Posts tagged #branding

News: Professional Photographs Help Sell Home in 8 Days

This home was photographed by Orlando, Florida, photographer Harry Lim--it sold in 8 days. -- Image via  PetaPixel

This home was photographed by Orlando, Florida, photographer Harry Lim--it sold in 8 days. -- Image via PetaPixel

What's the purpose of real estate photography?

It depends on who you are:

  • For a seller, it's to get buyers interested in your house
  • For a buyer, it's to entice you to follow-up with the agent so you'll go see the home
  • For an agent, it's to build your brand reputation so you'll win the listings you want

A recent article on PetaPixel highlighted the difference professional photography can make in the selling process.

Orlando, Florida, photographer Harry Lim made pictures of a home that had remained unsold for 224 days. A new realtor took on the clients' home, hired Harry, and the home sold eight days later. The article shows before/after photos that tell the story.

Did the photographs sell the house? It's impossible to know for certain but this much can be said: Harry's attractive photographs did a better job of enticing a buyer.

Posted on March 20, 2015 and filed under News.

Property Photographs for 1214 Weatherspoon, Morton :: Peoria, Illinois, Real Estate Photographer

Exterior home photograph  for real estate  in Morton, IL :: Illinois Home Photography by Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Exterior home photograph for real estate in Morton, IL :: Illinois Home Photography by Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

It was cold outside but waves of warm sunlight flooded through the windows of this expansive central Illinois home.

Yesterday I photographed 1214 Weatherspoon in Morton, Illinois, for Laura Behrens and Cilla Williams at Maloof Realty in Morton. It features a spacious open floor plan (dining/family/kitchen areas), a sun room with a hot tub, a glass-walled shower in the master bath, and a ginormous basement. A lovely garden patio will make this a wonderful home for entertaining in warmer months. You'll find more details on the listing at Realtor.com.

Are you an agent in central Illinois (Peoria, Springfield, Bloomington/Normal)? I can make attractive pictures like these for your listings. Your sellers will love them and you'll attract more buyers. I'm happy to help--feel free to contact me.

Kitchen interior photograph  for real estate  :: Illinois Home Photography by Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Kitchen interior photograph for real estate :: Illinois Home Photography by Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Kitchen interior photograph   for real estate :: Illinois Home Photography by Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Kitchen interior photograph for real estate :: Illinois Home Photography by Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Master bath interior photograph for real estate :: Illinois Home Photography by Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Master bath interior photograph for real estate :: Illinois Home Photography by Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Sun room interior photograph  for real estate  :: Illinois Home Photography by Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Sun room interior photograph for real estate :: Illinois Home Photography by Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Bedroom interior photograph for real estate :: Illinois Home Photography by Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Bedroom interior photograph for real estate :: Illinois Home Photography by Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Bedroom interior photograph for real estate :: Illinois Home Photography by Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Bedroom interior photograph for real estate :: Illinois Home Photography by Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Posted on February 24, 2015 and filed under Photographs.

Agents: Here's the REAL Purpose of Real Estate Photography :: Springfield, Illinois, Real Estate Photographer

Peter Drucker :: The purpose of your business is to create a customer :: Illinois Home Photography, Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Peter Drucker :: The purpose of your business is to create a customer :: Illinois Home Photography, Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

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:

There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer... Because it is its purpose to create a customer, any business enterprise has two—and only these two—basic functions: marketing and innovation.
— Peter Drucker

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.

Posted on February 4, 2015 and filed under Advice.

What Does It Take to Make Good Property Photographs? :: Bloomington, Illinois, Real Estate Photographer

Interior real estate photograph :: Illinois Home Photography, Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Interior real estate photograph :: Illinois Home Photography, Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Maybe you've heard this (possibly apocryphal) story about Pablo Picasso:

Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.

"It's you -- Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist."

So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.

"It's perfect!" she gushed. "You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?"

"Five thousand dollars," the artist replied.

"B-b-but, what?" the woman sputtered. "How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!"

To which Picasso responded, "Madame, it took me my entire life."

I recently shared a real estate-related posts on the steps to prepare a home for listing photos.

Why?

Because I'd like you to think differently about property photography.

If you look through a few listings in your area, you may notice that many of the photographs are average--at best. They typically suffer from the same problems: unnatural color casts, odd compositions, bad lighting, cluttered rooms, walls that tilt up (or down or list to the side). You'll find plenty of examples here or here.

I think agents (as well as builders and developers) are missing a huge business opportunity by promoting their clients' properties with these kinds of images.

What if the photographs you posted in your listings looked like they could be presented in a magazine? As buyers and sellers browsed through listings, they'd notice the huge difference in your photographs. They'd associate that quality difference with your brand. Is it possible that you might win more listings, simply because you featured higher quality photography?

And think about referrals. The agents I've worked with have told me that their clients feel honored to have their homes professionally photographed. Is it possible these happier clients would be more likely to recommend you to their friends?

If you want to grow your business with better photography, you have two choices:

  • Learn to do it yourself
  • Hire a professional real estate photographer

If you're the DIY type, get a copy of Larry Lohrman's free real estate photography guide. This will introduce you to the basic principles of real estate photography: effective staging, lighting interiors, keeping the verticals vertical, eliminating distracting color casts, and more. It's not a how-to guide but it will give you the concepts and vocabulary to better understand what's involved with property photography.

From that point you could buy Larry's Photography for Real Estate ebook, John McBay's guide Image Editing for Real Estate Photography, or Scott Hargis' ebook Lighting Interiors. These are all available in the Photography for Real Estate store. Scott also has an outstanding video course on interior lighting as well.

Of course, all of this will probably require an investment in some equipment that you may not have. In the video below, you can take a look inside my gear bag and see what I use.

Does that sound like it's going to involve a lot of time, effort, learning, and money?

It does. It will.

Why?

Because photography is not about owning a "really nice camera" and some lights. It's knowing where to place the camera and the lights. Remember how long it took Picasso to make that drawing?

That's why the second option--hiring a professional--may be a better choice. They've got the gear, knowledge, and experience to do great work for you--today.

The PFRE Directory will help you find a photographer in your area who specializes in real estate. Or, if you're in central Illinois, I'm happy to help you.

Of all the things you could do to improve your marketing and build your brand, this may be the simplest and the quickest.

A version of this post first appeared at GowinPhotography.com.

Posted on January 30, 2015 and filed under Advice.