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8 Tips For Choosing The Best Real Estate Photographer

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8 Tips For Choosing The Best Real Estate Photographer


Do you ever see those pictures on various home renting and selling websites that were clearly taken by someone with a mobile phone and no eye for photography? They're all facing the wrong direction, you can't see anything clearly and they truly don't show off the full beauty of the home.

Were you the one taking those pictures? 

That's okay, we've all been there. 

While we're in the midst of the digital age, DIY photography won't cut it unless you have a nice camera and a background in art or design. You want to hire the best real estate photographer that you can find to make sure that your house sells and you're able to market it effectively.

You might not think that photos matter that much, but in a time of social media sharing and internet marketing, you need to change that mindset.

Keep reading for our tips on finding the real estate photographer for you.

1. Ask About Equipment

The camera does not make the photographer, the photographer makes the camera. Figuratively, at least.

This means that the shiniest, newest, and flashiest equipment doesn't make a photographer (or a photo) good. Don't take equipment as the end all be all for your choice.

That being said, some kinds of equipment are more helpful than others.

You're looking for a photographer that works digitally first and foremost. Most real estate photographers do so this shouldn't be a difficult find. This photographer should have a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a variety of lenses (though one good "kit lens" can also do the job effectively). 

It's helpful if your photographer has a good tripod though this isn't always necessary. 

Modern DSLRs and mirrorless camera bodies all allow for a high enough megapixel photo for your real estate needs, so this shouldn't be a concern. 

Your goal is to have bright, clear, and detailed photos to allow your potential buyers to really get a feel for the home. Most professional cameras in popular brands are able to make this happen but it doesn't hurt to see what this photographer has to offer. 

2. Search for a Specialty

All photographers are not alike. When you're just searching for photographers in your area, you're making a common mistake. 

Many photographers are art photographers, wedding photographers, portrait photographers, or fashion photographers. These are valuable types of photography but they're not what you're looking for. 

Some of these photographers have some crossover with commercial work and even real estate photography, but you shouldn't just assume that is the case. Not all photographers know how to photograph real estate. 

When you're looking for the right photographer for you, make sure that you specify "real estate photography". If nothing comes up, try "home photography" or even "landscape photography". If these fail, "architectural photography" may yield someone who can give you awesome work even if it's slightly outside of their wheelhouse. 

You don't want to hire an awesome portrait photographer to shoot your home. That's not what they're used to and neither of you will be happy with the arrangement. 

3. Look Through Portfolios

You're going to want to check out a photographer's portfolio before you officially hire them for the job. 

Most photographers in 2020 have online portfolios but this isn't true of everyone. Some photographers prefer to keep their work in a traditional portfolio, in a binder or on a tablet so that they're able to customize it for the client. 

When you look through the portfolio do you see anything similar to the work that you want to be done? Are their real-estate photos in a style that you'd like displayed on your website or in your listings? 

Real estate photography has a general overall "look", but many photographers add their personal style to their work. See if their style meshes with your vision. 

4. Assess Comfort Level

When you're meeting with your potential photographer try to gauge their comfort level with the work that you're expecting from them. Some people are just nervous in interviews but you should be able to get an idea of whether or not this task is up their alley. 

This is also a great time to assess your own comfort level. Does this person make you feel confident that the job is going to be done in the way that you like it? Are they engaging with you about the details of the job? 

You don't want to spend the time between the interview and the results worrying. This photographer should instill confidence in you. If you don't feel comfortable keep looking for a photographer. 

5. Discuss the Editing Process

Any good digital photographer can tell you that the photo that comes straight from the camera isn't actually the finished photo. 

You might think that real estate photos look relatively unedited but you'd be wrong. The camera doesn't always capture things in the same way that our eyes do and there's a bit of work that has to be done behind the scenes to make the photos pop. 

Ask about the editing programs that the photographer uses. It's tempting to only agree to hire a photographer using the popular Adobe Suite, but many good photographers who are experienced with their editing tools use other programs (especially when they're not doing portraiture).

They should be able to give you a general rundown of their editing process but don't expect the details. Editing is personal and everyone does it in a slightly different way. Your photographer may want to protect some of their secrets. 

It's a red flag if your photographer doesn't edit at all. If their portfolio is solid then don't take it as a definite problem, but keep it in the back of your mind. 

6. Find a Price that Suits You

One reason that a lot of people opt for DIY photography is that professional photography is expensive. You might think it's overpriced, but is it? 

You're not just paying for the few hours that the photographer is spending to take your photos. You're paying for the time that they're going to spend editing (which can be double or triple the photography time) as well as the experience and equipment that they're bringing to the table.

In other words, don't cheap out. You get what you pay for. 

You may be able to find an affordable photographer if you look at photography programs in local schools or if you find an aspiring real-estate photographer who's looking to build a portfolio, but try not to take advantage. These people put serious work in. 

Keep a budget in mind when you're looking for your photographer and try to find someone that fits your budget. 

7. Do Some Preliminary Research

Explore through the internet and some word of mouth suggestions. Who do the other professionals in your area use for their photos? Do you like those photos or are you looking for something different? 

Browse the internet for photographers in your area and click on as many pages as you can find. Even look into local pages like Craigslist and the Facebook marketplace to see if someone stands out. Not everyone chooses to have their own site, especially early on, but they likely peddle their wares somewhere. 

Searching through Instagram can also be helpful. Many young photographers use Instagram as a central hub for their portfolios. Look in your local hashtags for photography that suits your needs (for example, #AustinPhotography or #AustinRealEstatePhotography). Digital marketing is popular for photographers.

Once you have a pretty decent amount of people that seem like good options you can move to the contact and interview phase.

8. Look Into Reviews and Testimonials 

If your photographer has a website or an established business see if there are reviews for them online. Independent workers don't often have their business on Yahoo or Google Business but there might be reviews on their professional Facebook page.

You can look into their former clients to see if any of them have good things to say. Some photographers keep a "testimonials" page on their portfolio site, but remember that they're only going to display the good reviews.

If you know people personally who have worked with this photographer, what do they have to say? Do they seem pleased with the work that was done? 

Happy customers are a good sign. 

Can You Find the Best Real Estate Photographer for Your Needs?

Finding the best real estate photographer for you is hard. You want someone who can get all of the right angles and truly show off the house but who can also make real estate photography into an art form. 

Good photos can seriously help to sell a property and bad photos can make potential buyers ignore it completely. Do your research to make sure that the person you hire is up to the task.

To learn more about the home-selling process, or for resources for buyers and sellers alike, visit our site