Marketing: Are photos really necessary?

Services for Real Estate Pros with StoneHome Photo & Video

By this point, I'm sure we've all heard it countless times: "98% of homebuyers who searched for a home on the Internet found photos to be among the most useful features of REALTOR® websites, according to the 2008 NAR Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers." (source:

But beyond the fact, what does that statistic tell you?

Think about it.

After the initial "I'm not surprised", you might think, "Hold on--if 98% of homebuyers find photos to be among the most useful feature in their search, why would they find MY photos--my listing--any more useful than another agents listings? How are my photos any better than the thousands of others out there? And, ultimately, why would a prospective home buyer buy my property?"

And that's what you should be thinking.

How are you differentiating yourself from the 30+ thousand realtors in and around the GTA? If you are snapping your own photos, do you really thinking that the thousands of potential buyers are going to stop at your listing when they see it? If the photos are cheaply made, your property better be cheap as well because people unfortunately judge first visually. 

First impressions count--don't take chances with them. For under $100, you can have professional looking photos of your listing that WILL be seen by your customers. Hiring someone to shoot your photos professionally will also save you the time it takes to travel to the property, shoot it with proper lighting and composition, drive back, upload, edit, export to MLS size, email your admin and have them post to your listing. We also provide a complimentary web gallery for you to share with your clients. This not only impresses your clients and prospects, but also makes you look more professional.

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Stone Home Photo + Video is a real estate photography and videography company serving the Toronto and GTA real estate community. We offer: Property photos, HD video tours, MLS photos, Virtual tours, Panoramas, High-resolution photo, Head shots/portraits, Feature sheets, Brochures, Fliers, & general Real estate marketing.  

Email us. Call us (416) 488-3295. Follow us: Twitter  LinkedIn YouTube



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Robert Solomon/Broker/Owner
I Net Realty Group, Inc. - Hudson, FL

This is all good info and give youa call in the near future.

Sep 10, 2009 02:28 AM #1
Greg Saffell
Tucson, AZ
Real Estate Professional Tucson, Oro Valley AZ

Peter, I know how important "good" photography can be when marketing real estate. I see the opposite all day long on the MLS, ads and flyer's. If an agent doesn't care to invest in a quality camera and learn how to use it, they should hire a professional do do the work.

Sep 10, 2009 03:14 AM #2
Peter - Toronto Real Estate Photo & Video
StoneHome Photo & Video - Toronto, ON

@ "I Net Realty Group": Thanks. If you do call or email, mention that you found me on activerain and I'll throw in a discount.

@Greg Saffell: Thanks for pointing this out. When I first got into photography over 10 years ago, I was like most people: a good camera=a good photo. It was a quick and expensive lesson. I bought a nice expensive camera and lenses, and then set out to shoot good photos. What happened? I shot crap photos. Why? Because I fell victim of the common misconception that all one needs is a quality camera to shoot good photos. The marketing seems to say this at least.  Anyway, yes, it was after much denial that I accepted that I had to learn how to use it, as you say. The learning curve is very steep and it's rather elusive because it seems soo easy just to point and click. OH boy, I feel for all realtors who spend thousands on gear only to produce the same low quality photos they were pumping out with their point and shoots. As you say, it's definitely a two-step formula: gear + learning. And, unfortunately, it's probably 95% learning and only 5% gear. That's the misconception.

Sep 10, 2009 03:40 AM #3
Jean Terry
Keller Williams Realty Spartanburg, S.C. - Spartanburg, SC

Hi and welcome to Active Rain, a great site to network, share, learn, and have fun. Good luck. And if you ever need an agent in the upstate of South Carolina, please call me.

Sep 10, 2009 03:29 PM #4
Yvette Gardner
Keller Williams Realty, Spartanburg, SC - Spartanburg, SC

Peter, Welcome to Active Rain and congratulations on your first post.  Hope you enjoy A/R as much as we do.

Sep 11, 2009 02:22 PM #5
The Trumm Team Omaha Homes for Sale, Real Estate
Keller Williams Greater Omaha - Omaha, NE

Welcome to ActiveRain!

If you would like a few tips on getting the most out of ActiveRain, simply follow these steps:

1. At the very bottom of this comment click "Omaha Real Estate & Omaha Homes for Sale - The Trumm Team (Alliance Real Estate)" which will take you to my profile.

2. Click My Blog

3. On the right hand side click the Tags dropdown menu and select "Welcome to Active Rain"

This will take you to my blog of how to get the most out of ActiveRain.

If you ever have any questions, just let me know.

Troy Trumm, Trumm Team - 402-943-9494, Omaha NE

Omaha Homes For Sale

Omaha Real Estate

Sep 12, 2009 12:57 AM #6
Peter - Toronto Real Estate Photo & Video
StoneHome Photo & Video - Toronto, ON

@Jean: Next time I'm buying in upstate South Carolina, I'll give you a call.  ;)

@Yvette and Dennis: So far I'm liking it.

@Omaha: Thanks for the tips Troy.

Sep 13, 2009 01:45 AM #7
Marcia Hawken
Downing-Frye Realty, Inc. - Naples, FL
Naples Luxury Specialist

Peter, It looks like you took the Active part of AR seriously.  Good posts.  I think the most important part of the process is the editing.  The other is when an agent takes a pic of a room, shooting out to the light outdoors.  This makes the interior so dark.  If you prefocus you can meter the interior and the light will be adjusted in the room. I don't think enough agents know how to do this, from all the dark photos I see on MLS. 

Oct 04, 2009 08:40 AM #8
Peter - Toronto Real Estate Photo & Video
StoneHome Photo & Video - Toronto, ON

Hi Marcia: Thanks. Unfortunately for many, metering is an alien concept. I think that most people expect their cameras to magically determine a proper exposure in any given situation. And while many times the auto setting does an OK job, there are times, for instance like your example when shooting from dark to bright areas, that the camera does not know what to do and so relies on the operator to make that choice. Yes, one tip amongst many is to learn how to meter your scene properly. But, again, that is just one factor.

Oct 04, 2009 12:38 PM #9
Heather Cook
Rooms in Bloom Staging & Design Inc. - Kitchener, ON
Quality Home Staging

Excellent post. We always tell our clients that the photos of their home online need to showcase their home so that buyers who are shopping online will be motivated to make an appointment to see it.

Here are some things we tell our clients:

1) Ensure the home is staged prior to pictures so that each space shows beautifully and get a professional photographer to take the shots - by using pros you ensure that the finished product looks great

2) Make the beds, put away the laundry, take all the everyday "stuff" off countertops and table tops

3) Toilet seats should be DOWN

4) Blinds up, drapes open - make each room look airy and bright

5) Don't let anyone get photographed in the pictures

6) Don't just show pictures of the yard!

7) Be choosy with which pictures go online - main floors and bedrooms are critical - if there is one room in the house which either wasn't ready for photographs or didn't photograph well then don't put it online

You only have between 5 - 10 seconds to make an impression on someone online. They shop fast and are brutal in their selections. To get a "first date" you need to make a great impression!

Nov 19, 2009 02:39 PM #10
Peter - Toronto Real Estate Photo & Video
StoneHome Photo & Video - Toronto, ON

Great points, Heather. I agree with all your points. I typically tell my clients to clear absolutely everything from kitchen and bathroom counters, but beyond that I leave it up to them. Yes, before I knew better, I made the mistake of photographing a washroom with the toilet seat up. I was very embarrassed and I was ready to return without charge just to reshoot the bathroom. :)  I used to have a list such as yours to give to clients. Maybe it's time they to implement another. 

By the way, I also do portfolio shoot of staging work. ;)

Nov 19, 2009 11:33 PM #11
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