October 7th, 2014
I got an unexpected question from Brian in NZ. Brian is relatively new to real estate photography and Pole Aerial Photography (PAP). He wondered why PAP is important, and how do you sell it to your clients. Brian was stunned by James Governali’s shot that won last year’s October still contest with a 58′ pneumatic pole. I’ve always thought that the importance of elevated shoots was intuitively obvious, but I guess not. Lets talk about the basics.
Why do you need PAP?
Because just a few feet in elevation can radically change the view of the exterior of a home. The difference between the top image and the bottom image is on the bottom one the photographer (Marc Lacoste of Nantes, FR) has the camera on a tripod with the legs extended over his head. This illustrates how easy it is to get an elevated shot and what a stunning difference it makes. This doesn’t look like the same property. More importantly, the elevated shot shows more of the features of the home and shows them better.
Another reason is that a large percentage of homes are sited above the street level so a handheld exterior shot looks awful! Ten to 15′ elevation can frequently fix this problem.
How to sell it to your clients?
Simple comparison shots like the one above will illustrate to clients the benefits of an elevated shot. Realtors are quick to see the benefits. In 1986 when my wife became a listing agent she came home complaining that the roof of her car was dented. When I ask her how it got dented she said, “I was standing on the top of the car to get a better front shot of my new listing.” After that I shot all of her listing front shots for her with a foldup ladder I put in bed my pickup. Nowadays Realtors want more than PAP, they want drone shots.
Is a 58′ pole over kill?
Perhaps in some situations. The goal of using large poles is, as with James Governali‘s winning shot, you want to show the home, in it’s surroundings and features in the distance that can’t typically be seen just standing in front of the home. These poles along with the control electronics and the trailers to carry them around used to cost around $10K to $20K USD. You don’t see as many of them in use as you did 10 years ago. But they are not obsolete. At least you don’t have to pay any attention to the FAA when you are using a large pole!
Drones will eventually replace these large poles like James’s 58′ pole, but smaller 10′ to 20′ poles are really easy and effective to use and are an essential part of full service real estate photography.