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