Will This App Kill Professional Real Estate Photography?

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When we first heard of Yurz, it definitely piqued some interest. Sure, some Realtors definitely need help with branding and photography. We’ve seen some awful websites out there, with some listing shots sporting horrible glare off of mirrors and windows and a flash that drowns out any details that buyers wouldn’t want to miss.

Of course, the logical side of me says that these agents should either take a photography course at a community college or perhaps do one better and hire a professional to take great snaps and build their website.

But Yurz’s “Instagram for real estate” app claims to “deliver top quality, custom web design, strategic search engine placement, Facebook management, reputation support, and more, all under $200 per month.” It could be a great way to help brand an agent, sure, but promote listings?

“Our goal is a simple one: to help real estate agents create a sharp and positive online presence, one that will lead to many lucrative business ventures,” says Jeff Essebag, CEO of Yurz (Beware, the site looks an awful lot like the cover of Orwell’s 1984).  “In today’s culture, cultivating a strong online presence is absolutely crucial for real estate success.  But Yurz does more than just develop your online image; we also protect that image via our comprehensive review management.”

Here’s how it works: Realtors take a photo with their tablet or smartphone, crop and edit it with built-in filters, and post it to their website.

“No more expensive photographers and no more outdated flyers,” says a press release. “This is just one of the ways Yurz, a digital marketing company, is helping real estate agents connect with an entirely new demographic.”

But that doesn’t wash with Evan Godwin of Chateau Shooters.

The Azure, 2900 McKinnon St. #1601, Dallas, Texas

Before: This photo of a 29th floor condo is flat and doesn’t show off the unit’s biggest asset, the view outside.

The Azure, 2900 McKinnon St. #1601, Dallas, Texas

But with Sean Gallagher’s expert photography, you see the interior fixtures and the stunning skyline.

“As real estate photographers, we need to decide is this a disruptive or sustaining technology?” Godwin says. “Ultimately I don’t view this as either, which would essentially place this emerging technology in the ‘gimmick’ category. Jack-of-all-trades ideas always sound great in theory, but we don’t live in a theoretical world.”

The app developer must not have a clear idea of their competition, Godwin added, as professional real estate photography has never been cheaper. And they must not understand the stats of promotional materials, as there is a return-on-investment that is easily measured.

Evan Godwin

Evan Godwin

“In an ideal world, Realtors will never specialize in professional photography, much the way photographers don’t specialize in selling real estate,” Godwin said. “Phone camera angles can get wider, filters can give an HDR-like effect, however the app isn’t going to provide you the experience and knowledge that a competent professional real estate photographer can.”

Things like angles, positioning, and clear details are important when it comes to architectural photography, and you can’t get that in an app. Of course, the folks who feel that this app is a substitute for a professional photographer probably didn’t see the value in good images in the first place.

“Hopefully the app will poach away the clients that have a lack of respect or understanding for the value in proper quality marketing, who are more concerned with the quantity versus the quality,” Godwin continued. “Sure this potentially eats away at our downstream market, but chances are both parties (Realtor and photographer) are going to be more happy long term with that anyway. As for quality it’s a no-brainer for the above-mentioned points. While I’m not saying that professional-quality real estate photography via phones is too far off to be concerned, there isn’t anything yet that can replicate even just the post-shoot production that goes into each and every professional photograph, let alone the expertise that was previously mentioned.”

What do you think? Would you try this app?

2 Comment

  • mm

    Technology is getting us closer and closer, but still professional photography rules. We get so many entries to showcase homes here in CD and SS but we simply cannot use bad photography. Neither should they. And if I had a dime for every agent who asked me how much they should spend on their web site, I could buy Waggoner Ranch. Never ceases to amaze me how they will spend $7,000 on a print ad for 30 days and yet not spend $10,000 on a website that 99% of the world sees forever and ever…

  • A cellphone camera is not the right tool for taking photos of home interiors. Therefore, this app is a gimmick, rather than a useful tool. I pay about $90 to get my home photos shot by a professional. That is an insignificant expense. I wouldn’t stop using the professional photographer in order to wander through the home myself, taking photos with my cellphone. There’s more productive ways to use my time.