Unbelievably Bad Real Estate Photos – Updated List Of Sites

August 24th, 2016

Over the years I’ve made it a habit to occasionally pass along some of the sites that feature bad MLS photo. These sites are always good for a few laughs. In recent years the fascination with bad real estate photos has expanded. Now besides more sites, there is a book on Amazon on the subject and a twitter account dedicated to bad real estate photos.

Here is a new and improved list of bad real estate photo sites:

  1. Bad MLS Photos
  2. This week in strange, weird & terrible Seattle real estate listing photos
  3. Terrible real estate agent Photographs
  4. Hooked on homes
  5. 21 Terrible Estate Agent Photographs
  6. Bizarre, frightening or just plain hilarious
  7. Terrible real estate photos – The book on Amazon
  8. @BadRealtyPhotos on Twitter
  9. Really really bad real estate photos
  10. Terrible real estate agency photos

It’s hard to beat the entertainment one can get by looking at these.!

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17 Responses to “Unbelievably Bad Real Estate Photos – Updated List Of Sites”

  • You should include a special category for terrible aerial photos. It’s a lot easier to take terrible photos with a drone than with ground-based equipment. Being able to buy/fly a drone does NOT make you a photographer. Many agents are captivated by the idea of aerial photos & videos without ever looking at the attractiveness of them. In many cases, if I were the homeowner, I would fire my agent if he/she brought me some of the photos I’ve seen in locally.

    Drone photos are the latest craze, often driven by an attempt to differentiate yourself yet many properties are not suitable for them.

    I have a section on my web site (the Wall of Shame) with examples from other aerial “photographers” in my area.

  • @ Bob – are you doing this with or without a license to use the images from these others photographers?

  • No, it’s without their permission and they are not named. If anyone wants me to remove their photos, I’ll gladly do it. However, I’ll replace their photos with the names of the agent and photographer, a link to them and their listing along with my comments.

  • @Bob – Seriously?! Why not just promote your own fantastic work? Putting others down (and violating copyright) doesn’t seem like the best way to gain new clients or, really, run a business.

  • So I’m reading this and looking at the links and just for laughs I take a look at the Chattanooga Craigslist “real estate for sale” ads.
    I see a realtor with several listing that would make a grown man cry. A bathroom with wet towels mopping water up, a garage that looks like a hoarder lives there, a kitchen with caulking guns and several tubes of caulk on the counter, a tiny living room PACKED with comfortable couches, a FANTASTIC side view of a cute red car in a tiny parking space. By now I’m sure you get the idea.
    Do y’all think I should make a call and offer my services, or should I assume that he just doesn’t give a rats ass and let it go?

  • Wow!

  • Bob, if you add some text about why each photo has issues, you may be covered under Fair Use (Critique) for Copyright issues. Reusing somebody else images without permission is, otherwise, an infringement as Malia points out. The person that is selling a calendar of bad RE images better have a license for those images or they could be in for some serious trouble. Each calendar Printed is a separate infringement.

    Most of the terrible images on the referenced sites are just photos of what’s there. There isn’t much the photographer may have been able to do about it or if the effort would have been worth it. The ones that show how lazy an agent can be are photos taken without even getting out of the car or a closeup of a toilet/water heater/AC Compressor/pool equipment. Rotated images are also inexcusable. I see lots of listings where the agent just dumped all of the snapshots they made without throwing anything away. A reasonable limit by the MLS would prevent a bunch of that laziness.

    One of these days I’m going to photograph a home with my cell phone incorporating all of the common mistakes that agents make as well as the images I make properly and with better equipment. I tried once before, but I find myself automatically shooting level and picking good compositions. I’m thinking that I’ll need to shoot good pictures first and then try really hard to take bad ones.

  • @Bob

    Nothing about that is professional. Actually, it’s extremely UNPROFESSIONAL, immature and makes you seem like an arrogant a-hole.

  • Ken & Daniel: Thank you for your suggestions & comments (your work is superb). I presume that you have viewed the page in question but for those who have not, below is the preceding text (perhaps it falls under the Fair Use clause). My intent is to educate regarding what should be considered unacceptable aerial photos; my home page shows examples of my work. The text offers very clear insight and direction about how to prevent receiving (or taking) terrible aerial photos. This section shouldn’t be necessary but after three seasons of shooting with my drones, new examples of terrible aerial photos (and videos) continue to be added to the local MLS daily. Perhaps my passion overwhelms logic and the page in question should be removed; the opinions of others are appreciated.

    “Here are local aerial photos taken by others. Some homes are more than a million dollars.

    This is only a sampling of what happens when shooting at the wrong time of day, from the wrong altitude and angle, with insufficient sunlight, not removing severe optical distortion, improper use of software or not cleaning up (staging) the property.”

  • @Bob – I just want to offer a bit of friendly advice to you. After looking at your website and statements made there I can’t help but comment. You should probably reconfigure your website for starters and remove the photos that aren’t your own as others have mentioned. Claims such as “The Best Aerial Photos in South East Michigan” is a very tacky statement and would be received better if you just said “Professional Aerial Photography”. Maybe provide links to the other sites that Larry shared so that people can see your work compared to others bad work…..if they even care which they probably don’t. There’s nothing worse that insulting others work especially in your own back yard in order to make yourself look better. It will create enemies in people who’s help you may need one day.

    If you’ve been doing this for 3 years now and are charging $300 for photos and video, you should reinvest some of the money you’ve charged into a new drone and better camera so that you can in fact call yourself a professional. I too call myself a professional, not because I think I take the BEST aerial photos and video, but because of the wide gamut of expert services I provide and aerial photography and video being just one of them. Quality comes with practice, education and investing in professional equipment as well as being open to criticism which we’re all guilty at one point in our careers of closing the door on. Buying a $1000 drone and snapping wide angle photos corrected in post does not make you a professional photographer believe me. Also if this video below from your site is a sample of what you’re offering as “best aerial” you had better be aware there is much better than “best” out there and you might not be in business much longer if not from bad Karma alone.

  • Matt: thank you for your help & comments. Unfortunately the market in south-east Michigan can not support a larger investment in equipment. There are more than 20 individuals & companies with drones, with prices for aerial photos starting at $75. There have been more than 1,300 listings (over the past three summers) by more than 350 agents using aerial photos/videos.

    The business is very seasonal (mid-May through mid-October). As you well know, real estate agents are very focused on price, not quality. I have removed my “wall of shame” and will tone-it-down to a positive approach. Thank you again.

  • Thanks for sharing, some of them are priceless!

    My question is, just how much staging is a photographer expected to do? We all move/remove an item here and there, and spend a little time to make a scene look better. But where do we, as photographers not stagers, draw the line? How much extra time is reasonable? How many bulbs do you replace?

    When an agent says “it’s either list it ‘as is’ or I won’t get the listing” I take pictures of the Christmas tree in June, and all the crap laying all over. When everyone, including the seller, knows there will be less money because of condition, we really have no choice.

    It’s the in between ones that bother me. Where you know a few hours would make a significant difference. And yes, I instruct my agents (and when given permission, the seller) on what to do to prepare a house. But when you get there and can see it’s not right, what do you do?

  • Hope this doesn’t sound patronising but good on you Bob for taking the wos down. A wise move I think!

  • I adjust unbreakable stuff (remember I’m the OCD one): straighten/refold sloppy towels, window shades, shove the personal bath items out of frame (taking a snap with my cell phone first so I know basically where the lotions and potions lived), remove the kiddo’s artwork from fridge, suggest relocating a well-meant vase tgat is blocking appliances in the background, adjust the angle of chairs so they don’t loom large in the foreground, etc. I don’t have an assistant, so it’s one of the reasons it takes me longer than others to shoot a house, but I end up with some pretty good portfolio shots that way with less mucking around in Photoshop (ugh! Dog toy in the corner!). I’m pretty good at “lighting” a burnt out bulb in PS if I’ve got the time and inclination; it’s kind of fun and good practice. I won’t move anything heavy or fragile of course, and I do have liability insurance. I might suggest the owner do it. That’s usually the first thing people say to me: “Tell me if you think I should move anything.”

    The weirdest thing I had to move from the scene was a simple cup next to the kitchen sink–but I jumped back in shock when I saw it had a set of FALSE TEETH in it!! Second weirdest was when homeowner had to go quickly out of town and agent surprised her with a phone call that we were doing a photo shoot that day. $2M house was very neat, but there were a few pieces of lingerie folded up on the bathtub that I had to move out of the shot. Later I found out the house is owned by one of my other clients (I shoot products for her website)! I had NO CLUE it was her house. I think she was rather relieved it was me who saw the unmentionables! And of course, there was the time I had to shoot a basement with the photo-bombing family cat draped over my shoulder and purring loudly in my ear, to keep her from reentering the shot…

    Love these bad MLS sights–hilarious for veterans and quite insightful for beginners. Thanks for sharing.

  • While I haven’t posted photos on my website, I do have a group of “bad real estate photography” that I use in seminar/presentations. The catch is, I preface showing them with a blurb on not violating copyright by snagging off internet (subliminally stated they shouldn’t either) and noting that a “good photographer” i.e. me…has the skill to intentionally take bad photos. Essentially, on re-shoots I also take one that re-creates what the original photographer took plus the re-shoot. I have even had clients call me with a heads up, “Hey Larry, check out the photos on MLS#” People have seen these all the time, so it is nothing new, but with the pair of photos, I am able to illustrate critical issues…and I control it.

    Putting on my Realtor rather than photographer hat, for both my listing appointments – and language that I have suggested my Realtor clients use – when discussing professional photography, I ask if they have seen the crappy photography some Realtor use to sell their clients house – essentially investing nothing in the client. They immediately know what I am talking about. Then I note while they are selling now, soon they will be buying and if they see similar properties one with crappy photos and the other with stellar photos, you would prefer the stellar home, right (stated as a controlled answer and nodding my head for agreement). Now the search brought back 50 homes but most people can only manage 10 or fewer, photo presentation will help you cut to a manageable number. Then turning it back to them when marketing their home for sale, they want maximum interest for the highest return, including multiple offer situation…not photos eliminating you as you would others.

  • Gary, If a home is too messy, there isn’t much that you can do as far as staging goes in a limited amount of time. I average about 6 minutes per photo and base my pricing on that number. My typical delivered gallery is 20 images so my time on site is roughly 2 hours. Since the exteriors and the simple rooms inside only take a minute or so, I have time to spend on the “money” shots of the common areas. This lets me straighten chairs, remove trash cans, push out excess appliances and get highly colorful kids toys out of rooms that are all muted earth tones. I had one home where the Mrs was at a conference and dad was left with the three little angels that were all about as destructive as I was at their age. The family was getting ready to relocate to Hawaii so the place was in complete shambles as they sorted through what was going to be shipped over and what they had to get rid of. The owner and I did some express staging and piled up debris just outside of the frame. The photos came out incredibly well and I received a call from the broker about 1/2 an hour after I sent the link to the photos and he couldn’t believe it was the same house he visited just a couple of day before. The house was in escrow a week later. I might have spent an extra hour, but that broker isn’t going to use anybody else for photos and refers me to his associates. There is no way to buy that kind of advertising.

    Spend time staging where there will be good return. If the owner is on hand, get them involved if you can by letting them know that it can be worth a healthy sum of money and/or a quicker sale if the pictures look their best. Some owners really get into it and you wind up with a photo assistant or two for free. If you do the simple photos first, you know how much time you can spend grooming the remaining rooms. If you have the time, it doesn’t hurt to go the extra KM. You may not get images worth putting in your portfolio, but if the agent looks good, there is a good chance of repeat work and referrals.

  • I can’t help but feel that some of these are intentionally bad.

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