How to Hire a Real Estate Photographer

By
Real Estate Agent with Georgia Elite Realty
https://activerain.com/droplet/4wvr

As both a Real Estate Agent and a Atlanta Real Estate Photographer, I know how important great images are in a marketplace in which 90% of Buyers are online.  The internet has empowered Buyers and Sellers with so much information that some circles believe that the days of the "Full Service Real Estate Agent" are numbered.  I, on the other hand, believe that the agents role in helping people buy and sell homes is simply evolving rather than diminishing all together.  Regardless of our future, one area that every listing agent should address now is the quality of the media they use to market homes and attract buyers.  This blog post will discuss some very important distinctions Listing Agents, For Sale By Owners, Investors and really anyone wanting to maximize the exposure of their property, should make when hiring a photographer.

 

Atlanta Real Estate Photographer Iran Watson 770-363-3350"So where do we start?"  I think this is a good time to mention that the most important qualification is not what brand of camera they use or how much it costs!  As much as new technology has advanced what we are able to do in the medium of photography it has hardly eliminated the need for "Good Ol' Fashioned Know-How".  The gear a photographer uses is really secondary to what they are able to accomplish with the equipment they have.  There are some minimum standards but as long as the photographer is producing images that are up to your standards it really doesn't matter how much they paid for or how well their particular model camera reviewed. What is important is that you know enough to be able to communicate "the look" you are after and then be able to ask the right questions to discern if your prospective photog can deliver.

Here are some questions you might find valuable in your information gathering process:

 

Does your equipment allow you to capture a scene in the 16-24mm effective focal length range?  Although the effective focal length will vary depending on the camera, make sure the photographer is equipped to shoot somewhere close to this range.  In order to photograph the tight spaces that are often found in interiors you need a wide-angle lens.  A word of caution however, going too wide can create visual distortion of straight lines and "squish" the middle of the image.  This is even more pronounced on cheap wide angle lenses.  Its important that the photographer not only have the ability to shoot ultra wide, but also know how to use it and when not too.

Do you do any digital editing or post processing to optimize the images?  While this question is a little vague, it is important to know to what degree the the images will be processed, or "Retouched".  Resizing and adjusting the sharpness of the photo are at minimum what should be done.  Ideally each image should be addressed individually as the defects will vary from picture to picture.  Every photo has the potential to be even better than what came right out of the camera.  In some cases, dramatically better.  Whether or not you choose to make it so is your call in who you choose to hire.  Just know proficiency in this area of digital photography is a real game changer.

Do you use supplemental, on-site lighting?  One of the most effective tools a real estate photographer uses also happens to be one of the hardest to master, supplemental lighting.  A photographer using multiple external flashes (also called Strobes) and/or other continuous light sources is capable of capturing scenes in a manner that is just not achievable using only available light.  Aspects like crystal clear window views, evenly lit adjacent rooms and consistent color casts are extremely difficult to capture without using additional lighting.  Photographers that demonstrate a high level of skill in this area are considered by their clients and peers to be a rare and valuable asset to have around.

Do you "Stage" the scenes or do you capture them "As-Is"?  Taking the time make adjustments on-site is a tedious and critical element to getting the best possible image.  Whether it's offering full blown home staging or just minor decluttering, being able to stage a photo allows the image to reach new potential.  Remember, ultra-wide, crystal clear views of a cluttered room will still looked cluttered, although potentially more so because now the clutter is in high def! 

Do you include a website and/or virtual tour in addition to the photos?  Some photographers incorporate a turn-key custom website and virtual tour link that displays your photos in a Hi-Def Photo gallery as well as Slideshow format.  These sites can act as a virtual tour link for the MLS as well as double as a single property website containing all the important information about the property.  If you are in need of a complete online marketing package, as opposed to just pictures, this is a great solution.

What other types of services do you offer?  There is so much more to real estate photography than ultra wide-angle shots.  Twilight and Dusk images, Pole Aerial Photography, Panoramas, Lifestyle images, Time-Lapse, Creative Light Painting...  Some photography services can offer some or all of those in addition to just pictures.

 

Atlanta Real Estate Photography by Iran Watson 770-363-3350
Once you have gathered enough information to understand the scope of work any given real estate photographer will provide, you can then determine if their price reflects their value proposition.  

Sometimes fast and cheap is all that is required.  Other times a more comprehensive approach is needed and the property justifies calling in a true specialist.  Remember, despite the relatively short lifespan listing photos have they play a crucial role in setting the Buyers early expectations about a property.  A "good feeling about this one" perspective from a Buyer going into a showing is exactly the outlook you want them to have.  As long as the property delivers once they arrive in person, you are one step closer to making a deal.

If you are an Atlanta real estate agent, atlanta fsbo or atlanta investor I would love to show you how a real estate photography specialist can take your marketing to the next level.  I offer full service, custom photography packages for all types of real estate in Atlanta and the surrounding areas.  Are you looking for a particular style or look?  I can do it!  Call now. 770-363-3350


 

 

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Andrzej Niemyjski 12/02/2010 02:22 AM
Topic:
Home Selling
Location:
Georgia Cobb County Marietta
Groups:
Realtors®
Photography
Georgia Real Estate
Home Staging
Tips and Techniques for Better Real Estate Photography
Tags:
listing photos
real estate photography
real estate photographer in marietta
real estate photographer in atlanta

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Rainmaker
125,653
Iran Watson
Georgia Elite Realty - Marietta, GA
Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer

@Stan - "pumped up curb appeal"!  I love it!

Dec 01, 2010 03:04 PM #2
Rainmaker
248,047
Matt Grohe
RE/MAX Concepts - Des Moines, IA
Serving the metro since 2003

Iran: Some very well thought out questions to ask a photographer. Consideration should go well beyond equipment considerations.

Dec 01, 2010 03:17 PM #3
Rainer
32,493
Suzie Mills
Century 21 Wildwood Properties - Twain Harte, CA

My mentor bought a wide angle camera at Century 21 convention a few years back and her pics she posts on the MLS  and her vitual tours are better than most. I know hardly compares to a professional, but I can tell the difference.    Will have to remember the pumped up curb appeal comment

Dec 01, 2010 03:18 PM #4
Rainmaker
125,653
Iran Watson
Georgia Elite Realty - Marietta, GA
Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer

@Matt - Thanks.  A good photographer can bring a lot of value to the table.

@Suzie - A good wide angle lens/camera is definitely a step in the right direction.  Once she really gets the hang of it, see's just gonna want more. 

Dec 01, 2010 03:26 PM #5
Ambassador
2,352,394
Fred Griffin, on leave of absence from ActiveRain
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Iran, photos are everything in the Internet Visual Age.   Thanks for the great post, and the encouragement to Hire a Professional.

 

Dec 01, 2010 04:05 PM #6
Rainer
53,227
Eric Lee
Realty Executives - Phoenix, AZ
e-PRO, SFR - Phoenix, AZ

Done! You're hired! When can you fly out to Phoenix to shoot listings?

GOod post - I'm looking at buying DXO Optics Pro. Seems to get great reviews and they have a special for $100 through 12/25.

Dec 01, 2010 04:52 PM #7
Rainmaker
125,653
Iran Watson
Georgia Elite Realty - Marietta, GA
Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer

@Fred - Your welcome.  Thanks for commenting.

@Eric - Hahaha thanks.  DXO Optics is worth $100, its a great program, especially for correcting geometry and the camera/lens profiles.   

Dec 01, 2010 05:03 PM #8
Rainer
145,003
Andrzej Niemyjski
Realty One Group - Sun City West, AZ

Is there a trial version of DXO Optics?  I would like to play around with it.

 

I would imagine you would fly to Phoenix Iran if the price is right.

Dec 02, 2010 01:36 AM #9
Rainer
286,656
Bill Wilson
Paradigm AdvantEdge - Edmond, OK

We talk about 'curb appeal' a lot in real estate. I think now we need to be talking about 'web appeal' which is what real estate photography is all about.

Nice post.

Dec 02, 2010 02:33 AM #10
Rainer
53,227
Eric Lee
Realty Executives - Phoenix, AZ
e-PRO, SFR - Phoenix, AZ

@Andrzej - there is a 30 day free trial version of DXO Optics and through 12/25 they are having a special on the full version - $99 for the Standard version and $169 for Elite depending on which version supports your camera.

http://www.dxo.com/intl/photo/dxo_optics_pro/introduction

Dec 02, 2010 04:26 AM #11
Rainmaker
125,653
Iran Watson
Georgia Elite Realty - Marietta, GA
Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer

@ Andrzej - Yes there is a free trial version, see Eric's comment below.

@ Bill - You're right, web appeal is the new curb appeal.

@Eric - Thanks for the info!

Dec 02, 2010 04:30 AM #12
Rainer
30,660
Joshua Vensel
VENVISIO - Real Estate Photography - Atlanta, GA - Marietta, GA

Iran, Great post!  As a fellow RE photographer, I can say I fully agree with you on these points and that you represent the profession well.  Great job on the "in action" photos you included too; That's something I've wanted to add to my own site for a while.  Will you be at RainCamp Atlanta next week?  If so, I look forward to seeing you there! 

Dec 03, 2010 03:11 AM #13
Rainmaker
125,653
Iran Watson
Georgia Elite Realty - Marietta, GA
Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer

Thanks Joshua.  I will be at Rain camp next week.  I went to the one in Charlotte last month and it was a great event.  See you there!

Dec 03, 2010 03:48 PM #14
Rainmaker
78,371
Glenda Cherry
Keller Williams Realty - Herndon, VA
Realtor / Photographer

Iran, I was writing a very similar blog post in my head a couple of weeks ago ... before I could get it down on paper, you stole the idea right out of my head!  Great post!

Dec 16, 2010 07:45 AM #15
Rainmaker
125,653
Iran Watson
Georgia Elite Realty - Marietta, GA
Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer

Thanks Glenda!  So did I cover everything?  Would you care to add anything to my list?

Dec 16, 2010 01:56 PM #16
Rainmaker
78,371
Glenda Cherry
Keller Williams Realty - Herndon, VA
Realtor / Photographer

I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't actually read it yet ... just kind of skimmed it.  I've been up to my ears in post-processing!  But it's on my list of things to do this weekend.  :-)

Dec 17, 2010 07:57 AM #17
Rainmaker
125,653
Iran Watson
Georgia Elite Realty - Marietta, GA
Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer

Get back to me when you do, I'd like to get your input.

Dec 17, 2010 08:05 AM #18
Rainer
18,933
Vincent Cascio
Black Hawk Virtual Media - Reno, NV

Iran,

Your post is invigorating.  I've been a photographer for over 30 years and started a Real Estate photography business 2 years ago.  I have studied Real Estate to become an agent as well as appraisal so I could be the best in the business, but I decided that my love for photography was stronger.

You post really hit home with me and I wish more agents/brokers would come to understand the need for good images of their listings.  It's been to many times that an agent would take some photos and post them on their site that is out of focus, dark lighting, or even photos of blank walls.

I can understand trying to save money, but isn't the goal to sell the home and project it in the best possible way?  To many times I'm told that they have listings that are not selling because of the market.  I believe when a buyer sees the really bad photos they move on to more interesting listings - ones with images that show off the home.  The way it should be in this market, draw the buyer to the home with great images.

You also mention that having the right equipment is important.  It is but when I have to carry 3 sets of lights and other equipment from room to room it takes longer to shoot.  The agent gets pushy and wants to hurry me up.  So I found a lighting method that gives me faster shooting times and I'm able to shoot a 3,000 + ft home in less than 4 hours.

One thing I always do is show up early and shoot the front of the home and sometimes shoot the back yard prior to the agent arriving.  It's a great time saver.

If a home is not furnished, one of the products I offer is Staging via software.  It's a great tool but it costs me - $40 per room.  I can't make a profit at these prices so I sell it at cost just to keep the listing agent happy. I do offer a lot of other add on products and try to incorporate them into what I do.  I find that bringing to much to the table at one time confuses the sale and possibly losing the photo shoot.

Most of the time the listing agent really doesn't know what they want.  I have to be able to deliver good images and be creative at the same time.  I love what I do and I hope it shows.  The only problem I have when doing a shoot is when an agent tells me "this is what I want" then the results are not as good as I would like. 

Thank you for the great post -

Dec 21, 2010 05:49 AM #19
Rainmaker
647,093
Kathy Sheehan
Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021 - Atlanta, GA
Senior Loan Officer

A picture is worth a 1000 words!  Thanks for some great ideas.

Jan 11, 2011 10:01 AM #20
Rainer
18,933
Vincent Cascio
Black Hawk Virtual Media - Reno, NV

Iran,

I thought I would come back and say a few more things about Real Estate photography.  Or marketing on the web with good photographs.

75% pf the us population is online / 90% of home buyers searched for homes online in 2009 / 86% of home buyers us a Real Estate agent to make a home purchase.

In May of 2010 Realestate online sites had over 175,000,000 visits.

I could throw more stats out but my point is - knowing these stats why would you take a chance with terrible photographs of your listings?  It's painful to see a great home with bad photographs on the web.  The agents are full of BEANS!

Beans

 

Jan 20, 2011 06:56 AM #21
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Rainmaker
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Iran Watson

Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer
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