Real Estate Story

real estate photography

real estate photography

This house languished on the Orlando, Florida, market for 224 days, until professional real estate photographer Harry Lim re-shot the exterior and interior. It proceeded to sell in just eight days. Photos: Harry Lim

This month, there’s a story that’s gone viral by Orlando professional real estate photographer Harry Lim. His post, After Nearly 8 Months, Photos Help Sell Home in 8 Days, is remarkable because it shows the unmistakable difference professional photography makes in the marketing of a house (his before-and-after photos above make that clear!).

Here at CandysDirt, we could not agree more! In 2013, contributing writer Karen Eubank wrote an interesting series for us, Outside the Frame, which looked at the importance of professional real estate photography and offered the insights of Dallas’ leading real estate photographers (see parts one, two, three, and four).

Today’s real estate buyer is doing their home searches on the Internet, with 90 percent searching online and 89 percent using a mobile search engine. What they find first in their searches are photographs, and the quality of those can make or break a listing.

So today, we’ve made a list of five ways professional real estate photographers bring value to the marketing of a house.

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Real Estate Story

Harry Lim photography before

This house languished on the Orlando, Florida, market for 224 days, until professional real estate photographer Harry Lim re-shot the exterior and interior. It proceeded to sell in just eight days. Photos: Harry Lim

This month, there’s a story that’s gone viral by Orlando professional real estate photographer Harry Lim. His post, After Nearly 8 Months, Photos Help Sell Home in 8 Days, is remarkable because it shows the unmistakable difference professional photography makes in the marketing of a house (his before-and-after photos above make that clear!).

Here at Candy’s Dirt, we could not agree more! In 2013, contributing writer Karen Eubank wrote an interesting series for us, Outside the Frame, which looked at the importance of professional real estate photography and offered the insights of Dallas’ leading real estate photographers (see parts one, two, three, and four).

Today’s real estate buyer is doing their home searches on the Internet, with 90 percent searching online and 89 percent using a mobile search engine. What they find first in their searches are photographs, and the quality of those can make or break a listing.

So today, we’ve made a list of five ways professional real estate photographers bring value to the marketing of a house.

1. The pros know which shots offer value to potential buyers

In the average MLS listing, you’ve got around 25 shots to “sell” a buyer on your property. Poorly planned or executed photography might result in redundant shots (multiple angles of one room where no new visual information is presented), unnecessary photos (you don’t need a photo of the toilet—people know it’s in the bathroom), or just plain bad photos that make the property look boring at best.

A professional real estate photographer understands which shots matter and why, and can make judgment calls based on the features of each individual property.

“Normally I don’t waste a photo on a laundry room, but a condo unit that has a washer/dryer when the neighboring ones do not might be of great importance compared to the average property,” said Lance Selgo of Unique Exposure Photography.

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Can you believe it’s just been three years since Shoot2Sell began offering affordable, beautiful real estate photography to agents in Texas? I honestly thought this company had been around for much longer. And now, just three years into this company’s existence, Shoot2Sell is the nation’s largest architectural photography company.

Wow!

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Hammond Front

Last week we published a four-part series by professional stager Karen Eubank with interviews from some of the top real estate photographers in North Texas. They offered some great stories and stellar advice for agents and brokers who are looking to make the most of their listings with professional photography.

If you missed this fantastic series last week and want to read the full posts, you can see our first, second, third, and fourth installments from names such as Shoot2Sell, Unique Exposure, Chateau Shooters, and First Showing.

After the jump, check out some of our favorite quotes and advice from these photographers!

Most innovative idea:

“I believe we have made huge strides in what is considered acceptable marketing for architecture in DFW as a result of our standards.  It only helps the agent, their reputation, their sellers’ experience, the buyers’ experience, and makes our jobs easier. Everyone wins when we all pay attention.  We were also the first to come up with a “photoshoot checklist” that gets sent to the Seller to get them prepared.  At the time we started that, it was almost seen as revolutionary in Dallas as no one had put that kind of effort out there before.

— Richard Sharum, Shoot2Sell

Best perspective on editing photos: 

“Alteration is a tough subject because the majority of people understand the term ‘Photoshop.’ Quite a bit of alteration can be done to a photo, and some of it is quite easy! Speaking on behalf of my business only, and how I operate, I only alter the sky … I think because the majority of agents utilize the front exterior photo as their first shot in the MLS, that shot should look great. In North Texas we expect blue skies and sunshine. The odds are high that even if it is cloudy out today, tomorrow it will most likely be sunny, so I have no issues with adjusting the sky. During the photoshoot it can be sunny with a blue sky out, but the front photo still results in a white sky because the sun is behind the property. I think buyers deserve to see the home how they expect it, with a blue sky instead of white, so I make that adjustment. I don’t green the grass because I know when the buyer goes to the property, they aren’t going to see green grass. Ethically it’s up to the agent and real estate photographer to decide what is an acceptable adjustment to a photo.

— Lance Selgo, Unique Exposure Photography

Best advice to Realtors: 

“A good rule of thumb is to prep your home as though you plan on entertaining. Make it look presentable, declutter the countertops in the kitchens and bathrooms and put everything in its place … The circumstances may be dire, but an hour or so of tidying up can go a long way, even if the Realtor does decide to tackle it on their own.”

— Evan Godwin, Chateau Shooters

Best funny story:  

“I once had a semi-senile grandfather walking into nearly every photo. They brought him outside and he immediately manifested directly in the window of the room I was shooting.”

— Jason, First Showing Photography

 

(Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of our “Outside the Frame” series that offers the insights of Dallas’ leading real estate photographers on subjects that are both important and often controversial in the industry. Check out our first installment here.)

Today we have Richard Sharum, founder of one of the area’s most popular real estate photography firms, Shoot2Sell . To read Sharum’s perspective on how much editing is ethical for listing photos, jump.

CandysDirt.com: What do you find is the biggest misconception sellers and Realtors have about hiring a professional photographer for MLS photos?

Richard SharumRichard Sharum: That because cameras are so abundant, everyone can shoot architecture for the purposes of marketing it.  Shooting property is a fine art and not be taken lightly.  One inexperienced person can actually make a property look worse than in real life, resulting in no interest and a bad reputation for the listing agent.

CD:  What is the most important shot and why?

Sharum: I believe it is the primary front, or what we call in the industry the “default front exterior”.  But then again, sometimes, especially on older homes, all the greatness is inside.  But first impressions matter.  I am always telling agents that if there are really strong images on the interior or backyard, don’t be afraid to use that as your “primary” to get interest.  Don’t forget, this is marketing.

CD: What is the least important shot and possibly the one to avoid at all costs?

Sharum: The irrelevant ones.  The shots that are being put in as filler as a requirement from the agent or the Seller.  We, as professionals, are looking to bridge the gap between Art and Information when shooting architecture.  That is our style.  But when we are forced to shoot beyond our standards by either an agent or seller who do not know anything about photography, it only weakens the overall portfolio, which is what we are trying to avoid.  We want strong imagery, top to bottom.

CD: How much alteration of a shot is acceptable? Greening the grass? Adding blue sky? Getting rid of cords?Are there quick fixes you can do if a client requests? Where do you draw the line about representing a property?

Sharum: Great question! We are highly ethical in that we will not alter an image if the subject we are altering is a fact of the structure, i.e.- a hole in the wall.  We will green grass because 99% of the time brown grass is not permanent.  Same thing with cords.  Those are not a permanent part of the structure.  We cannot, however, put grass where there is none, or erase stains out of carpet, as those are considered permanent until proven otherwise.  And we get proof from our clients before we go back and alter those images.  These ethics, sadly, are not repeated from some of the other “photography companies” out there.

CD: What is the optimum height to shoot a room photo from? There seem to be lots of creative angles, wide angles, shots from the hip, literally,  these days. Are those helpful or a hindrance.?

Sharum: When shooting architecture properly, every room has a different height theory.  All of our photographers are trained using these theories.  Most bad MLS photos are shot way too high, as if a giant has entered the room.  Too high photos are worse than too low, in my opinion.

CD:  So we have 25 photos we can put on MLS. What if there are not 25 good shots? Do you shoot more angles of the same room? Add photos of the neighborhood?

Sharum: We always try to add amenities shots.  We prefer this method of filling up 25 than shooting irrelevant images .  Great photos of a community pool are much more desirable to buyers than ANOTHER shot of the guest bathroom.

Photographs of amenities offered in a location can help to round out the number of  MLS photos.

Photographs of amenities offered in a location can help to round out the number of MLS photos.

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CD:  Have you ever had to decline a shoot or walk away because a home was not ready?

Sharum: Absolutely.  Ever since the beginning, my goal with my company was to raise the standards for the benefit of EVERYONE, including agents.  I believe we have made huge strides in what is considered acceptable marketing for architecture in DFW as a result of our standards.  It only helps the agent, their reputation, their sellers’ experience, the buyers’ experience, and makes our jobs easier. Everyone wins when we all pay attention.  We were also the first to come up with a “photoshoot checklist” that gets sent to the Seller to get them prepared.  At the time we started that, it was almost seen as revolutionary in Dallas as no one had put that kind of effort out there before.

CD:  Any funny stories about having to avoid shooting something unusual in a home?

Sharum: Oh my goodness.  Stories for days.  Some too explicit to even mention unless we are at a bar!

CD: Parting shot?

Sharum: We are still the only Architectural Photography company in Texas who have photographers who are trained to shoot architecture.  Period.  We do it because we love helping people look great at their professions and we love people (sellers and buyers).  We love helping a family move on to their new chapter easier by shooting their property to be sold, and we love having a great relationship with our clients.  That is what makes us.