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I’m selling my house myself (FSBO) and can take my own pictures; why would I want to pay you to do it?
Beautiful professional photographs entice buyers. First impressions count and the quality of the photos of your home matters.
Of course you can take your own pictures. An occasional homeowner even has the skill and tools to do it well. But most people just don’t know how to photograph a home properly. If you’re one of those rare individuals, stop reading and get to work photographing.
Professional real estate photographers like me bring a sense of design, an eye for composition, an understanding of light, knowledge of the market, and a lot of technical knowledge to create the kinds of images that people want to see while they’re shopping.
Sure, you can take the do-it-yourself approach to every aspect of selling your home, including the listing photos. Understand, though, that hiring a real estate photographer can make your home much more attractive to buyers. They’re looking online first, and expect to see listing photos that look like what they’ve seen on Houzz or in magazines like Sunset or Better Homes and Gardens.
I realize that one of your primary goals as a For Sale By Owner seller is likely to save money. Great photography may be a place where it’s wise for you to invest in a professional. Your listing will get more views and you’re likely to get a higher offer for your home as well.
And it’s more affordable than you may think.
I own a Digital SLR. Why should I hire you?
I’m a full-time photographer. I have the experience that comes from photographing a lot of homes.
I have a saw and a hammer but they don’t make me a carpenter. You have a word processing program but you’re probably not writing bestsellers like J. K. Rowling. In the same way, owning a “nice camera” doesn’t make you a photographer. And there’s a lot more to making great property photos than simply having a camera.
So what do you do that’s different?
First, we’ll talk so I can learn about the property and the features you think need to be highlighted. Then we’ll schedule a day and time for photography to take best advantage of the sun for the exteriors (and maybe the tide if there’s a saltwater view). I’ll send you a copy of my home preparation checklist to help you get your home ready to be photographed.
When I arrive at your home I’ll walk through all the rooms with you and discuss any special features that must be shown, as well as any problem areas to be downplayed. I generally photograph interiors first and then do the exteriors, unless the sun or weather dictate otherwise. I’ll photograph all the living areas, with special attention to the kitchen, master bedroom and bathroom, and other primary living areas. Outside, I use my years of experience photographing gardens for book and magazine publishers to make your home and its landscape look their very best.
Both inside and outside I’m using my understanding of light, sense of design, eye for composition, and technical knowledge of all the tools of my craft to create beautiful photographs for you.
I pay attention to details and often move things out of the way that don’t add anything to the photo. I’ll even work around napping two-year-olds if necessary.
Finished images will be bright and inviting. They’ll have straight verticals and horizontals—no screwy tilts or odd angles. They’ll be attractively composed and showcase the home’s lighting. I bring the same aesthetic to real estate photos that I do for commercial and editorial jobs that will end up on the pages of a magazine. And I take the same care and approach whether it’s a one-bedroom condo or a 4,000 square foot million-dollar home.
You said you “showcase the home’s lighting.” How do you do that and still show what’s outside the windows?
Like many real estate photographers, I make extensive use of professional HDR (High Dynamic Range) techniques. I aim for a very natural result, unlike the oversaturated, contrasty, even garish photos that give HDR a bad name. In many cases I’m manually blending an exposure for the outside view with the interiors. Occasionally I’ll add a little light to a room while I’m shooting, too.
What kind of equipment do you use? Do you have backups?
My primary camera is a high-end full-frame Canon digital single lens reflex. For most interiors I use a 16-35mm wide angle lens that gives a nice sense of space without going overboard. I also use a 24mm tilt-shift lens for those special interior situations that require it and for many exteriors. I also carry a 24-105 general purpose lens and a 70-200mm telephoto that is sometimes just the right tool for an exterior or the view from a deck or balcony. I have a spare camera body, extra batteries, and extra memory cards in my bag.
I always work with my camera on a solid tripod, using a special panoramic head to help with final framing after leveling the lens both horizontally and vertically (that’s what keeps the walls straight up and down). Exposures are often more than a second.
How long will it take to photograph my house?
I usually spend about two hours photographing a home. It depends on how big it is, whether there are any special problems to solve, and how well it’s staged before I arrive.
What happens after you’re done shooting?
When I get back to my office I transfer all the photos to my computer and generally spend about the same amount of time processing your photos as I did photographing the home. I use professional software, including Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop programs and some specialized specialized add-ins to process HDR stacks and give my images the final look I’m after. I’ve been known to touch up dinged paint and nail holes —things that will get fixed before the home sells but didn’t get done before I showed up with my camera.
I deliver your finished photos in two sizes via Dropbox so you can download them quickly and add them to your FSBO website, Facebook, and wherever else you plan to post them. Turnaround time is almost always less than 24 hours.
The photographs you’ll receive will be perfectly sized for both web use and printed flyers or ads.
Who owns the photographs and how does licensing work?
Since I’m the creator of the images, I retain copyright ownership. The photographs are licensed to you (the homeowner) for the purpose of marketing the home. Here are the terms:
Rights granted include publication on Secret Agent and Zillow websites, on Northwest Multiple Listing Service, and associated real estate marketing websites; and in print advertising to market the listed property. Rights extend until the property is sold or the listing expires, whichever comes first. Reuse rights are available at a discount if the property is re-listed or the listing is assumed by an agent.
Should I be home while you’re photographing it?
In most cases, yes.. For liability purposes, it’s good if you can be at the home while I’m working. I may ask if it’s OK to move something in order to get a better scene in a room.
Speaking of liability, do you have insurance?
Of course. I carry a $2,000,000 business liability policy.
What do you charge to photograph a property?
I offer two standard packages.
Basic Package $150:
Exterior and/or interior as requested
Enhanced 25 Photo MLS Package $225:
Up to 25 images
Exterior and/or interior as requested
Additional photos: $15 per image
High-angle (pole-mounted camera) exteriors: $20 additional
Twilight exterior session: $150 (includes two photos)
Panoramic images: $25 per composite photograph
Express photo processing (same day service): $100 (restrictions apply)
In what areas do you work?
I photograph homes in Bellingham, Lynden, Birch Bay, Blaine, Ferndale, and nearly everywhere else in Whatcom County. I’ll also photograph Skagit County homes on request. Travel is billed at $0.55 per mile with the first 30 miles (round trip) free.
What days do you work?
I photograph homes Monday through Friday. If you just have to have your home photographed on the weekend I might be able to make it work for you. There’s a 50% premium for weekend work.
How do I pay you?
A check on the day of the shoot is best.. I accept credit/debit cards, too.
I’m a builder/developer/business owner; can you photograph my property/product to help me with my marketing? What does that cost?
Absolutely! Featuring high quality photography of your business or product on your website and social media profiles is a terrific way to elevate your brand and build interest in what you do. Pricing, of course, depends on the job. Please contact me and let’s see what you need.
This is all interesting but I think I’d still like to photograph my own house. How would I do that?
If you’re going to do it yourself and you want to do it the best you can, then I’d suggest you do the following:
- Read Michael Gowin’s post on photography tips for home sellers
- Read Michael Gowin’s post on what it takes to make good property photographs
- Read how photographer David Hobby sold his house by using a free blog and photographing it himself
I need a new business headshot or family portrait. Can you do that, too?
Yes—portraits are one of my specialties. Get all the details on business portraits and family portraits on my Turner Photographics website.
That may be harder than I expected. How do I hire you?
Simple: Just click over to the Contact page and let me know how I can help you. Even easier, pick up the phone and call me at 360-671-6851.