As a real estate agent, you might think that the singular goal of real estate photography is to sell houses. That seems natural: buyers need to see the product as they enter the buying process.
And as long as buyers are still buying properties that are shown with average photographs, it's hard to make a case for spending good money on better photography.
But: while showing properties for sale is a purpose of real estate photography, it's not the only purpose. In fact, there's something significantly more important at stake for your business.
You want to think differently about your marketing photography.
In his 1954 book The Practice of Management, legendary management consultant Peter Drucker (pictured above) offered this insight:
If that's the case (and I think Drucker is right on this point), then whatever helps you stand out in your market helps you create customers. Couldn't the way you showcase your listings with photography help you differentiate your business?
Instead of thinking about pictures for listings, then, think about the impact those images have on your brand and the way both buyers and sellers perceive your business.
Scott Hargis, a well-known architectural and interior photographer based in San Francisco, recently put it this way:
The point is to be forward thinking. My best real estate clients, the ones who listed the multimillion dollar houses all the time, would do the exact same thing even when they had a $150,000 condo to sell. That crappy little condo got painted, staged, photographed, and marketed like it was a trophy listing. Why? Because my client could not afford to have ANYTHING with her name on it that didn’t look like a million bucks. Better yet, FIVE million bucks. She knew that she would be sitting on a couch in some living room next week, trying to land a bread-and-butter listing, and the sellers would want to know that they were not going to be treated like an afterthought. They would be doing their research, looking to see what this agent really did on her listings, and they would not be disappointed.
The REAL purpose of real estate photography isn't to sell houses. If you want to continue to stay in business, to serve customers the way you think they should be served, then you have to market your business to create more customers like the ones you want to serve.
The pictures you show in your listings are part of your marketing approach. As Scott Hargis mentioned, you have to be "forward thinking" so you continue (or start) to win the customers you want to win.
Here's how you can take that "forward thinking" attitude with your listing photography:
First, use beautiful photography to feature your clients' homes. Your listings will immediately stand out from the crowd, attracting more attention for your sellers (and making them feel special when they see their homes online).
Second, those attractive photos will move prospective buyers. Buyers will be intrigued by your listings and follow up because they'll want to know more.
Third, you'll be building your brand as new sellers see your listings and seek an agent who will go the extra mile for them.
And that's the real purpose of real estate photography.
Photograph of Peter Drucker via Wikimedia.