There is a wonderful discussion that has been going on for a couple days in the PFRE flickr discussion group. dtruax pointed out that there are several different styles or approaches to interior photography on display in the flickr photo discussion group. One approach uses mostly natural light and the other uses multiple strobes to light a room. There are practitioners of both these techniques that create outstanding images. dtruax asks, " This subject gets at the essence everyones approach to interior photography. The discussion provides some great of points of view from by practitioners that use these two approaches. To me one of the most significant aspects of this discussion is that it revels and illustrates these two approaches and acknowledges that beautiful interior images can be created with either approach. dtruax's question about which approach agents want for real estate is important and whatever you believe the answer is should drive your approach to interior photography. However, there are some underlying assumptions in dtruax's question that should be examined:
I think both of these assumptions are false. Some of my best friends are agents and over the last 9 years I've gotten to know the 80 or so agents in our office quite well. There's only a handful of those 80 agents that are visually sophisticated enough to use professional photography for their listings. Those agents that do use professional photographers don't have a wide variety of styles to choose from and in fact they don't choose a photographer by style they choose by price or availability; mostly price. Agents in some locations may have access to a big enough variety of photographers that they choose by style but in the 80 agent office I'm familiar with, agents only know about a few real estate photographers. Mainly the two that are in the family of agents in the office.
The remarkable thing to me is that in 9 years of being an agent in this office there has never been a photographer that came to one of the office meetings to promote photographic services. An this is one of the larger real estate offices on Seattle's eastside. Just yesterday a real estate photographer told me he visited a office meeting of the biggest office in Bellevue, WA (Seattle's eastside) and the broker told him he was the first photographer that had come to a office meeting to talk about photography. And this office is about 5 or 6 miles from Bill Gates Lake Washington water front pad. Homes in this area start around $1,000,000. Nothing under $500,000 is even livable.
I think eventually there will be enough real estate photographers to provide style choice and agents will become visually sophisticated enough to be able to choose based on style but I think that state is several years away. For now, it's like shooting fish in a barrel. All you have to do is show up and you'll get business.