Why Hire a Professional Photographer for Real Estate Listings / by nikonic1976@yahoo.com

I think most people would agree that buying a home is a major purchase. It’s typically the largest investment most people will ever make in their lives. Houses cost a lot of money. Buying and selling them can be a complicated transaction with many people, documents, and legal nuances involved. That’s why it’s important to have a skilled and experienced real estate agent to help home buyers guide them through the process. Many real estate agents have gone through years of training, ups and downs, and have seen and dealt with all manners of challenges in the home buying world.

Agent photo top, my photo bottom - I use special camera color calibration targets to ensure accurate colors in the photos.
Agent photo top, my photo bottom - I use special camera color calibration targets to ensure accurate colors in the photos.

Much like experienced agents, experienced professional photographers (especially those specializing in real estate) have years of training and experience. They have cameras, lenses, lighting, tripods, software, etc, that are especially suited to the challenges of architectural photography. They’ve experienced and dealt with all manners of challenges to creating the perfect image to showcase a home or building.

The viewfinder of my camera has a special screen with gridlines specifically made for architectural photography. This combined with a tripod that has a built in level, helps me achieve images with straight vertical lines. Something that's hard to accomplish by eye alone.
The viewfinder of my camera has a special screen with gridlines specifically made for architectural photography. This combined with a tripod that has a built in level, helps me achieve images with straight vertical lines. Something that's hard to accomplish by eye alone.

Just as most professional photographers are not real state agents, most real estate agents are not professional photographers. However, all too often the agents try their best to fulfill that role themselves. Whether it’s with their smart phone, point and shoot camera, or even high end digital SLR, many do the best they can to photograph their listings. But the agent wouldn’t try to be the home inspector, appraiser, mortgage officer, closing agent, or title attorney. So why are they trying to be a photographer?

Agent photo top, my photo bottom - This image was created using two radio triggered strobe units, mounted off camera, and color calibrated for accurate representation of the room. The light and exposure are balanced to show off the greenery outside. The angle and positioning of the camera are precisely adjusted to ensure straight lines and a viewing angle that best shows off the rooms space.
Agent photo top, my photo bottom - This image was created using two radio triggered strobe units, mounted off camera, and color calibrated for accurate representation of the room. The light and exposure are balanced to show off the greenery outside. The angle and positioning of the camera are precisely adjusted to ensure straight lines and a viewing angle that best shows off the rooms space.

In today’s market, quality photos are essential to marketing real estate. Home shoppers have less free time than ever before. The internet has given them the power to greatly narrow down the list of homes they will tour in person. This saves both the buyer and agent time by not running all over town looking at homes that were never a good fit. The way they do this is by looking at photos taken of the listing. In our fast paced, information saturated world, positive and negative impressions are made in nanoseconds. Shoppers look at the photos of a home and decide before ever reading a description, caption, or even fully processing the photo, whether or not to look at it any further. This is why it’s so critical to have good, quality, and impactful photos of the home.

Agent photo top, my photo bottom - I bring in lighting equipment that allows me to brighten up the room without loosing the detail and color outside coming in through the windows. Cameras are fooled by the light through the window resulting in dark interiors. My use of manual exposures and supplemental lighting compensate for this.
Agent photo top, my photo bottom - I bring in lighting equipment that allows me to brighten up the room without loosing the detail and color outside coming in through the windows. Cameras are fooled by the light through the window resulting in dark interiors. My use of manual exposures and supplemental lighting compensate for this.

The real world practical benefit of homes photographed professionally is that they get more online views, sell faster, and sell for higher amounts. A study by the Wall Street Journal in 2010 really drives the point home.

“ At the closing table, listings with nicer photos gain anywhere between $934 and $116,076–as measured by the difference between asking and final price” - Wall Street Journal

Agent photo top, my photo bottom- Straight lines, correct color, and detail through the windows, gives the potential buyer a better feel for how the room actually looks in person.

My own experience has born this out. Often, I get called in to photograph a home by a home owner or agent frustrated at the length of time it’s taking to sell the home. They need to change things up. So I’m hired to come in and rephotograph the listing. To this end I’ve heard time and time again how homes that have sat on the market for months or even up to a year will get offers within days of the new photos going up.

“Homes photographed by a professional garner 61 percent more online views.” - Marketleader.com

While it would seem that hiring me to photograph a home costs more than the agent doing it themselves, the numbers show that the opposite is actually true. With professionally photographed homes selling faster and for more money, both the agent and the homeowner actually profit. In this situation a photograph is worth much more than a 1,000 words. It can be worth thousands of dollars.

Agent photo top, my photo bottom - The master bath is one of the most important rooms in the house. Having it well photographed is a major plus in grabbing the attention of shoppers.
Agent photo top, my photo bottom - The master bath is one of the most important rooms in the house. Having it well photographed is a major plus in grabbing the attention of shoppers.
Agent photo top, my photo bottom - I used supplemental lighting to balance the light outside with the light inside the porch. I choose an angle that would best convey the size of the space.
Agent photo top, my photo bottom - I used supplemental lighting to balance the light outside with the light inside the porch. I choose an angle that would best convey the size of the space.
Agent photo top, my photo bottom - The kitchen is also critical to show off in the best possible light!
Agent photo top, my photo bottom - The kitchen is also critical to show off in the best possible light!
Agent photo top, my photo bottom - Another master bath. Choosing a good angle helps straighten the lines in the scene. Color control and calibration shows off how the room actually looks instead of having an odd color cast.
Agent photo top, my photo bottom - Another master bath. Choosing a good angle helps straighten the lines in the scene. Color control and calibration shows off how the room actually looks instead of having an odd color cast.
Agent photo top, my photo bottom - A common mistake non professionals make is taking every image from a standing position. Lowing the angle gives the viewer the feeling of actually sitting in the space as if they were in one of the chairs. This helps them to imagine themselves actually in the space.
Agent photo top, my photo bottom - A common mistake non professionals make is taking every image from a standing position. Lowing the angle gives the viewer the feeling of actually sitting in the space as if they were in one of the chairs. This helps them to imagine themselves actually in the space.
Agent photo top, my photo bottom - Rooms with large windows are tricky. They are hard to photograph because the camera is easily fooled by all the light coming in. The result is a room that's too dark. I used manual exposure control and strobes to prevent this from happening without making the windows too bright.
Agent photo top, my photo bottom - Rooms with large windows are tricky. They are hard to photograph because the camera is easily fooled by all the light coming in. The result is a room that's too dark. I used manual exposure control and strobes to prevent this from happening without making the windows too bright.