Why are you NOT using a Professional Photographer?

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

Jigsaw puzzle of a question markI have to admit, I'm really enjoying the attention that professional photography and video have been getting as the real estate industry continues to make the shift toward becoming more and more of an online marketplace.  In 2010 alone I have been contacted by more agents about doing Atlanta Real Estate Photography than in my last 5 years in the business.  Despite this trend, it appears that the overwhelming majority of agents, home stagers and landlords (in my area anyway...) are still not working with a professional photographer.  I have my suspicions why, but I would like to hear what the always vocal AR community has to say.  So, I have a simple questions to ask.  

If you are not working with a professional photographer, what are your reasons?

Is it the price, is it the availability of talent, is it that you take good enough photos on your own...?  Whatever your reasons, I want to know why.  If you do use a photographer then of course your welcome to comment on how you feel about this topic as well.

Please, if you clicked to read this post, leave a comment and tell me why.  Even if it's just a few words I value your feedback.  Thanks!

 

 

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Anonymous
Vincent

Iran,

I, like you, am an agent and a photographer, so the question of using a professional photographer/videographer is non sequitur.  As far as video vs photography, they are the same; that is to say, they represent phases or points along the same continuum, and indisputably are both tools that should be used to market properties if one is to serve the client, AND one's self, adequately.

For me the issue is more about the forum for visually marketing real estate.  Does it do the property (i.e., photos and videos representing it) justice. 

It's also about ways of marketing photographic & videographic services, evolving technique and upgrading equipment and software as it becomes economically justifiable.  That would be the distinction between "professional" vs non-professional photography, irrespective of who does the shoot: how much enhancing/correction/editing is the doer capable of and under what range of conditions is the photographer capable of producing "usable" material?

Of course, all of this presupposes an eye capable of capturing perspectives of a property that are compelling.

Jan 02, 2011 09:19 PM #146
Rainmaker
1,115,910
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

I’m lucky that I happen to be married to a professional photographer, and I’m not that bad myself. I spend a lot of time and money on photography from 1978 to 1995 and picked it up again as a real estate agent. I think good photos are priceless.

Jan 08, 2011 02:18 PM #147
Rainer
46,913
Fay Kelley
Interdimensional Healing Light - New River, AZ
Alternative Healing With Crystal Energy

took these myself  :-) over on my blog  ...

http://activerain.com/blogsview/2098338/new-listing-sedona-az-3br-3-3-4-ba-593-900

Jan 25, 2011 12:13 PM #148
Rainmaker
78,371
Glenda Cherry
Keller Williams Realty - Herndon, VA
Realtor / Photographer

Fay, are you happy with these photos?  Or are you looking for some constructive criticism?

Jan 25, 2011 12:32 PM #149
Rainer
46,913
Fay Kelley
Interdimensional Healing Light - New River, AZ
Alternative Healing With Crystal Energy

Sure, I'll receive feedback !

Jan 25, 2011 12:36 PM #150
Rainmaker
78,371
Glenda Cherry
Keller Williams Realty - Herndon, VA
Realtor / Photographer

Okay ...

In the great room:  the ceiling fan should have been turned off; the room is too dark; and you left a sliver of uncropped area on the left side.  Working with a low res copy, here's what I was able to correct:

In the kitchen:  the white balance is off (too warm), there's a lack of contrast, and the horizontals are off:

Master Suite:  ceiling fan should be turned off; yellow color cast; needs a touch more saturation:

Master Bath:  yellow color cast; verticals off just a bit; needs more contrast; lights are blown out (can't fix the lights):

Your photos are much better than the average agent's ... your verticals are mostly good, which is half the battle.  You just need to work on composition and exposure.  Color casts are very difficult to combat so you might want to experiment with white balance settings in your camera.  Hope this helps!

Jan 25, 2011 01:22 PM #151
Rainer
46,913
Fay Kelley
Interdimensional Healing Light - New River, AZ
Alternative Healing With Crystal Energy

Very very helpful ... Thanks so much !   I appreciate you taking all of the time and energy to re-work the photos so that I can see visually the comparison.   BRAVA   Cheers,   Fay

Jan 25, 2011 02:08 PM #152
Rainer
5,982
Jane Haas
Buy A Little Time LLC - Sand Lake, FL

I think the same excuse realtors give for not using professional photographers is the same one FSBO's give for not using realtors!  When you put it into perspective, it's quite Ironic!  

Mar 13, 2011 09:19 AM #153
Rainmaker
2,005,150
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Southlake, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Can I be all things to all people - absolutely not. But I do the best I can with what I have. I don't hire a professional phographer because of the cost. If as a professional Realtor I got paid for all myservices, regardless of whether or not the property sold, then I would definitely consider paying for a professional photographer, if that's what the client wanted. But the truth is, a photographer gets paid for their work, a Realtor is always at risk of not getting paid. It's a gamble and we have to use our resources wisely.

When I take pictures, it helps me, the Realtor to really get a good look and to see what I need to do to market the property. Often times, it is through the lens that even I see things differently and I can point that out to the owners. I don't just snap random pictures. I put a lot of thought into it. Even before I had a digital camera, I took rolls of film and only selected the very best pictures for my listings. By snapping the picture myself, I see things that I might have missed - it helps me to focus on each part of the house individually and it helps me to analyze the property that needs to be sold from a different perspective.

Taking photos of the listing is the best part of the beginning of the process of putting a home on the market. I find it to be enjoyable and worthwhile. I then sit down with my clients and go over the photos. There was only one time in my career that a seller suggested I use a few of their photos and a few of mine. I agreed. As it turned out, the spouse was in Marketing and Advertising so her photos were excellent and it was a compliment to me, to let me use some of my own photos.

If I sold luxury homes or homes that required arial views or mansions, I wouldn't hesitate to use a professional photographer. But that has never happened in my life yet. While I appreciate the professional work of a professional photographer, I do the work myself because of the cost with no guaranteed income.

Mar 17, 2011 03:59 PM #154
Rainer
5,982
Jane Haas
Buy A Little Time LLC - Sand Lake, FL

Well, what has been happening to photographers, with everyone taking their own photos because they think we're too expensive, this is what is popping up all over the internet with regards to real estate:  http://zerocommish.com

Walmart mentality is going to kill everyone's business.

Mar 19, 2011 11:53 AM #155
Rainer
65,922
Evan Little
Surterre Properties - Santa Ana, CA
Eco, Live/Work, Sales and Management

There are too many unprofessional professional photographers whos services I'd like to avoid even if they were free.  Companies like eHome Tours or whatever you have in your market send out amateur people with basic cameras and they're in and OUT way too fast.  Leaving clutter in shots, not taking the time to reposition furniture, play with lighting, etc..  I spend a lot of time doing my own photography and it's worth it up until a certain price point and then it's time to call in the $500-1500 big guns to work their magic.

Jun 03, 2011 05:52 AM #156
Rainer
218,825
John Manuwal
Keller Williams Northwest Montana - Kalispell, MT
Kalispell Montana Agent and Photographer

This is for post #6 and #7. 14 megapixel cameras have several differences the not just what can a point and shoot or pro level camera can do. Another thing that makes them different is censor size. point and shoots have very small censor then you have mirco-thirds and then crop censors then full frames and medium format etc. All could be 14 megapixels but the size would make a big difference too. So the quality of point and shoot is way less then a full frame. Do you need this for online shots. Not likely unless you are cropping the image way down to get something. That said, I would use a crop censor and wide angle lens for a real estate setup on a small budget. If you got extra cash full frames are nice.

Jun 08, 2011 05:31 PM #157
Rainer
135,556
Birgit Anich
Birgit Anich Staging & Interiors, 203.807.4040 - Norwalk, CT
CT Home Stager Fairfield & New Haven County

Wow, these are a lot of comments on this topic. I am glad Iran that you have posted this question.

I am amazed how many bad photos there are online to promote listings. The real estate industry is selling people's most valuable assets. That means as a real estate agent you are marketing these properties. Marketing 101 says the quickest and most successful sale is a combination of location, price, packaging (condition & showcasing) and promotion (includes photography). When selling a property the real estate professional has no control over the location, but has control over the other 3 factors. I observe that the majority of the listings is marketed purely on price rather than seeing these factor being related to each other. With over 94% of buyers looking online first to decide whether they want to visit a property, it is ciritcal to have the photographs stand out from the competition to draw the traffic into your listing. This is where staging a property and the photos make the big different. It all starts with the first impression.

I was surprised reading through all the prior comments that the focus was on what camera is being used. Give the same camera to a professional and a non-professional photographer and have them take photos of the same room - there will be a big difference in the quality of the photos. Professional photographers know what angle to take the photo from to avoid akeward distortions, they know how to bring mood into a photograph, they have additional lighting equipment, they have in depth knowledge of different photographic techniques such as HDR photography to ensure even lighting, they know about the perfect composition of the photo, and know how to make after-shot corrections if needed. Unless you are a real estate agent who is really deeply involved with photography and has learned about and practiced these techniques for quite some time, the photos of a professional photographer will always be superior and worth every penny in promoting the most valuable asset of your client - regarless of the price point of the property.

Jun 16, 2011 03:07 PM #158
Rainmaker
66,979
Janet Murray
Engel & Völkers South Shore - Weymouth, MA
Realtor Weymouth MA & South Shore Home Sales
I enjoy taking my own photos, but I also have seen many (not all) professionally taken photos that tend to distort the dimensions of the room. I have had more than a few instances of a buyer being gravely disappointed upon discovering during a showing that the room is quite small in comparison to what they thought they saw online. Great topic and lively discussion!
Aug 11, 2011 12:25 PM #159
Anonymous
Bart Edson

It is virtually impossible to take photographs that look "professional" using just an on-camera flash. Professional real estate photographers (should) use multiple off camera flashes, and may often us Photoshop to layer in multiple exposures of the same setup for optimal lighting results. IMHO, professional real estate photographers should also turn their photos around to their clients within 24 hours. Even if you take "pretty good photos", you only have a few seconds to catch a potential buyer's attention who is scrolling quickly through a website full of thumbnail photos. Getting a professional photo that "pops" off the page WILL drive more business to y our listing.

Jul 23, 2012 07:23 AM #160
Anonymous
malia

First let me put out there that I didn't read all the comments (only about halfway down) but there's something missing here from all the respondents who aren't using a professional: BRANDING.

Sure your photos may be good enough, or maybe you think the listing doesn't justify hiring a professional photographer but are you guys thinking about YOUR brand?  What does it say about the type of professional you are by having shoddy photography associated with your name?  Sure, maybe you're getting listings with your bad photography but you're probably not getting GOOD listings.  It's a vicious cycle, right?  You want the million dollar listings but are probably not getting them because those sellers would be crazy to hire an agent who doesn't understand marketing.  Because that's what real estate is: MARKETING! 

The bottom line is this: think about how you're perceived to your potential clients.  When I sell my house do you think i'm going to go with the cheap guy or the one who understands how to sell my house?

Sep 14, 2012 04:44 AM #161
Anonymous
Clippingimages

 

Beautiful! I enjoyed my time spent on your lovely blog.

Oct 14, 2012 04:05 PM #162
Rainmaker
1,942,335
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

The more hands on, DIY the quicker, better you get and connect with the real estate buyer and seller in the list, twist, sell.

Mar 04, 2013 06:25 PM #163
Rainer
26,468
Gill Couto
Gill Couto Photography - Scottsdale, AZ
Professional Photographer in Scottsdale, Arizona

This blog post might be over 3 years old but it's the best thing I've read in a while.  Many thanks to all who replied.

Apr 01, 2014 11:47 AM #164
Rainer
3,298
Picture Perfect MLS, LLC
Picture Perfect MLS, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Real Estate Photography

Picture Perfect MLS, growing national Real Estate Photogrpahy comapny growing nationally. Packages start at $69.95 for any size home. Quality Pics and very affordable.

Aug 21, 2015 05:57 AM #165
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Rainmaker
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Iran Watson

Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer
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