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


Canadian Realtors using Video – Re-visited

April 20, 2009

videoAbout a year and a half ago, we did a post on real estate agents in Canada who use video to market themselves and their property listings.

Given that video is rapidly becoming mainstream on the Internet, to the point where surfers/consumers are actually expecting it, we decided to re-visit the subject.

For this post, we searched YouTube for realtors in Canada and found a variety of video marketing techniques being used right now.

To see the complete results of our analysis, visit our recently created YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/uniquehs and have a look at our subscriptions.

Alternatively, have a look at some of the videos below that highlight some of the better uses of video that we found.

Matt Richling, of RE/MAX Affiliates Realty LTD, produced this video for one of his office listings:

Rich Zalaudek, of Homelife Benchmark Realty in White Rock, B.C., employs the professional video services of Video Openhouse for this listing presentation:

Team Cook of Royal LePage Team Realty in Ottawa, provides a more personal approach with voice-over descriptions of the property and neighbourhood.

Edmonton Realtor Sheldon Johnston, of Coldwell Banker Johnston Real Estate, discusses sales, listings, inventory, and first time home buyers in the Edmonton, Alberta, real estate market.

And, last but not least, Vancouver real estate agent Ian Watt of Sutton Group conducts a daily video blog, from his car of all places! This guy is often cited as one of the top video bloggers in North America.


Property Video Tours Featured on ‘Good Morning America’

April 3, 2009

onlinesaleWith often intense competition for new listings, some real estate agents are looking at the use of video for that added touch when marketing their services to clients.

Once only used by a handful of agents, technology has made it easier for sellers of real estate to capture video and display it for public viewing on the web.

Professional videographers are also popping up, which offer a more polished property video production, usually in High Definition. 

Larry Lohman from Photography for Real Estate blog points us to a recent story on ABC’s Good Morning America, which discusses the power of video in capturing people’s attention. 

You can check out the segment here, or have a look at some tips they offer for creating your own video tour.

  • Don’t pan around too quickly. Give the potential buyer time to take in the beauty of your house.
  • Use the zoom sparingly. It’s one feature that gets old quickly and, if used too often, will have less and less effect on the viewer.
  •  If you’re showing something important, count to 10 in your head with the camera centered on it. Make sure the viewers have plenty of time to take it in.
  •  Consider using a tripod. Even the most steady-handed of us tend to wobble from time to time. Your viewers will thank you.

Swanepoel Discusses Web 2.0 for Realtors

March 30, 2009

trendsThe 2009 Swanepoel Trends Report came out last month. The Report is widely acknowledged as the most comprehensive Report covering change in the real estate business.

This is an annual report, authored by Stefan Swanepoel, which summarizes the preceding year and details the most significant trends, innovation and new business models impacting the real estate business.  

Although, there is a price for this report, you can check out a great video below of Mr. Swanepoel describing the latest social networking and web 2.0 tools available for today’s real estate agent.


Discover video marketing techniques in the blogosphere!

January 20, 2009

Peyman Aleagha from GeekEstate blog writes a great posting on the use of online video for real estate maclocktowerrketing.

For those real estate agents considering a video marketing campaign, this is a must read.

Here’s an excerpt:

What percentage of your real estate customers come from out of your area? They need information about the area, attractions, natural beauty, parks, schools and more. But, they also want to SEE what all of this looks like. Photos are great, but video rocks!

Joel Burslem from the Future of Real Estate Marketing blog (who knew he’s Canadian?) also comments on the use of video on his posting entitled Video Isn’t Just About Your Listings.


Photography for Real Estate – 10 Essentials on YouTube.com

April 22, 2008

Need some tips for your real estate photography?

Larry Lohrman has created a series of youtube videos that discuss his 10 essentials.

For those who don’t know, Larry  runs a blog called http://photographyforrealestate.net, which in itself is an essential for all real estate photographers out there.

Here they are:

10 Essentials introduction

Wide-angle lens

Burned out windows

Render rooms light and bright

Understand the purpose of the photo

Front exterior is the most important photo

Render straight lines straight

Simplify images

Don’t let color casts distract

Render verticals vertical

 


Century 21 reaches out to Consumers with Web 2.0

March 19, 2008

c21.jpgWith many real estate agencies stuck in the Internet dark ages, it is refreshing to see how companies like Century 21 have enhanced their web presence with consumer-friendly initiatives.

Take Century21.ca, for example. Their website was recently recognized by Joel Burslem, founder of Future of Real Estate Marketing, as one of his favorite real estate search experiences on line today.

It includes a blog and an awesome new Google map search functionality, which displays the locations of their listings. 

Meanwhile, Century21.com just launched its own YouTube channel. Aimed at sellers, buyers and enthusiasts, the Channel will provide the opportunity for customers and agents to create and submit user-generated content. 

“The CENTURY 21 System understands that in order to serve our clients and meet the demands of today’s market, we must lead the industry with the most current home buying and selling platforms,” said Robert Schwartz , vice president of national marketing for Century 21 Real Estate LLC. “During the next year we will continue to build on this momentum with additional Web-based innovations to help our agents and our clients navigate the world of real estate in a digital era.”

At Base10, we promote the use of web 2.0 and thats why we have an integrated set of features in our UniqueHomeSites.com product, which allow Canadian real estate professionals to better serve consumers through compelling web content.