How Long Do You Take To Deliver Real Estate Photos?

December 10th, 2014

Todd recently asked the following:

I love that every so often you post polls that help us get a better understanding of the industry. Did you ever do one on the typical length of time between shooting and delivering the final images?

No, I never have. But here is the poll that Todd requested. As an ex-Realtor, my experience is that 24hrs is a worst case; almost too long. I moved to digital in 1999 primarily because the local film processor as too slow. They were taking 24hrs… and what was worse, they were closed from 6PM Sat to 8AM Monday. Once most listing agents sign a listing agreement they and the home sellers usually want it on the market ASAP.

Also, fixed the old PFRE poll page that has most of the Polls we’ve none here on PFRE since 2007. I guess I should put a date label each one so it’s possible to can tell when the poll was first put up.

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21 Responses to “How Long Do You Take To Deliver Real Estate Photos?”

  • The quicker the better. Unless I’m very busy, I always get photos to the client the same day. I do say on my site to give a least 24 hours, but usually get them sent before then. Doing so also is good for business. Always give the client more than they expect.

  • Quick turnaround times are good but some clients might take that as a rushed, poorly-done job. It’s best to ask the client when THEY want the photos, not when YOU want to deliver them. Otherwise, you might not be giving them what they want and when they expect it.

  • Real Estate photos should be delivered same day for 95% of your listings. In the odd instance that a listing requires extra care or attention, with the agreement of the realtor, you might get an extra day. But realtora are not buying photos, they are selling houses, and an unlisted house doesn’t sell. Even if a realtor tells me they aren’t listing for a few days, I always get them out same day. I have had several instances where a homeowner moves UP a listing date when they see how good the photos look. That always makes a realtor happy.

  • I promise 48 hour (2nd day) delivery and usually deliver within 24 (before 4pm the next day). I prefer to under-promise and over-deliver and I like to leave some buffer in case something comes up. It seems that every time I get a time critical job where I have promised a quick turn around, a friend will call with a dinner invitation, I’ll get stuck waiting for car service or something else will come up that HAS to be dealt with immediately. If the agent is in no big hurry, I’ll be able to deliver the same afternoon. Murphy’s law as related to scheduling and deadlines.

    Another thing to keep in mind is home much retouching an agent demands. I’ve stated that it would be no big deal to (fill in the blank) only to find out that I wasn’t as clever with PS as I thought I was. This is especially true with techniques I have practiced before that looked oh-so simple in the tutorial. I’ve learned to shoot for the new technique and also to back that up with the old way so I have an alternative if possible.

  • We measure our time a little different than most. Our goal is 96 hours from receiving the request. That includes us contacting the owner, setting the date and time, taking and processing the photos, and posting them on our site. Most of that time is due to the owner. They want time to clean, or mow the lawn. Sometimes they are just slow getting back to us to schedule a time. So that 96 hours is more of an average goal than a goal for a specific shoot.

    As for turn around after the shoot, we shoot one day and they will have the photos the next day.

  • I’m like Ken, I promise 24 to 48 hours delivery…. and most of the time I electronically deliver the next morning. Never had a complaint that even 2 days was too long.

  • I advertise “24 hours (usually less)”, but in reality I’ll email the images the same day. (unless it’s a late shoot)
    While I know my customers are under pressure to get the images into their “live” listings, my reasoning for quick turn-a-round is more about being ready for the next call. I’m always amazed at the amount of calls I get wondering if I’m available within a couple hours.
    If I still have P.P. work to do, I’m forced to make a hard choice.
    Best to get the post out of the way ASAP.

  • Im in Copenhagen, Denmark and I found that delivering photos in a rapid time, say 4 hrs after the shoot, that the agents started
    to say ¨can we get a discount, it doesnt take you very long to do the job¨
    Now I give the photos the following morning and everything is fine.
    I guess its all psychological. 🙂

  • Underpromise and overdeliver. I state 24 hours, but usually deliver within 12. The one thing I caution Realtors about is NOT to create the required single front photo “just to get it listed”. Sometimes the do it before I even take the pictures, much less, deliver. While it gives the illusion to their client that they are working hard, and even used by them and their competitors as a closing on a listing appointment “Sign here and will be on the MLS today!” they are actually doing a disservice to their client. How? Realtors set up searches with parameters specific to pre-approved buyer with automatic email notification to both them and their client. What better group would you want to market too – actively looking, with funding, and matches what they are looking for. It is not unusual to launch a listing and have someone hitting the showing instruction within 15 minutes. So, do you want to hit them with your best shot (i.e. my photos and tour) or the single front iPhone photo and the note “More to come” in place of the narrative they haven’t constructed yet. Reality is, they won’t come back until the next email notification, typically triggered a couple months or so later at the time of a price reduction.

  • My promise is 24 h, but I usually delivers them the same day. Of course, if I have 5 houses the same day, sometimes it can take more than 24 but if you talk with your clients they always accept up to 3 days 🙂

  • I am wondering how a busy photographer, shooting 3, 4, 5 or more houses per day is able to deliver photograhs same day or even within 24 hours.
    It takes pretty much takes a whole day to shoot 3, 4 or more homes per day, so if it then takes a photographer 1.5 to 2.5 hours to process these photographs, create tours and send them to clients….. how many hours do you guys work per day?
    As far as I can tell, any successful photographer that wants to build his client base, stay busy and keep their agent happy would either have to “trade their life for work” and have no life or use an outside processing…. otherwise… I just don’t see it.
    I know this is America (I am in US) and per Cadillac commercial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGJSI48gkFc Americans don’t have to have life… just work but… does it make sense.
    I think that anyone that promises or even creates a possibility that photographs would be ready on the same day is… either very slow and has hardly any business, but by doing this, it will stay very slow and never have much business, as… they will not have enough time to find new agents.
    I’d love to hear some stories of what you guys do and how do you run your business.

    P.S. We shoot, at the busy time, which is about 9 months out of the year anywhere from 6 to 10 shoots per day, but we have our own processors that process all photographs for us and we have them always ready by about 12 Noon…. we guarantee photos ready by 2:00pm next day. Our processors take about 2.5 – 3:00 hours to precess each photo shoot.
    By the way, besides Photo Shoots we also offer Floor Plans and more… .

    Of course that means overhead to us, but we “BUY” time this way and that allows us to have more time for our clients, then send us more work.

    I would much rather shoot an extra shoot per day and not process than shoot less and then spend hours and process my shoots…. .

    P.S. If anyone would have an interest…. we have enough processors to more work for other photographs as well, and soon we hope to make it official.
    By the way…. since we are in the business of Real Estate Photography and our processors just do processing for us…. we deliver quality photographs every time.

  • Like Larry Gray, we under promise and over deliver. We promise “less than 24 hours” and often deliver sooner. What may be different for us than the rest of the photographers here, we do most of our post production in our sleep (since we use a cloud service to process our three-dimensional (3D) showcase virtual tours overnight). We still do still images (after-the-fact) by doing screen captures within the 3D Showcase “Walk-Around”. While these screen grabs are not at the level of pro shot photography – and we encourage our clients to engage a pro still photographer – for listings at the lower end, they are good enough. Essentially, we’re shooting a 3D model and still photography at the same time. In addition to the 3D model, still photos, we also deliver an objective file (.obj) of the house – also within 24 hours (useful for beginning renovation design using CAD software).

    I also agree with Jason’s comment about delivering too soon. I’ve experienced that … 😉

  • I promise by 10:00am the following morning so my schedule is clear to start the next day’s jobs by 11:00am. I always try to deliver the night before, though.

  • I guess things are different in the Uk. Never (even if they are ready to go) would I send the images on the same day, always the following day. Like Jason said if they see that you can do them so quick it dilutes the value plus they start to expect them that quick all the time.

  • I also state “within 24 hours”, but almost always deliver sooner than that. I rarely deliver same-day, unless someone pays a rush fee. During the busy periods, when I’m shooting 3-4 houses a day and then doing PP, delivering same day is just not possible. And even during the slow periods, although I *could* deliver the same day, I wait until early the next morning. Otherwise, the agents start to expect that they’re always going to get the pics immediately.

    Most agents I work with seem to accept that 24 hours in the standard turnaround.

  • I spend probably way too much time lurking in the background of the FB group “Lead gen scripts and objections” esp considering I am in the UK. We lag behind… In a recent post about do you use a pro or take your own photographs, the most pressing question was “how many do you get”.
    Bit like, sure… I could get Jay Zee to produce my next track but… Barry is cheaper, can do it by this evening and is doing a buy one get one free offer.

  • @Ian Lucas. I could not agree more.

  • My guidance is also 24-48 hours for setting expectations though I’m actually looking to deliver <12 hours; typically that day.

    If I cannot meet a timeline 'I' am happy with, I openly discuss timing concerns with the client up-front before the shoot. The key is to manage client expectations proactively.

    I've only had one customer ever unhappy (not openly so, but I could tell) about my delivery timing. It was a major rush job and, I did meet the deadline w/o equivocation, she still wasn't happy. Overall, even if I get jammed up, if I manage expectations (need an extra 12/24/whatever hours), it's a non-issue.

  • Turn around time is also going to be dependent on how much value the agent puts on it and how much competition you have to beat.

    @Larry Gray, I try to get agents to not list the same day. There is a requirement with the local MLS that listings are online within 48hours, but most agents don’t realize that the 48hours can start anytime by putting a date further in the future for the contract to begin. Sellers need time to prepare the home for photos and showing and agents don’t help them out with that until there is a signed contract. 2 days might be too short of a time to clean and organize. I offer to knock a few bucks off of a photo package if I am given a few days notice. The lead time allows me to work on getting several jobs in the same area to minimize my travel time. My goal is to get regular customers to think of me early in the listing process instead of calling me at 7pm the night before to see if I can photograph a property at 9am the next morning and deliver the same day as they are required to have the listing up that night to beat the 48 hour window.

    Another issue with starting a listing with the one ubiquitous smartphone camera picture and “will fill in later” for a description is that the consumer listing sites, Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com may not pick up the added pictures and text or might revise several days later. It’s much better that the listing is all ready to go when it shows up on the daily “new” list. It’s not uncommon to see truncated listings go up and down on the same day to fulfill some requirement or other that aren’t actionable properties and buyer’s agents will ignore these if they have that sort of look.

  • I’m in the “promise 24-48 hours – deliver by next morning” party. I let all Realtors know when those guarantees aren’t valid (perhaps shooting last minute before I leave on a family trip, or if I have a full weekend of shooting scheduled) and they are usually ok with that.

  • Stills – Less then 24hrs.

    Although, I’m suddenly inundated with requests for video/virtual tours … and that’s maybe a different animal.

    @Larry, if possible, I’d like to see a thread related to post-processing video, especially in the case where I’m not going to do the virtual tour, but I do want to grade and stabilize each clip. It seems there are no programs that do a great job of batch processing video files.

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