The Case for Professional Listing Photos

The Case for Professional Listing Photos

What’s the first thing buyers see — or the first thing they’re looking for — when they find a listing? Those crucial property photos.  

In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported that potential buyers spend just 20 seconds looking at the first photo before they decide to keep looking or go somewhere else. And though it’s tempting to play the part of both agent and photographer, reports show that — on average — homes with professional photos sell faster, too. So we’re diving into the case for why professional photos matter — and how to make them happen.  

“The First Piece of Advice I Give Is Hire a Professional Photographer.”

Jay Stringham, Internet marketing coordinator at Real Tour Vision, is adamant that agents invest in professional photography for their listings. “Real estate agents like to take their own photos,” Jay says, which makes sense because there are so many resources and apps that help agents edit and enhance photos. But if you can swing it, that professional touch adds a lot to your brand and bottom line.

“At the end of the day, you don’t want to tell your prospective clients when you’re looking to list their home that your cell phone photos are good enough,” Jay told us. “You don’t want to be a ‘good enough’ agent. You really want to be an industry leader, someone who is concentrating on giving the best quality to their clients because that’s going to help you secure more business down the road.”

“Really Good Quality Photography? It Takes Time.”

That brings us to Jay’s next point — which is that even if you are a whiz with a DSLR or Adobe or BoxBrownie, taking and editing photos still can be a hugely time-consuming task. With everything agents already have on their plate, investing in a professional photographer gives their clients great listing photos and allows agents to focus on growing their business.

So How Do I Find a Great Photographer?

There are tons of ways that you can find a photographer, such as through the Professional Photographers of America, Real Estate Photographers of America & International and websites like Stilio, which are designed to connect agents and photographers. You might ask around for referrals if you see photography on other listings that you like.

Once you land on a photographer, make sure you vet them before you hire them. “You want to make sure that they are able to give you the quality and the style of photography that you’re looking for,” Jay says. “It’s very important to take a look at what their images look like. Don’t be afraid to ask them for examples.”

I Found a Great Photographer! Now What?

“Discuss the features of the property and what your expectations are prior to the shoot. And once that conversation has taken place, get out of their way and let them do the work you hired them to do,” Jay advises. “Most photographers can get in and out of a typical home in an hour or slightly less, and their time is money — your time is money — but it also helps them keep that mood of creativity going.”

You’ll know what you want to highlight and emphasize, so provide the photographer with clear directions without micromanaging.

What If I Decide That I Don’t Want to Use a Professional Photographer?

“Ditch the phone and get a good camera,” Jays says. “Phone photography is okay, but it’s really best for snapshots. The size of the censors built into phones are very small, they tend to get artifacts and noise in images, and they don’t always bring out the best quality in imagery.”

To hear more about this topic, check out Snapshot episode #48.

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