“I'm really interested in doing twilight exterior shots and have just recently started practicing on my own house. My clients haven’t really asked me to do them as part of their listings but I’m thinking that it might be a way of providing an extra service that sets me apart from other photographers here. What do you think?”
Thanks for writing in Drew! Great to have a colleague from Oz write in! It’s good that you’re thinking about shooting twilights because they can be a very important part of a real estate photographer’s tool kit. One of the best testimonials I’ve ever heard about the value of twilight exteriors came from PFRE’s founder, Larry Lohrman. Indeed, Larry has often shared his belief that a twilight exterior shot might just be the most important shot on a listing and that having such a listing photo will increase the number of online visits an agent gets. He’s cited his own personal experience in the real estate field where he and his wife, Levi, have gotten several new listings after homeowners saw a twilight shot on one of their previous listings or flyers.
There is even a recent trend of injecting “virtual twilight photos” into a listing (e.g., where daytime exterior shots are edited to make them appear like twilight shots). Indeed, the value of this type of shot was recently discussed in a lead article on the National Association of Realtors (NAR) website. While I personally feel that there's something terribly wrong about this practice, the fact of the matter is that a seemingly increasing number of offshore editing houses are supplying this service, so there must be a market for it.
The other important consideration, Drew, is that if you have aspirations to shoot for high-end builders, I can also tell you that being able to execute twilight shots will go a long way in satisfying this clientele. I know that in my own business, virtually every builder I work with insists on getting at least one twilight exterior. All things being equal, a good twilight exterior shot is, in my opinion, the most impactful (“sexiest”?) shot we can deliver to a client. So Drew, I would give you a hearty “Yes!” as my answer to your question as to whether you should start taking more of these types of shots. If you’re interested, here is a recent post devoted to those like yourself, who are starting out with shooting twilight exteriors. Good luck!
So, how important are twilight exteriors to your photography business? On average, how many do you do in a month? Any additional tips for Drew?
Tony Colangelo is a residential and commercial photographer, as well as a photography coach, based in Victoria, BC, Canada. He is a long-time contributor to PFRE and is the creator of The Art & Science of Great Composition tutorial series.