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How To Explain The Essence of The Real Estate Photography Business

Published: 04/07/2016
By: larry

MarketingBrochureA couple of recent reader questions about talking to and marketing real estate agents made me realize that not all readers know about the community developed PDFs that we give away on the right side of the blog. The white ad just above the @PFREblog timeline that says "What Home Sellers and Agents Need to Know About Photography".

These PDFs (the full 9-page version in 7 languages and the English condensed 2-page version) are all about explaining the essence of the real estate photography business. When real estate photographers talk to their clients they need to be able to explain what's important about real estate photography. Whether they are presenting to a real estate office, talking to an agent at an open house or in an elevator or on the phone, they need be able to talk about the essence of the business and why their clients need these services.

The full-sized PDFs grew out of Chapter 2 in Photography For Real Estate where I talk about the 10 essentials of real estate photography and the 2 fundamental motivations for real estate photography:

  1. Homes for sale promoted with real estate photography sell for more.
  2. Listing agents that use great real estate photography for marketing get more listings.

Thanks to input from several readers last year, I came to the realization that for many situations this information needed to be distilled down to fit on one page because in most marketing situations quick and simple is important. So in late 2015 I created the condensed version the PDF that fits on one double-sided piece of paper. For marketing, this one-page version is much stronger. This is a case when less is more!

I want to thank everyone that has given input on this piece and helped it evolve since 2009. Especially Robert Preville who agreed to let us all use his little infographic.

Everyone is free to give these PDFs away on their website, in whatever way you find useful. It's a marketing tool for everyone to use!

11 comments on “How To Explain The Essence of The Real Estate Photography Business”

  1. Larry these are all great, but a suggestion.
    Quality work is central to a good RE photographer but in the 9 page PDF the images and infographics are such small files they render poorly. The Infographic in the 2 page version is much better but the poor quality in the 9 page version in my opinion makes it unusable.
    I am sure keeping the document size manageable is the reason but I can't see sending something with images and graphics that look that poor is good business for someone trying to promote quality.


  2. Excuse me, the king is wearing no clothes. The report that these so called statistics are based on is over 6 years old now. No new study has been done to support the conclusions of this Redfin marketing piece. The purpose of the report was to convince sellers to list with Redfin. Their definition of “professional photography” is any photo taken by a DSLR, by a Redfin associate, ignoring truly professional photography taken by non Redfin professional photographers.
    Spare yourself the embarrassment of presenting to a real estate professional, like me, that I will be able to sell my clients property for more money based on your straight verticals, correct color balance and proper exposure. Per the NAR's most recent report on sales in the US “... Pending home sales rose for the third consecutive month in April and reached their highest level in over a decade...”. It had nothing to do with photography.
    In a different market, it might be about listing agents getting more listings. The average days on the market in my midwestern area (which the NAR said is the slowest) is down to 10 days from listing to contract. The top agents in my market (those listing AND selling properties) are not hiring “professional” photography, the market is not demanding it.
    IMHO this forum should not continue to perpetuate corporate propaganda and misinformation and pass it on as fact.

  3. @Gavin - Thanks for the feedback! I just recreated the 9-page English version so it has 300 dpi images... it's significantly larger file now 4 MB and I think the images in it look better than the old version.

    @Rohnn - Yes, I know there are agents out there that believe that Photos on listings have little or no effect... it's all how you price the home. And in many markets, like we have going on now, you can sell a home with no photos at all. If that works for you as a listing agent and your sellers go for it!

  4. @Larry. That looks so much better.

    I do have another edit idea which I think will help.
    When you get to tip #5 it falls directly below the images for tip #4. That carries over for the next several tips and is confusing with #7 as its images are in the next page.
    This is because of your 2 column formatting.
    It looks like if the images are reduced in size just a little you could get 4 to a page. That way you can have the tip in the left column and the 2 corresponding images in the right column. For each new tip the text starts aligned with the top of 2 associated images. Looks like the text is shorter than 2 images so would keep all tips and images together properly.
    I think it would nicely update the great article and give it a pleasing look.

    Anyway thanks again for the pdf and giving photographers access to it. I'm sure many have successfully used it and others will continue to do so.


  5. @Gavin - Yes, the 9-page version is a bit awkward with its two column layout. If I update that older version I'll probably change it to a single full page width layout to fix the problems you point out.

    Right now I think I'm more inclined to only promote the use of the condensed version and discontinue the old 9-page version and go with the condensed version... it is much stronger as a marketing piece.

  6. I, and some agents I talk to, find slide shows or "Virtual tours" to be annoying, so I'll have to disagree with number 10. The rest of the guide is spot on. Nearly all of my customers can see how much having professional photography has benefitted them without have to analyze figures on a spreadsheet. The sellers they represent comment frequently about the high quality of the marketing images and even in the case of properties that don't sell quickly, there is sustained interest. Price is a huge factor, but getting as many eyes on a listing is job number 1 for an agent. A seller my feel underwhelmed if they only get one showing with one offer. They may question whether their agent was doing a proper job or maybe the sign in the front yard was working harder.

    The market conditions don't matter. Agents need listings whether it's a buyer's or seller's market. An agent that makes a presentation to a seller (vendor) showing professional photos is going to get the contract, all other things being equal and it may help them win a contract even if they don't make as good of a presentation as another agent that only uses their cell phone to take pictures.

    Agents don't have to use good photos, they can just convince the seller to accept a price $20k-$30k below market and accept the best looking all cash offer. The discount doesn't hurt the agent very much and they will only have to do the absolute minimum of marketing by putting it on the local MLS. $500-$1,000/hour, easy.

  7. OK, Rohnn K brought up the phase “The king wears no clothes” and spouts to know the RE market better than anyone here.
    “Spare yourself the embarrassment of presenting to a real estate professional, “”like me””, that I will be able to sell my clients property for more money based on your straight verticals, correct color balance and proper exposure.”
    My question to this professional Rohnn, is what harm would professional, decent looking photos do to you OR your paying CLIENT? Would it inhibit your ability to sell the property or maybe it might generate more offers that would cause you more work? This is not about you, it is about the client and like it or not, taking the easy road of selling it for less, is not a service that helps your clients.
    My clients, agents that stand above the rest, have photos done, even when they have offers on the table at the time. Asked why and they always come back with, they get more listings because of the way they market…..including using professional photographers.
    Anyone can sell a property…..but the pros get the most for that property…..

  8. @Rohnn

    My clients that do about <20 listings a year think just like you. My clients that do between 20-100 don't tarnish their brand with sub-par images because they realize the importance of branding and impressing the next seller. My clients that do over 100 don't hesitate to do extras like aerials and twilight shoots because they know it brings them more business. says you sold 2 this year, sounds right.

  9. Just a not that the website used in the brochure, no longer exists, if it did earlier. Nothing worse than passing out statistics to promote your work and having someone find out that your reference doesn't exist.

  10. @David - Thanks for point this out. I've removed the link to because Robert Preville, who created the graphic has retired so his site no longer exists. I still give him credit for the graphic but don't link to his site. The important site ( where the study article is, is still operational.

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