Photography is for marketing

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I am convinced that most home sellers and their real estate agents don’t really understand the concept of using photography to market a home rather than to document the existence of various rooms. Amazing photographs do attract buyers who are searching the internet looking for that perfect home. Some studies have shown that homes that are marketed with professional photography actually sell for more money than those that are photographed by a real estate agent using an iPhone or point and shoot camera.

There are rooms in almost every house that are hard to photograph or that just don’t look that appealing. I generally don’t photograph those areas because they are not going to help me sell the home.

Who ever took the photographs in the screenshot simply did not use the right kind of equipment. It doesn’t look like he or she used a wide angle lens. The camera was not held level in either photograph.

Most of the rest of the photos for this home have a strange yellow hue to them because the photographer used an automatic white balance setting.

I have written many articles on this subject. Marketing real estate mostly happens on the internet. The internet is a visual place. Homeowners can hire a professional photographer themselves if their agent won’t. I am not exactly sure why anyone would work with an agent who does not provide professional photography but then there are many things that I don’t understand.

When I shop online and look for shoes I rarely find a bad picture of a shoe. They almost always look better in the photographs than they do on my feet.


Kitchen – taken with a wide angle lens and a DSLR camera. The home is located near Rice Street in St. Paul.

New pictures of exteriors

 Nothing says I don’t care like a home with a pile of snow in front of it in mid-July.  The homes only have snow in front of them in the pictures  but those pictures are seen by buyers when they look on the internet.  

It is a good idea to take a new exterior picture of a home that is for sale each time the seasons change.  No home should be on the market for all four seasons, but it isn’t at all usual to hit two seasons. 

Last week after out first big snow I went out and took new pictures of my listings. I kept the old ones in the MLS so people can see what the homes look like in the Fall.  One of them had this beautiful maple tree with bright red leaves in front of it when I took the original picture.


The best times of day to photograph homes when there is snow in the yard is shortly after sunrise or just before sunset.  I got these between 4:00 and 5:00 PM the day after the heavy snow fall.  Snow always looks better when it is fresh. 

Photography sells and rents

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View of St. Paul

People looking for homes to buy or rentals complain about wanting to see more photographs and better photographs.  What could be easier than marketing property on the internet with photographs? 

Many of the photographs of homes for sale are of very poor quality. Pictures of apartments are often poor and there are few of them.   It is hard to photograph an apartment occupied by a tennant and even though the iPhone has a great built in camera most people can not get a really great interior shot with their phone.  

Interior photographs are the hardest kind to take.  Personally i like to use a wide angle lens, a tripod some on camera and off camera lighting and then use a little tone mapping or HDR when I process them. 

Photographs of the outside of the building, lobbies, mailrooms, party rooms, patios and nearby parks can also help potential tenants.  It is also a good idea to include views from the windows and even photographs taken at night if the view includes city lights and local landmarks. 

A couple of weeks ago I found several of my own photographs being used to market apartments.  They were on various web sites and some even had my water mark on them.   I went ahead and sent out some invoices. 

If you have an apartment to rent you need photographs.  You can steal them or you can hire me to take them for you. 

In recent months I have been taking photographs of apartments and apartment buildings for owners and property management companies.  I love photography and would be happy to do it for free but I have bills to pay.  

The interent is a visual kind of place.  Advertising anything on the internet without photos just doesn’t make sense . .neither does stealing mine. 

Social media & Real estate

When I started this blog in 2005 there were not many Realtors using blogs or social media of any kind for business and the most popular social networks did not get started until after 2005 but when they did I signed up.  It wasn’t until sometime in 2008 that I really started finding friends neighbors and even clients on the popular social networks and in the last couple of years I am finding more local real estate agents on the networks too.

When I market homes I use the internet heavily and advertise every where that I can.  In general sites like Facebook and Twitter are mostly useless to me for the direct marketing property but I continue to experiment with them and I have a business page on facebook.

Most serious buyers work with a  real estate agent.  If I let local agents know about homes for sale that helps.  House hunting isn’t something most people  do all that often and buyers need to look at as many homes as they can and  will need to search beyond their social circle.  Social networks are more useful for finding an agent to work with than they are for finding a home.

Using social networks is a natural for real estate agents and the real estate industry because real estate is a people business.   In fact I don’t see how an agent can be successful without using the internet for marketing.  After all of these years the  Minnesota department of commerce has taken an interest in how we use social media.  They regulate the real estate industry and can regulate how we use social media.  They are watching closely these days and seem to feel the need to do some more regulating.