I get asked this question a lot. So why should you hire a photographer for real estate listings? Let’s look at a few different advantages to hiring a professional photographer for your listings. I’ll list a few questions and answers you have probably asked yourself. Then I’ll outline some things you probably didn’t even think about. Once you finish this article you’ll have a much better understanding of all the things a photographer can help you with. Once you know these things you’ll see how the expense of hiring a photographer to shoot showcase photos for your listings can generate increased views of a listing online. Increased views can translate to faster sales and more money in your bank account. Let’s go ahead and go through some questions.
Can’t I Just Use The Camera On My Phone?
While it is true that phone cameras have come a long way in terms of quality they still can’t compare to a dedicated DSLR in terms of creativity and flexibility. Your phone may have multiple camera lenses on it because cell phones are so thin that there isn’t a way to place movable camera optics inside. That means that your phone can have up to 3 lenses of different focal lengths in the body. That set up just doesn’t compare to a DSLR where the photographer has multiple lenses, which may also have multiple focal lengths in the case of zoom lenses. Professional photographers spend thousands on multiple lenses so they have the flexibility to change lenses and use the right one for the job. An example would be a wide-angle lens for interior rooms so the rooms look bigger. Another example is that they often spend more to have a “fast” lens that can open up to a wide aperture. The lens with a wide aperture lets in more light which makes the rooms look bright and welcoming.
Can’t I Just Use My Phone Flash To Brighten Up Dark Areas?
It’s also true that you could use the flash on your phone camera or an inexpensive pocket camera to light up a room. Have you even really looked at those flash photos though and noticed all the harsh shadows? Those happen because of the point flash which throws a harsh light from a single point. A professional photographer knows that if you have to add light to a scene you want soft, diffuse light. You never want to blast a scene with harsh light because the results are less than ideal. That’s why we use off-camera flashguns that have diffusers to soften the light and we will often bounce that light off a wall or ceiling to give the whole room a soft light.
The same is true of outdoor photos of a property. Did you know that the sun acts just like that point flash in the middle of the day? It throws harsh shadows and there is a huge contrast between sunlit areas and shade that your camera won’t handle well. You’ll lose detail in either the highlights or the shadows. That’s why photographers rely on the blue and golden hours to get better photos. The hours after sunrise and the hour before sunset have much better lighting. The atmosphere scatters the light and creates a softer and much more pleasing light.
Even in challenging lighting conditions, a photographer understands how to deal with the challenge. So in addition to understanding their camera and the best settings to capture a scene they also have the experience to understand lighting and give you results that cast your listing literally in the best light.
Why Do You Need To Edit The Pictures?
Even when you do everything right to get the best photo you can in-camera sometimes you need a little fine-tuning. Your camera does not have the dynamic range of your human eyes. This means that at times you still need to adjust such things as white balance, pull a little more detail out of darker areas, or tone down brighter areas in a photo to make it look exceptional. Areas that can cause particular issues are such things as mixed lighting. Incandescent bulbs can give a scene an orange or yellow cast, while fluorescent lighting can cast a greenish cast. You can correct this with white balance in the camera if you only have one type of lighting in a scene. But if you have a mix of lighting in a room it’s great to be able to white balance in Photoshop by choosing something white in the scene and using it as a reference to balance the whole photo.
Maybe you have seen listing photos that look yellow/orange and wondered what caused that. Now you know that in addition to understanding their camera and lenses, photographers also understand color temperature and how to correct that so that things that should be white actually do look white.
Why Are Aerial Photos A Big Deal?
When you hire a photographer for real estate you’ll want to look for one that also offers aerial photography. Why is this important? Aerial photos or videos give potential buyers an overview of the property. They can show the relationship of unattached buildings, lawns, and other features that just can’t be conveyed through still photos alone. More and more potential buyers are gravitating toward listings that show aerial views of properties.
Why Do Videos Seem So Expensive?
This question gets asked a lot. The answer has to do with the extra time and expertise involved in producing a compelling video. But you need to ask yourself this question instead. If I sell an additional 5 properties this year because I had the foresight to use video marketing what will that mean to my bottom line?
Video online is becoming the main thing that consumers look for when making decisions about whether to buy a product. Many buyers are looking at properties that are out of their local area. This is the kind of buyer that video excels with. They can see everything about the property before they travel to tour a property and make a purchasing decision. Adding aerial video to the video production adds value to potential buyers and is something that no virtual tour can provide.
How Do I Hire A Photographer For Real Estate?
I’m glad you asked. I can offer a full range of photography and video services for real estate. I have posted a few real estate video tours on my site that you can view here. You can view photos of a recent shoot I finished on my home page. You can take a look at my pricing guide to get an idea of how reasonable hiring a photographer for real estate can be. CBS News did a story on the 9 ways drones are changing the real estate market. The investment you make in drone video can show a quick ROI when you consider the extra buzz such video can bring to a property, especially to high-end properties with larger commissions to the real estate professional.
But before you decide you can do this yourself take note that the FAA regulates the national airspace. This means that anything that flies, including drones, is subject to FAA regulations. To use a drone for ANY commercial purpose you must hold a small unmanned aerial vehicle certificate from the FAA. If you illegally fly a drone for any purpose, including for your business, you can be fined heavily (up to $32,666 per incident) for flying a drone commercially without a license. You could also face additional fines of up to $250,000 and jail time of up to 3 years. The FAA does monitor web sites like YouTube to look for violations. This video on YouTube explains that the YouTuber got a call from the FAA for using a drone on his farm.
You can save yourself from potential sanctions by hiring a licensed drone pilot, such as myself.
Now that you know the advantages of hiring a professional photographer for real estate feel free to contact me with questions or to book a property for photos or videos.