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What Size Photos Should Real Estate Photographers Deliver?

February 17th, 2019

Bill in Minnesota asks:

I have tried delivering many different sizes for upload to the local MLS but the issue I am running into is that when I view the photos on a site like Realtor.com after they are uploaded to the MLS, the photos are smaller and box shaped. I know they can get larger because I see others that go from arrow to arrow on the screen. Anyone have any insight as to what I might be doing wrong?

This is a totally different spin on the issue of what size photos you should deliver to your MLS than we’ve talked about before. My advice to Bill is:

  1. There are a lot of different MLS software systems. If you are on a small local MLS, this may be an interface problem between your MLS and Realtor.com rather than something you are causing. Does the same thing happen with the photos that are passed to Zillow.com?
  2. I would try to find someone at the MLS or Realtor.com support that can help you out with this. You probably aren’t the first with the problem.
  3. Remember that on both Realtor.com and Zillow.com, the listing agent that has the listing can claim the listing and upload their own version of photos that can override what comes from the MLS. The photos that look great may be photos the agent has uploaded.

Has anyone encountered and solved the problem Bill is having?

 

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9 Responses to “What Size Photos Should Real Estate Photographers Deliver?”

  • Yes, I have noticed exactly the same issue as described. Have not found answer to this yet.

  • I’ve found that the best way to get the best images on each web site (Trulia, Zillow, Realtor and the local MLS) is to provide images to the agent in the maximum resolution that each service displays. This can be different than the maximum size that the service will accept for upload. The premise is to deliver an image that their software is not going to resize. If your clients are just uploading images to their MLS and letting them syndicate to the consumer accessible web sites, the results are going to be much poorer than if they upload to each site separately.

    I deliver a .zip file to my customers with 5 web galleries and another .zip file with the large files for printing (3,000px on the long side). I have the different resolutions as presets in Lightroom so outputting the files only takes a few minutes. Since LR can multi-thread exports, I can start each export before the previous one has finished. Each gallery goes into a output folder that I have a template for (I created a nested folder template that I duplicate and rename for each job). When the files are finished, I select the web versions, right-click and select “compress files” (Mac). I rename the archive with the address and upload the file to my FTP space and send the client a link they can click to download. It turns out that the size I output for Trulia is the same specifications as one of the nearby MLS’s, so that’s covered and if an agent wants a set for a MLS that is unique from what I am already providing, I’ll include it at no charge. I’ll make a preset for that while I’m at it to have for the future.

    Not every agent takes advantage of all of the resolutions, but I encourage them to spend the time uploading images to each site directly since they’ve made the effort to have high quality images made in the first place.

  • I have not noticed a problem with this. I just checked several properties shot for different clients as the photos appear on Realtor and Zillo. Realtor did crop the width just a bit but it did not affect the overall impact of the images. I supply two sizes to my clients: 1. Full high res JPEGs for print and 2. 1800 x 1200 pixels versions for internet as recommended by our local MSL board and it seems to work across most of the RE sites the images appear on.

  • I have been resizing the images to width 1440 by 1080 height when exporting from lightroom, which keeps them around 1 MB. There are other real estate photographers whom I network with who do the same. These should be suitable for web use and mls upload. If my client wants to print the images I send an additional high resolution gallery. I have heard however that mls is changing so we may be experiencing this transition in the industry. This is a great group of valuable information by the way! Thanks to all who participate.

  • Bill, on Realtor.com if you click on the first image your image will display larger with thumbnails across the bottom.

  • Realtor.com collects the listing data, including photos, from MLS. In my area, MLS photos are reduced and are smaller than what can be displayed on Realtor.com. In order it display larger photos, the agent has to go into their account on Realtor.com and reupload the larger photos.

    I used to do marketing for a local agent and would do this for their listings.

  • The local MLS states “be sure to use the optimal photo size of 1024 x 768 pixels for all of your listing photos in Matrix” I deliver 1500px (long end) which due to a fluke in Lightroom when choosing long end rather than specifying both dimensions, it is larger as it apparently switches “long end” to what EFIX data labels as “height” and makes 2249×1500. despite being twice as large as specified, they work fine on MLS and also support Tourbuzz’s recommendation 1500×1000 for tours with no problem. I use to deliver two sizes, reduced and full sizes and instructions to add/replace photos on Realtor.com, Zillow, etc but they never did so now I just deliver the one size. If they ever need another size, it is easy enough to rip another group in Lightroom. As a matter of practice, I reflect the file size in the file name, where all rips – full size down – will have the same file name (address – sequence #) then have size (-1500px) if not full size.

  • Best answer …. call your local MLS to find out. Our MLS said it has nothing to do with dimensions. The image cannot exceed 10 MB. If you send 6000 x 4000 size images less then 10 MB each our mls allows it. Just be prepared to send high resolution images to the agents upon request. Normally my images are 15 or so MB each at 6000 x 4000. I reduce them to 4700 x 3133 at approximately 8 MB and send via DropBox letting the agent know I have the high resolution and will send upon request.

  • I find that very few agents are going to take the time to log into the portal sites, claim listings, and then replace the photos with better quality versions. Are there going to be some out there that do so? Sure? But they are the exception that only proves the rule and I feel that preoccupying one’s self with this and going on some kind of constant-try-to-educate-them campaign is likely going to feel like beating your head against a brick wall.

    Heck, I have agents who pay for VIDEO and they don’t even bother to upload it to their Facebook page. They want it uploaded to Zillow, they want a link to put in the virtual tour box in the MLS upload system…and that’s it. As with many things…we are far more concerned about it than the typical customer is.

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