Help Sell The Property Instead of Just Releasing The Shutter

November 16th, 2008

A reader sent me a listing for a high rise condo in midtown Manhattan. He was complaining that the interior photography quality didn’t match the listing price. Perhaps, but what bothered me more is the short abbreviated presentation of what appears to be a really grand property… it better be for $65M. It reminds me of what I see in a lot of professionally photographed listings. Gorgeous primary features but A bunch of interesting secondary property features are missing. Maybe if you have a view like this to sell, you think that no one cares what the roof garden or the pool looks like but there are a bunch of potentially great property features it just casually refers to. I want to see a grand tour of this place, all the way from the smiling doorman at the entrance, to the roof garden and the killer view of central park. This shoot screams for a shot (or video) of the friendly doorman welcoming residents. I want big 800 x 600 photos that grab me in and motivate me to part with my $10M down payment. (Who’s making jumbo-jumbo loans on $65M condos these days besides the Treasury Secretary Paulson?)

One of the fantastic strengths of online real estate marketing is you are rarely limited by the number or size of photos or the amount of text. This condo has access to a pool, a roof garden, concierge and a doorman at the entry. In addition if you look at the floor plan it has a gym, screening room and breakfast area adjoining the kitchen that are not even photographed. I want to see all this stuff! Admittedly, the decision of what to include and not to include in the listing is the agents, but I’m talking here to both agents and photographers. Perhaps the photographer supplied photos of all these other features and the agent decided not to include them because they looked less than top condition. No excuses, any property that is going to sell these days needs promotion! Extra special properties need extra special promotion.

The point I want to get across is that all to many times I see photographers just skipping the mundane property features, to the point of not even including a shot of the backyard or side yard in a residential shoot. If the agent is not there to call the shots, and doesn’t realize that the property is not fully documented until she gets the final photos what’s she going to do, pay for a re-take? Take the time to walk the property and take shots of everything. You don’t need to do elaborate lighting setup or post processing for everything. Get in the habit of thinking about documenting everything instead of just focusing on just knock-out interior shots of the primary rooms.

I know, November is not the best time to shoot roof gardens and outside pools in NY, but there are ways around this problem. We sold a condo in Dec 2006 with some park and pool amenities and I found an agent that had listed a property in the same complex in July, and asked to use his photos. He said sure, no problem. Another solution is to collect neighborhood photos for neighborhoods where you list or shoot a lot of listings. Then sell them to other agents or use them for future shoots or listings. Neighborhood and context shots are important in real estate marketing.

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11 Responses to “Help Sell The Property Instead of Just Releasing The Shutter”

  • I think some close-up staged shots would also help too because it gives viewers their imagination. Especially in the kitchen area, master bedroom/bathroom and living room. A close-up for a expensive Italian Espresso coffee machine with two coffee cups; a big tub full of water with rose petals floating, wine glasses and candles. Just a thought.

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  • It looks like a great property but the photos are not perfect. With some background of landscape photography, the park views should be re-shot with the following considerations:
    – merge two park view shots into a single panorama
    – avoid making 50-50 land/sky ratio
    – the one against the harsh light should have been taken at the other side of the clock

    The indoor shots seem to be okay although a complete virtual tour certainly has its value for a $65 m property.

  • Larry,
    I agree with you. It is better to error on shooting too many photo than not enough. Once you are at a location, the extra time it takes to shoot an additional photo in min.

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  • You get what you pay for and some people are very cheap, so it depends on what they paid.

  • this waay overpriced apartment should have its own dedicated website, but it’s extremely unlikely buyers (more like companies or corporations) with $65M to spend on a condo are geeking at web pages – at that level you only have a few props available and the Realtor will basically fly you in (if you are pre-qualified), wine and dine and entertain you big time, basically roll out the red carpet to get you in to show it.

  • I agree with Dale. A $65M property does not get sold on the basis of MLS photos, or even a website.

    The only real purpose of shooting this is for the Agent’s porfolio.

  • Before I got to Dale’s comment and Scott’s agreement with Dale I was thinking the exact same thing. Folks spending 65 million or in that range start off sending trusted assistants to the properties that a very skilled and knowledgeable Realtor has located and already previewed possibly several times. Websites and MLS don’t play much of a part in this end of the real estate arena. Word of mouth and connections make these deals come together.

  • Dale, Scott & James- Yes, you guys are probably right, selling properties above 10 or 15 million is probably totally different ball game.

    My main beef I was trying to express is real estate photographers get wrapped up in shooting only rooms that are elegant and ignoring less elegant features that are important in selling the property.

  • Yes Larry – I think that happens a lot more often than it should. I know