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Unbelievably Bad Real Estate Photos

Published: 12/02/2008
By: larry

I've pointed out Saskatoon agent, Norm Fisher's really funny presentation of bad real estate photos before but it's so funny I think it is worth featuring again. I feel like inventing a real estate marketing award for Norm's presentation.

I was reminded of this subject by the fact that Athol Kay, a Connecticut Realtor got some coverage in last week's LA Time Real Estate section for his Bad MLS photo of the day feature on his site. Athol has some really special examples.

It's interesting to see how many agents are beginning to make fun of standard MLS photos as a marketing technique. In addition to Norm and Athol I ran across these agents also using this technique:

There are also several youTube videos on the same subject:

The list goes on! The main point here besides the funny photos is the fact that it's becoming a world wide pastime to make fun of MLS photos. This is good for the real estate photography business!

10 comments on “Unbelievably Bad Real Estate Photos”

  1. It's great to see Realtors not only recognizing the need for good photos, but actively pushing the industry to improve upon its standard practices (directly or indirectly). After all, everyone is keeping close tabs on the industry leaders, and likely to eventually follow suit.

    However, to be fair, possessing all the technical merit in the world will sometimes do little to improve upon what lies before one's lens... What do you do if the house is, um, not so photogenic? I've had to shoot a number of places that should have likely been condemned, let alone severly repaired/cleaned/de-cluttered... I guess that is why you place you price-point a little on the higher side - let the "50-shots-for-50-bucks" guys scrap over the garbage.

  2. Thanks Larry!


    You raise an excellent point and it's a lesson I learned since I produced this tour. I think Athol said it best during a email exchange he and I had. "There are bad pictures of good houses, and good pictures of bad houses." Over the last year, I have marketed a number of homes which were just plain ugly. Sellers weren't interested in repairs or staging, so what's a guy to do? I took the listings, showed them as they were and sold them all. While I wasn't always proud to display them on my site, we were able to find buyers and get the job done.

  3. Thanks Larry.

    Just following up what Norm said. I get sent about a dozen photos a week of basically dumps. Homes that I would struggle to pull anything nice from as a photographer. You get to a home and the owners leave four cars in the driveway... nothing you can do about it.

    But when I get a photo of a $1M listing, and it's horrible blown out windows and almost pitch black in the rest of the photo, well that's funny as hell to me and deserves a spanking.

  4. Norm is what I would consider a stand up Realtor ( ie stand up comic). I showed this to a couple of friends and they were rolling on the floor laughing.

    Thanks Norm.

  5. I don't shoot for Realtors anymore and this was a great reminder as to why I don't. I do shoot new homes, but only for the Builders, Architects, or Tradespersons. I don't even want the Realtor on the site when Im shooting. Last time I did a shoot for a builder the Realtor hung around all day watching me like a hawk, constantly asking questions and helped to turn a four hour job into a six hour job. When I delivered to images to the builder, the builder passed them along to the realtor (as was our agreement) and the realtor emailed me, he was shocked to see that we only presented 9 images! He could not believe it, and I quote... "You were there such a long time and only shot nine images"!

    This was a sprawling $3 mil Green & Green style home with every inch of the home being meticulously hand crafted down to the last detail. We had two teams working, one setting a room and the other shooting. With painters just finishing up in some places, and furniture being dropped in at the last moment. We basically shot the whole house on super wide and long shots in-order to incorporate as much of the home as possible in each frame. With the exception of a unfurnished play room, laundry room, and small sitting area just off the front landing this house was covered to any Magazine Art Directors standards. After his (realtor) critique I went to his site and had a look at what he was accustomed to, and oh boy was it awful! I guess quantity wins over quality with some of these Realtors, and in my opinion its counter productive, less is more, and better is best.

    I am forever scarred by seeing those images on Norm's site, but I got a good laugh!

    Doesn't MLS stand for "Mostly Lousy Shots"

    Thanks for sharing.

    Thomas Bliss

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