038 - How to Shoot Real Estate Photos Like a Pro

Real estate photography done right has a huge pay off. It will increase the asking price of your home, get you more showings, and move it off the market faster! 

In this episode, we discuss marketing a home with proper listing photos. Our resident photographer Bill explains how to DIY it, and when you should just hire a professional. His invaluable photography tips are true SELLING points on why good photography is always a marketing necessity. 


Stuff we mentioned during the podcast:

100 Bad Real Estate Photos

Lil’ Rhody Marketing Support Group


You can also find us on Apple Podcasts.

Listen on Google Play Music


Justin: Hi, and welcome to The Marketing Essentials podcast. Our unique team helps small businesses grow by providing essential marketing expertise.

Bill: Hi, and welcome to The Marketing Essentials podcast. My name is Bill Parmentier, with Parmentier Photography.

Alicia: And I'm Alicia Piazza, of Custom Marketing Solutions.

Justin: And I’m Justin Kerr, of Justin Kerr Design.

Bill: And together we make up,

Everyone: The Marketing Essentials team.

Bill: So, today's topic… We have a topic today…

Justin: Yes, we do.

Alicia: I was told.

Justin: It's all about…

Alicia: Bill.

Justin: How to shoot.

Justin: It's all about Bill, it is…

Bill: It’s about time. It’s all about me.

Justin: Ahh…But our topic today is shooting photos and videos for your real estate marketing. So, if you're a real estate agent out there,

Bill: listen up,

Justin: this podcast is for you.

Bill: I’m going to try to keep it as positive as I can. It's tough because unfortunately, the mentality (and I'm not blaming all real estate agents) …I can understand this. There's obviously a cost factor involved when it comes to real estate photography and they need to get by as inexpensively as they can.

Justin: Right, I think a lot of them are working with very small margins to begin with.

Bill: Especially when they're working for a bigger real estate firm.

Justin: Right, so now you're approaching them and saying, hey, you know for this amount of money… you know I can shoot you professional photos… and they're like, do I want to take on this expense?

Bill: Mhm.

Justin: Is this professional photo or professional video? Is it really going to increase the selling price of the house to the point where it compensates my expense? Because they have to lay that money out.

Bill: In a short answer, yes, but I would also, with the caveat… if you're selling $150,000 home $160,000 home, probably not.

Alicia: So in that sense, is there like when you have these lower-priced homes, and the profit margins are obviously smaller, are there kind of some DIY tips?

Bill: Yes.

Alicia: Like some no no's… like don't take your pictures when it's dark out for instance.


Bill: Hey, why is the room dark?

Alicia: Yeah.

Bill: Yeah, actually there are a couple of things and well I'm going to split this up into two halves.

Alicia: Ok.

Bill: The first half is gonna be if you if you're a real estate agent, and you need to do it yourself, because your margin is so small that you can't even consider the idea of having a photographer.

Alicia: Mm-hmm.

Bill: I'll give you a few tips.

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: …and then the next is when you're talking about the higher-end properties; I would say 300 thousand plus.

Alicia: Which in New England is really not that high of a property rate right now.

Bill: No, no. I if you're above three hundred thousand then you can start thinking about okay, what can I do for basic custom video a video a custom photography and then when you get to the you know three-quarters of a mil, to a million dollar home, then you really want to start thinking about…

Alicia: Bring in the drones.

Bill: Yeah.

Justin: Well, so before we get to the okay, if you're below a certain price point you should probably, you know, it's okay to do it yourself… Here's some tips if you're above that. What is the… what would you say are the…the top three things in regards to either photos or video? What do they bring? What value do they add to a real estate market?

Bill: Well first off, there was a study. I forget what it was by MLS, which is the listing system that most real estate agents use, or if it was realtor.com I forget what exactly… which one. You’d have to look it up. But basically, it stated that houses that are listed with using either custom photography or custom videography, on average, will sell for anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 more…

Alicia: Ok.

Bill: …than their original… then if they were done with…

Justin: Is that at a certain price point?

Bill: Ahh they didn't specify…

Justin: Cause that's a specific number.

Bill: …they didn't specify a price point. I’m going to assume the higher end is gonna be for the higher end homes, …

Justin: Yeah.

Bill: …whereas the lower end would probably be for mid-level homes.

Justin: Ok, so anywhere between ten and a hundred thousand dollars in added value.

Bill: Yeah, I would say, realistically the average in New England, probably would be in the fifteen to twenty thousand dollar range.

Justin: Mhm.

Alice: So, that should cover photography costs.

Bill: You would think. You would think, if there are other ways around that: I don't want to get into the specifics as far as how realtor commissions get broken up, but the reality is it can get pretty well spliced up.

Alice: Mhm.

Bill: So, what I what I try to suggest to real estate agents is, don't count that as something… as something you're offering to your clients. Sell your client on it.

Alicia: Ohh, I like that.

Bill: Because now the client will pay for that cost of that photoshoot, as opposed to them having to take it out of their commission.

Justin: Mm-hmm.

Bill: Which makes it an easier sell to real estate agents and when you can show the stats of, hey, your house is gonna sell for more if we do custom photography and we do custom videography it's it easier sell point.

Alicia: I like that. Yeah, the homeowners main concern is to sell fast.

Bill: I mean what homeowner wouldn't want to make an extra ten thousand dollars on the sale of the house? Even if they had outlay 1500 or 1800 dollars?

Justin: Right.

Alicia: Sell faster, make more.

Bill: And also, that's the other thing, it also sells faster on average too, if you use custom photography.

Justin: Now what would you say…’cuz people do a lot of things to get their house to be sale ready. You know, they'll the low-end… paint rooms.

Bill: Paint Rooms.

Justin: Fresh coat of paint can do a lot. Other people do things like add things to the house to make it more appealing. Where do you… you know… where does the photo and the video stuff fall into that mix of; okay, here's what you need to do to get your house ready for sale.

Bill: Well, I mean it's like anything else, who are the main people that make the decisions when it comes to buying a home?

Justin: Females.

Bill: So, what's the area, and I'm not trying to sound sexist or anything like that, but think about what’s the first area they're gonna look at?

Justin: They're gonna look at the kitchen. they're gonna look at the bathroom.

Bill: Exactly. So those are going to be the area… if you're trying to do fix ups for your house, and now if we're talking to a homeowner themselves.

Justin: And Alicia, please correct me if I'm off base on this.

Bill: Yes, yeah, I mean I'm not trying to be sexist you know.

Alicia: No, I think that's right. I think the kitchen is the hub of the family and women are a little bit more aesthetically…

Bill: Sure.

Alicia: …drawn to, you know, things that are updated.

Bill: Mhm.

Alicia: Things that they know are…

Bill: Mhm.

Alicia: …going to be there for the family.

Bill: Yeah, so yeah.

Alicia: I don't know, where my boyfriend would walk into be like, the big screen will fit fine.

Bill: Oh yeah, most guys picture…

Alicia: That is a perfect wall.

Bill: …that as a man cave.


Bill: But the reality is, most; the biggest influencers in purchasing a home is the female of the family.

Alicia: Mhm, yeah.

Bill: And they're gonna look at the kitchens. They're gonna look at the bathrooms… and then probably the living areas after that.

Alicia: Maybe the closets.

Bill: Closets yeah. But so, to answer your question. If you've got a limited budget, and you want to really fix up a house to sell it, I would… I would suggest the kitchen will be the first place you can look at.

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: Um, as far as getting it ready for photography or videography? Get rid of the clutter. That's first and foremost.

Alicia: Right, a photographer isn’t the stager.

Bill: “New”, No. We'll talk about that when we talk about when to hire somebody. That's the second half, but for the do-it-yourselfer, really, you know… is little… minimalist as possible is good. I mean, have some photos on the wall, make it look lived in, but don't make it look like your kids just ran through the room.

Justin: And get rid of the magazines on the kitchen counter.

Bill: Yeah.

Justin: Put away the cereal boxes…

Bill: Correct.

Justin: I mean, you know, you it's weird to say this, but you want it to look like nobody lives there.

Bill: Exactly.

Alicia: Mhm, absolutely.

 Bill: You walk into the bathroom. Don't have towels hanging up.

Justin: No.

Bill: Things like that I mean…

Alicia: Even personal pictures can come down.

Bill: Yeah, yeah yeah.

Alicia: Like your family pictures, because…

Justin: Oh, sure yeah.

Bill: Yeah, I'm talking like artwork. Having artwork on the wall, you know, it's absolutely acceptable to have, you know, a painting on the wall or a landscape photo or something like that.

Justin: What about an Elvis on velvet?

Bll: Ahh… no.

Justin: That's gotta go.

Bill: Just no.

Alicia: Your bear heads?

Justin: The dogs playing poker?

Alicia: Oh, I love that picture!

Justin: I do too.

Bill: I have a…

Alicia: In the man cave.

Bill: I had the dog playing pool… but that's another story in itself… but anyway, so long story short… If we can make it to that at this point.

Alicia: We’ve given tips for design.

Bill: A coat of paint and clutter. Less is more. And work on the main areas that are going to affect your sales overall.

Alicia: Ya.

Bill: And I'm not an expert when it comes to…

Justin: All right…

Bill: …getting your prices. I can just tell ya.

Justin: So, now that you've redone… let's say you've redone your kitchen.

Bill: Mmhm.

Justin: You know, you've redone your bathrooms… You definitely want to get the most out of that investment, …

Bill: Mmhm.

Justin: …and I would say that is a good selling point for professional photography, …

Bill: Absolutely.

Justin: …because a professional photographer or videographer is going to know how to get the most out of that…

Alicia: Mmhm.

Justin: …newly renovated kitchen, or the new newly renovated bathroom, as opposed to snapping a iPhone.

Bill: Correct.

Alicia: Yeah, can I tell you when they redo the bathroom? And then my favorite type of picture is when they stand in front of the mirror with the flash on.

Bill: You can see them in the mirror with the flash.

Alicia: Yes, its creepy.

Bill: Yeah, most people don't think to do that.

Justin: Stalker photo.

Bill: I cannot tell you the number of photos that I've seen on listing sites and that are obviously done by either the homeowner or more likely the real estate agent that went in to just get some photos to put up on the website…

Justin: Right.

Bill: …where there is a reflection in the mirror of the person taking the photo or there's dirty laundry all over the floor in the room, they took the picture of.

Alicia: Yeah.

Justin: Or there's all the personal hygiene stuff over on the counter of the bathroom.

Alicia: I don't know where the person in the mirror creeps me out? Like obviously somebody was there to take the pictures but the mirror thing like really creeps me out.

Bill: And the thing is… is…The reality of it is, up until recently, the markets’ been pretty hot, so most of the people are not looking really quick.

Justin: Yeah, but it's starting to slow down…

Bill: It's really starting to slow down so…

Justin: …and we've also, I mean, as we're recording this in November, we're moving into the dead season…

Bill: Yep.

Justin: …for… for real estate.

Bill: Yes, so every little look you can get on your site; on your listing, is gonna be one more that you might not get otherwise.

Justin: Right.

Bill: So, cut… that's the argument for doing custom photography. Having a professional come in and do it.

Justin: Right, so we've talked about the value of doing the custom photography, let's flip back over to the DIY’er, So you've got someone who just doesn't have the budget…

Bill: Yep.

Justin: …and they want to get the most that they possibly can out of either their point-and-shoot or their iPhone.

Bill: Mhm.

Justin: So, what are your tips for them?

Bill: Lighting, lighting, lighting. Is that enough? That's it, enough times?

Justin: So, some klieg lights in the front yard shining right into the living room?

Bill: Ya, no.

Justin: No, okay.

Alicia: Overhead fluorescents.


Alicia: No?

Bill: You're really hurting me here. No, I mean you'd be surprised how many times I see a photo where they have the nice beautiful natural light coming in through the window and then they've got a fuller fluorescent or an LED light that's on.

Justin: Yeah.

Bill: So, now you've got these mix… mixed lighting throughout the room, so there's a yellowish tint on one side of the room and then you go over the other side of the room it's a bluish tint.

Justin & Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: And it just looks unprofessional at that point.

Justin: So, you recommend all natural light?

Bill: Either all natural, or tame down the natural and use flash. I would… my first recommendation is all natural…

Justin: Mhm.

Bill: …if possible. I mean, if it's a dark day outside, when the photographer's taking the photo, then you may have to throw some, you know, artificial lighting in there.

Justin: Mhm.

Bill: Now there are some situations where if you're in a room that has very little or no windows in it. Ok, now you have to use artificial light.

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: But you're not gonna light up artificial light in a sunroom. It's kind of ridiculous to do that.

Justin: Right and if you're… so if you're, say you’re in a living room and you've got the one overhead light and you've got maybe three table lamps, would you say use the lamps over the overhead light?

Bill: Yes.

Justin: Because the overhead light’s just gonna cast all sorts of nasty shadows.

Bill: Yeah, absolutely.

Justin: Alright.

Bill: But again, if you've got… if you get some really nice light coming in through the windows because it's a sunny day out.

Justin: Use that.

Bill: I'd use that first.

Alicia: Right.

Bill: You know, and then there's a way you can do composites after the fact… if you… but that would be more the... you know, the average real estate agent is gonna do a composite.

Justin: They’re snapping it with their iPhone.

Alicia: What is that?

Bill: You know, I forgot; tech word here, sorry.

Justin: Ding, ding.

Bill: Yeah, how much do we have to pay for that?

 Alicia: $10 for you.

Justin: Yeah.

 Bill: Yeah. Oh thanks. Well that was quick Alicia. She just like right at it.

 Alicia: Fine.

Bill: Now composite basically is when you take multiple photos of the same spot. Same exact spots you would… you would personally use a tripod for that.

Alicia: Ok.

Bill: So, what you may do is take a photo with just natural light and then you take a photo with the artificial light. And then maybe you'll take one that's really blown out and what you do is you have this in Photoshop, or whatever software the other photographers using, you actually merged the two or three photos that you have together so that way it'll make it a more evenly lit photo.

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: Have you ever looked at a photo that you've taken in say a living room, on a bright sunny day, and if you looked at the windows at that bright white…

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: …’cuz it's all blown out in that window.

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: By taking multiple exposures, you can make it so that you can see what's outside the window but still see what's inside also.

Justin: Like, like your eye would.

Bill: Yes.

Justin: You know, because the camera is…

Bill: Very limited.

Justin: …not able to pick up all of the nuances that your eye can so, …

Alicia: Mhm.

Justin: …like sitting in this room now you can see the inside of the room; you can see what's outside the window, but camera can’t.

Bill: No.

Justin: It's either gonna expose for what's outside the window and the room’s gonna be dark, or it's going to expose what's in the room and you’re not going to be able to see anything out the window.

Bill: And as good as cameras are nowadays, at recognizing a situation and being able to adjust accordingly, they're still not 100% there yet.

Alicia: Right.

Bill: Because there's so many varied lighting situations, there's no way that a computer in your phone can figure that out quickly enough to make it look… it's getting better.

Justin: Right, but somebody snapping photos with an iPhone, is not gonna take the time to try to do composites, so getting the most out of just holding up that iPhone and…

Bill: Try to use natural light. I would suggest natural.

Justin: Natural light.

Bill: First and foremost, natural light.

Justin: So, beyond lighting what else?

Bill: Composition. Most people don't think about composition. They just kind of hop in the room and go boom, I've taken the picture, good, done. You really should be shooting into a corner of a room so if you're… if you're standing in the doorway, don't shoot the room straight onto your head. You can see two corners? You should really be shooting towards one corner. It makes the room look more spacious.

Alicia: Yeah.

Bill: And it makes it a little less boxy and weird.

Alicia: Right, like if you're standing in one end, and you're shooting the other end, like it's naturally farther away, so it's gonna start to have like that bowling alley effect.

Bill: Yeah, you're like a trapezoidal effect.

Alicia: Yeah.

Bill: And to escape that, especially if you're doing it yourself, shoot into one corner. I mean there’s software that you can straighten it out again, but then you're looking at professionals having to know how to use Photoshop.

Alicia: Mhm.

Justin: Right, right.

Bill: How to get that to do that. So yeah, if you're going into a kitchen, shoot towards one corner of the kitchen; maybe the most interesting corner, which is probably the area where the sink and the refrigerator are.

Justin: Yeah, my wife calls that the corner of death.


Justin: Well, she has where the corner of the kitchen is, where she does a lot of her work. It's the stove; It's the sink.

Alicia: Yeah.

Justin: It's where she preps all the food. And that's… I happen to be… that's where I like to stand when I'm in the kitchen talking to her.

Bill: The corner of death.

Justin: It's the corner of death.

Alicia: She’s gonna stab you.

Justin: She’s like, get out of my way, you're in my way.

Bill: But you bring up a good point. That's…that's the area that somebody looking for a new home is gonna look at and say okay, well how close is the refrigerator to the stove? Right?

Alicia & Justin: Right.

Bill: How much countertop space do I have?

Justin: Cause their imagining like, okay, when I cook… you know where's my work surfaces?

Bill: Yeah.

Justin: Where's my prep area? Where…

Bill: See you… yeah, you really want to think about, when you're doing real estate photography yourself. You want to think about how the end user is going to use that room. You know, if it's a room that's gonna have a big old comfy couch that somebody's gonna be sitting in and reading and it's got a library shelf next to it.

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: Well, you want to… you want a focal point that's gonna make them go, oh yeah, I understand what this room is used for and that's pretty cool. I like the way that's set up, so…

Justin: I like that. Think about the way that room is gonna be used.

Bill: Yeah.

Alicia: Mhm. What about angles Bill?

Bill: Again, corners. Look for the corners if you can.

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: Aim for the… for the… the most important corner you would… you would find in the room; like I just said.

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: Depending on what that is. You know in a living room it's gonna… it may be where the TV is located. In a sitting room, it may be where the bookshelves are, or in a like you said earlier, a closet. It may be where the coat rack part of the closet is, so they can see how much can be hung there you know.

Justin: Do you…

Alicia: So…

Alicia: …but

Justin: I’m sorry, go ahead Alicia.

Alicia: Like what about if you have like a really cool… like they're called like apron sinks now or farmhouse style… like would you recommend like standing up above and getting shots like looking down?

Bill: You can, but there's a lot of…

Alicia: …at features.

Bill: …there's a lot that can be done from the side views

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: Elevated a little bit but on a side view so now you can see the length of the counter into the sink.

Alicia: Right, yeah.

Bill: So, you really bump the sink level.

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: But aiming towards… like maybe from the Sun coming at it from the side… as opposed to coming straight on.

Alicia: Or like a cool entryway, and then crouching down so you can get more on the angle up the stairs or something.

Bill: I shot a house probably about four months ago now they had a really cool kitchen. The way the kitchen was set up, the sink was in the corner of the kitchen that had a window right in front of it that looked right out over the… the backyard…

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: …and the way it was set up, it was beautiful, so I shot right into that corner and you could see the beautiful sink and… and everything was set up, you know, right alongside of it. And for the wide shot you could see the refrigerator was probably four or five feet away, so you had a lot of countertops there. So again, I would say as far as the angles, you want to look at what's gonna be the focal point of that room; what is it going to be used for? You know… if it's a kitchen the sink’s probably gonna be the or the refrigerator's gonna be the focal point.

Justin: Mhm.

Bill: It’s the dining area? Probably the dining room table. Now... so you really got to think before you go into a room. What is somebody going to think is unique about the room that you're photographing?

Justin: And for heaven's sake, take all the stuff off the refrigerator.

Bill: Get all the magnets and stuff.

Justin: Yeah.

Bill: You have no idea how many times I've had to Photoshop magnets off.

Alicia: Oh, that's painful seeing that you could just take them off in 10 seconds. You have to go back in and photoshop.

Bill: Oh, okay so let's try… so you've got some basic ideas of what you have to do, if you want to do it yourself. Do you have any other questions, Justin, I know you…

Justin: Ahhh.

Bill: On the do it yourself end of it.

Justin: No, I think Alicia covered it.

Bill: Okay, so now the custom end of it. Again, I'm gonna say this is for the for the higher end homes, where you know mid-level to high end. First thing I'm gonna suggest to somebody is look into a reputable home stager. Home stager? What's a home stager?

Justin: Ya, I was gonna say I was looking at you like you're gonna explain that one.

Alicia: That's like my dream job… if I wasn't already doing my first number one dream job.

Bill: Yeah, a home stager is a professional that knows how to set up each and every room of your house to make it look the best it can for it to set to sell.

Alicia: Pinterest worthy.

 Bill: Yes, Pinterest worthy.

Justin: There ya go.

Bill: Today yeah, I mean the reality is, they keep on top of the trends… you know if country motif is the trend, she's gonna soar. He's gonna set it up as a room that's got a country motif.

Alicia: Right.

Bill: If the trend is now going towards… I don't… whatever, whatever it happens to be.

Justin: And if I'm not mistaken, home stagers will actually bring in…

Bill: Mhm.

Justin: …pieces. I mean they'll work with what you have…

Bill: Yeah.

Justin: …but they'll also bring things in, to enhance what's already there.

Bill: What I didn't know is there's an entire market that prints stuff for home stagers.

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: So, you can rent a living room table, or you could rent a…. you know, a piece of furniture.

Justin & Alicia: Yeah.

Justin: Or art; artwork.

Alicia: Yup.

Bill: Artwork… pillows; things like that.

Alicia: Oh yeah, that's… they'll go right down to the details the pillows...

Bill: Yeah.

Alicia: …the China on the table, fresh flowers, and all that good stuff.

Bill: So yes, when you start getting to that end you want to look at a home stager. You also want to look, for most people this is the last thing people think about, but I think it's really important also. It’s the landscaping

Alicia: Mmhm.

Bill: You know if your house looks like it's trashed on the outside most people aren't gonna go anywhere near the inside.

Alicia: Curb appeal.

Bill: Yeah, curb appeal. There's a lot to that you know.

Alicia: I like to watch HGTV.

Bill: It's one thing to have you know… okay so maybe you have to um…there's certain things that you can’t… that are tough to do during certain times a year. If you've got a lawn that's patches everywhere and you're talking about selling your house in November…

Justin: Mmhm.

Bill: You're not gonna grow that lawn back in in the middle of November, so that might take some creative Photoshop work to get it looking the way it should so you can at least give the potential owner…

Alicia: Right.

Bill: …an idea of what it would look like.

Justin: Yeah.

Alicia: But a photographer…oh sorry Justin, go ahead, I keep cutting you off today.

Justin: It’s okay, I imagine that there's a limit as to what you might do in Photoshop in regards to landscaping. Like it's one thing to green up a lawn in November because you know it's gonna look green in April and May, but I think you have… you probably have to be careful when you're like putting stuff that's not there.

Bill: Yeah, I'm not gonna put trees into something; large bushes in.

Alicia: What happened to that chandelier? Those Crawford ceilings? They’re not here.

Bill: The interesting thing is, if I'm doing something a photo shoot for a website, for a contractors website, …

Justin: Mmhm.

Bill: …and they put a new door on the house. I've actually done this before, where they had put a new door on the house. Well either side of the house one side had bushes the other side didn't. I replicated the bushes from one side to the other because…

Justin: Well yeah, you're selling the door.

Bill: I was selling the product, …

Justin: You're selling the workmanship; you're not selling the house.

Bill: …and I just wanted to give it an even look to it.

Justin: Yeah, yeah.

Bill: I would not do the same when it came to a real estate house.

Alicia: Yeah.

Justin: Makes sense.

Alicia: A little bit of deception.

Bill: Yeah. Now I…

Justin: Where's the inground pool that was in the front I don’t see it?

Alicia: Yeah, the white picket fence?


Bill: …now I will add another thing. It’s okay so now you've got the home staging; landscaping. Look for unique views. Drone photography and videography is huge in real estate right now.

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: Especially for the larger acreage homes. You’re talking a double/triple… you know one acre two acre lot, you can show a lot more from the air and you can from ground level.

Alicia: Right, that's cool.

Bill: Especially if it's a multi-level home too.

Justin: Mhm.

Bill: I just thought… I just did a drone shoot on a three family, three floor home, and it had a deck on the third floor. Ground level, you would never have seen what the deck looked like.

Justin: Right.

Bill: But, getting up in the air with the drone, you could see that there were trash bags full of trash on the deck.

Alicia: Yeah, I think that’s the oh boy.

Justin: You had to take those out.

Bill: Yeah, I had to Photoshop them out, but I mean, that's the reality of it. But it also gives people, or you, beyond what they would normally see.

Justin: Yeah.

Alicia: Yeah.

Alicia: I think like how you're saying if the lawn is patchy there's not much you can do, but I think when you're working with a photographer and they need an outside shot then the photographer knows to focus on something a little bit differently…

Bill: Exactly.

Alicia: …to make the photos more forgiving. And you know it's like doing a head shot; like you want to have someone's best side showing.

Bill: Yeah, yeah… oh yeah, I mean that's the other thing. A custom real estate photographer is going to have that experience (at least hopefully they will).

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: That is going to be able to put your house in the best light. I'm saying beyond having the home staging and everything like that. And another, please this is a very important thing to not forget, for the real estate agents, a photographer is not a stager.

Alicia: Mhm.

Justin: Mhm.

Bill: You’d be surprised how many think, oh, you know you're a photographer… you know if the room’s a mess you will move things around to get the right shot.

Justin: Not necessarily.

Alicia: That's an extra fee…

Bill: Yeah.

Alicia: …and it's not cheap!

Bill: No, I mean it's really not. I mean my average shoot for an interior of a less than 3,000 square-foot house is probably an hour.

Alicia: Mmhm.

Bill: If I had to stage every room in a less than 3,000 square foot house it would probably take me four or five hours.

Alicia: Yeah.

Bill: Does somebody want to pay that cost for four or five hours’ worth of stuff?

Alicia: Plus…

Justin: Do you…ah…

Alicia: …We keep doing it together.

Justin: I know.

Bill: It’s ok you guys. It’s fun watching you guys do this. It’s fun watching the two of you do this.

Justin:  I was gonna ask you do you provide your real estate agents that you work with… do you provide them with like a checklist of like… okay, if you're gonna shoot this yourself, here's what you need to know, and if you're gonna hire me here's what needs to happen before I show up.

Alicia: That’s a good question.

Bill: I've never had anybody you know…it's a good question. I've never had anybody ask me…you know, I'm going to do this myself, do you have a checklist of things I need to look for. I’d be more than happy to give that because I understand that there are some cases, where you know real estate agents have no choice but to sell to shoot it themselves.

Alicia: Yeah.

Bill: So, it's a good idea. I haven't done it yet. I do try to give my potential clients at least a brief outline and what they need to make sure set like I basically say, look you're not always gonna get the ideal outside photos. You know, it's not always gonna be sunny and cloud free or partly cloudy when we come to do your shoot. I can't do that. There's not that many sunny days in the year, so if I've got ten houses to shoot in the course of a month, maybe half of them will be a sunny day. The other half may be partly cloudy, so don't expect it to be bright and you know in May and if I can't get it that way for you I will but that's not always the case.

Justin: I did see one of the photos that you took recently though where you… you put a sunny sky in the…

Bill: Mhm.

Justin:  …you know in the photo

Bill: Yeah, I can do that it's an extra charge, but I can do that.

Justin: Right.

Alicia: That’s cool.

Justin: So, but there's a limit to what you can do.

Bill: Oh yeah, yeah… I mean if it's a really great day outside and I go put a sunny sky in the background it's gonna look like something out of a Disney movie.

Justin: And you’re not gonna put leaves on the trees and…

Bill: No, no.

Justin: …you know all that nonsense.

Alicia: Unicorns in the front yard.


Bill: So, no, I mean…

Alicia: Magical.

Bill: …guaranteed to sell.

Bill: And that's the other thing…is…is you know, if the house is rundown, …

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: …there's only so much your photographer can do for you.

Alicia: Right.

Bill: There's only so much that a home stager is gonna do for you.

Alicia: Yeah.

Bill: They're gonna help bring out the best, but if the best is mediocre…

Alicia: Yeah.

Justin: Right.

Bill: …You know if you need a new paint job on the side of the house and you're choosing not to, and you want to sell it… well, that's gonna show.

Justin: Is that, I mean…I imagine, that's part of your job. Is it sort of helping them have realistic expectations?

Bill: Well, you would hope that the real estate agent would be the first one to give them those realistic expectations. You know and you know this house is maybe valued at half a million dollars, but it needs a paint job in a new roof so you're probably not gonna get that.

Alicia: I feel like I’d be really good at that, ‘cuz I'm pretty blunt. I'd be like, oh, this picture needs to go.

Bill: Mhm.

Alicia: Just tell them like it is. Like tell them you can't… they can't, expect a photographer…

Bill: I curate most of the photos that I… that I take, so they're only gonna see the best ones you know.

Alicia: Oh no, I meant like in the house, like if they have like an ugly painting on the wall.

Bill: I'll publish it around it.

Alicia: Yeah but, I would just tell them like take it down; put it in storage.

Bill: And yeah, you got to be careful. You gott have some tact with it cuz it may be a family…

Justin: Family-heirloom that their great-great-great uncle gave them.

Alicia: But do you don't wanna sell our house?

Bill: No, I get it and it may be that case, but the thing is…is sometimes you can shoot around it.

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: No, I've done that before. I shoot around some pretty ugly things just to be nice you know.

Alicia: Yeah.

Justin: You know what would be a…

Alicia: Peoples’ style hmmmmm…

Justin: …what would be cool

Bill: The two of you.

Justin: I thought she was finished.

Alicia: I'm finished.

Justin: Ok. No, what I was gonna say was, what would be cool is to see a side-by-side of you know a shot that you took, like maybe a curb side. And then what an iPhone photo of that same property would look like and just be able to say, well you can see the difference here… you know… and point out some of the features.

Bill: Yeah, I mean… and that goes for just any type of photographer, truthfully. Especially exterior photography. Even commercial buildings, you can tell when somebody shot it with an iPhone or a cheap phone versus a good quality composed shot.

Justin: Mhm.

Justin: Yeah, it was you know… was a car parked out front.

Bill: Mhm.

Justin: That shouldn't be there.

Alicia: Mhm.

Justin: There's something in the yard. It should have been removed.

Bill: Yeah and…and what I tell my clients is ahead of time, is look if you don't want it in the photo make sure that it's gone before I show up.

Justin: Right.

Bill: Because I don't have the time during the day of to go having your tenants move all their cars. I don't have the time the day of to have them make sure that they've taken that basket of laundry that's all over the bed…and move it.

Justin: Right.

Bill: …and…and move it you know.

Justin: I mean if you're gonna work at that level then you have to charge them extra.

Bill: You know… quite frankly nobody would pay that extra.

Justin: Right.

Bill: And so, it's one of those things it's like just…just think about what you're putting forth. As a homeowner, you want to think if you want your house to sell, use the common sense stuff you know.

Justin: Well at least made a good point. It's like, you know, when you go to get your business headshot done or a family photo done, everybody puts on nice clothes and they comb their hair and they do everything they need to make themselves look good. It's like, do the same thing for your home.

BIll: Yeah, you wouldn't walk into a portrait session with a bad case of bed head and no makeup on. If you’re a…or whatever it happens to be.

Justin: Right.

Bill: You wouldn't do it, so why do people do that with the homes? Alicia's looking at me like…

Alicia: Well, I just googled bad real estate pictures…

BIll: Oh.

Alicia: …and it's a laugh.

Bill: You know what? You have to put a link in the uh… okay? I gotta see these. Oh, my goodness what’d they use a fisheye lens? The picture Alicia is showing me right now is from a very dated looking kitchen first of all it's got all these flowery…

Alicia: That's my house Bill.

Bill: Is it your house?

Alicia: No, it’s not.

Bill: I was gonna say…well…

Justin: Wow, you should have totally trolled him.

Bill: You should have you had me, but it's a very dated looking…

Justin: Wow.

Bill: …and it looks like they took it with a fisheye lens.

Alicia: Which makes it look like a fun house basically.

Bill: Yeah, pretty much the bottom is really narrow the top is really narrow and…

Justin: This is your house on acid.

Bill: Yeah, but the reality is, you know what, that's a website that shows all these bad photos.

Justin: I think…

Bill: In reality…

Justin: …it's a good teaching element. It's like okay, don't do this stuff.

Bill: …but the thing is, I would even do you… go to realtor.com - just start trolling some of the listings.

Alicia: Yeah, would it be mean of us how I use those examples?

Bill: Realtor.com is conglomerate, where you know, multiple agencies go into it, so I don't think we're picking on any one agency. But seriously, I'm sure you could…you could spend a half an hour on that website and find some really bad photos.

Justin: I'd… I wouldn't have even thought to look for the bad real estate photos.

Bill: Yeah.

Justin: I’m familiar with the ah…

Bill: Have you found any real good ones yet?

Justin: …awkward family photo website.

Bill: Okay, what's the worst one you found so far Alicia?

Alicia: A room full of dolls.

Bill: What?

Justin: Really?

Bill: I gotta see this one. Come on, come on, come on - she's gonna show me the…

Alicia: This makes me wanna…

Bill: Oh, my word, it's a hardwood floor room that's probably a 12 X 18/ 12 X 16.

Alicia: Beautiful hardwoods if you could see them.

Bill: And it's got hundreds of dolls all over the floor on boxes.

Justin: Come play with us.

Bill: Sounds/looks like a bad horror movie.

Alicia: If this doesn't say buy this home, I don't know what does.

Bill: That says The Shining.

Justin: Ok.

Bill: No, no.

Justin: Anyway…

Bill: Anyway, we went off the track a little bit but I mean that… that's the unfortunate part of it, and you know the reality is if you want a good shot, have a…you know…

Justin: That doll shot though brings makes an excellent point. It's like a lot of people have collections, you know, and things that that mean something personally to them. Get rid of them from the photo shoot because it doesn't mean a thing to the perspective buyers.

Bill: Exactly.

Justin: They don't really care about your commemorative clock or…

Bill: Oh, does that mean that my commemorative NASCAR plates have to go away?

Alicia: Gotta go.

Justin: You know, or your collection of beer cans or whatever.

Bill: Yeah.

Justin: It's like it means a lot to you, yes, but it doesn't mean anything to prospective buyer.

Alicia: Mhm.

Bill: Yeah, yeah that's it.

Justin: I think they won't, honestly, they want to see something that they can picture themselves in and if there's a lot of personal items there, or distracting items, it's hard for them…

Bill: To put themselves…

Justin: …imagine themselves in that space.

Bill: I'm gonna backtrack for one more second because it bears saying. I have to say this, and this is for the real estate agents out there, please please please don't go buy a drone…just think you can throw it up in the air.

Alicia: Ah, yeah.

Bill: Ror safety sake I'm begging you. Please don't do this. I don't know how many real estate agents I've talked to said, oh yeah, our office has a drone, and come to find out they're not licensed, they're not insured and you're just begging for trouble. Somebody's going to get hurt and somebody's gonna get injured badly and let me tell you new real-estate agents, your liability insurance will not cover that kind of damage. You have to have separate drone insurance for that.

Alicia: Yeah.

Justin: Hmmm…

Bill: So, I say that just as a caveat because it may be tempting for a real estate agent to go out and buy a drone. Because they're affordable nowadays; you can get one under a couple of grand that is decent enough to take real estate photos.

Justin: Mhm.

Bill: But there's so much more behind it. You need to get certified through the FAA you have to get insured and if you don't do it, if you skip those steps, you could put your entire company in jeopardy as well as possibly seriously disfigure somebody.

Justin: Right, it cost you a lot more than a photo shoot.

 Bill: Yeah, I tell people it's basically a giant weed whacker flying through the air.

Alicia: Yeah, I think people think it's like just a little mini toy helicopter…

 Bill: Well I mean…

Alicia: …and it's not.

Bill: …the people look at it and say, oh, it's a plastic; it's a plastic prop on it…

Alicia & Justin: Mhm.

Bill: …so because it's plastic props it's fine… those plastic pop…er, plastic props (easy for me to say) …

Justin: Mhm.

Bill: …will cut you and cut you deeply.

Justin: Oh yeah, well, my weed whacker uses a plastic nylon string but that’ll…

Bill: Yeah.

Justin: …cut the heck out of you.

Bill: And people don't think about that. If somebody they just think oh it's a drone, I can it's all autonomous. It'll do everything I wanted to do. I've had drone shoots go really rough at some points. Where, you know, this 20/25 mile an hour wind and all the sudden you get a gust and the drone takes off ten feet to the left or ten feet to the right.

Justin: Right and right that's a good thing.

Bill: I’m sorry, I’m sorry I want to leave with that but…

Justin: No, no, I know it's it's…it's something that you're passionate about…is you know proper drone usage and making sure you're licensed and all of that. I mean, it's because you know it's for people's safety.

Bill: And…and the thing is, it's not about me trying to get drones to you know people who hire me. Yeah, I would like people to hire me, but I would rather have people safe and not hire me.

Alicia: Mhm.

Justin: Right.

Bill: You know I’m meaning just do the right thing. You don't have to hire me, just do the right thing.

Justin: So, to recap for real estate photography, you can do it yourself and maybe by the time we publish this episode Bill will have his checklist for real estate agents.

Bill: I will, I will.

Justin: That we get include in the show links so that you know how to get the most out of your iPhone photography but if you really want to get the most out of your real estate photos especially if the owner has invested a lot in refurbishing a kitchen in the bathroom you can get between 10 and $100,000 more value…

Bill: Absolutely.

Justin: …out of that listing with professional photography and videography especially with something unique like drone photography which is going to give you a whole different perspective.

Bill: Mhm, and I didn't even touch on video walkthroughs which are the new trend that's coming through and stuff like that yeah.

Justin: Well maybe another episode.

Bill: Yeah, it's got to be another episode we're getting on the long side here but…

Justin: Yeah.

Bill: …ultimately if you can afford it, and this is to the homeowner I'm speaking to now. If you can afford it, go with custom. Have somebody come and do it professionally. They're gonna do a much better job than your real estate agent’s gonna do for you, or you're gonna be able to do yourself.

Justin: Right.

Bill: So, having said that I think we get a couple of quick shameless plugs to do.

Justin: Yup.

Bill: And we can call it quits for the day.

Justin: So, if you enjoyed this podcast episode, and you'd like to hear more of us talking about marketing, you can find us on the web at marketing essentials.com… wait, no, it’s marketingessentials…

Everyone: Team.

Justin: .com

Bill: We've only had the website for about a year now.

Justin: Yeah yeah yeah and I'm the one that built it. So yeah marketing essentials team.com is where you can find us on the web you can also find us on facebook at Marketing…

Bill & Justin: Essentials

Justin: Team and I'm gonna let Alicia tell you about our special little group.

Bill: Special.

Alicia: Alright, so we have the Little Rody Marketing Support Group on Facebook. Just search that in the search bar or go to our website to find it. And it's a private support group of marketing professionals and other local business owners over… I think we have over a hundred and something members in there…

Bill: What we are at? 20?

Justin: Yeah, 120 right now.

Alicia: …where you can… ah well it's still growing… is it 100?

Alicia: So, you can post all your marketing questions and challenges in that group.

Bill: And finally, if you're one of those people that likes to listen to the podcast on the go you can search for us at The Marketing Essentials Team on Apple Podcasts and you can listen to all the back episodes. Also, before I forget, if you subscribe to our podcast on our website, MarketingEssentialsTeam.com, you will get a weekly email reminding you of the upcoming episode and you will also get some secret content… super secrets world content… I can't tell you about that right now.

Justin: Right, and we'd love to give a shout out to our gracious host, Rooms & Works, where we’re recording this podcast episode from.

Bill: Yes.

Justin: And you can find them online at roomsandworks.com.

Bill: Yes, and with that, I think that's all we have for today. Have a great day everybody!

Justin: Bye.

Bill: Bye.