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Annie Leibovitz Does Real Estate Photography?

Published: 04/09/2014
By: larry



The Corcoran Group wanted some nice portraits for its latest "Live who you are" ads. So, naturally, the high-end real estate company went with a high-end photographer.

Check out 12 new ads, shot by Annie Leibovitz, featuring well-known, talented, affluent individuals in their own homes. The ads were shot in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Hamptons and Palm Beach, which are the markets Corcoran serves (and are auspicious places to photograph nice-looking homes—and nice-looking people, for that matter).

The subjects range from singer Jimmy Buffett to NBA player Tyson Chandler to ballerina Misty Copeland.

This is an interesting new angle. This seems like this approach is more about the personalities involved than the real estate. Thanks to Drew Callaghan for pointing out this link.

9 comments on “Annie Leibovitz Does Real Estate Photography?”

  1. I'm betting the agent wasn't tapping their foot in the background wondering when he would get the MLS images.

  2. I saw this yesterday on FStoppers and was pleasantly surprised to see that she can still restrain herself for "normal" shoots. The lighting is subtle and very natural looking.

  3. Agree about the lighting - Love the natural look. Also love the balance between portrait and space (home). What if we were given the freedom to tell that kind of story? Yum!

  4. LOVE Annie! but... if you take the people out, the quality of the architectural portion of the photos is crap. Freaky color, blown windows, parallels out-of-whack. This is the very same style she uses all the time on the portraits, which is what these are as well. They make use of the environment to support the portrait. And these might not even be the best examples of her work like this.

    Look up the pic she did of Keith Richards:

    or her shot of Madonna for Louis Vuitton:

    Same kind of great portrait work, but not necessarily great examples of architectural photography. Definitely worth considering though if you were to pursue a "style" component in your real estate work, but likely with a smaller then average appreciative RE agent audience. 🙂

  5. To answer the title of this post: No.

    What Annie did is rather some environmental portraiture. It doesn't have anything to do with RE or architectural photography. It's rather PJ style like we all know from McNally & Co. Due to the lots of negative space most of them could easily serve as magazine titles.

    Finally it is quite a creative approach to a commercial campaign of a realtor instead of using classic RE shots of some glamerous property. It is an attack towards uniform and tedious self marketing by RE agents. So far - great idea, great work. And for those who have this kind of clients is just one chance left: get creative.

  6. I agree that the images swing to the environmental portraiture side but as Kate Falconer infers "it's all about telling the story". In that respect, looking at each image as a whole, it's really well-done. This approach is about people and a "home" is more than just a nice looking shot of a house (and yes, that too is important). Each stands on it's own and the text pulled me in further. Very natural and personal feel to it. I like this a lot, it's fresh and different, just something else for the marketing toolbox to be pulled out where appropriate.

  7. The thing is, the Corcoran Group must have spent an ungodly amount to hire Annie and her crew, then get some B celebs, and still pay Pascal Dangin to retouch and color the images. So what you're seeing is a very expensive marketing campaign for high-end properties. I'd be very curious to know what the Corcoran's paid for it. I may have lowballed the heck out it. 😉 She did 12 separate ADs for them, probably negotiated by her publicity agent.

    Now, take the very same room & shooting style, and put your unknown niece in it, with her own wardrobe. How does the marketing piece work now, and to whom does it appeal? There are some very clever photographers that could make it still work, but I doubt there are very many realtors that would pay extra on a consistent basis. My guess is that it might only be reserved to a local AD campaign, one time shoot, republished for a year (or longer).

    And here's the conspiracy part of the story that I am just making up now: It turns out that Annie sold her Manhattan townhouses to David and Lauren Bush Lauren (Pres. Bush's niece, Ralph Lauren's son, married) and it was Lauren Bush Lauren's mother, Sharon Smith Bush (the ex-wife of Neil Bush (GW's brother)— who's a broker at the Corcoran Group — that represented the couple in the sale.

    So that is how you come to photograph high-end RE campaigns. Sell your $30million property, pay yourself out of bankruptcy, and make that RE agent connection. heh heh, all in fun.

  8. My first thought after viewing these was the verticals and horizontals (based on critiques from this group specifically) were off.
    Obviously the lighting for the subjects was really nice but I got no feel for space other than small. I wish I could shoot people that well.

  9. Hi Larry and readers, I think she is a master of the environmental portrait, and that's we she created with these images. Its more about the environment and including some architectural or nesting elements. Does it work for the Corcoran group. Sure does, b/c they cater to Luxury Real Estate buyers and it definitely aligns with their brand of being the top at what they do. Just my 2 cents in an expensive economy. Larry thank you for having a web site that's always packed with great information. warmly, Marc-

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