The Importance of Photography in Real Estate Marketing is Growing

April 23rd, 2012

There’s an interesting  webinar on by Steve Pacinelli, Chad Hyams and Chris Smith. They make the case that not only are listing photos important to agents but the photos agents post on social networks are becoming more important.

The background is this is a webinar for an Internet Marketing Specialist agent designation. So this is stuff real estate photographers should know and be talking to their clients about. The whole webinar is just under 60 minutes. The whole thing has many useful in the sense you get a view of what tech savvy agents are learning and thinking about. If you don’t have time for the whole thing here are some of the highlights:

  1. The majority of online listing viewing occurs at the big syndicated sites. This is just where most home buyers go to home shop. This shouldn’t be news to most PFRE readers.
  2. The big syndicated sites like Trulia, and Zillow typically allow many more photos than most MLSs. And these sites allow viewers to sort listings by the number of photos. Viewers are in fact sorting by number of photos before they search listings. So exposure for a listing increases if your listing has more photos than other listings in your local area. So for best marketing results agents should be logging on to the syndicated sites and uploading more photos than the MLS sends.
  3. A statistic that indicates how important photos are on these sites is as follows: the average time spent by a visitor is 26 minutes. The most likely thing they are doing during this time is viewing photos. The total amount of time home buyers are spending on is 288,023,942 minutes a month.
  4. They explain at length why the thumbnail (primary exterior photo) is so important and why it should grab users attention and how to make sure the sky is not white. I’ve done posts on this in the past and recently added a section on this same thing to my free “What Realtors Need to Know About Photography” ebook. They make an excellent point about a twilight shot makes a really attention getting thumbnail on listing sites.
  5. They also talk about how agents can use the Instagram App to send very targeted postcards to potential listing clients who’s listing is expiring, to get new listings and talk about  creating and sending small Blurb books to clients. This would work equally well for real estate photographers to market their clients.

All this suggests  a couple of clear opportunities here for real estate photographers:

  1. Photographers can explain the marketing importance of having great front shoot and point out that sky replacement can be an important factor in getting online traffic and more showings by making the thumbnail photo stand out and draw attention.
  2. Photographers can explain the reason it is important to shoot more photos than the MLS allows and why agents should be uploading those photos to the syndication sites.

This webinar also explains to agents that using attractive images in their social networking can help acquire new listings. There is a clear trend of agents using their mobile devices to shoot photos more and more. At first glance this may seem threatening to real estate photographers but it’s also likely that it will increase the awareness of the importance of good photography.

Update Apr 27: Rochelle Kramer just pointed out to me that Steve Pacinelli who wrote this article and hosts the webinar is doing this presentation for the NAR around the US as a free seminar.

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6 Responses to “The Importance of Photography in Real Estate Marketing is Growing”

  • This dose bode well for those of us who are searching for quality over quantity. If it takes 2 hours to get 20 GREAT photos, you’ve still going to be sorted behind someone who spends 15 minutes getting 30 p/s or iPhone shots. Of course sorting order isn’t everything it would be nice if that kind of sorting wasn’t an option 🙂 Since sorting by number of photos doesn’t really make much sense for the client either.

  • Where can you find statistics such as those in this article? I have looked at Realtor . com with no luck.

  • @jim – I would contact Steve Pacinelli who is the author of this article on and host of the webinar. Ask him what his source is… very likely he has a contact at Just google “Steve Pacinelli ” and you’ll find his twitter, facebook and google+ accounts.

  • This is an interesting stat to look at. I just took a quick peek at the stats from our site to try and get a ball park % for 10,000 actions and about 10% are visitors on our photo galleries. Now for some sites I can see this number being much higher. The reason I’m saying that is because we are also showing most of the images right on the listing details page itself and therefore cannot collect a more accurate stat to share.

    Regardless the point is that quality listing photos that truly highlight the all the homes rooms and features are key to attracting views and generating leads for the property.

  • Hey Larry and Jim, Steve Pacinelli actually works for Homestore, which owns So, his numbers are goo. Here at, we recently talked to him about the large amount of traffic coming to our tours from Facebook and Twitter.

    Traffic to our site comes from Redfin (#1), then Zillow, Trulia, and then Facebook. A year ago, Facebook wasn’t even in the top ten, and now it’s number 5. Twitter is climbing closer to the top 10, in 13th place.

  • I mis-stated.® is operated by Move, Inc, not Homestore. I think Homestore is a division of Move, Inc. Anyway, there you go. 😉

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