Real Estate photography is key in selling any home. We caught up with Joshua J Phoenix, the Founder and CEO of HD Estates, to talk photography, real estate marketing, and why you probably shouldn’t take photos on your iPhone.
1) What made you interested in real estate photography? Why is it important?
Our company became interested in Real Estate photography and video when we recognized that most of the marketing for real estate was low quality (this was in 2008). There was a lot of do-it-yourself photos, but there was also a lot of semi-pro work being done by part time semi-pro photographers which wasn’t much better. We saw that there was definitely a need in the market for top quality professional photography and video, and we made a guess that if we offered that service than people would recognize the quality and purchase our product.
2) What do you offer that’s different from other real estate photography companies?
Nowadays I think there are a lot of really good Real estate Photographers, and I would never want to tell someone that we are the only company with quality photos because it simply isn’t true. Also, I think it is great if an agent has a relationship built with a specific photographer and they have a synergy that works for them. The main difference you receive when working with HD Estates is that we are a software company as well as a multimedia company. This means we offer our clients a lot of free technology to market their listing once they have their photos and videos. For Example, every one of our photo shoots comes with a property website, social sharing, and analytics to track the progress of your marketing.
3) What do you charge for photographs?
The charge for photos is a la carte and prices start from $189. HD Estates offers much more than photos these days and the agent can pick and choose what products they see fit for marketing the home. We have some clients that consistently order $2500 packages for marketing luxury homes, and this would not be recommended for a $268,000 one-story home.
4) What makes a real estate photograph effective? What makes a real estate photograph not effective?
There are a lot of factors that make a real estate photography effective. The first part is that the property should be prepared ahead of time for the photographer. This home should be cleaned, de-cluttered, and as close to being staged as possible. Don’t wait to start doing these things when the photographer arrives because this will impede on time and on the focus of the photographer to obtain great photos. The second part that makes effective photos is composition and lighting. The photographer should be skilled enough to understand basic concepts such as straight verticals, the rule of thirds, and how to achieve an aesthetically pleasing photograph. The photographer should also understand how to light the space using on camera flash, or lights setup on stands.
Once the photographs are taken it is important that a high-quality graphic designer hand designs each one of the photos. This is one of the most important steps in achieving sharp, crisp, and properly color adjusted real estate photos. Many people don’t realize that the graphic design portion of the photo-shoot is generally 3 to 4 times longer than the actual photo-shoot.
What makes real estate photographs noneffective would be bad composition, un prepared listings with untidy interiors, semi-pro photographer, and batch processed editing. Beware of real estate photography companies that charge cheap prices, they don’t light their interiors, and batch process photos instead of hand editing with a qualified graphic designer.
Usually, agents may think they are getting a good value but these companies are using a program that just applies auto-adjustments instead of a human using their artistic vision.
5) Do you have any advice for a realtor that might be tempted to take photos with their iPhone?
Please, don’t use your iPhone for listing photos. This is not serving the client to sell their home for the highest and best price, and it also is not good for representing your brand.There are so many studies online about how photos sell homes faster and for more money, so I suggest those agents do a couple google searches before using their iPhone.
Joshua J Phoenix is the Founder and CEO of HD Estates, which offers professional photography, custom websites, comprehensive tracking and social sharing tools to help Real Estate professionals sell homes faster. They send all of their photos to Phixer and receive high-quality HD photos back next day. Currently they process around 35 thousand photos and 200 videos a month for HD Estates.