As a professional real estate photographer, my primary competition right now is ‘anyone with a smartphone.’ As someone who has his own smartphone, I continue to be downright amazed at what can be achieved with a sensor and lens that basically takes up less space in a phone than a cube of sugar.
Even as amazing as those photos can be, they have some major limitations many people do not think about. For instance the angle of view isn’t wide enough for most interior shots. They’re also subject to distortion, limited dynamic range, and other defects the casual photography consumer has become blind to.
Taking snapshots of your kids, or friends at a BBQ, with your smartphone is a lot of fun. The nostalgic memories will last for decades to come. But when you’re looking to market your property in it’s best light, striving to get a sale for the highest dollar possible, its really not the best device.
Earlier this month I was asked to bid on a commercial shoot. The broker was preparing to list a drugstore with a nearly $4,000,000 asking price. To help me appreciate the type of work they were looking for, they sent me a prospectus for a similar sale they had done.
One of the sample brochure images looked like this:
On the face of it, you might think, not bad. Right? Blue skies, bright Sun, and clearly the building’s the center of attraction.
As part of my bid-response, I edited the image to demonstrate what was possible—even with just a screen capture. What jumps out at you? What do you notice?
The first thing you may notice, is that straight lines are, well, straight. The utility poles are sober now, no longer walking the sidewalk in a drunken stupor. You’ll also note the building itself stands straight, upright. The building itself now takes on a more confident, commanding presence. Finally, the shadows are lightened. Customers are no longer walking into a dark foreboding entrance. You can see clearly.
Which would you want representing your property?
Ask your self, if this were your store you were selling…if it were your home you were selling…which one do you think is going to capture more eyeballs? Which one might help drive a higher sales price? What type of photography should you demand your real estate agent provide?
Of course, the other side of the coin may be: If you are looking to buy a drugstore like this, and you have a list a stack of 35 similar stores in the area to look at, which goes to the top of the stack? You might select the ‘second’ store, simply because it suggests that store may be a bit cleaner, more well-kept, and therefore more appealing.
Discuss your expectations with your real estate agent or broker.
This can lead to a fun exercise. Next time you view a sales prospectus, tour www.realtor.com or www.zillow.com, study the photography you see. What do you like about different images? What do you not like? Discuss your expectations with your real estate agent or broker.
High quality images do help sell properties. If you’re about to list a home worth $100,000s, or a commercial building worth $1,000,000s, it is worth considering the impact professional photography may have on your final price.