May 31st, 2016
I have had clients loose a listing if property did not sell as fast or as well as a seller wanted it to. For many reasons – with my clients who are all excellent agents and brokers, it was generally because the price was too high rather than lack of marketing. So occasionally their clients would come back to them, hat in hand, and want them to list it again but this time at a more realistic asking price. Subsequently they sold rather quickly. BUT, my clients naturally did not want to pay for new photography unless there had been substantial changes/improvements to the property since the first shoot. So having backed up my images, I am able to provide the photos again since my clients seldom keep them on their hard drives.
So not only how long should a photographer keep the images (perhaps delete once the house has actually sold and cleared escrow?) and if so, should the final images that have passed through post processing be kept and the RAW images be dumped and the versions of the images that have been worked on (I keep several stages of post processing images in case I have to go back and make some changes) dumped too? Storing 25 gigs of images quickly takes up a lot of HD space. When you get into video, it takes up even more. So added to this for video, should you just keep the finished videos or dump the raw footage after the property has been sold? Or keep some or all of it for a year after sale just in case someone is flipping the property? If they are flipping it, they probably are completely redoing it so old photography would not be useful. I’d like to know what the industry standard is if there is one.
My answer to Peter was that I started shooting real estate with digital gear in 1999 (Nikon 995) and I still have every digital file I ever shot since 1999. Both RAW files and files that I uploaded to the MLS. Granted, I don’t shoot 800 listings a year like some real estate photographers but sill, digital storage has always seemed so cheap (right now 5Tb for $129) there never seemed to be any compelling reason to get rid of anything. I was able to show Peter the first digital listing that I shot in June of 1999. My reuse of images is mostly for my books and right here on the blog. The header image up there on the top of the blog is the front exterior shot from listing a home my wife listed in Renton, WA in 2005.
Am I just being a digital pack-rat? How do others manage their files from their old shoots?