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If You’re Not a Photographer Please Outsource

by / Monday, 31 October 2011 / Published in Marketing Tips

professional photography home tour

Use this…..Not that

Quality Photos Set the Stage

You want to do the best job possible, in the most efficient way possible. This includes drawing a line between necessities and luxuries when it comes to marketing your listings.

Contract — Necessity
Signs — Necessity
Photographs — Necessity
Professional Photographer — Luxury?? Necessity!

Having a professional photographer is most certainly a necessity. How can we state this so confidently, you ask?

The Logic of Hiring a Professional

- Without good photos, NONE of the subsequent marketing will look appealing. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve invested in professional design work for your brochure or in the set-up of individual property web sites. Those are just the stage, but the photos are the main players.

- Many buyers make a decision whether or not to see more of a property simply based on the quality of the first photo or two that is presented to them, whether in print or online.

- That said, most homebuying decisions now start online (a highly visual medium). Therefore, the appeal of the photos and the preparedness of the home that’s being photographed are the foundation for all subsequent marketing.

-Sellers are more impressed to know that their agent hires other professionals when necessary and appropriate.

Faulty arguments are everywhere

All agents who try to cut corners by taking the “cheap” photography route have a set of arguments for doing so.

Example #1: you may have batted around the argument that good cameras can be purchased for an amount low enough that after 3-5 listings, you (the agent) would recoup the cost.

Let me point out the flaw here; that new camera doesn’t come with all the built-in knowledge you need to have about angles, lighting or necessarily how to get the best out of that semi-professional piece of equipment you just purchased. Are you enrolling in classes to fill in the knowledge gap?

Example #2: you tell yourself that the cost of outsourcing the photography is simply too high.

The professional photographers in the real estate industry have special techniques for real estate. They have a portfolio of shoots that prove their worth.  And, the fee you pay for an “at home” photo shoot for property tours is far less than for any other type of professional photography.

Imagine paying a family/child photographer to come to your home and shoot for 30 minutes and then suppose they give you unlimited rights to the digital copies.  What would that be worth? The true answer is it would cost at least several hundred dollars for anyone worth their salt.

Agents should hire a professional photographer for the same reason that a seller should hire an agent

If you expect professional results, you can’t try to be perfect at everything.  A seller shouldn’t be expected to know about markets, contracts, marketing, etc.  And a REALTOR® shouldn’t have to know everything about photography, graphic design, etc.

A good rule of thumb… If people don’t pay you now for your expertise in photography, don’t take your own photos.

Why bring this up now?

 As the photos that start this post amply demonstrate I have seen my fair share of bad photos.  A few of my clients have fallen victim to the concept that they (or their friend, coworker, etc) can take pictures that are “good enough” for me to use in their marketing copy.

As a REVA who tries to maintain a great relationship with my clients, it’s never any fun to “call out” someone on a poor budget choice…. especially if it is my client who took the shots. (Imagine being in my position).

So let me just break the hard news to you, too, about your photographs. In general, no, they are not good enough. So, pretty please don’t put me in the position to tell you some day. I don’t enjoy it and I really don’t want to offend you.

I also don’t want to bill you for my time to edit, crop, adjust and think about how to make the marketing look good with bad photos.  In the end, it is just cheaper to go professional.

As a VA in the real estate industry, I would rather see agents spend money on high-quality photos than on any other piece of the listing processincluding our coordination services. It’s that important.


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