How to Choose a Real Estate Photographer - Sponsored Content
We all know that professional photography helps sell listings faster and for higher prices. This is an accepted truth today. Yet, a majority of REALTORS® still do not consistently use professional photography. Why? When asked, many REALTORS® express reluctance in finding the right real estate photographer. Perhaps they are discouraged because of a negative experience in the past, or maybe they are just intimidated by the whole process.
With a wide variety of professional photographers out there, choosing the right real estate photographer can be a daunting task. From photography style, to delivery format, to payment security, there is a lot to think about. But don’t worry, use the 5 key steps below and you are guaranteed to find a photographer that works for you.
1. Find Your Options
Start your search by doing some research. There are many places you can go to find a real estate photographer including:
Google search - this will yield some great options, but the results can be very broad. Narrow your search by including keywords that are important to you, like affordable, local, or drone.
Ask around your office - ask your colleagues who they use for their listing photos and what they like/dislike about their current photographer. Take a look at some of their recent listings to see the final product on a typical listing (i.e. a non-portfolio listing).
Competitive listings - you have probably noticed some listings on your local MLS that have really great photography. Reach out to the listing agent and ask who they use!
2. Get to Know the Product
You MUST see examples of the photographer’s work before booking with them. This is hands-down, the most important part of choosing a photographer. While you may be unfamiliar with the photographer jargon that is listed in their advertising (DSLR, ambient, HDR etc.), you are capable of judging the quality of the finished product. Therefore, ask to see a potential photographer’s portfolio (make sure they show you real estate photos in particular!) and look at the photos. Are you convinced? Would these photos get you, or a client, in the door? If you don’t trust your eye, here are a few tips on what you can look for:
Clear windows. Can you see through the windows? Clear windows are a sure sign of high quality real estate photography.
True colors. Are the colors over-saturated to the point where it looks fake? You might want to avoid this style if your goal is to truly portray the real-life appearance of the listing.
Straight lines. Do the vertical lines in the photo appear parallel to the edges of the photo? If not, your listing could end up looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Also, take note on any bonuses the photographer might offer. This includes options like blue sky replacement, green grass editing, or a low aerial shot (often done with an extended tripod).
3. Get What You Pay For
There is always a case to be made for avoiding the bottom of the barrel pricing. Make sure you take a close look at what you are getting for the price you pay, and don’t make your decision solely based on pricing.
4. Check Out Their Systems
The business tools used by photographers vary drastically depending on if you are working with an individual freelancer or a large photography company. Your options will include: ordering by phone vs. ordering online, payments via cash/check vs. online payments, photo delivery through a 3rd party platform vs. storage and delivery through your photographer’s website. Determine what systems are most convenient for you and your business, and use this as a factor in your decision making.
5. Know What You Want
Finally, one of the most important questions to ask yourself during your search for a real estate photographer is “What products do I need?” Many photographers sell a wide array of products and are happy to upsell you on expensive panoramas or interactive floor plans. If you don’t already have a marketing plan in place where you know HOW to use an interactive floor plan to attract potential clients, then avoid it! Many of these supplementary products can’t go on the MLS and have limited use in other marketing channels. So keep your focus on value-added products. You are best off sticking to the most important, and universal marketing tool in the real estate world - professional photography.
Hannah Huppi is the COO and Co-founder of Stilio. Stilio is a nationwide, online marketplace for real estate photography. Photographers can offer their real estate services through the platform, setting their own pricing, terms, and schedule. REALTORS® can search for local photographers that fit their budget and listing needs. Stilio facilitates the transaction with an easy-to-use online ordering system, dynamic calendar, secure payment processing, and painless photo delivery system. Additionally, Stilio offers photographers world-class editing services to help them deliver consistent, high quality images to their clients. Agents and photographers can sign up for free at www.Stilio.com.
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