Links For Real Estate Photographers

July 8th, 2009

Here are some links that I think would be useful for real estate Photographers:

  • Lightroom, Photomatix, and the Single-shot HDR– Here are a couple of videos (almost 50 minutes of video) on the details of using HDR by Ben Wilmore. Even though the content he’s using to demonstrate isn’t real estate the principles are the same.
  • Protecting The Bottom Line– Checkout this article in the most recent issue of DigitalPhotoPro by Sam Lewis on the subject of insurance for professional photographers.
  • Virtual Staging ?- Because in today’s market there are huge numbers of vacant homes that sellers and agents don’t want to spend the money on staging, there’s a new photographic trend appearing called virtual staging. You just put the furniture in with Photoshop. I’m still a skeptic on this marketing technique. Ya, you can get potential buyers to come look but I think they will be disappointed when the get to the home and it doesn’t look like the photo that enticed them to come look.
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11 Responses to “Links For Real Estate Photographers”

  • As a licensed agent, I think the virtual staging is a huge liability. For example, a relocation buyer purchases the home sight unseen just from the photos (this is not unheard of). They move in and find that behind that couch that was artificially put there is an unsightly radiator or something else that turns them off. They sue because the agent “altered” the photo to “hide” something (whether intentional or not) – I bet the buyer would win.

  • Although these look much better than the empty rooms, aren’t there some fairly strict Realtor Board rules that prohibit this?

  • Virtual staging seems like someone trying to create a business because they feel they are good at Photoshop… applaud the gumption, but the idea doesn’t fly.

    But your last sentence doesn’t really work for a reason not to do it. By that rationale, PFRE wouldn’t be an industry at all. With the idea of the home not looking like the photo, a photog should never use more lighting than that which is in the room.

    Making the home look BETTER is the entire idea of PFRE. Just saying… 😉 I’ve seen many before and afters, and you guys/gals do beautiful work.

    But yes, virtual staging seems quite silly IMO.

  • @Brad- I’m most familiar with WA real estate law. It says that an agent should not MATERIALLY misrepresent a property. Generally adding virtual furniture probably wouldn’t be considered by most to be a material misrepresentation because the furniture doesn’t come with the property (usually). But as Rosalind above points out the agent would have to be very careful that something that could be considered a material defect isn’t covered up.

    @Nik- I understand what you are saying. But experienced agents understand that real staging sells a home faster. When you are selling a vacant home getting potential buyers to the home with photography is only half of the marketing job. Having the property look great when potential buyers walk through it is the other half. My experience that a couple thousand dollars it costs to stage a vacant home is worth the investment in the reduced market time and increased sale price.

  • If the disclaimer is clearly stated, I would think it should be OK.

    I just did a home a couple of weeks ago that the agent had completely staged with furniture and accessories rented from a designer. And, the “real” couch could hide a radiator as well.

    I’m going to run this by my clients and see what they say.

    The company is offering a very nice affiliate program.

  • As a photographer, I have been asked a number of times to photograph a property before the owner moves out and the agent use’s the furnished photos in the marketing. So I think that is almost like virtual staging. Photos depict a furnished room/home, but when you arrive at the property it is vacant. What do other’s think about that?

    I’m sure most of you agree staged/furnished rooms present themselves 100 times better. So the idea of this is good. And can save you a lot of money! I have had a handful of clients ask about this service, the problem I have is the quality. If you are going to pay to have this type of virtual staging done I would hope it isn’t “in your face” obvious. After reviewing the examples this company has on their site, I was disappointed how noticeably fake most of it was. If they work on having it look more natural perhaps they’d earn referral work from me, but not as of now.

  • Regarding the insurance article – anyone familiar with that Farmers Insurance policy through ASMP?

  • As a home stager, I have my reservations about this technique myself. Certainly it will make the pictures more interesting and informative and help the buyers with visualizing potential – better than vacant. However, those who purchase virtual staging should realize that – like anything else – you get what you pay for. Part of actual staging’s benefit is the ambience or “feel” created. The buying decision is triggered based on emotion (scientifically proven fact) so that feeling experienced inside the staged house is more likely to trigger the buying decision that merely looking at a picture then walking through and empty house.

  • The insurance link is especially helpful. Read what you’re buying, no doubt.

  • Thanks for the info, I found this article via Google.

    The thing that nobody here is mentioning is that any high end photography you do for a listing is going to include some extensive post-production work in Photoshop. Even if they’re not adding in furniture, photographers adjust lighting, contrast, context, etc. I even know photographers who put in different skyscapes in exterior photos to make the landscape seem more dramatic/stunning.

    Compared to that level editing, it’s hard to see how virtual staging is more misleading, especially when given a clear disclaimer.

    I had a good experience with Centum Staging (found here: Virtual Home Staging), and they were very helpful answering all of my questions.

    Thanks again for the article and discussion!

  • Just found this… All virtual staging companies aren’t created equal. For instance, one that we have used for Virtual Staging only uses images of real furniture instead of images that have been digitally produced. The results are amazing! Check them out at

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