Interview with a Real Estate Photographer

February 2, 2010

At UniqueHomeSites.com, we are actively developing partnerships with real estate photographers from across Canada, providing them with a platform to showcase their work and expand their businesses.

One such photographer, Jeff MacGregor of MacGregor Media, is well established in Ottawa’s real estate marketplace and knows what it takes to run a successful real estate photography business.

We caught up with Jeff recently to ask him a few questions on life as a real estate photographer. 

1. As one of the more active real estate photographers in the Ottawa area, you must get to see some interesting home designs, as well as some ‘not-so-inspiring’ living spaces. As a photographer, how much emphasis do you place on capturing the unique features of a property?

Each property is unique and has it’s own features and qualities – some are designed that way and many take on the personality of the owners, which makes every shoot different.  It is our job to capture these elements while showing the property through our pictures.  Our team of photographers are trained to recognize features and make sure to capture them in a creative manner that gives a great impression to the potential viewer.

2. I would imagine that some homes, for which you are hired to photograph, are messy or cluttered and not really suitable for a photo session. Do you have a process in place for ensuring that a property is ready to be photographed upon your arrival?

We often consult with clients and suggest things to do to prepare for the photos.  While it would be ideal that every property we stepped in to was ready to be photographed, will still encounter some that aren’t.  As a result we recommend that Realtors work with Stagers to give the best possible impression of the property through staging and photography.

3. Looking at your portfolio, you offer your clients both still photography and panorama’s or 360 degree photos. Without giving away all your trade secrets ;-), can you give us an idea of the type of equipment that you use and the approximate cost to get set up (for all those budding real estate photographers out there!)

All of our photographers shoot with professional grade Digital SLR’s and speedlites. Wide angle lenses and various other items dependent on the photographer.  Separate camera kits are used for our 360 degree photography. Start up costs on semi-pro gear would run you an approximate cost of $4-6k.

4. Video seems to be the latest trend among certain real estate agents in marketing both themselves and their listings. Is this something you have ever considered offering as a service?

We are launching our video services in Feb 2010.  We’ve been finalizing our techniques and process, to what we believe is a very clean, concise way of providing video tours that don’t leave the viewer feeling sick, all the while, showcasing any property effectively.  We believe that the online trends in the Real Estate and other sales oriented markets show that people are no longer window shopping.  They’re “PC shopping”.  By offering videos
we’ll be opening up new doors for our clients and allowing them to reach larger audiences.

5. Who do you think is the main driver of the real estate photography business in Canada?

More and more sellers are expecting their house to be professionally photographed. Remeber that sellers are usually also buyers and have been on the MLS looking at properties, they don’t want their house giving a bad first impression on the Internet. As we all know, most home buyers are starting on the Internet before even contacting a realtor.

This is where the realtors are quickly realizing that how the home is presented on the Internet reflects on them as sales people, and the commitment they offer to clients.

For example, my business partner was shooting for a realtor here in Ottawa and she was telling him how she had to argue with a client to go see a property (listed by another realtor)…the cause of the argument: the client had seen the listing online and dismissed it because of the pictures. Our client (the agent) knew it was the perfect property for her clients and had to fight to show it! – a great set of pictures could have saved a lot of time for the buyer representative agent and the selling agent could have had a potential deal a lot faster!

6. Do you have any plans on expanding your service to other centres?

We have recently expanded in to the Toronto and Niagra regions and are excited about the opportunity to help more realtors sell more houses!  Our long term goal is to be across the country showcasing homes.

To contact Jeff or the team at MacGregor Media, check out their webpage at:

http://macgregormedia.ca/

They are also active on both Twitter and Facebook:

http://twitter.com/MacGregorMedia

http://www.facebook.com/MacGregorMedia


UniqueHomeSites-approved Real Estate Photographer featured on Local News

September 16, 2009

lumberjackCheck out Jack Hillman, owner of Jumber Jack Photography in Ottawa.

He does great work and specializes in real estate.

He was also featured recently on the local news describing his business success as a real estate photographer.


Fishing for Sales with Good Photography

July 29, 2009

bassAt UniqueHomeSites.com, we like to share ideas regarding real estate marketing on the Internet.

Today, we want to discuss something that many in the industry seem to ignore – great real estate marketing begins with great photos!

For consumers, there is nothing more frustrating than finding a listing through a search portal that passes the initial search parameters (i.e. price, location, size, etc), but fails to offer additional photos.

The typical reaction to a lack of photos is that something is wrong with the property.

In some cases, the listing agent may do this on purpose so that only the most interested home buyers will contact them personally for more photos.

Regardless, we feel that properties listed for sale on the Internet with only one or two photos are missing out on a huge opportunity to present their listing to as many Internet eyes as possible.

This is particularly true in today’s Internet age, where web surfers are becoming accustomed to open and instant access to information on-line.

One expert in this area is Larry Lohrman, operator of the Photography For Real Estate blog.

He offers some great tips and techniques for real estate photography, including the following tidbit:

“…the front shot is THE most important shot for marketing purposes.

Not only because Realtors have to use the front shot in all their marketing, but because of web site designs that make the thumbnail of the front shot the “lure” (as in fishing lure) that usually motivates the potential home buyer to take the first action (a click to look at more photos) that leads to a home buyer towards a home purchase.”

Fish on!


Re/Max Canada Introduces ‘Fit-to-Sell’ Home Staging Program

March 17, 2009

fittosellAs home selling conditions across Canada shift to a buyers market, Re/Max Canada has taken steps to ensure that sellers have the information required to prepare their homes for sale through staging.

According to Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President and Regional Director for RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada, there are three major factors that come into play when selling a home – location, price, and condition of the home.

The idea behind their recently announced ‘Fit-to-Sell’ program is simple – focus on the condition of the home, as this is the one factor that a seller can influence directly.

Through the assistance of staging expert Carla Woolnough, RE/MAX has created a comprehensive package of videos and checklists on the top 10 priorities for preparing a property for sale, which are available online to the public at www.fittosell.ca.

At Base 10, we also believe that home sellers across the country will have to go the extra mile when marketing a home for sale in an increasingly challenging environment.

Activities such as home staging, professional photography, and single property websites are expected to become much more important during the home selling process.


Introducing Alex Lukey as Approved UniqueHomeSites Photographer

February 22, 2008

alex.jpgOttawa-area real estate professionals can now benefit from having a UniqueHomeSites single property website, complete with the professional real estate photography services of Alex Lukey Photography.

As an approved vendor for UniqueHomeSites, Alex is able to provide his photographic services package to real estate professionals in the Ottawa area for a competitive price.

This includes a visit to the property to capture up to 20 web-ready still photos, and 3 panoramic images, and all the features and benefits associated with a UniqueHomeSite, including a unique domain name (i.e.www.123UniqueStreet.com) and hosting of the site for one year.


Do quality real estate photographs help sell a home?

February 15, 2008

As an extreme (and hilarious) example of why good photography is important in marketing a property for sale on the Internet, here are a couple of YouTube videos showcasing some of the worst real estate photographs ever.

Amazingly Bad Videos of Homes For Sale

Unbelievably Bad Real Estate Photo Hall of Fame

Looking for a Professional Real Estate Photographer?

February 5, 2008

photographer.gifAre you a Canadian real estate agent looking for a professional photographer?

Well, look no further than where the experts hang out at Larry Lohrman’s Photography for Real Estate blog.

Hiring a professional photographer will not only save you time, but will enhance your listing presentation on the Internet – something both sellers and buyers will appreciate.

Larry has an extensive directory of photographers from all over the world who specialize photographing in real estate.

Although, the list of Canadian’s is limited to a select number of cities, the directory will most certainly grow as this blog is a great resource for photographers.

Here is a list of Canadian’s currently listed in the directory

Jeff Hilbrecht CA AL Edmonton www.tridentphotography.com
Aaron Lagadyn CA BC Nanaimo www.tres.ca
Linda Sabiston CA BC Sun. Coast www.firstimpressionphotos.com
Yoree Grozenok CA BC Vancouver www.BrightLightPhotography.ca
Matthew Piers CA ON Toronto www.matthewpiers.com
Andrew Ptak CA ON Toronto www.andrewptak.com
Savi Creations CA ON Toronto www.savicreations.com
Justin Soles CA QC Montreal www.justsophoto.com

For those photographers who wish to be included in Larry’s directory, $20 will get you a lifetime listing. 

Also, for a limited time he will throw in a copy of his Photography for Real Estate e-book with registration if you ask for one in the comments part of the sign up page.

Not a bad deal given that his blog has #1 google ranking for the search terms “real estate photography” and “real estate photographer”.