As a photographer I get asked for free photography all the time. I see job requests on Craigs List and other places asking for photography in exchange for “future work” or “Exposure” or “We’ll give you credit for the images” all the time. There is this perception that is pervasive in society that photography and images should be free. I think it’s simply because everyone can own a camera and pretty much does if they own a cellphone. So as a professional photographer, how do you inform these individuals making the request that the answer is NO? Here’s a great piece that really helps with that.
For a while now I’ve been on the hunt for some research data that backed up my contention that professionally photographed properties sold faster than those taken by a realtor or other non-professional photographer. Well I finally found some. And as more fuel to my hypothesis , it also indicates that the homes shot professionally sold for more money. Now this article doesn’t get into what else is involved when a professional shoots a property. This article contends that it’s the “DSLR Advantage” and while I agree there is significantly more involved when a professional photographs a home. Yes there is the camera. But just because you own a DSLR doesn’t mean your images are automatically better. What this article doesn’t say is that it’s not just the camera. Lens choice, composition, and lighting all contribute to a better image. Not to mention years of experience and hundreds if not thousands of houses shot by the photographer all contribute to better images. Then there’s software and processing the images so they look as good as possible. There is no way a realtor or assistant is going to spend as much time (OK any time) trying to make the images look as good as possible. They have better things to do. This is why as realtor it pays to hire a professional photographer to bring you better images. Remember, better images don’t just make the property look good, they make you look good too.
I’d like to thank WideIPhoto for finding and initially posting this article.
Daily Real Estate News | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 REDFIN.COM
Professionally photographed homes tend to sell for more money and sell faster than homes listed with point-and-shoot cameras, according to a new study by the real estate brokerage Redfin.
The study found that homes priced between $200,000 and $1 million sold for an average of $3,400 to $11,200 more than their list prices when professionally photographed than homes with amateur photos. For homes priced between $400,000 and $499,999, the study found that homes professionally photographed sold for $11,200 more.
In an analysis of 22 markets, the Redfin study evaluated the sales success of homes shot professionally with a digital single-lens reflex camera versus homes shot with amateur, point-and-shoot cameras. The study evaluated homes priced between $200,000 and $1 million.
The study also found that homes that were professionally photographed also tended to sell faster. For instance, homes in the $400,000 range that were professionally photographed sold 21 days faster than those photographed with point-and-shoot cameras.
As The Wall Street Journal reports today, “listings with nicer photos gain anywhere between $934 and $116,076.” The graph clearly shows that you are likely to receive thousands more if you list your home using DSLR photography than if you used a simple point-n-shoot camera to take the photos yourself.
Since the price of a DSLR camera (anywhere from $500 to $5,000+) is generally out of the price range of your average hobbyist, let us assume that photos shot with DSLR cameras are shot by professionals. Since professional photos could net you thousands more on the sale of your home, it stands to reason that spending the $100 – $500 on professional photos is a worthy investment of your marketing dollars.
Given this obvious upside, it is shocking that only 15.4% of homes in our data set were marketed using professional photography. The majority of listings, 80.9%, were photographed using point-n-shoot photography, and still another 0.7% used just a camera phone. Let’s not mince words: If you are not using professional photography to market your home, you are not really marketing your home.
A few more interesting tidbits that came from our analyses:
Homes shot with a DSLR camera:
Receive an average of 61% more views than their peers across all price tiers.
Have a 47% higher asking price per square foot.
Have an increased likelihood of selling for homes priced above $300,000.
So, what does this all mean to someone selling their home?
Invest in nice listing photos. A professional-looking photo can dramatically increases the likelihood that a potential buyer will click through to view your listing and drives more buyers to tour your home. Ultimately, the more people interested in your house, the better your chance of receiving an attractive offer. A photo really can be worth a thousand dollars.
Or is it? In my last post I spoke a little about getting the colors correct when photographing architecture. Color and more specifically color space can be a bit confusing and a bit daunting when trying to get things right. As a photographer or artist I’m sure we’ve all experienced printing our final product only to find that the colors are, well, just not quite right. Then going through and making corrections and reprinting and repeating until we either run out of paper or ink. This is where color calibration and color space all come together. Let’s talk a bit about the different color spaces we deal with in today’s digital world. As a photographer or artist in the modern world we must be aware of the different color spaces and their appropriate application. For starters we have RGB, sRGB and CMYK. Typically your monitor and printer work in the world of RGB (Usually Adobe RGB 1998. But there is the slightly wider gamut Pro Photo RGB that a lot of photographers including myself like to work in.) sRGB is the gamut used on the web and is more limited than ProPhoto or RGB. Some online printers use this as their colorspace of choice. (When using an online printing service it’s important to find out what color space they require your image to be in for accurate reproduction.) It is very important that if you’re going to be displaying your images on the web that you use this color space. Otherwise you are going to be very disappointed in the results. Here’s a chart showing a comparison of the color spaces.
You can see that ProPhoto gives us the widest gamut and CMYK (used for offset printing) gives us the smallest. While the chart shows differences in the gamut, it can not show what happens say when you take an image that is in sRGB and try printing that on your RGB color space inkjet printer. The system will, depending on your settings, try it’s best to match the colors that are outside the gamut and interpolate to the closest match it can find within the gamut of the device. Other things happen though. Saturation changes, distinct color shifts occur and contrast can be affected as well. Making for a print that is nothing close to what we see on our monitor. When working on delivering an image it is important that you either work in the that particular color space or do a comparison. In Photoshop you can do this by going to View, then Proof Setup and selecting your destination color space. Once you’ve done that you will see the shift that the delivery color space will cause. You can set this up so that anything out of gamut will give you a warning directly on the image. Meaning that the system will interpolate that color. From there you can make the necessary corrections so that your image will render properly. Or at least a version that you can live with. Hope this helps a little.
In my last post I promised I would share some images from the shoot I did. So here they are. I’ve been trying some new techniques I’ve learned reading the Scott Hargis book and studying what Mike Kelley does. I’m really liking the results. Real estate photography is not as easy as most people think it is. Dealing with wide dynamic range of dark interiors balanced against bright windows and sunshine is very tricky. Making things look natural and not over lit by too much flash. Getting the view out the window but not too much. And most importantly capturing the essence of the space. Along with all of this is the ability to render colors accurately. I was the 3rd or 4th photographer to shoot this property. While there the owner expressed to me her concern that none of the previous photographers had reproduced the colors correctly. They ranged from a soft peach in the entry to a deep almost brick red in dining room to a soft yellow in the kitchen. Challenged accepted. She later showed me brochure with some of the images from one of the other photographers. Let’s just say they weren’t accurate and leave it at that. I tried to explain to her that it might not be entirely the photographers fault. That there are a lot of variables when printing an image and making sure that colors are rendered correctly. All while trying not get too technical. After this conversation I thought for a moment about what the client said. That it was a problem with the photographer. Not it was a problem with the printer or the photographer sent images in the wrong color space or the realtor had used the wrong version of the images. No. It was the photographer’s problem. Perception is everything.
To say it’s a crappy day would be putting it mildly. We had about 10″ of snow over night, the wind has kicked up and it’s currently alternating between raining and snowing. It’s just not pretty out there. So I’m going to spend the day finishing the images for house I shot yesterday. Yes. I shot a house yesterday. A very nice 5600 square foot house complete with an in-law suite. So I should have something later today to show. That is the one thing I do miss about Southern California. The ability to shoot year round. Though I will admit it’s been the best January and February I’ve had since I’ve moved back East.
Yesterday I promised I would post a couple of shots of Kim, the bride from the last wedding I shot. She had beautiful skin and a lovely smile. Well you can judge that for yourself. I also wanted to thank Corey and Faymus Media for the opportunity to capture this wedding. I forgot to mention this fact yesterday. All of these shots are natural light. Captured in her hotel room. I used my 5D MKI and a Canon 24-105 f4IS. This is a great lens and I love it. All post work was done in LR5. Nothing fancier than that.
Sorry I’ve been MIA for a little bit. What can I say? Been busy. Since I last blogged I’ve done 4 real estate shoots, an event for the JDRF and a wedding up in Brooklyn. A week and half ago I did my first Friday wedding. A little odd considering it wasn’t the height of wedding season but the families were Seventh Day Adventists so a Friday wedding it was. Kim and Alton were a great couple. She was originally from Bermuda and he was from Jamaica. Kim was great. A wonderful personality and stunningly gorgeous skin. (I’ll post a couple bridal shots at a later date as I haven’t finished them yet) The ceremony was small (and fast) with family and just a handful of friends. It was a quick 20 minute ceremony. It seemed like I blinked and it was over. After the formals I ventured to a small street with bride and groom that had a view of one of the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge. Kim and Alton wanted to get some shots with the bridge in the background. I readily agreed since I wasn’t familiar with the area and didn’t get anytime to scout things out and it was Winter. The location presented a couple of issues. Bright Sun on the bridge and cityscape. We were in the shadow of a building. It was necessary for us to stand in the middle of a street. There were cars parked on either side and snow to contend with. And it was only about 20 degrees. Since we rode together I didn’t pack all the gear. The cameras, a flash and a 42″ reflector. While I wish had brought more I was still able to get some good shots with the aid of a variable neutral density filter that is. Here’s a couple of shots.