Getting The Best Possible Quality Photos On MLSs and Syndicated Sites

April 24th, 2017

MLSphotosBill in Cleveland says:

In Cleveland the MLS is taking photos from the Realtors at 2048 pixels wide then they the MLS knocks them down to 640 pixels for their use but when they send them on to Zillow, Trulia and they are sending the 640 resolution and not the 2048 res.

I believe it is a software problem that is causing this, and they seem not to be interested in correcting the problem which most software techs that I know say it is an easy fix. What are other MLS’s doing in this regard so agents do not have to go to all these sites, claim there listings and reload the high res photos. My big concern is they pay me to deliver high quality and resolution and the the MLS screws it all up. There is such a huge sharpness difference between 640 and 2048 res.

Yes, this kind of MLS photo mangling is classic. Previous discussions on this subject always raise similar complaints. There are a number of things that photographers and agents can do to minimize the MLS photo mangling:

  1. Understand what pixel dimension your MLS requires and supply exactly that so the MLS downsizing is avoided. The pixel dimensions are more important than the file size.
  2. Make sure your clients are aware that they can create an account on Zillow, Trulia, and and claim their listings and replace the photos. I’ve done this for our listings and rentals for years. It’s worth the effort.
  3. Explain the local MLS problems to your clients and encourage them to lobby their MLS board to get problems fixed. The MLS board that runs the MLS is only going to pay attention to demands of its members.
  4. Supply a tour to your clients. MLS bungling and crappy photo displays on real estate sites have always been a large part of the motivation for tours. With tours, you can bypass MLS foolishness and show large, high-quality photos.

This kind of problem has been going on for so long I’m afraid everyone has gotten used to it. I don’t know any simple way to fix all the various MLS photo issues. Also, remember to deliver images intended for the MLS in sRGB colorspace.

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3 Responses to “Getting The Best Possible Quality Photos On MLSs and Syndicated Sites”

  • I deliver galleries for Z, T and R along with the two MLS’s in my area in addition to gallery for printing. All of the galleries are in their own named folders and are output for the maximum display size allowed on each service. With Lightroom presets, it’s not a big deal. Agents need to optimize and upload to each service individually to take advantage of each one’s strengths. I don’t see any MLS caring about syndicated image quality. Even if they do care, it will mean custom programming rather than a default “MLS in a can” software package that only takes clicking in a few check boxes to deploy.

    The difference in image quality between syndicated images and those uploaded to each service to spec is very noticeable. Busy agents are likely to have an assistant that can do this work or even a high school student working part time in the afternoons.

  • I think the fixes for Zillow will help but from what I can see the root of Zillow’s problem does not rest on the resolution from the MLS alone. Our MLS send out 1500 pix long side but the images still look bad. The problem, I believe, is for the most part on the compression Zillow applies to the images for bandwidth preservation and performance. Take an ok JPG compression of 60% then strip away all the meta data and then compress it to the same or lower value and see what happens. That is what you see with Zillow. Where I work the images are better on the MLS than Zillow. So perhaps the use of much larger images would help and they would survive the Zillow compression with better quality.

    I’m going to try to distribute larger images to the agents and see what happens.

  • Part of this issue could also be solved by Upstream, the industry initiative to be the master warehouse for storage. But, that does not mean Zillow will stop compressing or reducing the size. We pitch the value of our tour where we feature true 1920×1080 sized images, and we automatically provide an image to get people to click the tour. So, my view is get people away from these listing sites and to the tour, and at helps our clients with lead capture back to them, instead of some other agent….

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