More Agents Shift to Professional Real Estate Photography

Real Estate Agent with Silver State Realty & Investments

Real Estate Photographer - Long Island, NY -


Shift in Real Estate advertising...

Recently, I was talking to my brother who has been a professional portrait photographer for years with New York studio locations on Long Island in Hunting Station, West Hampton, and East Setauket, NY.  We were discussing a shift I noticed in real estate advertising that I was seeing in my local market.  When I started in real estate over 16 years ago, it was perfectly acceptable for an agent to snap 1 or 2 photos of the outside of a home with a consumer level camera. 

In fact, our MLS would send someone to take 1 photograph of the exterior for a small fee (as I recall).  If the community was gated, you got a picture of the gate instead of the house.  Add up to 8 images including a few of the interior and that was fancy stuff.  Real estate photography was a thing back then, but mostly for high end listings which would be featured in magazine or other print ads.


We've come a long way since then... 

Buyers are now making decisions about whether or not to visit a property based on the pictures and video tours they view online.  Back in th day, it was common for the agents to dictate which homes they would show to a buyer.  Now, some agents are barely involved at all in the search and suggest part of the process with buyers taking complete control of the search and telling the agent which homes they want to see.  Other real estate agents, like myself have to find a comfortable balance for each client based on their needs; allowing them to search on their own if they want to; allowing them to determine which homes they want to see but also the agent taking initiative to search and suggest based on what the agents believes will best meet their needs.  Either way, the listings with best pictures often win! 

40% of listings are using professional real estate photographers. 

I was curious, so I took a somewhat random sample of recently sold listings in the Las Vegas market of about 100 homes with 10 homes in each price bracket of $100k up to $1,000,000.  40% of those listings had used a professional real estate photographer.  I had expected most of the professional photos to be in the over $500k category, but I WAS WRONG!  I was surprised to see that even at the lowest price point, 40% were using professional real estate photography.  The higher end homes had more bells and whistles, such as twilight and evening photography, and fly through style video tours.


Who pays for professional photos?

After talking with colleague of mine who had his clients pay for professional photos if they wanted them, I was also curious about who was typically paying the photographer...the agent, the broker, or the seller.  Trends are different depending on local customs and brokerage structures, but after posting the question to fellow agents on it seems that most agents cover the cost of hiring a professional photographer for their listing photos.  Check out the responses at:


Professional photos of a $130,000 condo... 

I like the way you can see the mountain view out the window but the interior is still well lit.

professional real estate photo of low priced condointerior low priced condo real estate photo


I now use a professional photographer for all my listings...even at the low end of the market.  I have even recently committed to using professional real estate photos for my rental listings.  In my market, it's rare to find professional images for rentals, but I'm seeing it more, and having started using them myself...I can say they truly work.  In my book, there's no excuse not to use a professional photographer to help sell the homes we (the agents) were hired to market.  The margins on rentals are extremely thin, so I understand why very few management companies or agents want to pay for them.  However, the way I see it...I don't have to pay the $300 or so for the newspaper ad anymore...why not put into the pictures that will help get the property rented quicker and for more money.  


Finding the right real estate photographer...

I can say from experience, hiring THE RIGHT professional real estate photographer DOES matter!  My brother Brian works on Long Island, NY and unfortunately could NOT be in Las Vegas to take my listing photos! The first few weren't pretty...


bad listing photo


Trust me, the colors in the picture look nothing like the real thing...







Um, couldn't you move the roll of toilet paper and paper towels before taking the shot?  Hey, at least the lid is down.

This railing reminds me of that blue dress that no one could agree what color it was...


shiny floor bad real estate photo


Even though there's an odd blue glow on the floor, this one wouldn't have been too bad if the floor LOOKED ANYTHING LIKE THAT.  ...and no, the floor hadn't just been mopped.  It actually looked like this:




It took me a few attempts to find the right photographer... 

Here's a tip: ask to see some samples of their work before hiring a photographer.  If you want more advice on what to look for when hiring a professional real estate photographer, check out this blog post:

Or better yet, if you're an agent on Long Island, hire my brother Brian, he does great work!  See for yourself...Click on his images below to check out more of his work:




Professional image - more than just a picture...

It's also important for agents to consider how their listing pictures reflect on their own professional image.  Sellers hire us to market their homes.  Hiring a good photographer to get great images of the product is marketing 101...basic stuff...common sense, even. 

Some agents may think, "this house will (or won't) sell if I get professional pictures or use my doesn't matter, so why should I bother?"  The marketing choices and product presentation not only promote the property, but also create an image and reputation for the agent.  Buyers and sellers look at an agent's listings and decide, "is this an agent I want to represent me?"


Brian has been a professional portrait photographer for years with New York studio locations on Long Island in Hunting Station, West Hampton, and East Setauket, NY.  He has recently started offering competitively priced real estate photography to real estate agents in Nassau and Suffolk  county on Long Island, NY.  His website features samples of his work, instant price quotes as well as easy online booking.


Comments (2)

Terry McCarley
Coastal Real Estate - Cape Coral FL - Cape Coral, FL

I see horrible pictures in our MLS daily.  My business partner and I started using a professional photographer for all of our listings and have noticed the difference.  We get much more showing activity and decreased days on market.

May 02, 2016 08:08 PM
Damon Botticelli

I'm glad you saw a noticeable difference.  That's more than I can say for some of the marketing I've spent $$ on!  e.g realtor, z, t,

May 03, 2016 07:01 AM
Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

Hi Damon Botticelli ,  We also have started hiring a professional photographer.

Jul 04, 2016 09:35 AM

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