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#455380 - 11/10/16 10:58 PM Re: Photography: Hire out or DIY? [Re: Neal M]
Dan M Lee Offline

Registered: 08/16/16
Posts: 26
Loc: New York City
Correct. We are about to run an ad campaign marketing to both realtors and home sellers in the benefits of hiring a photographer.

I'll post it up here soon, some useful stats in it..

#456108 - 01/01/17 12:44 PM Re: Photography: Hire out or DIY? [Re: Dan M Lee]
Omaxx Offline

Registered: 10/19/10
Posts: 12
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Completely agree with Dan.

I am a real estate marketing professional working for a busy brokerage here in Toronto.

Our marketing team has to edit approximately 95% of the photos that hit our desks.

Aces in their places, your time is better spent focused in other more productive areas.

Sure you might have a low level lease or a low cost tear down that might be an exception, but realize that those photos you have taken reflect you and your brand. Cheap and unprofessional images say a lot about you, your service, and the potential client base that will need your services.

I recently polled our top 30 agents, all 30 used pros to shoot their properties of those 30, 26 had some of the best photographers in the area. Not all pros are equal either actually there is a huge divide between Pro's ans what we call Moe's.

Realize that the majority of time your property images are the first thing other realtors and potential clients see with your name attached to it.

#457270 - 04/07/17 10:47 AM Re: Photography: Hire out or DIY? [Re: lighthouselady]
AgentAlam Offline

Registered: 04/07/17
Posts: 15
Loc: Southern Ontario
It takes a professional to do a professional job. A professional real estate photographer can take pics from an angle which makes a small room look larger and a dark room look bright and appealing.

Edited by AgentAlam (04/07/17 10:48 AM)

#462830 - 11/08/18 07:31 PM Re: Photography: Hire out or DIY? [Re: lighthouselady]
estatereal Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 3321
i would fire an agent if i hired them and they did it themself

do you dig your own signpost holes with a digging bar and post hole digger? its an easier job to do that than it is to put up professional photos, but i dont see agents doing that part of it...again, if i did, i would fire them as they would clearly be trying to save a buck instead of selling my home like a pro

might be harsh, but its the truth.

#462861 - 11/13/18 03:27 PM Re: Photography: Hire out or DIY? [Re: lighthouselady]
janeoftrades Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/27/18
Posts: 5
Loc: Virginia, USA
Hire it out.
You should focus on what you're good at and hire someone else to focus on what they're good at.

#463551 - 02/11/19 08:19 PM Re: Photography: Hire out or DIY? [Re: lighthouselady]
BrianMI Offline

Registered: 06/11/14
Posts: 325
Loc: Michigan
I own a real estate photography company. I work in the Metro Detroit region and produce high quality images as well as walk-through video tours. I got into it because Realtirs are cheap in general where photography is concerned. Their tendency to jump from photog to photog depending on whoever is cheapest means that the photogs adapt to that. They choose run-and-gun workflows that can get them in and out of houses in 20 minutes flat so that they can make a living at the $150 price point they feel compelled to compete at.

I wanted the high quality flash/ambient composite workflow images that I saw experts creating online. I wanted the best. Nobody in my market offered it. So I had to gear up and start creating it myself. Eventually people called and asked who my photographer was. I told them that it was me. They started hiring me. They were willing to pay the higher rate.

Eventually that took over my life. I put my real estate career on hold for the last couple years as that business grew. This year I will hire someone so that I can return to taking listings.

If you are going to do this yourself (likely a bad idea in the long run) then all I can say is that you should learn how to do it right. Here are a few tips....

1) Keep Your Verticals Vertical - this is the cardinal rule. Every architectural photographer knows it. We mark out who is “in” and who is not by looking at vertical lines.

The vertical edges of your cabinets in the kitchen need to be parallel with the sides of the frame. You need to always have the camera level to do this. Never point the camera up. Never point it down. Always level and your verticals will be vertical.

Agents like to “get more island” in their kitchen shots. So they raise the camera and point it down to see that island countertop. The result? All the vertical lines bend off the side of the screen in a v-shaped patern. Agents who hire their friend the family photographer have this problem too. Their friend has descent gear and some editing skills but never took a class and just assumes all photography is the same. We see the skewed verts and know what’s up.

2) - this is the super blog. Central command for all things real estate photography. Spend enough time there and you will find your way.

3) Flickr Group - look up the Photography for Real Estate group on Flickr. People post reall good images. They get feedback. Spend hours there. Learn what makes a great image and what does not.

4) YouTube - search “real estate photography tutorial. Also search for and subscribe to the channel of Rich Baum.

5) Shooting Spaces - a real estate photography podcast. Find it using whatever app you subscribe to podcasts on.

6) Eventually You Will Need To Master Flash - ambient light simply cannot cut it. Even shooting huge sets of brackets. I just shot a cherry kitchen Saturday that brought this to bear. It was a nightmare. Cherry kitchens might as well be black. And with the sun at a low angle streaming in through the window over the sink? It was probably 25 stops of dynamic range. I took three ambient and one flash RAW frames with the new a7iii camera. Didn’t matter. The ambient light shots were worthless in that light.

But the fact that I had a 680 watt portable studio strobe with me saved the day. I just darkened the ambient till the entire frame was black. All that was normal to the eye was the rectangle of the window in the center of the frame. All black. White rectangle. Turned the nFlash to half power and fired.

Perfect. step from perfect. That kind of flash power catches on hanging light fixtures and casts shadows where they don’t belong. Good thing I had my ambient shots. Layered the ambient on top of the flash frame in Photoshop, switched it to luminosity lend mode, hid it behind a black mask, and used a soft, low flow white brush to “paint back in some ambient” where the flash shadows are....and they just vanished. Merge the layers, save back to Lightroom, desaturate just the orange color channel (bacause heavy flash will bring out orange witchin the cherry cabinets...and done.

Now it was perfect.

The funny thing is that that was the only way to create an ideal image on that day in that setup in those light conditions....but somewhere in that town some agent was shooting the same kind of kitchen with their iPhone X and wondering why it looked horrid when just 30 days ago the images came out “just fine”. The reason is the other kitchen had off-white cabinets...not nearly black ones. It was overcast clouds creating diffuse light filtering in the windows....light so perfect that anyone can create a winning image. That’s why.

Anyway....if you want to shoot you own it right. Get the training, get the gear. Do it right. I have sellers all the time telling me how glad that their agent hired a professional. They then proceed to rip on all the terrible photos agents throw up on the internet making the Homes look second rate. Here’s the hard pill to swallow....if you are shooting with a cell phone or hand-holding a DSLR or using a DSLR in any automatic mode and just accepting the results that come out....these sellers are saying these nasty things about you.

Don’t be that guy. Do it right or hire it out.

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