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


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.

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

 


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

Use Neighbourhood Photos to Help Sell a Home

January 10, 2008

playpark.jpgIts no secret we think Larry Lohrman’s Photography for Real Estate blog is an excellent resource for real estate professionals. He offers really great tips from both a photographer and a real agents perspective.

For example, he recently posted a simple, yet important, reminder to real estate agents to include photos of a property’s neighbourhood when presenting a listing on the Internet.

“Buyers have to be attracted to the neighborhood before they are going to by a home there.” Larry says, “Since most slide-show virtual tour formats can accommodate large numbers of photos there’s really no reason to not have plenty of photos of the neighborhood on listings.”

In a related post, check out the Future of Real Estate Marketing blog (another great resource for real estate marketing tips!) for pointing to this impressive video, produced by a real estate agent in Chicago showing how they are the neighbourhood experts.

At UniqueHomeSites.com, our single property websites allow for an unlimited number of photo uploads (still and panoramic’s), as well as video feeds from YouTube and Google Video.

Check out this recent UniqueHomeSite for a property in St. Catharines, Ontario (check the panoramics) – http://www.9mariastreet.com/


Calgary Real Estate Board gets virtual with ‘Web Open House’ Program

October 22, 2007

camera.jpgThe Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) has partnered up with a third-party video supplier to provide its members easy access to the production of video open houses with a program called ‘Web Open House’.

“Streaming live video is new technology and we want to be on the cutting edge,” says Bruce Klippenstein, Manager and Editor for CREB Publications. “We want to be a leader in helping Realtors market their clients’ property.”  

The benefits of this partnership, which sets it apart from other independant virtual tour providers, is that agents can bill the video tours directly to their CREB accounts, so they don’t have to worry about putting it on a credit card.

Working with a trusted third-party video producer allows the board to control the quality of the videos. It also helps streamline the process of posting ‘virtual tour’ links on the web and their public-access MLS. 

The advantage for the consumer, of course, is that they can view property listings from the comfort of their own homes, without having to schedule a viewing to tour the home.

At Base 10 Web Solutions, we are interested in hearing from web and photography service providers from across Canada, who would like to become approved vendors for our UniqueHomeSites product.


Expanding Canadian FSBO network aims to become one-stop source for private home sales

August 13, 2007

untitled-2.jpguntitled-2.jpguntitled-2.jpgbol.jpgbol.jpgFSBO’s and the web

A quick Internet search reveals that a large number of FSBO (For Sale By Owner) listing agencies are now operating in Canada, most charging a flat fee to list properties on their site, plus a range of support services for the private home seller.

Web services such as Google Maps, YouTube, and UniqueHomeSites are also making it easier for private sellers to successfully market their home on the Internet, while the explosion of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook have expanded the Internet audience for private listings.

Agent’s under pressure

This has certainly raised the bar for real estate agents in Canada, who are feeling increased pressure from clients to demonstrate the value for their commissions.

Canadian real estate agents do have the advantage with exclusive access to listing their properties on the well-known national mls.ca website. It is at mls.ca where a homebuyer can access a comprehensive listing of all properties for sale by real estate agents, right across the country.

FSBO’s form alliance

bol2.jpg

However, a growing network of FSBO listing agencies have included their listings on a website called ByOwnerListings.ca. According to website operator Jolanta Zhuk, ByOwnerListings.ca was started to unite all For Sale By Owner websites under a common cause, very similar to the MLS system used by realtors.

Within the byownerlistings.ca network, all participating agencies continue to operate independantly. The search function on the website redirects the results of every listing to be viewed back to the agency’s own site.

For all FSBO listing agencies who would like to benefit from a much larger Internet audience, they can join the network for free by visiting the byownerlisting website at: 

http://www.byownerlistings.ca/pg_contact.php

Agencies who currently post listings on byownerlistings.ca include:

ottawarealty.com
canadabyowner
CanadaHomes4Sale
THT
CanadianHomes4Sale
PacificWecard/FSBO-Box
HomesByPrivateSales
HomesByOwner