How Do Real Estate Photographers Get around the Bad Presentation of Photos on Real Estate Sites?

June 21st, 2017

TourBuzzDavid in Colorado says:

The most frustrating thing about real estate photography is the horrible reproduction of photos on most real estate sites. We spend the time creating beautiful photos for our clients that we are incredibly proud of then those photos are run through real estate sites where they are compressed, darkened, over saturated and basically ruined.

My question is: How do other photographers get around this and please their clients?

This is a classic problem with MLS sites and other regional real estate sites and it is the fundamental reason that real estate tours were invented. If you build a tour with your photos and other media you can then give the tour URL to your client. Then they can use that URL on most (but not all) real estate websites and MLSs. There are many benefits to providing a tour:

  1. Real estate tours are typically designed to be large elegant slideshows that run automatically.
  2. Most tours allow still photos, 360 images, and video.
  3. Tours are usually branded. That is, they allow the Realtor’s contact information and other listing information to be presented.

Here is a list of the popular real estate tours used by PFRE readers.


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5 Responses to “How Do Real Estate Photographers Get around the Bad Presentation of Photos on Real Estate Sites?”

  • I provide my customers with the exact pixel dimensions they need for each site they upload to. With Lightroom presets, it’s very easy and my customers value the service. There isn’t anything that can be done when photos are syndicated. I advise my customers to upload directly to Zillow, Trulia and Realtor for the best results.

  • In addition to what Ken noted, perhaps a bigger problem is apathy. While I deliver two sizes – 1500px (current MLS preferred size) and full size, the 1500px is pretty much universal for web display. The problem begins with what MLS does to them as they process and imprint their watermark. Those are the ones that are subsequently syndicated for further degrading. For over a decade I have instructed clients to upload directly through their accounts at, Trulia, etc – even replacing the syndication uploads with the same exact photo. Initially it was to get around the 12 photo limit of MLS, but with policy changes that doesn’t apply today. The problem – even with education…they didn’t. Today, I don’t waste my breath as I will let them know, but don’t push it.

    Tours is a whole different issue. The local MLS did two things. First they added a “Tour 2” field that goes nowhere and is only seen by other Realtors and they can forward to their clients if they so desire – but most Realtors don’t realize that and never forward. It creates a problem due to the other issue and advise clients to NEVER put my tour link in Tour 2. The other issue is that MLS gives a free tour to all members if they have 5 or more photos which populates the Tour 1 field if my tour is not input at initial setup. I instruct my clients to delete anything in the TOur 1 field and input the url I provide. I double check their work as I do the final touches – insert MLS#, copy/paste the narrative they wrote for the listing which were not available when tour initially created, and syndicate to which doesn’t happen automatically through syndication. The MLS tour is very cheap – first 5 photos only and 1/4 page framing irrespective of the original photo quality (putting it nicely). That policy actually does a disservice to their members as now, during a listing presentation, EVERY Realtor can truthfully say they offer a tour and the potential listing client is clueless. Unfortunately, most Realtors don’t think on a macro level, recognizing the disservice and worse, flooding the market with low quality tours may condition people not to look at tours (Pavlov’s dog effect).

  • Another way to get great quality and an upsell is to offer a video walk through in addition to the photo shoot.

    I’ve just done an editing project for Michael Yearout Photography of Breckenridge Co. Michael is the consummate professional, I can’t speak highly enough of him.

    Michael provided me with raw video footage shot with a D60.

    I stabilized the footage, slowed some panning, light balanced, cut where needed, added transitions to get the pace right etc. to make some beautiful footage. Then added a voiceover using Michael’s script and a few bars of music. The water audio from the Blue River wasn’t great, so I added water audio from another shoot.

    Then provided a non branded and branded video with agent’s photo, contact & phone number plus Michael Yearout Photography’s URL, phone number etc. in the credits. Other agents should see this and ask him to shoot for them.

    Michael sent this along to the agent.

    I uploaded the video to YouTube so both Michael and the agent get maximum exposure. Also back linked the YT video to Micheal’s website for best in class SEO.

    The footage uploaded is the best it can possibly be with all sorts of sales & SEO value.

    This is another way to maximize the quality of uploads & promote your business.

  • Doug – can we see your video? It sounds great!

    I always make sure my clients know the photos I provide are print quality – they don’t really want more info than that, they do want a good glossy print.

  • Hi Tammy,

    Here’s the link. It’s the first video:

    The DSLR used was a 6D, not D60.

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