Monday, February 12, 2007

Incremental Change is Good

Ah, it's a nice sight when the worm turns. It seems that those point-and-shoots that your friendly self-employed realtor was using just isn't cutting it anymore. Quality image production (which comes as no surprise to we photographers) should be left to the professionals.

Yea! Someone freaking gets it.

Our quality results come from more than just a chip and a lens, it's actually about a good eye! (Surprise, Surprise!) I encourage all you real estate photographers to share this news with realtors you are considering working with. While I don't do many assignments like this, I have already forwarded the URL to a prospective client who, when I provided a quote for the photography just like this, said they'd just "do it themselves."

The New York Times reports about the benefit that realtors are having when hiring professional photographers. Here's an excerpt:

"In real estate, a picture can be worth more than a thousand words. Much, much more. When selling properties online, agents and Web designers say that the pictures buyers see of houses and apartments for sale are often the first — and sometimes the only — chance for a seller to make a good impression. Less-than-flattering pictures can turn buyers off and lead to lonely open houses....Eighty percent of people across the country who bought a new home last year used the Internet while house hunting, and they rated photographs as the most useful tool in their search, according to a survey of buyers and sellers by the National Association of Realtors...In many cases, it is the agents themselves who are snapping the pictures and posting them on the agency Web site. Because of this, it is important that sellers choosing an agent know who will take and pay for the pictures and whether a professional photographer is available...“It’s so important to have photos that are professionally presented,” said Rosalind Clarke, a senior sales associate with the Corcoran Group ...She added that she uses only pictures taken by professional photographers, because “if things look shoddy or unprofessional, not only are buyers going to find the property unappealing, they’re going to associate you with being shoddy and unprofessional.”...agencies vary greatly in their policies on pictures. Some send their agents and brokers out armed with digital cameras, but others use only pictures taken by professionals. Still other agencies let brokers decide whether to take their own pictures or pay a fee to use the agency’s recommended photographers...All of which explains why there is such a wide range in the quality of photos found on real estate Web sites...“When you look at the difference between professional photos and ones taken by brokers with digital cameras, it’s not hard to see that you get what you pay for,” said Lauren Cangiano, a senior vice president of Halstead Property in New York...Halstead uses only professional photos, and its agents reimburse the agency from their commissions after the properties have sold. The same pictures will be used on information sheets, in the agency’s storefront windows and in advertising brochures.
Read Entire Article

There are several examples along with the article that shows images made by the realtor, and then those that the realtor hired to make professionally, which demonstrates just what the value is to these realtors and what we bring. The article cites figures from one to several hundred dollars per home, which would seem to work if a well planned photographer can knock out several in a day.
“When you look at the difference between professional photos and ones taken by brokers with digital cameras, it’s not hard to see that you get what you pay for,” said Lauren Cangiano, a senior vice president of Halstead Property in New York.
Amen Ms. Cangiano, Amen.
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2 comments:

scott said...

The accompanying multimedia presentation to the Times story is even better, it has narrated comparisons of amateur vs. professional photos of the same spaces. Very powerful stuff, and you can email a link to every client or potential client on your list:
http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/realestate/20070211_COV_AUDIOSS/blocker.html

Good stuff, we couldn't afford to get marketing materials like this!

Eric Schmiedl said...

No we could not! John, that article made my day. Thank you highly for posting it!

I'm in the process of educating myself on the finer points of architectural photography for just this sort of thing -- in preparation for a March job shooting a house the owner wants to market himself. Yes, educating. I'm confident that I could do an adequate job to justify the agreed-upon $100 fee for the shoot and one-time web rights given what I know now as a student. But I believe in trying to achieve results on every shoot that are commiserate with a shooter who's been far longer in the business: being a student whose skills are constantly improving is the perfect "alibi" for steadily increasing rates, and I always strive to ensure that the photos each referral sees are of the quality that justify the (higher) rates I'll be quoting them.

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