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I’m an agent and I take my own listing photos; 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 listings matter.
Of course you can take your own pictures and some agents like spending the time it takes. But here are three really good reasons to hire a professional real estate photographer:
- It builds your brand. Home buyers look on the Internet first, so they’re going to make assumptions about the homes they see based on the photographs in the listings. They may also make judgements about you and your agency from the quality of the listing photos. Do the photos of your listings stand out? Or are they mediocre (or worse)? Great photos reflect well on you for both buyers and sellers. Won’t sellers be more likely to choose you over another agent if your listings feature high quality photography?
- Your listings get more views. Research from national real estate firm Redfin revealed that listings featured with professional photography received 61% more views than comparable listings. When your listings attract more views, you’re bound to win more sales.
- It sells houses. Research from Redfin also shows that homes showcased with high quality photography get a 47% higher asking price per square foot. Higher asking prices also translated to higher selling prices. For example, their data revealed that, on average, a $300k listing with professional photographs sold for $3,145 more than a house with non-professional photographs. And the higher the selling price, the greater the difference that the quality photographs made. Remember, of course, that a higher selling price means a better commission for you.
Why wouldn’t I take my own pictures since I’m going to be at the house anyway?
I’m a full-time photographer. You’re a full-time real estate agent. It makes more sense for you to spend your time doing what you do best:
- Building relationships
- Following up on leads
- Developing your business
If you spend time taking pictures and processing them on your computer you’re not bringing in new clients or selling your current listings faster.
I got some great advice from a business consultant a while back: “outsource everything you can.” Why not outsource photography to a specialist so you can concentrate on those tasks that only you can do?
What we’re really talking about is using high quality photography as a better way for you to do marketing.
Every real estate company has a selling/marketing system. If you want to set yourself apart from all the others in your area, grow your market share, and build your brand, I think the simplest and fastest way is to upgrade your listing photographs.
I have a nice camera (DSLR) with a wide angle lens. Why should I hire you?
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.
This video by Boston-area photographer Brian Doherty sums it up well.
The bottom line is this: I’m showing up to make pictures that get results for you.
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).
When I arrive at the house 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 the 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. Of course, staging the home before I arrive is always best but I understand that often a family is still living in the home and 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 an $89,000 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.
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 arrived with my camera.
I deliver your finished photos in two sizes via Dropbox so you can download them quickly and add them to your website and the MLS. Turnaround time is almost always less than 24 hours.
The photographs you’ll receive will be perfectly sized for MLS listings and other websites, as well as printed flyers and newspaper 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 listing agent) for the purpose of marketing the home. Here are the terms:
Rights granted include publication on [Realtor name] website, 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 another agent.
Should someone else be in the house while you’re photographing it?
In most cases, yes.. For liability purposes, it’s good if you (the agent) or the homeowner can be at the home while I’m working. I may also ask if it’s OK to move something in order to get a better scene in a room. If the home is vacant and you’re comfortable with me locking up when I finish, then no one needs to be present while I’m working.
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:
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)
All packages include one trip to the home to be photographed, computer image processing, and delivery of finished files in two sizes via Dropbox.
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 a home photographed on the weekend and you’re a long-time client then I might be able to make it work for you. There’s a 20% premium for weekend work.
Do you offer any discounts or deals?
Yes! I’d love to work for you again and again so I’ve set up a “super listing agent” deal for you: after every sixth property I photograph for you, you’ll receive a $150 credit for the next job. In other words, buy six then get one free.
Also, if you like the photographs you receive (and I hope you will) and you’d like to refer me to your colleagues, you’ll receive a $50 credit for each referral who books me.
How do I pay you?
I’ll send you a PDF invoice by e-mail with the link to your photos on Dropbox. Most agents drop a check in the mail promptly. You can also give me a check when we meet at the home. 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.
I need a new business headshot. Can you do that, too?
Yes—portraits are one of my specialties. Get all the details on business portraits on my Turner Photographics website.
So 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. Or click the big red button and schedule your session right now!