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The Evidence That Good Real Estate Marketing Photography Pays Off

Published: 15/08/2008
By: larry

Today a reader asked me for statistics that demonstrate that good marketing photography pays off. The exact wording was, "Do you have any statistics on the benefit of hiring a real estate photographer (i.e. home with professional photos sell X% faster)...I'm looking for anything to back up why a homeowner would want to use professional photos over a realtor.". I was stunned! There is actually someone out there that doesn't find it obvious that good photography sells homes?

After taking a deep breath and calming down, I realized that yea, this is a fair question. After all, 90% of real estate agents are confused about this subject so a  "layman" is probably confused too. After thinking about it, I was flattered that they had picked me to answer the question. Well, google says this site is the most "authoritative" on the subject of "real estate photography" so of coarse they asked me. That means I should have a definitive statement on why good photography is gets results. But I didn't have one until I wrote this post.


  1. It's not being made by a professional that makes  a marketing photo good, it's the photos effectiveness that makes it good. What exactly is an effective marketing photo? I have a chapter in my "Photography For Real Estate" e-book called the 10 Essentials of Real Estate Photography. In this chapter I've tried to summarize the 10 things that make real estate marketing photos effective. I have a down loadable PDF of this chapter under the tutorials section of the blog.
  2. Everyone must understand that in the priority of factors that cause a home to sell price trumps everything. If a home is overpriced, photos won't get it sold.

Articles, Studies and Anecdotal Evidence:

  1. Between 80% and 90% of home buyers do their home search online ( see 2006 NAR study)- This study is going on 3 years old my guess is that the percentage is more like 90 or 95% in 2008.
  2. Home buyers say the most useful tool in their home search is photographs ( see 2006 NAR study)
  3. It is possible to experimentally demonstrate that the more photographs a listing has the faster it sells and the larger the net sales price (see
  4. There was a landmark article Vivian Toy in February 11, 2007 New York Times that in my opinion is a really good treatment of this subject.
  5. A second article called For the real money shot, hire a pro by Adriana Barton in the Canadian Globe and Mail is also a good article on this subject.
  6. A third article called, "Pix that get the clicks" by Ann Brenoff in the LA Times is an attempt to make the same argument that Vivian Toy and Adriana Barton make.
  7. A recent article at Inman News called "Getting listings noticed: something old, something new" - Recently the biggest real estate sites are providing sites tailored for mobile access.
  8. An Article by Bernnice Ross at Inman News called: "Too much exposure can be a bad thing".

Unfortunately none of this directly answers the readers question, all the studies prove photos are important and circles around the question of if you pay a professional to do effective photos will the property sell faster and/or for more. Maybe this is why 90% of real estate agents don't get it; you have to be a believer.

Does anyone else have studies or data on this subject that I've missed?

14 comments on “The Evidence That Good Real Estate Marketing Photography Pays Off”

  1. Hi Larry,

    Inman News had an article that addressed the quantity of photos, but not the quality. Here's there findings...

    The study evaluated during the first quarter of 2008. The sample consisted of more than 100,000 listings and included listings from all 50 states, every Canadian province, plus other countries worldwide. All price ranges were represented.


    1. Listings that lacked photos performed poorly in the study, generating little consumer response and business. Those that had one picture performed better, but not nearly as well as the sites that had 21 to 36 photos. In fact, those listings that had no picture generated 0.02 percent of the number of listing views as compared to those with 21 or more photos.

    2. Compared to listings with only one photo, those with 21 or more photos generated more than triple the number of Detailed Views, more than double the amount of interest, and double the number of Leads.

    3. Compared to listings with no photos, those with 21 or more photos generated more than 55 times the number of Detailed Views and nearly 27 times the amount of Interest.

    4. Comparable results were obtained when plotting these three key variables against varying numbers of photographs per listing.

    5. Views, Interest and Leads jumped 20 percent or more as the number of photos increased from 15 to 16.

  2. The point about having alot of photos bringing more results to real estate sales is interesting for me, as it confirms a theroy I have based my business on.

    I have always photographed the whole property for my clients believing simple things such as side access, sheds and other points of homes acutually sell houses, even the laundry. In my regional market alot of sales come from investment via major cities were buyers cant view property in person and find confidence to purchase when alot of good quality photos are provided.

    My point being that alot of Real Estate Photographers only provide a limited number of photos to their clients which inturn limits how many they have to use. Our approach is yes get the hero images for lead marketing but to also provide the agent with the tools they need to sell the home, being photographic coverage of a property. The vendors love it as well.

  3. Kym brings a subsantive point, and if I were a realtor, I would do exactly the same. However, my service is time based. If the realtor doesn't want to pay for the time it takes to throughly cover a property, then why would I spend another two hours getting everything? Time is money. If my client isn't interested in thelaundry room or even getting every bedroom, then I would not likely keep my business in the black by providing more than they want or are willing to pay for. Just my two cents...

  4. I usually spend less than 1 hour at most of my houses, and can cover it all easy, it all comes down to how you shoot. One of the great things about this site is how differently so many of us have set up our business in terms of providing products, pricing and servicing. I am not saying mine is the only way, but I have had a great business for 8 years and make a very good living with a loyal client base.... I believe part of my success is providing photographic coverage of the home, something most RE photograhers are not doing. By providing a flat rate you can ensure Real Estate Agents can easily package your product into their marketing campains they sell to their vendors. It also appears I am able to demand a much higher price per job than most RE Photographers are getting and I am in regional Australia... I must surely be doing something right....

  5. I think your original comment about being upset and having to calm down was a little rediculous and I hope exagerated. I posted a question not to very long ago that warrented a childish reply from you as well. If you are going to run this blog, you should be professional and not critical about questions and comments. There are no stupid questions. The teachers are right. If there were then no one would ask any questions for fear of being labled stupid as you seem apt to do on a whim.

  6. re> Mike

    Great numbers, but they only tell us that every agent should simply "blaze away" with their pocket camera. We need a link to pro photos.


    It's a blog. Single Author. There's no staff to fact check and verify sources. It's expected to be 1st person viewpoint. Larry had an emotional reaction to a question that he likely was not expecting. Hat's off to him for telling us about it. I appreciate his honesty. Some agent with "big brass ones" came up to him and challenged the value his work. Asking the question shows the agent devalues and denigrates our work, it puts us very much on the defensive. Work that he and most of us, have invested months & years crafting & perfecting. Maybe our life's work. Why don't you go ask a real estate agent something like, "What's the point of using a RE these days with the Internet and all if I'm willing to show my own property, you'll just cost me thousands in commission." Let me know if you sense an emotional reaction or observe any deep breaths.

  7. I don't think that professional photos necessarily SELL a property. They are more like a tool that HELPS get the property sold. I believe most home buyers judge whether to look at a property by what it looks like at first glance. If you have professional photos taken by a professional company / photographer the chances are dramatically higher your property will stand out in the sea of similar listings. The point I am trying to make is that the better the photo the better chance it will pop and draw a potential homebuyer to look at it, even if it may not have the exact features/specs they are initially looking for.

    There are many additional photo techniques that also help enhance a listing and to attract attention. My company, High Res Media, specializes in residential & commercial TWILIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY. This photo technique is most popular for luxury listings. Twilight photography truly stands apart form the rest. Another technique we offer and that has grown dramatically in our area is low altitude aerial photography. Snapping photos of the exterior elevation at heights up to 7 stories is sure to catch the eye of potential buyers.

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