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Marc Angeles- Real Estate and Architectural Photographer in LA Area

Published: 21/06/2011

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Marc Angeles, a real estate and architectural photographer working in the LA area contacted me several days ago to tell me he was a PFRE blog reader and to pass along his story of success in real estate photography in the LA area. I love passing on stories like this of how real estate photographers got started because it demonstrates to people starting out in this business how to get started and what you can do if you hang in there.

Marc says:

I have been photographing real estate since 2006, and am self-taught (mostly through on-the-job training, books and online).  It all started in 2006 when I worked for a top real estate firm in Beverly Hills as the marketing and advertising manager.  I noticed that the property photos being used to market these multi-million dollar homes did not represent the quality and value of these magnificent estates, and I knew I could do a much better job (even though I had never photographed a home before)!  So I asked the top sales agent in the office if I could shoot his next listing for free, to which he said yes (thankfully)...he ended up liking my work and allowed me to shoot his next listing, and the next, and the next...until I built up a nice real estate photography portfolio.  I also did this for other real estate agents in the office, and word started to spread about my work outside of the office as well.  To make a long story short, my photography business continued to grow to a point where I was able to quit my "day job" last year, and now I do real estate and architectural photography full time.  I am thankful that I was at the right place at the right time and that I saw the opportunity and ran with it!

The top agent that Marc refers to is Mauricio Umansky who's listings, shot by Estella Sneider, we've featured a couple of times.

Marc has a substantial body of good solid work (be sure to view this at 1080p fullscreen) that he should be proud of.

Bonus: Read our recommendations for the best architecture photography cameras.

The question I posed to Marc is why you see almost no property video being done in the LA area. I would think that since historically this is the film capital of the world, you would find tons of property video being shot. Probably the average unemployed street person's video experience is measured in years. However, you find almost no real estate video being used here.

Regarding video, Marc says:

I am seeing a trend towards it, however, you're absolutely right in that it is not being used very much in the LA area.  I have seen the work that's coming out of Australia and it's very inspiring.  I have been working on incorporating some video into my work, and I have actually spoken to several agents about video and why it's not being used very much.  A big reason I'm hearing is time (need it now) and cost (I know most agents aren't willing to spend any more on video than they would for photos).  Plus, photos have multiple uses (MLS, print, broadcast use) and get more usage over video.  I'm sure, though, that once agents see the value of using video to promote their listings, we will see the trend shift towards using it.  I am looking to be right there when it happens!

I think LA is just like every other geographic area, someone has to lead the way and demonstrate to agents how video can be used to get attention to these mega-mansions all over LA, Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Brentwood, Westwood/Century City, West Hollywood, Sunset Strip, Malibu, Santa Monica, etc. It's not like, this is a depressed area where the agents have no money to advertise listings. I believe there is an opportunity for someone that can sell and demonstrate what video can to for this upper end market.

Larry Lohrman

12 comments on “Marc Angeles- Real Estate and Architectural Photographer in LA Area”

  1. As seen on the "YouTube" Link. Nice work, very stunning, but like a lot of others, the sound track was removed because of copyright infringement. I know that a good audio can make or break a video, but as photographers, we should be more aware of the rights of usage.

    I would like to see some articles here on "PFRE" about copyright and what photographers can do to get the usage rights to audio tracks for their use. When I tried to look into how to get the permission for use, it was a nightmare, no wonder there is a problem. As for our own work, what happens when you see your work on a cover of one of the trade magazines and you don't even have a credit line in the info page?

    I enjoy all of the "How to" articles, I just would like to see some on this issue. Making money is one thing, keeping it is another and if someone or company comes after you --- there goes the money.


  2. @JM- The short answer to your question about finding legal music is that it works much better if you don't choose a popular song and try to get permission to use it... that is a guaranteed nightmare, not worth your time. Live is much easier if you find a few creative commons music sites see ( and then go find tracks on those sites you like.

    I'll put this subject on my list of future posts.

  3. Marc is right in that there are some issues that work against video in Real Estate. Don't get me wrong, it can be great and very compelling. But I beleive, as an additional product - not as an alternative to photography.

    Sure, the boys at Platinum produce some really great stuff, and I love what Malia Cambell (for example) does because it allows the videographer to really get creative with the presentation in a way that still photography does not.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of "walk-through" videos. In the end, those type of videos leave you with a feeling that the house is a collection of corridors and hallways. I just don't think they help sell a home, as compared to artistic vignette type video like Malia's, or Platinums.

    However, like Marc said, great video does takes longer to produce, and does not provide everything an agent needs (i.e, MLS, print media, broshures, postcards etc).

    Then there is the economic issue. Good video is a substantially more expensive product, or atleast it should be given the time involved on location, not to mention post production. Getting even good Real Estate agents to step-up and pay for a premium product, is not easy as many of us have discovered. I fear that just like with still photography, the market is bound to become full on "Real Estate Videographers" that will shoot anything for $99.00.

    Is there a market for it? Sure, but I don't see it as replacing still photography in the vast majority of markets. Great stills put together in good slideshow can be pretty effective as well. And no matter what, the agent will still need images for MLS, print media etc. Which means that you'll either have to do both (and charge accordingly), or all of a sudden you'll have two vendors involved and we all know what that will lead to.

    But, video will continue to grow, I'm sure.

  4. Larry,

    Great, I think the issue of copyright is absolutely something that you should address in a future post. Not only as it relates to the use of music, but as it relates to photography. It's a very serious subject, and it seems like many photographers don't understand the issue of licensing and what it means to their business legally, but also as it relates to revenue.



  5. Hello Larry. Thank you for the post! I do agree with George Gutenberg in that video is not an alternative to photography, but is an additional product. There is indeed a market for video in real estate (albeit very small at the moment), however, I don't believe video will ever replace the need for still photography for real estate agents. There are several television programs in LA that focus on real estate (Open House LA) that agents can and do use to promote not just their listings, but also themselves. Typically these segments come at no cost to the agent to produce, and it is a great way for agents to build their personal brand and business while at the same time promoting their listings. I can see this as a more realistic direction in the use of video to where the agents can get more use and longevity out of the videos long before the listing has sold or expired, although not every agent is comfortable in front of the camera!

    I appreciate the other's input on the music selection for the YouTube slideshow. This was an error on my part, and I have since updated the video to include copyright-free music.

    Kindest regards,

    Marc Angeles

  6. @Marc & @George- Absolutely, I did not intend to imply that video was in any way a replacement for still photography. Fred Light who is one of the most prolific property video shooters in the US has this description of how property video tours and stills work together. Paraphrased, he says that stills get the buyers attention and get them to look closer at a property, then for those that are really interested in the property, the video goes farther and shows them much more at a greater depth and gets them hooked.

  7. Hi all,

    As for legal music to use... I've used Non-Stop Music in the past for various corporate video productions. They have an enormous collection of tracks. Tracks are priced based on how they are being used. Check them out.

  8. The tour looked great. "Altman Brothers" huh? What is like like working for those guys? Watching the show I wondered what they did in terms of photography so I checked out their site and sure enough I saw what I assume are some of your images (although some looked like a different photographer), nice work all around Marc.

  9. Like Marc, I shoot and work in the LA area. For most of my clients I don't see video entering the RE market in masse. So many of my clients rely on print and online listings to catch the potential client's eye to get them to pick up the phone, they aren't trying to sell the property site unseen because of the volume and many factors involved with LA area real estate.

    The labor intensity involved with producing (and editing) the quality of video expected in LA is costly and with the uncertainty and inventory in the market I don't see many agents coming out of pocket for the extra expense. There has been an influx of $100/listing photography companies that have flooded the market. For a few hundred more some add voice overs to accompany slideshows. Although the quality isn't there, with their economies of scale they can make video catch on (on the lower end) and be cost effective.

    In response to the music licensing issue - tripplescoop is another site that offers royalty free music.

  10. @Iran, thanks so much. Working with the Altman Brothers is fantastic, they are great to work with and it has opened up many other opportunities to photograph for other agents. They are all about business!

  11. Hi Marc,

    I started my Real Estate Photography business about 7 months ago. I charge $175.00 for a house up to 3,000 S.F. including a virtual tour (linked through youtube) . I am getting a lot of flack about the price being too high even though everyone seems to love my work. Agents seem to be having a hard time seeing the value in professional photos of lower end listings. Any advice?

  12. Hi Fernando,

    I would stick with your pricing and not go any lower. I know Larry is a huge proponent of having minimum pricing for our industry, and I agree with him 100%. It only benefits our industry if we adhere to minimum pricing for real estate photography. Educating the client on the benefits of hiring a professional real estate photographer is critical, even for lower end listings (80-90% of homebuyers start their search online, so professional photos will stand out from the crowd).

    I can only speak from my experience, but what I did was focus on the top 10% of producing agents in my area. The top real estate agents are already masters at marketing themselves and their business, and they know the benefits of using professionally shot photos to market their listings. This has caused a trickle-down effect to where even lesser producing agents are opting to hire a professional real estate photographer for their listings because they see the top agents doing the same thing, and now the cost is somewhat justified. This has led to more business and has worked very well for me. Good luck!

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