I have been doing real estate photography for about a year now and being honest with myself, I only can conclude that I love it! I get to work with a variety of people, with some agents knowing full well what they don't know, simply letting me do my thing, while others are very involved in each shot. The divergence between those attitudes, and everyone else in between, in my eyes, is a welcome challenge. The commonality among all these relationships is personal, or rather personality. We all get along, and we are all involved in the project. In fact I rather don't like working with agents who use my services and then don't provide feedback, or don't seem to care (which perhaps their home sellers or buyers feel too). After all, I'm a creative, and though I follow the "rules" of photography, at the end of the day, I'm still an artist, and I view my work as such. I want to know when I've hit one out of the park for you, and I also want to know if you felt I simply just showed up and didn't give my best effort - which doesn't happen. That said, I tend to verbally drool over a home that has a certain level of awesomeness to it. Ask the agents I work with and they'll tell you that when I get excited about photographing a property I wear it on my sleeve. Lastly, I am a member of the Professional Photographers of America, and a member of the Real Estate Photographers of America & International. Okay, enough about me. Let's talk turkey.
HDR versus lighting a home
I spoke with a photographer friend of mine and we discussed HDR versus bringing in lights for the job. I use HDR and I'll tell you what it is, and why I use it. For the uninitiated, any image made using HDR (High Dynamic Range) pulls in the highlights as well as the shadows in the final image. Done correctly, it looks very natural, while for artistic reasons, it can be made to look highly saturated giving a "cooked" feel to it. Real estate photography requires natural, so, like a good steak, I don't overcook my HDR either. Lighting a home, done correctly, can provide the same kinds of natural looks, but additional lighting must be brought in which takes time, time that an agent often doesn't have the luxury to give in a competitive market. One is not better than the other (though you'd hear differently in photography forums) but merely different. Because it saves time, I use HDR. Using a great tripod, a full-frame camera, and a tack sharp 17-40mm lens, I can shoot a 2,000 square foot home in roughly 90 minutes. I can have edits complete in 2-3 hours, and I deliver complete images within 24 hours.
Image sizes and file names
The delivered images are sized for IMLS and, and if you use any third-party companies, I'll gladly size them for you provided you give me the image and file size requirements. I also add SEO (search engine optimization) information in the file names to help you out. That means a home in the north end of Boise will have a file name like this, "1234-Main-Street-Boise-Idaho-83702-north-end." This helps search engines categorize your listing.
Courtship and tire-kicking
My business model is one of developing great working relationships that can stand the test of time. Ultimately I'd like to be the first photographer you call when you get a listing. To that end I offer what I think is a neat way to figure out if the work I do is helpful to your business. I offer an introductory period to all my new customers where I'll shoot any two residential properties at a discounted price. That is a great time to get to know me, to see how I work, and to get a feel for my style.
I truly love my job, and I love the people I work with. People that buy homes start on-line. As a real estate photographer it is my charge to get people interested in a property with captivating images, to get your phone ringing, your email box filling up, to get you showing homes, and to help you turn them quickly. I can help you with that, and we can have a great time doing it. If you have questions I'd love to answer them for you! Here is a link to my real estate portfolio so you can check out my work. Until next time, have a great day!