As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. It is taken as a given when it comes to buying real estate. Nowadays, more than ever, homebuyers are making full use of home listings on the internet to comb through all the properties on the market in search of their dream home. Makes the photos you use with a listing of prime importance. However, there’s just one problem. Too many homeowners and real estate agents forget about photo quality. Blurry, out of focus, and poorly angled photos can be positively detrimental to your property listing. If you want to attract buyer interest, then you need professional listing photos by a trained photographer.
Naturally, this means paying an additional expense, which is why many sellers resort to using online stock images, old listing photos, or their cell phone cameras. We are here to tell you, though, that unlike the needless expense many think it is, hiring a professional photographer can be a worthwhile investment. But don’t take our word for it; let the facts speak for themselves.
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Why Photos MatterWhy Photos Matter
Late last year, the National Association of Realtors published its 2019 profile of buyers and sellers. Among other things, it found that 87% of buyers who searched for a home on the internet found photos to be one of the most useful features when deciding on a purchase.
Additionally, a 2011 scientific study that tracked the eye movements of participants as they reviewed online home listings found that 95.1% of participants first look at the photos of the home. The study goes on further to say that after viewing the images, participants would next turn to the property description section and, finally, the real estate agent’s open remarks section. If the photos weren’t enticing enough, then almost no one made it to the next two steps. Confirms what most of us already know that listing photos are immensely important. But what about sales price, do photos affect that?
Another study completed a few years ago found that the quality of listing photos could add anywhere between $934 and $116,076 to the final sales price. That’s a big difference, and, what’s more, higher quality photos also increase the number of people clicking on your listing. With more clicks comes more offers and the potential for a bidding war.
What Makes Professional Photos BetterWhat Makes Professional Photos Better
You can always tell the difference between amateur photography and professional real estate photography. There’s simply no comparison. But what does that difference boil down to, and what are you getting for your money?
- Art Direction – A professional photographer doesn’t just aim to take photos; they aim to create art. This means shooting hundreds of pictures from different angles and lighting setups to ensure your home looks as good as it can be. Of course, you won’t need hundreds of listing photos. But this approach will ensure you get only the best pictures.
- Staged Photography – Emotions are what drive most home sales, and nothing creates emotions quite like a staged home. Staging your home and getting a professional photographer should be considered the twin-tracks in your marketing campaign. It allows potential buyers to envision living in the house.
- Perfect Composition – Great real estate photos need the right light, angles, and composition to create the sort of emotion you need homebuyers to feel. A professional knows how to bring all of this together for creating spectacular photos.
- Scouting Before the Shoot – A proper photoshoot requires preparation. When you hire a professional, they’ll spend a few days before the shoot scouting the property. They’ll find the best angles, analyze the home’s light exposure, and determine what equipment they’ll need. Doing all this ensures that everything goes perfectly on the big day.
- Post-Production – Photo editing software is expensive, which is why it’s actually cheaper to hire a professional who already has this software and the experience to use it properly. After carefully selecting the best photos, the photographer will enhance each of them. Colors will be brightened, unpleasant features will be edited out, and contrast will be added to give the photos a real punch. This is no simple task, and to do it well requires a high level of experience.
Put all of this together, and you have some stellar photographs that will immediately hook buyers in. These buyers won’t know why they love these photos. They’ll just know they do.
How Much Does a Professional Real Estate Shoot Cost?How Much Does a Professional Real Estate Shoot Cost?
On average, the cost of hiring a professional real estate photographer can be anywhere from $150 to $300. The price will vary depending on how large the home is and the level of experience the photographer has. Considering that the average household in NYC sells for $1 million, this is a small price to pay.
How to Find a Real Estate PhotographerHow to Find a Real Estate Photographer
Your broker will likely help you in finding the right photographer for the job. This will usually be someone they’ve worked with previously and can vouch for. But if you want to find one on your own, then this is what to look for:
- A Strong Resume – They should have experience working in the industry that goes back at least 1-2 years. Not just general photography, but specifically real estate photography.
- An Impressive Online Portfolio – Always review their work ahead of time. Almost every professional photographer will have their own portfolio website showing homes they’ve photographed in the past.
- The Right Equipment – Professional real estate photography requires more than just a good DSLR camera. At a minimum, they should also have a wide-angle lens, a tripod, and access to photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop.
- A Good Reputation – Great real estate photographers, will have a long list of references and referrals from their previous clients. Ask for these if they’re not included in their resume.
How to Prepare Your Home for the ShootHow to Prepare Your Home for the Shoot
Time is money in this business, so if you want everything to go smoothly, you should prepare your home for the day of the shoot.
- Clean – Perform a deep clean of every room in your home. A professional cleaning company is recommended if you want it to look picture perfect.
- Declutter – Get rid of all objects that might clutter up the home. This includes small appliances, personal effects, and unpleasant eyesores like cables and wires.
- Depersonalize – Potential buyers need to be able to visualize living in the home. So remove anything that can get in the way of that. This includes things like family photographs, fridge magnets, toys, and pet accessories.
- Stage – Go through every room with a critical eye and tweak things to make them look their best. Window blinds and screens should be removed to allow plenty of natural light in. You can also add splashes of color like fresh flowers or a plush throw pillow. Small touches like this can make a big difference in making your home feel more welcoming.
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts
Once you have your listings photos, you’ll see that they were well worth the expense. Your listing will stand out like a shining star, and you should immediately start getting phone calls. What’s more, these photos can now be used for your entire marketing campaign, not just your online listing. Your broker will be able to share these with private contacts and on their social media accounts to generate even more attention. Considering the small cost of hiring a professional photographer and what you stand to gain, this is a marketing investment with perhaps the most significant ROI’s you can get.