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Real Estate Photography: Marketing, Pricing, and Client Relations

Published: 29/11/2016
By: larry

scottclassScott Hargis has a great new video class on Lynda.com about "Real Estate Photography: Marketing, Pricing, and Client Relations".

Long time PFRE readers have read many of Scott's approaches to marketing, pricing, and client relations in his comments right here on the blog and in PFRE Flickr group discussions but this two and a half-hour video class distills it all down very nicely.

One the parts I especially like is how Scott talks about how to conduct yourself with real estate agents and approaches to conflict management. Sooner or later you'll have conflicts and Scott explains how to be ready ahead of time so they are minimized.

Another great feature of this class is Scott's three part interview with Claudia Mills who is a top Realtor in the Bay area and long time client of Scott's. For those that have not spent much time talking to a top Realtor, this interview gives great insights into the priorities and thinking of your potential clients.

I think this 2-hour and 33-minute video class is well worth a month subscription to Lynda.com for any beginning or established real estate photographer

12 comments on “Real Estate Photography: Marketing, Pricing, and Client Relations”

  1. I stumbled upon Scott's new course over the holiday weekend and am about halfway through the course.
    It's filled with lots of good business information, and he includes some materials that are downloadable, such as a sample invoice, terms and conditions, and licensing form.
    Well worth the monthly fee!

  2. Scott has/had a video subscription via his website and now he is on Lynda. Which is more in depth - the instructions via Lynda or on his website? Or is the website video subscription no longer available since he is on Lynda now?

  3. @Gregg...Thanks. After many years subscribing the Lynda.com, I let it lapse in July when the annual renewal came due. I hadn't been using it and didn't see anything on the horizon, and figured would wait until had need before renewing. Just checked my local library online and sure enough they offered it. Don't routinely carry my library card with me so will have to wait til home to sign on and see what limitations there are, if any.

  4. Just watched it - This is an amazing video. I think if I'd watched it last Nov I would have made at least 30% more this year (without raising fees). And I'm *certain* there'd have been 90% less heartache. Super, super-nice work Scott!

  5. The interview section wasn't real tight. The conversation wandered around too much for me and the way her office handles outside service providers such as photographers by requiring agents to only use those on the approved list is less common than agents choosing photographers on their own. I'll have to watch the video again to see if she stated that she pays for the photography or the office. If a photographer is going to approach a real estate office that works that way, the marketing will be a little different and it could be a waste of money and time to try and approach the agents individually. They may also want to talk about exclusivity and that goes beyond what was presented in the main body of the tutorial.

    Overall it's a good presentation of the other 2/3's of real estate photography.

  6. Watched this yesterday and I must say this should be required viewing for anyone getting into this business. I've been doing this for a few years and while there wasn't anything mind-blowingly new, I did pick up a few nuggets. I wish this had been around when I first started. I know there are tons of "how to" make the photo videos, series, etc, and those are important, this is just as important for any longterm success as an interior photographer. Kudos Scott!

  7. Ken...as I listened to that, there wasn't the requirement to ONLY use the approved photographer, and aside from never encountering it, realistically that mandate would probably never happen. Realize that Realtor agents are not employees of the broker but have the legal licensing requirement to work under the umbrella of a broker. Technically, agents are self employed (1099 employees in US tax terms), free to establish their business plan...but can't freelance as bound to the singe broker. To attract agents, brokers establish a package of benefits among other things...of which photography may be one. The issue is, the broker may pay for the approved photographer, which is free to the agent vs agent paying individually for you. While I am not privileged to the terms, rumor has it, particularly with regional/national chains, approved vendors pay the broker/chain to be part of that list. Looking at my office, they tend to be the national chains, like Obeo, but ironically, I see few agents using them. Locally, it gets worse as it is not necessarily limited to the broker as our MLS provides similar...including a free (low quality first 5 photos) tour on every listing by default as a "benefit to realtor members". I see it as a disservice as technically every Realtor in their listing presentation can say they provide a tour which brings me to the core issue. You can't compete on price when, as a benefit, it is "free", rather, you compete on quality. If you want to be listed as an "approved" photographer, while it may give you more quantity of work, you need to ask at what cost if the approval requires either 1) price reduction that Brokerage negotiated they will pay, 2) your payment to the Brokerage for the approved vendor title, or both.

  8. @Larry Gray, There are a couple of brokerages in my area that require agents to use only approved service providers. One of them I know provides photography of an agent's listings as part of their "desk rent" and the images are trash. I found through talking with an agent that the other one approves photographers in advance. I wouldn't be surprised if the photographer is paying a commission to the broker or has some other kick back arrangement. The quality is all over the map ranging from mediocre to very poor with an occasional good looking gallery.

    While agents are self-employed for tax purposes, that doesn't preclude the broker from specifying certain things such as which vendors are approved as the broker is ultimately responsible for the listing. My toughest sell, and I still haven't broken through, is getting work from agents where the brokerage is providing a photographer even when that photographer's work is not much better than the agents typically do with their cell phones. Just like photographers that get hung up on the technical aspects of the work, lots of RE agents get hung up on technical topics such as short sales, foreclosures and relocation rather than on marketing themselves. It's frustrating to see images that agents use and when talking to them they don't seem to realize that the images are horrible. They don't care about the quality because the homes still sell eventually, but the agent is stuck selling the low to mid priced homes and not getting the premium listings. In fact, many of the premium listings are being represented by agents 2 hours away that ARE using a professional photographer. I do what I can.

  9. Larry, thanks for posting. And thanks for the feedback, everyone. I think this is a pretty good course, and certainly it's an area that gets little attention.

  10. Hey Scott-
    Nicely done, and I agree that anyone getting into this business, or like me, have been it a while, should watch this.
    Side note- do we need to start a GoFundMe for you to get a new chair? Those arm rests are looking a little haggard! 😉

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