I do full 20 to 36 page magazine brochures for every single listing, I have a private website for every single listing. I mean just go above and beyond where people would almost be embarrassed and like, “Oh come on, this is just a small condo!” But you say, “No, this is the largest asset that you own so I’m going to make it look perfect!”
Whether you’re selling a $20 million home, or a $200,000 condo, your marketing should reflect where you want to be with your business.
Because other people when they walk into an open house, when they’re seeing your pictures online, everything you do to market a house markets you as well. Which is great! Which is why listings are key. But you’re marketing this listing and it makes you look good as well.”
I think that’s great advice! So why is it important that each and every listing look phenomenal?
“The better you make the listing the better you look, with phenomenal photography, videography, out of the box marketing brochures, it overwhelms everyone. The seller’s happy, and the other agents in town start to see you and see the way you’re marketing, your catering events, and they start to respect you. They see you as luxurious before you even are luxurious.
So it will quickly escalate. If you treat every single listing, buyer and client as if they’re a $10 or $20 million client, you will shortly be working with $10 to $20 million clients.”
I hope you can see why this matters. If you treat all of your listings, regardless of price, as if they are worth millions of dollars, then you’ll know exactly what to do when you are actually working with those top end clients.
But why should you treat those budget buyers and sellers so well?
“Let’s be real – even if you weren’t trying to climb the ladder your clients deserve it. I mean, I had a friend buy a $550,000 condo recently and okay, that’s not a $20 million sale, but that’s the biggest asset that they own. They went all chips in and they deserve the best representation in the world because, okay, it’s not the biggest payday for me, but it’s a big step for them and we have to respect the human aspect of that. Everyone will grow if do it like that, and you will grow.”
The real value of those buyers and sellers is not in terms of how much money they have in the bank, or what car they drive, but in the fact that they are people too. For them, that budget home is their mansion, it’s their castle, and we ought to show the utmost respect for them on those terms alone.
Of course, you can’t quite go to the same extent in all of your marketing when dealing with a $200,000 home, simply because the margins aren’t there, but in terms of photography and marketing you can definitely afford to choose quality photography and create compelling, gorgeous, client-grabbing marketing campaigns. That’s how you move up the ladder towards the marketing of luxury real estate, and finding the best real estate photographer in your area is a great place to start. Give them a call, have a chat, and find out how they can help you. You’ll find your local photographer listed right here at www.bestrealestatephotographers.com.
Why do you need a professional real estate photographer?
It’s a fair question, given that a real estate agent or a homeowner could save themselves a few hundred dollars by taking the photos themselves. It wasn’t too long ago that DIY real estate photos were widely accepted, but if you have a house to sell now then you can no longer get away with doing the photography yourself.
What’s changed in recent years?
It basically comes down to the exposure (no pun intended) that today’s buyers have had to high-quality photos online. They’re used to scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed and seeing great images and video, they look at their favorite Instagrammers and their YouTubers, and all they see are great photos and videos of food, kittens, people and houses.
In other words, buyers today are now much better educated on image quality than they used to be. So when they go to their local website to see what homes are currently for sale in their area they want to be impressed. They don’t bother clicking on the poorly presented home, or the bad photo, unless they are looking for a bargain. Instead, the buyers will quickly scroll through the images, and just like a Tinder user, they’ll ‘swipe right’ on the houses that get their attention, and they’ll ‘swipe left’ on the homes that look bland.
In fact, there’s an app called Doorsteps Swipe that works just like this, where homes are swiped right or left based on that main photo:
So when you put your home on the market today it’s so important that you make a really positive first impression. In fact, according to a study by Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, it takes less than 50 milliseconds to form a first impression, and that’s going to be largely dictated by the visual elements the viewer sees, not the written elements since they don’t have time to read that much in just a fraction of a second.
That first impression used to come from an actual visit to the home, but these days it’s the photos, the 3D tour where the buyer can move around the entire home, and the video tour.
Your photos have to look amazing, and it’s not just about hiring any professional photographer. For example, you wouldn’t want to hire a local wedding photographer, or a news journalist. As we’ve mentioned in another blog post, “Why you need the right photographer for the job“, there’s no guarantee at all that someone who specializes in one type of photography is going to excel at photographing real estate.
Instead, you want to look for a photographer that is a real estate photography specialist. They might cost a little more than an inexperienced photographer, but the benefits for you to have more buyers asking about your home will make it all worthwhile.
Video tours are amazing, but Tom also mentions the importance of using Facebook Live as a way of video streaming.
What can real estate agents do with a Facebook Live video?
Well, you answer the questions and concerns that people in your area have when it comes to buying and selling real estate. How do you find that? You ask them, and it’s as easy as posting an image or a post on your Facebook Page, and say, “What scares you the most about buying and selling real estate?” Use all of the feedback they give you to create lots of lots of small, simple videos of you addressing those concerns.
Still not sure about video?
“Google said that 85% of the world’s content will be video by 2019.” – Tom Ferry
That’s a huge number, but there’s a reason for that:
“The business argument for using more video is simple: it works.
The Web Video Marketing Council (WVM) says online video has become a crucial part of the sales and marketing programmes for most business-to-business (b2b) organisations, with 96% of those surveyed saying they now engage in video content marketing. Nearly three-quarters report a positive impact on their marketing results.”
What else do real estate agents need to do to improve their marketing in 2018?
I’m going to mention something else here, and it’s this:
Use professional photography on every listing. Every. Single Listing.
I say that because there’s no point in having the best video of a home you’re selling if the photos make the home look like a deep, dark cave, like this listing from ‘Terrible Real Estate Agent Photos‘:
And there’s no point doing a weekly live video stream on Facebook and getting 10,000 Likes on your Facebook Page if your listings look awful. Why?
Because you need to be consistent in the message that you’re sending out there!
Buyers and sellers love watching videos (as long as they’re interesting), but if your video looks really slick and you’ve got people laughing along with you and learning more about the property market in your area, but your photos look awful, then it’s not going to have flow-on benefits for you.
In fact, even if only some of your photos look bad then people are going to think, “I expected more from this agent!” and you’ll undo all of that great work you built up with your videos!
So start doing more videos, but back that up with high-quality real estate photography.
How do you sell a home in today’s market when the visual elements of a real estate marketing campaign are so important?
I came across this video from White Orchid, a home staging company, and they have some good things to say:
How to Sell Real Estate in 2017 - YouTube
According to this video from home staging business owner John Matthews:
“Here’s the simple formula: when you stage a home for sale the photography looks awesome. And when the photography looks awesome, people view that home online. When they view a beautifully staged home online, they visit, they fall in love, and they make offers.”
I think that’s really important. If you’ve organized a professional real estate photographer to come and photograph a home you’re selling then that’s great! Top quality photography makes a real difference and can help enormously with the sale.
However, staging that home is also incredibly influential, since a beautifully photographed home that is poorly presented will not do nearly as well as a home that is perfectly presented inside and out.
To really make this point John says:
“Other than pricing it right, home staging and professional photography are the most important factors in selling real estate today.”
It’s not hard to understand the importance of this.
Let me give you an illustration:
Let’s suppose there are two homes in the same street, and one is owned by the Smith family and the other by the Brown family. The homes are practically identical in their layout, each with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
The Smith family home is neat enough, although with two young kids there is a bit of clutter around the home, and the furnishings are rather dated. The real estate agent they hired always does his own photos, and the images are somewhat dark inside, the colors aren’t right, and they look like they were taken in a hurry.
The Brown family also have two children, but their agent encouraged them to have a professional home staging company prepare their home, using a mix of the Brown’s furniture together with special pieces brought in by the stager. Their master bedroom, and the main living and dining areas, look practically brand new, with wonderful decorative pieces, stunning cushions, and beautiful chairs. The agent followed that up by bringing in one of the best photographers in their area, they did a photo shoot at twilight, and the home looks incredible.
Now both the Smith home and the Brown home are on the market at the same time, and both homes have the same advertised sale price.
Which one do you think will attract more interest from buyers looking in that particular price bracket – will it be the Smith home, which is presented in a very average sort of way and the photos are poor, or the Brown home, which is perfectly staged and features amazing photography?
Clearly the Brown home is going to do much better, which further adds to the point made in the video above that home staging and professional photography are big factors that influence the time on market and the final sale price for a home, regardless of the property market.
So what do you need to do?
Home staging tips when selling a home:
Hiring a professional staging company to prepare your home is ideal, but if you can’t do that then you can certainly do a lot yourself to prepare a home for sale.
Here are a few simple staging tips from professional home stager Tori Toth:
7 Inexpensive Ways to Staging a Home by Tori Toth - YouTube
Here are Tori’s suggestions:
Tip #1: Declutter – “Get creative with storage solutions”.
Tip #2: Start packing – “Pack away items you will not need immediately over the next few months.”
Tip #3: Clean up – “Giving your entire house a wash from top down so it sparkles is a must when preparing a home for sale.”
Tip #4: Handle repairs – “If you have small repair projects around the home … complete them before going on the market.”
Tip #5: Painting – “Make the home look fresh and clean.”
Tip #6: Reuse items – “Play with rearranging furnishings that may maximize square footage and improve traffic patterns.”
Tip #7: Curb appeal – “Add some seasonal flowers, a new mat, and a wreath to welcome buyers up to your front door.”
Top 10 real estate staging tips:
Top 10 Inexpensive Real Estate Staging Tips - Staging Your Home To Sell Fast - YouTube
The tips included in the video above are:
#1: Make a first impression so that the exterior of your home looks great as people approach it.
#2: Declutter your entire home – “If it’s smaller than a basketball it probably needs to go somewhere.”
#3: Impersonal works, and that’s because the buyer wants to imagine themselves living there.
#4: Keep it fresh by making sure there aren’t any unpleasant odours.
#5: Declare a war on grime by cleaning the home like it’s never been cleaned before.
#6: Hire a handyman to take care of all the little odd jobs around the home.
#7: Colored up with fresh paint in key rooms and the front door.
#8: Reduce furniture so that there is more open space to make the rooms look bigger.
#9: Light it up by washing all of the windows to add 30% more light, and replace low wattage bulbs with brighter lights.
#10: Add a touch of humanity by bringing in some fresh plants or flowers in a vase.
He summarizes this by saying this great line:
“The way we live in a home doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best way to present it to the world.”
I think it’s important to remember that, because if we don’t have a perfectly staged home right now while we are still living there then that’s not a bad thing – we live in our homes and that’s fine. However, when it’s time to sell a home then we need to see it as no longer a home, but as an item that needs to be sold. Taking the time to present it the right way can have a big, big impact upon the final sale price that you achieve.
How familiar are you with real estate photography and copyright law?
Here’s an interesting story about an internet entrepreneur who was successfully sued recently by a photographer. Why was he sued? Well, entrepreneur Dan used a photograph that he found when searching on Google Images, but unfortunately for him he forgot to check in with the owner of the photograph first.
When the photographer saw that Dan was using the image without permission he sought compensation from the entrepreneur, and although a settlement was reached outside of court (in June 2017), it meant that Dan had to pay the photographer $37,000 to cover the image use and court fees.
Now when most people go through something like this they’ll say:
“I now know I shouldn’t use images I find online. It’s my fault, and I’m going to be much more careful about image use from now on, and you should be, too.”
Except that’s not what this guy did. Here you can see him explain it in his own words:
I WAS SUED CAUSE OF SHOPIFY STORE - YouTube
As of today that video has had over 145,000 views, and it’s still growing since being posted a little over a week ago. So here’s what Dan says in this video:
To put it into context, the reason I was sued was because I used a picture that I found on Google Images. Now, I should have known better, yes, in my position I should know better. But, again, I never really thought that there are malicious people out there that […] maliciously put pictures on the Internet.
… It never ever said on the images that it can’t be used or anything like that
First of all, why would someone think that just because something is online that it suddenly becomes freely available?
People write content, they share articles, they advertise products and services, and they post photos that they’ve taken – if they want to do any of those things to promote their own business or another business online then they shouldn’t have to have a Terms & Conditions listed below each photo letting people know that the photos are copyrighted.
These images aren’t going to be the best, they’re not going to be super, super amazing images that are super high quality, but then you’re also not allowing yourself to be open to vulnerable attacks.
Now the reason I was open to a vulnerable lawsuit like this wasn’t because I used the photo, okay. Because let’s face it, I’m one of millions of sites out there that are going to Google Images and going and getting images, and guess what? I still do that with little graphics here and there. So it didn’t deter me from still doing it, it’s just that there are people out there who will target you maliciously and go out and sue you for what you have.
It does seem a little strange that he is positioning himself as the victim in this, when it would seem as though the photographer is the victimand they are simply seeking fair compensation for the work they created.
He also acknowledges that the images that are freely available through Creative Commons aren’t that great, and seems to imply that the good quality images are the ones that are up on Google Images, and they show up there only because they were posted on the website of a photographer or some other seller of products or services. In other words, the stuff that normally costs money to have a professional shoot it is the really good stuff. It doesn’t seem to occur to him that the good stuff ought to be paid for, which I find very strange but it seems a lot of people do think this way.
So how does copyright law apply to real estate photography?
When it comes to the use of images in real estate marketing I see this playing out in two ways:
Some agents will take over a property listing from another agent and continue to use the same images, even if they haven’t paid for them, or they will find other images from the same condo or apartment complex and use photos of the common areas. So they’ll use photos of the pool, or the exterior, or the aerial photo of the building and use those images they find online in their own advertising without paying for the images or seeking approval from the photographer.
Agents will sometimes find local area images around a property, and assume that those images are free for them to use. So they might see another listing in their area where a professional photographer has taken some images of a local landmark (a river, park, school or tourist attraction) and just save those photos and use them in their own listing.
In both of these situations the real estate agent is technically breaking the law. To put it more bluntly, they are stealing. It is as if they walked into a store, took the photos off the shelf, stuffed them under their jacket and quietly walked out again. It might not seem that way to that agent, but that is what they are doing.
What should a real estate agent do to use photographs legally?
There are two ways to use photographs legally and avoid the kinds of problems mentioned earlier:
One way is to take the photo yourself. Now this possibly gets back to what we spoke about earlier in terms of lower quality images being present through Creative Commons. It’s one way to get the shot, but unless you’re a professional photographer then the image probably won’t be that great.
The other way is to hire a professional photographer. This gives you the images you need, and the photographer will give you permission to use those images in a particular way for a certain period of time. Just be sure that you understand what those limitations are, and if you need clarification simply ask your photographer and they will help you work things through. And if you need different usage terms then they can set those for you, though possibly with a different price for those new terms as well.
If you pay a photographer to take a photo can you use that same photo forever?
No you can’t, unless the photographer gives you permission to do that, and some will and some won’t. Generally if they do grant you unlimited use of the photo then you will be paying a higher price upfront for that particular image.
You see, photography is a lot like other media such as movies, music, and television shows. So let’s say you go to the shops and buy a copy of a recent movie on DVD. Can you then make copies of that DVD and sell it to the kids in your neighborhood? No, you can’t legally make copies of a DVD.
Can you broadcast that movie online, or upload it to YouTube for everyone to watch? No, you can’t legally share a DVD in that way, as the content is for personal use only. Being ‘personal use only’ means you can invite a few friends and family members over and sit down and watch it, but you can’t buy a movie on DVD for $12, then setup your own TV network, and broadcast that movie to the general public. If you want to broadcast a movie then you have to pay more for it in the first place because you’re going to make more from it through advertising and promotion of your TV network. In other words, that movie has more value to you as a TV network owner than it does to a family in the suburbs, so it’s only fair and reasonable that the TV network pays more for it.
How does this work with photography?
Well, if you want to use a photo for 6 months to market a single home then you’ll be paying the cheapest possible rate. That’s because the timeframe for which you’ll be using the image is limited, since the photos will only be used for as long as it takes to sell the home.
However, if you want to use a photo for five years to sell yourself then the timeframe for which you will use the photo increases, and therefore the fee that most photographers will charge increases as well.
Why do photographers charge extra for extended usage or what they call longer licensing terms?
In this video photographer Thomas Kuoh explains why a photographer charges more for broader image use:
Photographer Ripping You Off? LICENSING EXPLAINED - YouTube
Here are some key quotes from the above video:
Why don’t I charge one fee and then do the work and then everybody can use it for free?
Number one is that it’s not fair for the person who paid for the licensing for the commissioned shoot.
Number two, if my client doesn’t want anyone else to use the photos they will pay a ‘buy out fee’. And that potential ‘buy out fee’ is enough to make up for any potential loss of income for additional licensing.
So in essence I’m saving my clients money. I’m spreading the cost of that photo shoot out a little bit.
Photographers need to build viable businesses if they want to continue to work, and in order to do that they need to charge appropriate fees to cover their costs (and you might be surprised by how expensive it is to operate a photography business).
So in order to charge one fee for unlimited use forever and ever, or one fee and then make the photo freely available, then that initial fee would need to be very, very high. In order to keep that cost down, the photographer charges a fee by the amount of use a photo gets.
Think of it like a bar or a pub – they usually don’t have an admission fee of $100 with unlimited drinks to their patrons. That’s because some patrons want lots of drinks, and others just want one drink. So they charge each patron a small fee for each drink that they buy. Photography licensing works the same way – each person who wants to use the photo pays a smaller fee, depending on how long they want to use the photo for.
Thomas goes on to say:
Why wouldn’t I want to let (a third party) use the work (without paying extra)? … Well, it depends. Is the benefit the same for you as it is for me? If you’re a business and wanting to use my work to market your business then perhaps it’s not a direct return on investment, but having high quality photography on your site builds trust with your clients and they feel more comfortable buying from you. So there’s a value there. I’m providing value to your business, and of course I appreciate any free advertising I receive, but that should be in addition to the proper licensing and not instead of.
In other words if the client, and let’s say it’s an interior designer, wanted to use the images forever then the photographer would need to charge that interior designer their top rate. However, if the interior designer only wanted to use that image for 12 months then the photographer would charge them far less, because the image now has less value for the interior designer.
Thomas goes on to compare the value of a photo sitting in a closet compared with the value of a photo that’s on the cover of Time Magazine. It might be the same image, but in one situation no-one sees it and the photo is worth nothing, but in the other situation that photo will be seen by millions of people and potentially make a lot of money, and is therefore worth a lot more:
… No matter what there has to be a ‘win-win’, and it’s all about a negotiation. … So if I can help another business grow, then I will have a client for life. And if your photographer has that mindset, then you’re golden.
So I hope that helps to explain image licensing.
However, if it’s still not clear for you then that’s okay – just remember that an image created by your local real estate photographer is treated just the same as a Top 10 hit from a local hip-hop artist.
You can’t do whatever you want to do with the music created by the musician, and you can’t do whatever you want with the photo created by the photographer.
Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976, photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation.
Photographers have the exclusive right to reproduce their photographs (right to control the making of copies).
Unless you have permission from the photographer, you can’t copy, distribute (no scanning and sending them to others), publicly display (no putting them online), or create derivative works from photographs.
Copyright infringements—reproducing photos without permission—can result in civil and criminal penalties.
Real estate agent Peter Lorimer has some advice for agents when it comes to why they are worth their commission:
Not Reducing Commission | Magic Minute | Real Estate Tips - YouTube
According to Peter,
“If you are an agent who really goes above and beyond, and you know who I’m talking to here, I mean agents that don’t do this – “Yes Mrs Brown, we’ll just take a few snaps (with my phone), and we’ll put you on the market next Friday.”
I’m talking about people that hire professional photographers, professional videographers, that do beautiful graphics, that do beautiful websites, and drone shoots. You guys, you’re worth every penny.”
In other words, the professional real estate agent knows the value in working with others who are professional at what they do. Those are the agents who earn their commission. However, a seller who selects their agent based on a lower commission fee is not the kind of client that a professional real estate agent wants or needs to be working with:
“If a seller’s focus is purely how cheap they can get their agent, and you are an agent who prides themselves on going way above and beyond, and giving 200 percent or more, maybe you should walk away from that listing. I have, many, many, many times.”
I think that’s a brave but necessary thing to do. I know within my business that not every potential client is an ideal for me and what I do, and that’s because some of them want a low-cost service rather than a high-value service. And that’s okay because everyone is different, but it helps to recognize that this is possible in a world with people who appreciate different things, and that some people understand the value of a wise investment in different ways.
So how can an agent who is doing exceptional photography and amazing marketing use that to pickup more listings?
“Those of us who really go above and beyond (then) when you’re sitting with your sellers trying to get that listing appointment, show them the videos, show them the 3d tours, show them anything and everything. And above all else, show them evidence of houses you’ve sold.”
This is very clever, because what this does is it elicits an emotional response from the quality photography and videos, and it brings on a numbers response based on the properties that have been sold, especially if any of those listings were sold after being previously listed with another agent that used low-quality real estate photography.
So those real estate agents who know that investing in quality photography works for them then their focus needs to be on showing that point of difference to their potential sellers.
Are you the type of real estate agent that does hire professional photographers, videographers and others to create your marketing campaigns?
Or are you more likely to do that yourself in order to save a few dollars?
And if that’s the case, are you prepared to say to a potential seller that the reason why you don’t hire a professional real estate photographer or videographer is because you would rather keep a few extra dollars in your pocket?
Should Real Estate Agents Hire a Photographer - YouTube
“You’re really doing the sellers a disservice if you don’t have first-class, top notch photographs.”
Josh Rogers is a real estate agent in Jacksonville, Florida, and he really gets it. He hires a photographer for every listing, not just the high-end homes, which is a mistake some agents make.
So according to Josh, how does professional real estate photography help the agent?
Well, he says it “makes you look like a rock star“, and I think that’s a really big point that a lot of real estate agents miss. They make the mistake of thinking that the photos are only for the sale of the home, but really, they sell the agent!
“And keep in mind as other people are considering selling their homes they’re on Zillow looking at other homes listed in their neighborhood, and if you have poor quality pictures on your listing, what’s the likelihood of them reaching out to you and asking you to list their home?
I’ve had people specifically reach out to me and say, ‘We’ve seen your photographs – you do an amazing job, and your properties look great. Can you come talk to us about selling our house?”
I mean, is that not the perfect conversation that every real estate agent wants to hear? Surely that’s what you want, and that’s what agents who use top quality photography experience.
“Hiring a professional photographer for listings is a must”
In the video below trainer Mike Krein is chatting with real estate broker Jennifer Clark from Orange City in Florida:
Free Broker School: Hiring a professional real estate photographer for listings is a must. - YouTube
One of the things that Jennifer mentions in this interview is this:
“We brought on a professional photographer to go out and photograph all of our houses … and it’s made a huge difference.”
When a real estate business gets it right with their photography they do see a difference in their sales figures. Professional real estate photography is not just an optional add-on that really can’t be quantified, but something that dramatically impacts upon a real estate business in a positive way:
“So the question is, ‘Should you hire a professional photographer to do your houses?’, and the answer is ‘Yes, yes and yes!'”
The presenter Mike Krein goes on to talk about a study that was done that tested people in lab conditions on what got them most engaged with a property listing online, and they found:
“They look at the picture first … then the data, then the remarks. The better the picture was the more likely they were to read it, and to click.”
I don’t think we really needed a study to tell us this, but it is interesting to see the influence that the first image a potential buyer sees, the ‘hero shot’, has such an influence on whether or not that buyer even looks at that listing.
Mike goes on to say that “The more pictures the better,” but that is absolutely not true. It’s not the number of pictures that helps at all, but the quality of the images used, which is why it’s so important to hire a high quality photographer, and not just hire the cheapest real estate photographer in town.
What an agent or home seller might want to do instead of including 50 photos is to consider incorporating a floorplan into their marketing mix, and Mike goes on to talk about the benefit of having a floorplan:
“The one thing nobody ever puts up is a floorplan. Buyers love it to death when they can see the floorplan. Because with the pictures they can’t tell how it’s laid out. But if you can get floorplans on the house, and they add that up there, that is a huge thing and nobody does it. You will double or quadruple your traffic and leads.”
Floorplans may not be a popular marketing tool where he is, but in some areas floorplans are very common, and the reason why is that buyers in those areas have come to expect a floorplan when previewing a property listing online. But for those areas where floorplans are not used they can be something unique that gives any listing an edge.
Get the best photos + a floorplan:
If I was selling my home I would have 10 to 20 photos, no more than that, and I would include a floorplan because the images will provide the emotional connection, and the floorplan will sell the logical connection. With both working together you are reaching to the emotional side and the logical side of your potential buyers, which means you’ve got all of your bases covered.
The article starts by talking about how people who are looking for an agent or a new home go online these days to look at images of homes:
“That means that the photos of your listing need to capture the true beauty of the property, whether it’s a one-bedroom condo in the city center, or a sprawling ranch situated on acres of gorgeous landscaping.”
I think that’s a key point – the photos matter for every home, regardless of the price point and regardless of the size of the home. Every real estate listing is looking for a buyer, and therefore every property needs to impress someone enough that they want to pay thousands or even millions of dollars to purchase it.
The photos are always at the start of that decision-making process, and if they aren’t impressive enough then far less people will even start on that journey toward considering that particular property.
The writer of the article on professional photography then goes on to give four reasons why professional photography “is worth every penny when it comes to securing the best price for your listings”, and they are:
The pros have the proper equipment.
That’s a good point, because a lot of photographers will be carrying very expensive gear around with them, and that’s because the quality of the gear impacts upon the quality of the photography. However, they’ve also invested a lot of time into knowing how to best make use of that camera gear.
The pros save you time.
A lot of real estate agents are incredibly busy responding to enquiries, marketing their own services, and handling all that they have to do. The last thing they need is to squeeze yet another activity into their day, so it pays to outsource the photography to someone else who is going to do a far better job.
The pros take care of the technology.
They mention the way in which a professional photographer can size the images correctly for online marketing, and how they can also prepare virtual tours and other marketing tools as well.
The pros deliver a premium product.
This is where professional photography really stands out, and this article correctly points out that a photographer has the skills to make even a small property look amazing. They do that through knowledge and experience, creatively using light and smart image compositions to make a home, any home, look its very best.
Professional photography really makes a difference, and here’s why:
“Since it’s your job to secure top-dollar for your client, professional photography is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.”
Home sellers hire real estate agents to achieve the best possible outcome for the sale of their home, and professional photography plays an absolutely essential role in achieving that desired outcome. But it’s not just any photography – it has to be amazing photography! An agent or homeowner who works with a photographer that creates merely average photos in order to save a few extra dollars is not going to ‘wow’ prospective buyers in the same way that a high-quality photographer will be able to do.
If you’re a real estate agent you know how important it is to have the right people around you. You might work largely on your own, but you still have other people do various tasks for you, whether it’s in regard to researching the latest sales data, legal matters, marketing, or sales training.
One of the most important people in that team of yours will be the real estate photographer.
Why is the photographer so important?
Most people who are thinking of buying or selling a home start their research online, and when they go online they are going to be looking at property listings where the photography dominates. When a buyer is house shopping they are scrolling through the results of their search, and if the photography does not catch their eye and have that “wow” factor, they’ll move on to the next home … or the next real estate agent. You see, choosing a real estate agent is a little bit like choosing a home, in that the photography plays a big role in whether that home, or agent, even gets a second look.
So with that in mind, how does a real estate agent find the right real estate photography partner, someone who will help them win more listings and make more sales?
Having an appropriate list of questions can help, so let’s work through some of the best questions you need to be asking when assessing your current photographer, or when choosing a new one:
Question 1. Does the quality of their work match your brand?
Not all photographers produce the same level of quality, just as not all real estate agents provide the same service. Some are very amateurish, even though they are charging money for what they do, and others are highly professional, producing the kind of work you would expect to see in designer magazines. Look carefully at the quality of the photography, not the dollar value of the listings, and think about whether those images match up with what you want your clients to think of you. Do you want to be a high-end agent that provides the best service and top results for your sellers? If so, then you need a premium-quality photographer, and not one of the cheapest you can find.
Question 2. Do they charge more than other photographers in your area?
A photographer at or near the bottom of the pricing scale is there for a reason – either they don’t really know what they are doing when it comes to photography and feel they should charge accordingly, they don’t know their business very well and don’t understand their cost of sales (and probably won’t last long as a business), or they are new at what they do and are still experimenting. When you hire a photographer that charges more than the bottom feeders then you are more likely to have a photographer that is experienced, and knows how to handle agents, difficult homeowners, and a tough photographic situation. That’s who you want on your team.
Question 3. Are they a small, local business?
You’re probably aware of the large real estate photography companies that operate nationwide, but what you may not be aware of is that some of them pay low wages to their staff, resulting in a high turnover of people. You often never know who is going to turn up, and the photographer that does arrive is often working to a cookie-cutter approach, and they have little investment in ensuring that they deliver a high-quality product to you. Since they aren’t being paid very much, they just want to get in and get out as quickly as they can.
On the other hand, the photographer that owns and runs their own business obviously has a lot more to lose, and they will work hard to make sure their clients receive the very best service. This photographer then becomes someone you can work with long-term, and they will get to know your specific needs and preferences. This is the kind of partnership that is valuable to you, and you’ll benefit from having someone that is committed to delivering a great result for you because they know that when you win, they win.
Question 4. Can you work well with them?
It’s all very well to have a photographer that is excellent at photography, but if they are difficult to work with, or arrogant, or poor communicators, then that can make for a difficult business relationship. To avoid these problems make sure the photographer you partner with is compatible with you, and whom you find easy to work with.
Question 5. Can they handle difficult situations?
We all know that real estate sales and photo shoots don’t always go to plan. Sometimes the homeowner isn’t ready, or the weather doesn’t cooperate, or the home is arranged or laid out in a difficult way. Some photographers can handle easy situations just fine, but when the sun is streaming in to the dining room, there’s a dark area around the corner and a stunning view outside, not all photographers can cope with that kind of problem. This leaves you as the real estate agent with less than optimal images. Make sure your photographer is not fussed when things go wrong, and they’re simply able to make things right.
That’s not to say that the answer to every situation is, “just Photoshop that out”, because sometimes that doesn’t work either (sometimes it’s not possible to remove a great big mess in Photoshop). But what it does mean is that they are willing to work hard and they know how to handle situations when they aren’t perfect.
Question 6. Do they understand the real estate market?
A photographer that really understands the ins and outs of the real estate game and how real estate marketing works is extremely valuable to you as an agent. If they also know what’s currently going on in the real estate market in your area, and what features of a home are most appreciated by buyers, then they are going to be able to create imagery that best captures those features within your listings.
Question 7. Do they respond promptly?
There are times when you’re being pushed to get things through quickly, or you’re currently with an owner and you need to get that photo shoot booked. That’s when you need a prompt response from your photographer, and if they aren’t good at getting back to you and keep you waiting for days and days then that makes your job a whole lot harder.
Just remember, though, that photographers are people too, and they can’t always reply within three minutes. They have other clients, they have families, and sometimes they even sleep, so be understanding of their needs as well.