Photography For Real Estate

Tips and techniques for real estate photography

Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Real estate marketing

Photography For Real Estate on Facebook

Posted by larrylohrman on November 30, 2007


Shaun McLane (AKA Ekday Realty on flickr) initiated a thread in the PFRE discussion group earlier this week on the subject of making use of the fact that you can add a business to you facebook profile.

I must admit that I’m not all that into the social networking scene although I already had a facebook profile because my cousin Nik was on facebook and I wanted to follow some of his activities. Shaun’s point is that he has already gotten some RE photography business from his facebook business page by simply letting his facebook friends know about his business.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Posted in Marketing | 3 Comments »

Holiday Light Slide Show of Your Market Area – Great Holiday Promotion

Posted by larrylohrman on November 10, 2007


Ted Barrow, a Realtor and real estate photographer of Fort Worth, Texas was just telling me about his holiday lights promotion he’s planning to do this year. He’s going to do a Virtual tour of holiday lights in his market area. To me this sound like a interesting idea! People like holiday lights so this kind of tour will be guaranteed to get lots of attention.

He has a page on his website that allows people to suggest homes for inclusion in his tour. I think this kind of tour would be an effective promotion for either a Realtor or a real estate photographer.

Posted in Marketing | 1 Comment »

Demise of Newspapers Creates Opportunity for Real Estate Photographers

Posted by larrylohrman on November 7, 2007

According to an article in yesterday’s New York Times, “THE circulation declines of American newspapers continued over the spring and summer, as sales across the industry fell almost 3 percent compared with the year before, according to figures released yesterday.”

I believe the falling importance of newspapers is another trend that is contributing to the increasing importance of real estate photography. As readers move to a more photo friendly medium with less limited space for photos in ads the opportunity and demand for great advertising photography increases.

One situation I experience regularly that demonstrates the comparative effectiveness of newspaper and web advertising is getting a tenant for our rental in Snoqualmie, WA. On craigslist.org we spend nothing to get a tenant within days; always within a week. In the Seattle Times it costs several hundred dollars, a weeks lead-time and we frequently don’t have a tenant after several weeks. The Craigslist phenomena is creating a financial disaster for newspapers. See Danny Meadows-Klue’s article in the Guardian from two years ago.

Not only do we get a tenant quickly with craigslist but the tenant usually calls to reserve the rental over the phone without asking to see the home because after seeing my full screen 360vr tour they feel they can make their decision. I think this kind of thing is happening all over the real estate industry daily but it’s more difficult to show that photography is the key factor in attracting buyers because you can’t re-sell the same home without photography to see the effect. With our rental we have been “selling” the same product over and over for the last 8 years and have been able easily see the effectiveness of the two advertising mediums. Needless to say we abandoned newspapers many years ago.

Posted in Marketing, News | 3 Comments »

Excellent Real Estate Photography + Excellent Presentation = Big Results

Posted by larrylohrman on October 24, 2007


Rick Miner’s just passed on an example of the big results that are possible when you use great real estate photography and great online presentation. Rick says a week ago a he sold two adjoining condos on alki point in Seattle: www.alkibeachpenthouse.com and www.AlkiBeachPenthouse2.com to the same buyer. The buyer found these properties themselves online shortly after they went on the market after the buyer’s agent failed to show the buyers these condos. The buyers plan to combine these two condos into a single mega-luxury-condo.

I think Rick’s results nicely demonstrate what is possible when you use a professional real estate photographer (Aaron Leitz) and present the images well.

Kelly Hachtel, Rick’s webmaster, confirmed that Javascript was chosen for the purpose of displaying a slide-show of big photos of each of Rick’s listings because a Javascript slide show is faster and more efficient that other forms of slide shows.

Thanks Rick and Kelly for the inside story on this great piece of real estate marketing.

Posted in Marketing, Virtual Tours | 1 Comment »

Delightful Job of Marketing a House Boat Property

Posted by larrylohrman on October 12, 2007


Levi and I were just enjoying the delightful job of marketing that Rick Miner (a local Seattle Realtor who specializes in waterfront properties) after getting an e-mail flyer from Rick promoting an open house he’s having this Sunday (10/14) at his house boat listing. I just had to pass this on. Rick is a Realtor that understands the power of strong photography and uses it well. He is another Realtor that uses large slide shows for property sites. He mixes in a little levity with his rubber ducky branding. Also, the brightness of all the images (this is not easy in Seattle!) provides a positive, up-beat feeling. If I were going to be in Seattle this weekend I’d go drop in just to congratulate Rick on his marketing job.

Update: Aaron Leitz tells me he did the photography for Rick. Also, note that if you click on About Rick on his website that Rick is a former Hollywood Producer/Director… this explains his high visual standards!

Posted in Marketing, Property Sites | 9 Comments »

Web Appeal Appears to be Replacing Curb Appeal?

Posted by larrylohrman on October 1, 2007

We had an open house at our new listing yesterday. The Realtor holding it open for us said “…pictures on the Internet really good (all four family’s through said it was the Internet pictures that got them there)…” I wasn’t there so no one can accuse me of asking visitors leading questions about the photos.

There’s a couple of significant things about having open house visitors talk about internet pictures bringing them to the open house.

  1. Ever since I started working in real estate in 1999 the conventional wisdom about open house traffic (and we documented this over and over in years past) has been that the primary source of traffic for open houses was “drive-bys”. That is, people that are driving around the neighborhood, see your open house signs and come in to see the house.
  2. The secondary source of traffic was been newspaper open house ads. The newspaper has been completely eliminated from the process since there is no way you can put a home on the market on 9/26 and have an ad in ANY newspaper about it by 9/30. You can’t request an ad until you have a MLS number and you can’t get a MLS number until you put it on the market. You can’t even get a MLS number assigned early for a future listing more than 24 hours ahead.

I understand that this is only one data point but think about it; gas is expensive so buyers don’t just idly drive around the neighborhood any more and newspapers have data that is two weeks old (that’s the flow time that it takes to get an ad in the newspaper through our office process) so if you were looking for a home how would you approach it? Use the Internet right?

Posted in Marketing | 6 Comments »

Do Slow Markets Increase Real Estate Photographer Business?

Posted by larrylohrman on September 26, 2007


The chart above (I know you can’t read it- follow the link to a readable version of this chart. “Market summary” of “King County”) shows how the inventory in King County, WA is now higher than it’s been at any time in the last 5 years by a significant amount. Based on recent news stories this is typical at least throughout the US and perhaps other countries. This means if you are a home seller these days there is more competition in the market than there as been in the last 5 years. So Realtors are having to market harder and smarter to get listings sold.

One way to market smarter is to make sure your listing stands out to buyers on the web with good photographs and tours. I was helping a Realtor friend put a tour link on her listing yesterday and she said, “… I haven’t had to do this for so long I forgot how do it”. Meaning it’s been a long time since she’s had to use virtual tours to get a listing sold. I think in the last few years many Realtors have thought that the market has been so hot that listings just sold themselves. Now days you have to do something extra.

This market situation has just become apparent in Washingon in the last few months and started to get media coverage in just the last month. I predict that increasing awareness of this slowing real estate market will help the real estate photography business since it’s becoming pretty clear that you can’t just put a property on the market and expect it to sell in a couple of weeks.

Anyone else seeing evidence that slow markets increase RE photographer business?

Posted in BusinessProcess, Marketing | 12 Comments »

For The Real Money Shot Hire a Pro

Posted by larrylohrman on September 5, 2007


Adriana Barton wrote a recent article for the Globe and Mail (Canadian national newspaper) on real estate photography. I knew this article was in the works because Adriana asked my permission to quote from this blog. Although I didn’t know when it was going to be published… Reader Drew King noticed the article and pointed it out to me this morning. This article is the third article (NYTimes, LATimes) I’ve seen this year done by major newspapers that recommends that Realtors hire a professional for marketing photography. These articles all point to the fact that real estate marketing is getting more visibility at least from print media journalists.

An important aspect of this article is seen in the comments. I find the comments revel a naive point of view on the subject of wide-angle lens and Photoshop and making home interiors attractive. I would have dismissed the point of view expressed in the comments on the Globe and Mail article if it weren’t for the fact that M. James Northen pointed out the very same kinds of points of view on a re-posting of the NYTimes article on www.37signals.com. Be sure to read through these two sets of comments. As M. James pointed out, “There are a few people out there that are so ignorant that they think RE Photography could be construed as Bait and Switch. That the original pictures in this post are better than the pro-shots. That wide angle lenses set off their BS alarms.”

I think that the public is generally not very aware or sophisticated when it comes to images they see day in and day out on TV, movies and print media. They think that the cover girls they see on magazine covers at the grocery store check-out stands come straight out of the camera and on to the cover. And they never think about how far from reality many of the TV ad images are. Real estate marketing is generally the least manipulated of media images. This lack of visual sophistication is, I think, the same thing that lead Realtors to not recognize the difference between a good and bad marketing images. Most Realtors and the general public just need to be visually educated.

Posted in Marketing, Photo Editing | 8 Comments »

vFlyer Now Allows You to Turn vFlyers Into a Property Site

Posted by larrylohrman on August 18, 2007


Wow everyone is getting into the property site act! vFlyer.com Introduces Domain Plus – Search for, Purchase and Host Domains and Build Single Property Websites. Domain Plus is a new service from vFlyer that enables subscribers to quickly find, purchase and host Single Property Websites directly from vFlyer. With Domain Plus, subscribers can purchase and attach any number of available domain names to their flyers (micro-site) or galleries!

Posted in Marketing | 2 Comments »

Postlets.com Another Way to Create Ads for craigslist, etc

Posted by larrylohrman on August 6, 2007

Also while I was gone, Karl Hoelscher pointed out there is a new site available called www.postlets.com that is similar to www.vFlyer.com. Both of these sites help you create professional looking HTML for real estate and other classified ads to post on sites like craigslist.org, ebay.com, edgeio.com, propsmart.com,vast.com and many others.

Thanks Karl.

Posted in Marketing | 6 Comments »

VerticalResponse: An Easy Way To Manage Your Marketing Campaign

Posted by larrylohrman on July 19, 2007


Yesterday Scott Hargis sent me a copy of his e-mail marketing that he is sending to clients. I’ve talked before about how if you are building your business it’s a good idea to keep regular contact with your past and potential customers by sending them e-mail and post cards. This doesn’t replace face-to-face contact, it just reinforces it. Realtors do this with their customers so they expect it and recognize good marketing so don’t be bashful about sending e-mail newsletters, post cards etc. In Scott’s case he simply sends an e-mail with a photo-link to his “Recent work” gallery on his website. This can keep your name and work in front of your current and potential clients. If they don’t which to receive the marketing piece they can just op-out (unsubscribe).

The point of VerticalResponse.com is that it simplifies the process of managing your mailing list and letting clients subscribe, unsubscribe to e-mail or post cards as well a creating and sending the marketing pieces. Managing your marketing with a tool like VerticalResponse.com actually improves the professional appearance of your marketing.

Posted in Marketing | 9 Comments »

vFlyer Announces Watermark Plus

Posted by larrylohrman on June 15, 2007

Today vFlyer add a service call Watermark Plus which is a image enhancing service offered as part of vFlyer that allows users to merchandise and enhance photos and images by adding text, graphics, logos and watermarks to them – quickly and easily. The service allows online sellers to:

  • Protect photos by adding visible watermarks and logos
  • Enhance photos to attract interest from buyers by adding sales, product and pricing information
  • Brand photos and include contact information by adding company logos or personal photographs

At first I didn’t understand this service because I do this kind of thing with Photoshop. But I forgot that not everyone uses Photoshop as their operating system. This allows non-technical people to quickly and easily enhance photos. A lot of agents in my office have asked me how to float text over photos like I do on brochures and and then rolled their eyes when I tell them. This is a way to get it done for flyer/brochure images without breaking a sweat.

Posted in Marketing | 1 Comment »

Ad on newyork.craigslist.org: $12 per assignment photo taking job

Posted by larrylohrman on June 14, 2007

Drew King who works in the NY area sent me this craigslist ad. Since it will expire some time, I’ll repost it below so everyone can continue to read it:

I am a real estate agent who needs someone to take pictures of homes in the Nassau and Suffolk area (wwww.BrianSilvestry.com) I work with deadlines so I need someone who is very reliable, reachable through email, or better yet text messaging and has a flexible schedule.

I will email you an assignment with an address and you will need to go there and take 5 pictures of the exterior of the house. After that using http://www.shutterfly.com I will need you to email them to me. That is all. I will pay you per each assignment completed $12. It will not take more than a hour including drive time there and back and uploading the pictures.Occasionally I will need you to take pictures of the interior of the house as well but that is pretty rare.

You do not need to come to our office or anything. I will pay you at the end of the week using either paypal or I may send you a check.

If you feel you can do this position, please send me a resume, I do need someone right away to start.

What you need to do it is to be reliable, have your own digital camera, be able to complete work on deadline and short notice and have a phone that supports text messaging. I will email or more likely text you an assignment and I will need it to be done as soon as you can. It’s better if you can do it that day but also okay if you can complete it by early the next afternoon. “

Wow real estate photography is a tough business in NY! I notice the ad was posted on 5/18/2007 almost a month ago. Wonder why no one has jumped on it? Drew’s comments are:

“I don’t know about you, but out here on the east coast our cars run on
gasoline. I filled up Sunday,$77.50 for 20 gallons…. $12 wouldn’t
cover the damn tolls into Long Island much less the gas…..

Tell me is it Taboo to ask what people are charging for their services?
I’m not shooting architectural, for magazines. I shoot houses for sale
and property for rent. I can’t expect more than $75-$100 an hour and
when it boils out before taxes with gas, tolls, cd’s, etc Im down to
$50, take out 40% for the government, then health care… well you get
my point…. “

Thanks Drew for the link to this ad. Drew thinks he won’t apply for this job! Anyone else?

Posted in Marketing | 14 Comments »

Statistics That Drive Real Estate Photography

Posted by larrylohrman on June 13, 2007

A recently released study of the California Association of Realtors use of Technology by Leslie Appleton-Young, Chief Economist of the California Association of Realtors (CAR) reaffirms the trends in the Real Estate that are driving the demand for good Real Estate photography. Here are a few of the report’s findings:

  • About 3 of 4 (73%) adult American in the US were Internet users in April 2006, an increase of 66 % from January 2005.
  • REALTORS with high-speed Internet access increased from 71% in 2003 to 95 % in 2006.
  • A digital camera was the most important technological purchase or upgrade considered by most respondents this year, because it could provide Realtors an electronic version of pictures and could be used for marketing of listings.
  • Communication via telephone continued to be the primary means of communication, as indicated by 69% of all respondents.
  • Online marketing has become increasingly attractive because of its low cost and efficiency in attracting the attention of would-be buyers and sellers.
  • 76% of Realtors use multiple pictures and/or slide shows for their online listings and 37% use virtual tours.

Another study, also by Leslie Appleon-Young, that analyzed the Real Estate market in California for 2006 also indicates that home buyers are using the Internet much more that in the past.

The bottom line is that, as one would expect, home buyers are moving more towards using the Internet for home buying. This trend is the underlying driving force for real estate photography.

Posted in Marketing | 1 Comment »

vFlyer.com Listing Widget

Posted by larrylohrman on June 9, 2007


Last week I had to post our rental home on craigslist.org. Since I use vflyer.com to create my craigslist ads I was looking around on vflyer.com and noticed they have added some new features since the last time I was there.

To me the most interesting feature is the listing widget feature. This is a feature that allows you to create a little Flash display window that displays all your vflyers. You can then embed this little window on blogs and web pages (click on the image above to see an example). I can’t embed it directly on this blog because wordpress.com blogs do not allow the embed HTML tag so I created a page with the widget on another site. The way you would use this widget is if you had a vflyer for each listing you could put in on a Realtor site and it would display a list of all the vflyers.

There are other new widgets that you can use only if you have one of non-free accounts. This is a list of the different levels of accounts and what they can do. If you have a $9.95/mo account you can embed video on vflyers.

Posted in Marketing | 1 Comment »

LATimes Article: Shoot — It’s For The Web

Posted by larrylohrman on June 7, 2007


The recent latimes.com article by Ann Brenoff is another must read real estate photography article for your marketing kit. Much like the NYTimes article I featured last February, this article gives a some good real estate photography statistics and some shooting tips from Santa Monica-based Nick Springett and Everett Fenton Gidley, the big guns of real estate photography in the Santa Monica area. The article contains a bunch of great quotes and insights. One insight I particularly liked is quote by Everett Fenton Gridley (photo above links to his web site) that full screen  flash slide shows make it so web viewers don’t have to open and close each photo by clicking on it. Gridley says:, “You have to make it easy or they’ll quit on you”.

Be sure to explore Everett Fenton Gidley’s web site. The images are masterful and there are many links to recent property sites that he and his team have built. I declare Gidley the king of property sites. His portfolios and property site examples show how he implements his “…make it easy or they’ll quit on you” site design. One click delivers the whole portfolio or the whole property site content. Very simple and effective use flash slide shows of large images.

Posted in Marketing, Marketing Yourself, Photo Technique | 10 Comments »

Combining Real Estate Photography And Tour Hosting

Posted by larrylohrman on June 6, 2007


I just ran across an article and audio interview over at Small Business Trends Radio on how Kelly Thomas the founder of www.sihometours.com has combined real estate photography with tour hosting as a business. There is a 50+ minute audio interview at the bottom of the page. I noticed this article because Kelly signed up for my real estate photographers directory today.

As Kelly describes in the interview apparently there are a number of folks around the country doing this same thing. After listening to the interview I’m not completely clear on the whole business model. I can totally understand how the tour hosting goes together with the real estate photography but I’m not completely clear on the motivation for creating another local real estate site. If it generates as much traffic as Kelly says, you could also make money from the advertising. In our market area there are so many great local broker sites like www.johnlscott.com and www.windermere.com that buyers don’t even use the national sites like www.realtor.com very much. However, I know that situation is not the same all over.

I think it is hard to beat the combining a home tour with your home photography services. My favorite DIY tour is www.buildatour.com. As Mark Reibman says, “…about 80% of clients are wowed by it.” For $9.95 you can’t go wrong.

Posted in Marketing, ReaderProfile, Virtual Tours | 6 Comments »

Sell Real Estate Photos To A Client Multiple Times

Posted by larrylohrman on June 3, 2007


Last week M James Northen sent me some examples of postcards (click the image above to see his PDF that has 6 examples) and a brochure that he created for a client.

These are great examples of how real estate photographers can sell the same photos they sell to a Realtor client for the MLS a second and third time. And you will be a hero in the process. Using three photos to create a standard size post card like the example above is easy, takes only minutes and you don’t even have to leave get out of your chair. Once you get some layouts setup you can make a post card at the same time you prepare images for the MLS. I make post cards in Photoshop. Make your layout at 300 pixels per inch (because this kind of printing takes a lot of bits) and save it as a PDF. You will need a PDF for each side. Then login to your printers web site (I use expresscopy.com but there are others- see the resource page just under the blue banner at the top of this page) upload the PDFs and go through their order process and you’ll have the postcards in two days or less. Before you make your layout go the the printing site your going to use and find out the details of their layout guidelines.

Real Estate marketing is a very post card and brochure intensive business. We send out between 300 and 1000 post cards for every home we list (unless the market is very fast… in 2005 homes sold before I could get the post cards printed) and we usually send out another 300 to 500 post cards when the home sells. Then 2 to 4 times a year we send out 1000 jumbo post cards to the area where we do most of our business. All these post cards keep the phone ringing with sellers that want us to help them sell their home. It takes 200 to 500 brochures for us to get a home sold. We print our brochures with a laser printer for low and mid-priced homes but for upper-end homes we print them on heavy stock with a glossy surface at Kinko’s or expresscopy.com.

I suggest that to make the whole process go smoothly you need to have a limited number of good looking templates so the agent can choose which style they like and then you can just plug in the new text for each new post card or brochure. You don’t want to design a new brochure or post card from the ground up each time.

All the Realtors I know need some one to make all their post cards and brochures and they would much rather have the same person do the post cards that does the photography. But for some reason many photographers don’t make use of this opportunity.

Posted in Marketing | 6 Comments »

The Future of Video in Real Estate Marketing?

Posted by larrylohrman on May 18, 2007


Recently I took a car trip and was catching up on my Podcasts. I listened to an episode of the Inside Digital Photo Podcast that interviewed Dirck Halstead. Halstead is the famous Photojournalist that covered the Guatemalan Civil War at age 17 and was awarded the Robert Capa Gold Medal for his coverage of the fall of Saigon. After spending all of his entire career shooting for print media (newspapers and magazines) Dirck is now preaching that all photojournalists should be trained in video. His argument is that most newspapers are “hanging by a thread” and are not going to be a significant force in the future because the web is going to become the dominant media for journalism. And video will be the most effective medium for the web. He claims that many newspaper still shots are now “grab” shots from video because young photojournalists are using HD video cameras. He sited The Dallas Morning News and The San Francisco Chronicle.

I was struck by the parallels I’ve seen in Real Estate marketing in the last several years. The web has become the dominant media with in the last few years. When I started working full in real estate in 1999 we ran a weekly ad in the local Issaquah Press and actually got calls from the homes we ran in the ad. We also advertised in the Sunday Seattle Times. This last year we stopped running our weekly ad in the local paper because it was no longer effective and get very few calls from ads we run in Seattle Times. Between 1999 and 2007 print media advertising in real estate has completely been overtaken by the web.

What does the rise of importance of the web have to do with video? Video is a natural media for the web. Over the last couple of years it’s getting easier and easier to use video on the web. The great training videos on Lynda.com are an example of the new innovative use of video. Will something like this happen in real estate marketing?

I know some think it will but I haven’t seen compelling use of video in real estate marketing. Sharon Nymann in Key Largo showed me this spot ad she had made over a year ago. But this is not shot with a video camera; it’s made from a series of stills that Sharon shot herself. You can create video sequences like this with programs like Imagematics.

Perhaps I have bias for still photography. For now I love making little video clips of my grandson but I just can’t get into using it for real estate marketing.

Posted in Marketing, Trends | 16 Comments »

The Most Important Photo of A Home

Posted by larrylohrman on May 4, 2007


Several discussions I’ve been having recently brought up various aspects of the fact that the front exterior photo is THE most important photo in real estate marketing. The reason is that time and time again the listing agent is required to choose a single photo that is either featured most prominently (as on web sites) or the only photo (as in print media ads). This single has the job of creating enough excitement to get the prospective buyer to click a link for more information or make the call to the agent to ask for more information. Many MLS’s require this photo to be an external photo.

Because of the importance of this single photo as much time, thought and expense should be focused on creating and choosing this single photo as all the other photos put together. You want grab the attention the potential buyer. It’s difficult to state rules for doing this. Twilight shots are just one approach. Some homes require an aerial low altitude aerial shot because they are so obscured by vegetation or neighboring homes. Frequently, just making sure the sky is not burned out will allow the sky to add emotional punch. Finding an unusual angle other than street level can add interest.

One thing that makes a boring exterior shot is a straight-on front shot that makes the home look like a flat facade with no depth. It is usually more interesting to take a “3/4” shot where you can see that the home has depth or even reveal details of the side yard or backyard.

Some homes are just plain ugly. We had a listing last year that was so ugly that I used a twilight shot so you couldn’t see much of the home.

This actually worked quite well by covering up many aspects of the home that were not attractive in the daylight.

Many times a straight-on shot accentuates the garage, large driveway or street these are usually not all that interesting. In short, do everything you can to make the front shot look great.

Now that you you’ve gone to all that work to make a great front shot, a little known fact is that when you use a photo on the MLS as the first photo, it becomes public domain:( at least that is the case on the NWMLS in the Seattle area.

Updated: 5/6/2007

For condominiums where a photo of the front of a particular unit in the condo is not inspiring I recommend a wide shot that shows the whole condominium structure and it’s surrounding environment so the buyer has a feel for the setting. Here is an example:

On this condo listing I even marked where the particular unit was we were selling. Not very cool, I admit but we wanted to show where the unit was because this was a very desirable location next to the greenbelt. I believe in this front shot you want to convey as much information as possible. A photo like this shows where the unit is as well as well as a complete feeling of the whole condo environment.

Posted in Marketing, Photo Technique | 6 Comments »

Real Estate Photographers Wanted Page

Posted by larrylohrman on May 3, 2007

I frequently get requests from Realtors around the country looking for a real estate photographer in their area. This is what gave me the idea for starting the RE Photographers directory. But all too often there’s not a photographer in the directory in the location the Realtor is in.

So to address this problem I’ve added a “RE Photographers Wanted” (there’s a link on the horizontal line of links just below the blue header bar) page where anyone that’s looking for a real estate photographer can post a comment with their location and contact information.

Posted in Marketing | Leave a Comment »

Making Every Pixel Count – Article in New York Times

Posted by larrylohrman on February 12, 2007

Marc Lacoste just pointed out an outstanding article to me that was published in yesterdays (Sunday Feb 11, 2007) New York Times.

This is the kind of article that Real Estate Photographers should make copies of and pass out to their clients. It’s a sales presentation for hiring a Professional RE Photographer. This also great material for incorporating into RE photographer marketing materials. Realtors can also use it to explain to sellers why the use top quality photography to market their home.

The quotes it uses are not surprising to any of us but there’s an added credibility that being in the NY Times. Some of my favorite are:

“IN real estate, a picture can be worth more than a thousand words. Much, much more. When selling properties online, agents and Web designers say that the pictures buyers see of houses and apartments for sale are often the first — and sometimes the only — chance for a seller to make a good impression.”

“Eighty percent of people across the country who bought a new home last year used the Internet while house hunting, and they rated photographs as the most useful tool in their search, according to a survey of buyers and sellers “

“she uses only pictures taken by professional photographers, because “if things look shoddy or unprofessional, not only are buyers going to find the property unappealing, they’re going to associate you with being shoddy and unprofessional.

Updated on 2/13: as Scott points out in one of the comments below be sure to see Vivian Toy’s multi-media presentation that gives examples. Click here or on the link on the left side-bar of the article.

If you want to send Vivian a thank click on her name to send her an e-mail.

Posted in Marketing, Staging & Styling, Virtual Tours | 11 Comments »

Another Name For Virtual Tour – Property Website

Posted by larrylohrman on February 8, 2007


Susanne Hayek, a Real Estate Photographer in Arcadia, CA sent me a request to be in the RE Photographer Directory today and I was looking at her website and noticed several interesting ideas I though others could benefit from.

The first is the concept of a property website. For $300 she creates a web site for a property with it’s unique registered domain name for 6 months (here is an example). Her property web sites consists of a slide show of photos of the property along with the agents branding. She also supplies a unbranded version for use on the MLS. The interesting aspect of property websites is that they are an “upper-end” name for a virtual tour with a registered domain name. For those RE photographers with a few HTML skills this is a good way to add to your basic services. Susanne says she has competitors charging $600 for property websites.

Another feature of Susanne’s business model I like is charging by the hour. When you are charging by the hour if then when additional opportunities come up during the shoot (like consulting on staging) you get paid for your time. Susanne says she started charging by the hour because “…that I was spending a lot of time staging and clearing clutter and cleaning that I wasn’t getting paid for”. I think this is a great way to provide a higher level of service and make sure you are getting paid for it.

The third thing that caught my eye on Susanne’s site is the way that she makes use of PhotoSite.com to provide a large gallery of her work for the site. I’m a big believer in using extensive galleries to promote your work and using an external site like PhotoSite.com or flickr.com or one of the many other gallery sites is an easy way to do this.

Thanks Susanne for all the great ideas!

Posted in Marketing, ReaderProfile | 8 Comments »

How Would You Like to See vFlyer.com Support Video

Posted by larrylohrman on January 22, 2007

Here’s your chance to give some input to the folks at vFlyer.com. They are thinking about adding video to vFlyers and would like some input on how it should work. Aaron Sperling at vFlyer.com asks:

“…I had a questions regarding video support for Real Estate. I wondered if you or your blog readers have a perspective on this. We are looking at options to support video in our service.

There are several options.

  1. Have people host the video on external site like YouTube. Have vFlyer user enter link. We then frame the Video similar to how we frame the Slideshow photographs.
  2. Allow direct upload of videos on our service. Stream Videos in High resolution 3. Allow direct upload of videos on our service. Stream Videos in Low resolution

I wonder what people expect to pay for video hosting and how important is high resolution streaming…”

If you’d like to give input on this subject just leave a comment on this post for Aaron.

Posted in Marketing | 4 Comments »

How To Find a Real Estate Photographer

Posted by larrylohrman on January 13, 2007

Several Realtors have asked me how to find a real estate photographer that works in their local area. These inquiries are what got me started compiling a real estate photographer directory but it is early in the process so the directory doesn’t cover all areas. So if you are a Realtor and you have realized you need the help of a real estate photographer how do you find one?

Here’s what I recently told Jim from the Charlottesville, Virginia area when he said:

“…I really enjoy your site – enough to know that I need to hire a professional photographer for a new listing I have; I have read your directory and have not found any photographers in the Charlottesville, Virginia area.”

First take a look at “10 Essentials of Real Estate Photography“. These guidelines will help you increase your awareness of what’s important for real estate photography. It is important for Realtors to understand what effective real estate photography looks like and why. You don’t have to be able to do it yourself but you need to know what it looks like. I also suggest that Realtors look at Architectural Digest to get a feel for what top-notch professional interior photography looks like. The hard thing to do when looking at Architectural Digest is to separate the topnotch photography from the stunning properties being photographed. Also be aware that many times AD images are selling a designer’s work instead of the property.

When you’ve got a feel for what good interior photography looks like browse through your local MLS and look at the photography. With a little practice you’ll be able to spot effective interior photography easily. When you see photography on a listing that catches your eye call the listing agent and ask who did their photography.

The fact that Realtors don’t immediately know where to find a real estate photographers indicate that RE photographers are not marketing Realtors as much as they should be. I think if you are a RE photographer you should be getting your name and website address in front of the top 1000 Realtors in your area at least 2 times a year and preferably 4 times a year. You should use both e-mail and direct mail (postcards). Don’t be bashful Realtors appreciate good marketing and will respond to it.

Posted in Marketing | 30 Comments »