C'mon, you won't melt!

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

Okay.  Not everyone wants to pay for professional photographs. I disagree with that decision, but I understand it.  Some agents are pretty good with their cellphones, and can take a decent shot.

In this instance, however, the agent is listing a two bedroom, two bath condo in downtown Evanston, for almost half a million dollars.  All of the photos in the listing are obviously shot with the agent's cell phone... they're blurry and dark and not a very good representation of the property.  Certainly not doing the property any favours.

And before you say "well, maybe she's selling her own property"... the listing is not marked as "agent owned", and I looked up the title, and it's not her name as the owner.

But overall, here's my biggest issue.  This photo that I've posted is her first picture on the listing.  The one that's supposed to draw the potential buyers in.  I won't get into the quality of the photo, and the fact that it's not clear which property is for sale, and it's kinda dark... but she's got two police cars in the picture, which I suppose could cause buyers to wonder "gee, is this a safe area?"... besides that, if you look toward the bottom of the photo, you'll see there are raindrops... raindrops on her #$%ing windshield.

For the commission on an almost half a million dollar listing, she couldn't even be bothered to get out of her car to take the lead photo!

This.  This is one of the reasons that real estate agents have a bad reputation.

Also... don't worry... there is not someone out there risking their life on an i-beam.  That is a wonderful sculpture
installation in downtown Evanston called The Encounter  Created by artist Hubertus von der Goltz and installed in 2009.

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email: Almay@aol.com

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois


Comments (24)

Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Amen to that, Alan... I've been doing professional photography on my listings for over two decades... I don't care if it's a $100,000 property or a $1 million property. All sellers deserve the best representation.

May 30, 2022 06:43 AM
Alan May

Full disclosure, There are listings I've taken where I didn't do professional photography.  Rentals, for example... but even then... the photos I've taken are quality.

May 30, 2022 09:47 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

A few years ago, my broker told me straight up, stop being so cheap and hire a great photographer.  I listened and have hired professionally every listing since that day, except for the last property I sold, my house!  😂

May 30, 2022 07:06 AM
Alan May

It's tempting, I'll admit, in today's market, where the property can sell, almost before you can manage to get a sign in the ground

May 30, 2022 09:48 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Alan- words fail me, but not quite. The agent is doing a terrible disservice to their client and the industry. What this tells me about the agent is that they don't care or they are not astute enough to know that they should. 

May 30, 2022 06:01 PM
Alan May

I'm sure they're well aware that they're being lazy.

Jun 01, 2022 06:32 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Yes, this is one of the ways that some agents give the whole industry a bad name. I can see not hiring a pro if you're listing a $25,000 cabin (as if there were still such a thing), but on a half-million dollar property - that's just being cheap.

May 30, 2022 09:04 PM
Alan May

we are in total agreement.

Jun 01, 2022 06:32 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I’m cringing at many things here, but the least is the issue of pro photos or not.

May 31, 2022 08:23 AM
Alan May

tell us.

Jun 01, 2022 06:32 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


All excellent points! Those photos are an embarrassment for the real estate community, and a disservice to the seller. Even in our busy market with homes selling quickly seller deserve to have their homes to show well online.


May 31, 2022 09:35 AM
Alan May

.. and even if not professional photos.. c'mon, step out of the car, dude.

Jun 01, 2022 06:33 AM
Carlos Cardo
RE/MAX ULTRA - Virginia Beach, VA
Providing Professional Service on a Personal Level

I am not a professional, but I take time to study the art, buy the gear and enjoy the process! Every time I see the dark, blurry, crooked smartphone pictures it makes me cringe! I have been doing matterport as well since April 2016 (everyone thought I was nuts back then, now they are pioneers). Including matterport, I have invested about $9k in photography gear (cpa said if I ever think about retiring get a hobby, I guess this is it). If you are going to do something put some effort into it! I also enjoy working on photography this for other personal satisfaction


Kitchen Island

If you are going to do something put some effort into it! I also enjoy working on this for other personal satisfaction.Lincoln Memorial


Jun 01, 2022 06:41 AM
Alan May

"put some effort into it"... I think that doesn't require spending thousands on equipment, but it does require stepping out of the car.

Jun 01, 2022 02:11 PM
Carlos Cardo

Alan, money requirement is a necessity when placing an effort to make things right, or making it a hobby.... but as I agreed effort is the main thing! Having the gear makes it better, like purchasing a really nice wide angle low light lens. Having almost zero shadows will require perhaps an extra light at a distance or in another room, especially when taking a picture of a room and the hall end has very little lighting. A softbox light can do wonders... effort can be a relative thing. Is it: get out of the car to take a picture, or is it buy a camera, or buy a lens.... relativity.
For example, my matterport was almost 4k, camera body 1k, lens $450, tripods, lights... it adds up. I take my effort a bit further. Perhaps for this guy effort was driving downtown, in bad weather and at rush hour...
Devil's advocate: Doesn't really matter, end result was the photo was terrible. Perhaps that is the key, it may not be the effort, it may be the end result. Imagine you have a smartphone and a rainbow appears over your listing. Effort zero, end result a great photo! Get a great photo and place the amount of effort required to get that great photo!

Jun 01, 2022 07:40 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Alan,
I'm not making excuses but is this through one of those discount agencies? 

Jun 01, 2022 07:29 AM
Alan May

Oddly, no.  It was not.

Jun 01, 2022 02:11 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Photography is SO IMPORTANT to express the best elements of a listing.  If the listing isn't presented properly, how can a buyer's agent share it and hope to show it.  Even if a buyer's agent knows the properly already, buyer's must trust that agent understands the property.  


Just discussed this very topic on a FB group this morning.  Some great comments, but a lot of frustration expressed.  

Jun 01, 2022 12:39 PM
Alan May

I understand the frustration.

Jun 01, 2022 02:12 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

This stuff used to drive me bonkers Alan!  I can't believe I still see such crappy photos and some are on 1M and up listings. Ridiculous!  Sellers need to wake up and insist on having their homes marketed by a professional.  We've been using a photographer for at least 20 years or so. It always pays off in spades to represent the sellers with excellence.

Jun 02, 2022 02:23 PM
Alan May

I can't imagine sellers allowing this.

Jun 02, 2022 05:08 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Jun 04, 2022 06:16 PM
Alan May

Thank you.

Jun 05, 2022 02:02 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Alan - that certainly is pitiful and her client deserves much better than that.

Jun 05, 2022 04:44 AM
Alan May

We're in agreement.

Jun 05, 2022 02:02 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Alan, for sharing your observations and your advice.

Jun 05, 2022 05:04 AM
Alan May


Jun 05, 2022 02:03 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I'm glad Kathy Streib included this in her weekly Sunday post because I missed it. Those photos would be awful for any listing! The raindrops were the first thing that caught my eye, and you're totally right - what exactly is for sale?

Jun 05, 2022 05:50 AM
Alan May

I think the agent is selling her soul.

Jun 05, 2022 02:04 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Alan,

I was so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-Ha" moment for the week. I had read your post and was flabbergasted at her not spending time, energy and yes money to get good photos. Now reading the comments I'm seeing this was not a discount broker..shame on her and the interior shots you are right is just as bad as the exterior!

Jun 05, 2022 06:17 AM
Alan May

right... shame.

Jun 05, 2022 02:05 PM
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so be careful what you post as the photo!  It could say a lot of good or it could tell your consumers you are not a professional.

Jun 05, 2022 07:22 AM
Alan May

the thousand words, in this case, are all bad.

Jun 05, 2022 02:05 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Alan,

NOTHING surprises me anymore. Case in point: I got a listing when an agent had 2 showings in one year. His first picture was of the front gate! 

I actually have secured listings for many of my buyers because I looked past the terrible pictures taken.  Many agents and buyers don't bother to see the property.

My husband has been taking my listing photos since I started.  He uses top-quality equipment and insists on a full-frame camera. Here is an example of a listing coming soon. I have not had time to post a "Coming Soon"  post! We are off to another photo shoot today.

 40 Lewis Way Sedona AZ Luxury listing for sale by Sheri Sperry 928.275.7355



Jun 05, 2022 09:28 AM
Alan May

It's a beautiful photo.

Jun 05, 2022 02:00 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Good point Alan. I see it all the time and wonder if the sellers even look at the advertising marketing effort or lack of. One time, I looked at a photo and it had the driver's side mirror in the pic!

Jun 06, 2022 05:23 PM
Alan May

I see the side view mirror in a lot of photos.

Jun 07, 2022 08:21 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Alan May Rain drops I am glad you pointed that out I thought it was trash flying around 

Jun 06, 2022 08:35 PM
Alan May

it might just as well be.

Jun 07, 2022 08:21 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I suppose there are a lot of ways this is able to go in a direction that makes sense

May 21, 2023 10:33 PM
Alan May

Really?  What are a few of them?

May 22, 2023 04:45 AM