7 Tips For Hiring A Professional Real Estate Photographer

 Does professional photography help sell homes? The simple answer is yes.

Photography plays a huge role in selling real estate. The listing pictures buyers see online is what makes them click through and read the description. So they better be really good. ~ Redfin

7 Tips For Hiring A Professional Real Estate Photographer:  You know the deal. You have a luxury real estate asset or a commercial real estate project you need to have photographed.  You have a friend with a camera.  Even better, you have an iPhone.  You opt for the lowest common denominator, the least expensive “professional photographer”  your friend with a camera or just the cheapest photographer for hire. Why?  Because all things being equal, the cheap photographer looks like they’ll do an okay job. Right?  Wrong! 

Real Estate Photography Newport Beach

A classic example of a real estate twilight image created at the end of the day. This image is bathed in warm light & evokes a feeling of calm.

Top producing real estate agents need perfection.  Guaranteed every time. 

DON’T MAKE THIS MISTAKE: The first mistake made by most realtors starting out in the business is hiring the cheap photographer to save some money. But, they quickly learn that they made a mistake when they see the quality of the images that they receive. I guarantee you won’t be happy with the results.  Why? Because the color will be all over the place.  There will be zero consistency from image to image. You’ll receive darkish images with a yellow cast, muddy color, and awful compositions. Simply put, the client’s most valuable asset, their property, and the realtors brand will not be properly represented. And the listing will spend more days on the market

Buyers spend 60% of their time looking at listing photos, and only 20% of their time on the listing description and agent description. ~ The Wall Street Journal

HIRING A PRO:  I’m often called in as the “clean up batter.” In baseball, the cleanup batter is batter with the most power and skill. His/Her job is to bring runs in, the cleanup batter cleans up the bases and creates home runs! I’m often called to re-photograph a real estate job that the cheaper less experienced photographer screwed up. How did they screw up? Read about the $1,000,000 Real Estate Listing Phone Call below. 

Real Estate Photography Corona Del Mar

Images like this gorgeous Corona Del Mar waterfront property are produced with carefully placed lighting gear and a complex series of exposures.

A new realtor proudly told me that she uses her phone to take her property listing images. The number one thing people get wrong with listing photography is having the mindset that anyone can do it and deliver a beautiful photo. It’s not that easy.

DON’T USE A CELL PHONE TO TAKE REAL ESTATE LISTING IMAGES:  I recently attended a networking event and met a new realtor. I asked her if she uses professional real estate photographers to photograph her listings.  She proudly told me that she uses her phone to take her listing images.  Don’t be this person! What an incredible disservice she is doing for her client who is selling their most valuable asset.  And, what a disservice she is doing to herself and her brand.  There will be zero image consistency in her real estate listings. Successful realtors that I work with know how important their brand is. And they would never, ever think of photographing real estate with their cell phones. The number one thing people get wrong with listing photography is having the mindset that anyone can do it and deliver a beautiful photo. It’s not that easy.

Highly effective & top performing realtors know this simple fact …. Stellar photos are a must in real estate marketing.

The $1,000,000 Real Estate Listing Phone Call

Recently I got a call from a homeowner who is also a real estate agent for a well know top tier realty firm.  She was representing & selling her own home for  $1,000,000.  She confided in me that she was very unhappy with the cheaper less-skilled photographer’s photographs (that she’d hired).  She mentioned to  me…..“They simply don’t represent my home.  All the images have a yellow cast to them and the adjoining rooms are dark.”  You see, her property was newly renovated. She and her husband spent $200,000.00 renovating their property and the images she received simply didn’t show as a high-end property. She hired me to reshoot her property. I promised her I’d create magazine quality images just like you’d see in Architectural Digest.

Marc, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Our images are just beautiful. I’m so happy with the way verything turned out.  ~ Marlene Q, Agent Inc. Reatly

7 Tips For Hiring A Professional Real Estate Photographer

This is the stunning kitchen in the home from the $1,000,000 phone call mentioned above. As promised, magazine quality images were delivered.

What You Get When You Hire The Cheaper Less Experienced Real Estate Photographer

1. The cheaper real estate photographer delivers MLS images that have a strong yellow cast from the interior lights and simply doesn’t understand color balance.
High-end real estate buyers are enticed by beautiful and consistent listing images. 
2. The less experienced photographer is not using a shot list and forgot to photograph some of the most important rooms on property.
I’ve heard this from many realtors…”The other photographer forgot to photograph some key images of the property.
3. They lack the skills to capture incredible window views …. leaving the windows white instead of showing off the views.
See the images below, taken at a multimillion-dollar listing with ocean views.
4. The cheaper real estate photographer photographed everything with an extreme wide-angle lens, now all your images look distorted.
This happens more than you think and is favored by less experienced realtors and photographers to make the property look larger than it is.
5. A less experienced real estate photographer created harsh shadows by not knowing how to use a flash properly.
Proper use of lighting gear opens up darker areas, illuminates adjoining rooms, and cancels out yellow lighting color casts.
6. The less experienced real estate photographer scratched the client’s floors and they needed to be refinished.
The cheaper real estate photographer has no business liability insurance and leaves you holding the bill. True story…I’ve seen it happen many times.
7. You won’t be pleased with the results and you’ll most likely want to have the property rephotographed.
I get calls all the time to re-photograph properties for homeowners and realtors that are not happy with the results of inexperience real estate photographers that they’ve hired, thinking that they’d save some money by hiring the cheaper photographer. 

Great real estate photos need the right light, angles, and composition to capture emotion, structure, and beauty. A professional real estate photographer sees all of this and makes it happen.

7 Tips For Hiring A Professional Real Estate Photographer

What You Get When You Hire An Experienced & Skilled Real Estate Photographer

1. Consistent lighting & color balance across all images.  
A professional, experienced real estate photographer will deliver a consistent portfolio of images. 
2. Communication is key.  We do a walkthrough with all our clients and work from an agreed-upon shot list. This way nothing is missed.
This is your opportunity to let your real estate photographer know special details about the property that you’d like photographed.
3. We deliver remarkable real estate images with fantastic window views.
Click to see this fantastic La Jolla oceanfront home with fantastic window views.
4. Specialized lenses architectural lenses are used to tell the story of your home in an engaging fashion. The images we deliver will not be distorted.
Technical Stuff:  At Luxury Real Estate images we use a Canon 24mm Tilt-Shift and a 17mm Tilt-Shift lens for the majority of our real estate photography.
5. Rooms are lit to open up shadow areas and show true to life color.  You won’t be able to tell that we ever used a flash.  But you’ll notice your real estate images look better than what you are used to seeing. 
This [click –>] image wouldn’t be possible to make without using lighting gear.
6. The utmost care and respect are taken while on the property.  We’ve never once had anything happen.  We also carry  $2m of business liability coverage.  
7. You’ll receive magazine quality images that will wow you and your clients. 
Here is our portfolio.

7 Questions You Need To Ask When Hiring A Real Estate Photographer

1. Do you specialize in real estate photography?
An experienced real estate photographer will have a rich portfolio of images for you to view. 
2. Do you have back up gear?
Many photographers only have one camera and one lens. If their camera or lens stops working during your photoshoot, you won’t get your listing images. 
3. How long will it take me to receive my images? You should receive some listing images in 24hrs. and the bulk of the images in 48 hrs. 
4. Do you do 360º 3D Virtual Tours, Drone & Video?
5. Do you require a retainer before the shoot? 
Many photographers will get paid upfront for their first shoot, then bill you before releasing the images to you.
6. Do you carry liability insurance?
Make sure your photographer carries a minimum of $2m liability insurance. 
7. How long have you been photographing luxury real estate?
The more experience the photographer has the bigger their too box of techniques they have to create & deliver stunning real estate photographs to help sell your listing.


7 Tips For Hiring A Professional Real Estate Photographer

One of the selling points for this Laguna Beach home is the 180º Pacific Ocean views. Great care was used to capture and showcase these amazing window views.

7 Additional  Tips for Hiring A Skilled & Experienced Real Estate Photographer

1. Don’t hire the cheapest photographer. You won’t be happy with the results.  There is a reason that they are the cheapest.
2. Make sure you see at least 5 different property shoots showing the entire home, not just highlight images.
3. Ask if the photographer knows how to use flashes or strobes for their shoots. .
4. Ask if the photographer only photographs using Natural Light.  If the answer is yes.  Don’t hire them.
5. Ask how long the photographer takes to photograph the residence.
6. Ask about twilight photographs. Twilight photographs are taken during the sweet, golden light, end of the day. Twilight images will set your property listing apart from other real estate listings. 
7. If your property has beautiful window views, ask to see some examples from their portfolio.

real estate photography twilight

A commercial real estate twilight image created for Westfield’s outdoor mall grand opening in Century City, Los Angeles.