A Picture is Worth a Thousand Dollars. True or False?

In our series of reports on The Real Estate Scientist we bring you data driven, no-nonsense answers to help you untangle the snarl of real estate advice you commonly encounter when trying to buy or sell a home. We’ve sifted through piles of real estate data to answer the following question: What is the true benefit of listing your home with professional quality photos?

Conventional wisdom would tell you that homes sell better when they have listing photos that were taken by a professional photographer, like the photo on the left.

Professional Real Estate Photo
Professional Photo
Amateur Real Estate Photo
Amateur Photo

Never ones to be satisfied with conventional wisdom, we turned to the numbers to answer the question at the top of every seller’s mind when deciding how to market their home. Is it truly worth the money to pay for professional photography? At Redfin we believe in the power of professional photography. Every house that is listed with our brokerage is marketed with professional photos, and we pick up the tab. So, is it worth the dough?

For the full report visit the Redfin Research Center.

Discussion

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  • meks

    Sounds like a great excuse to buy a new camera!

  • http://twitter.com/kileerob Kirsten Robertson

    I would stress the professional photographer over the DSLR. I have seen agents with a DSLR try to shoot photos and they really aren't much better than a good point and shoot. A professional knows the right angles to shoot from, they have the right lenses, the right filters and often will bring in lighting to brighten dark corners and shadows. There really isn't any substitution for that kind of experience. Professional photography has come down so much in price over the last few years, there really is no excuse not to use a pro.

    • The_Tim

      I completely agree, Kirsten. We think it's relatively safe to infer that most photos shot with DSLR cameras are professional photos, but obviously there will be some that are not. Unfortunately the only information we can get from the available data is the type of camera used to shoot the photo, so we did the best we could with what we had.

    • Tcphotodesign

      Interesting data. I happen to be a professional Photographer here in Rancho Santa Margarita, my info can be found at http://www.tcphotodesign.com
      I've been in business for over 12 years and am licensed and insured.
      I use professional equipment including high resolution digital capture and strobe/continuous lighting for interior shots. Sometimes depending on
      the day, the client and the home I will use available light.
      I provide my service to both realestate professionals and home owners.
      Please contact me for an in home free consultation, at that time I can answer most questions you might have.
      I pride myself on exellent customer service and open communication, quick turn around on images.
      Tim Copeland- TC Photography & Design

  • Geordie

    I would agree with Kirsten as well. I used to be one of those agents with a fancy camera, but not the fancy imaging software to back me up. I would also note that it's important to use a photographer with experience in real estate photography. It's possible to have a pro-photographer who takes great photos that don't show off a house as well as they could.

    • http://www.EasywithEric.com Eric

      Geordieromer is right about the so called “pro” photography… I have been photographing houses for my clients for 20 years, I was one of the FIRST Real Estate Agents in Denver, CO about 1990 to be using Digital Scanner technology scan photos and print them to photos flyers. The key in the early days may have been about photographic resoulution and “film” quality and as importantly reproduction quality… Todays technology with digital photos has solved most of the reproduction problems and abilty to get to print clearly, especially with straightening, cropping and editing software.. In the end however, there is no camera, wide angle or otherwise DSLR that can make up for bad “composition” in the shots…

  • PaulineW

    Photos are hugely important, and I'm often shocked by the 'quality' of pictures used by many agents. When selling an asset of this size, cutting that kind of corner is just crazy.

    • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

      Agreed, Pauline. Why would you cut corners on something this important? Hopefully we were able to help a few more people market their home correctly, and in turn get top dollar for the sale.

      • Mattie

        I am a photographer and I go through the images of homes for sale in my area every evening. It's easy to pick out the shots taken by agents. They leave toilets open (why even shoot the toilet to begin with, ug). They leave the clutter and so much more. Shots that are not level, poorly lit and of stuff like high power lines. I have spent a small fortune on my camera, lenses, lighting, tripods, ladders, the full suite of Adobe products but still the agents think that camera they can slip in their purse can do a better job. I could go on but I am probably preaching to the choir here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jnvmiles Jeremy Miles

    I think that we can safely assume that any professional will use a DSLR, and some non-professionals will also use a DSLR. But , no amateur will use a DSLR. The comparison is amateurs vs. a mixture of amateurs and professionals. Any difference is therefore going to be larger than the difference that is found. (And that's the way it should be, you'd rather get an effect that's too small than an effect that's too large).

    If I wanted to be more convinced by these data, I'd try to control for a few other things. For example, foreclosures tend to have far worse pictures than regular sales – perhaps banks are prepared to drop more on the price of foreclosures. Hiring professional / using a DSLR might just be a proxy for the seller trying harder to sell, and that means that they might also do a number of other things to try harder to sell, hence it looks like a camera effect, but it's something else.

    I'd also be interested in seeing if there were an effect from the number of photos – some listings have 1, some have 50.

    • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

      Good points Jeremy! We did control for distressed inventory, as you suggested. Hopefully the bit of information below is what you are looking for. I agree it would be interesting to see how the number of photos impacts these stats.

      “For this report we filtered out distressed inventory (REO and short sales), which have even fewer listing photos shot with DSLR cameras. If you factor distressed inventory into the mix, the DSLR advantage declines slightly. This suggests that while marketing investments usually lead to higher selling prices, no amount of marketing is as effective at generating a quick sale as an owner determined to sell quickly at any price.”

  • alexlod

    Excellent post! What's most interesting for me is the relationship between visits and time on market vs. photographs for houses in the same price bracket and neighborhood. This post reminds me of OK Trends, a blog powered by the popular dating website OK Cupid. Those guys come out with awesome data-driven posts, and the internet drools for days. I imagine if you could do more posts like this one you'd start seeing data junkies visiting the Redfin blog more often. Here's OK Trends: http://blog.okcupid.com/

  • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

    Glad you liked it Alex! You are spot on about the OKCupid posts,they are the ones that inspired us. We even gave them a shout out at the end. Cheers to data junkies!

    “Methodology Shout Out: A huge thanks to OKCupid for giving us the inspiration, and pointing us toward the script that allowed us to grab the camera information from the photos’ meta-data.”

  • Tom

    I'm going to be a professional golfer, so I'm going to go out and buy the exactly same clubs that Tiger Woods uses.

    I wonder where Shakespeare bought his pen?

    Please – good photos don't come from DLSR cameras. Good photos come from good photographers who understand composition and light. From someone who knows how to USE their camera. A good photographer can take a fantastic photo with an iPhone. A bad photographer can take a bad photo with a $6000 DSLR.

    It's NOT about the gear… it's about the person behind the camera

    • The_Tim

      …and if there were data in the photos that revealed any sort of useful information about “the person behind the camera,” we absolutely would have analyzed that as well. Since camera model was the only hard fact that we could analyze in the data, that was what we went with as a decent proxy. As Jeremy Miles points out above, if anything the existence of amateur shots in the mix most likely under-represents the true effect of professional photography.

      If you have any ideas for how we can analyze over 100,000 photos and determine with certainty the skill level of the photographer, I am happy to entertain your suggestions!

      • Mike

        I dunno. I just looked at the 13 residential Eastside houses that Redfin has listed. Clearly these homes had professional photos … but in my opinion, the photos are sharp, bright, but stilted/stiff feeling. I also find the verticle clouds in the blue-sky photos very, very distracting. Plus, we rarely see this cloud formation in our region.

        Here are the nwmls numbers.

        107876

        57257

        22532

        123746

        125195

        107026

        89910

        104033

        107855

        126224

        90092

        93827

        112934

      • Touresq

        Tim, any chance lens data is available in the metadata you pulled for this study? While it won't correlate precisely as to who is behind the camera or the caliber of the photographer's skill using it, higher quality glass, and even the type of lens (wide angle or tilt-shift) could give an additional clue as to whether or not the photos were shot by a pro, as they are most likely to invest in quality lenses. Unfortunately, many real estate photographers like myself also do post processing that often strips out EXIF data so that may work against the 'lens data' idea. At any rate, thank you for sharing this informative and enlightening study. Cheers, Joel

    • Thomas Scott, Realtor

      I have studied and practiced photography most of my life as a hobby. Not a pro. I earn more as a pharmacist and Realtor than I can as a photographer. But I really enjoy it.

      I take all my wife's listing photos. And do sports and dance photos for my daughters' high school. I use a Canon EOS 7D, Speedlight 580EX II, 3 different lenses, a WhiBal white balance reference card and Photoshop RAW editor.

      While I can certainly take a better photo with a cell phone or point and shoot than the average bear, I cannot get even close to the quality I can with my high end equipment.

      It is both. The talent and skill of the photographer and the equipment.

      Tom Scott
      TomScottPhotography.com

  • jc

    for real estate, architectural and commerical photography it really is about the gear, to some extent: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perspective_control_lens

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  • Anthony

    It is so important to hire a professional photographer on every single listing a Broker takes, and if you can get that photographer to sketch a Floor Plan, priceless. The seller loves nothing more than to show off how “fancy” there home is represented, and engages the seller to help get the word out about the new listing. The buying consumer appreciates the photo quality, and the angles that represent the home as if they’re at the property. Add-in the floor plan, and buyer can see right away if the layout works for their style of living. All of this even makes the worst listings shine.

    • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

      Good idea about the floor plan. It gives a buyer confidence in what they are going to see.

  • Dbltapp00

    Those two photos are not of the same exact scene. It appears some landscaping differs between them, and probably some Photoshopping.

    • http://www.berkeleyhomes.com/blog Ira Serkes

      A professional photographer will frame it better than an amateur. At the very least these two photos were taken at different times.

    • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

      It's the same house, but not taken at the exact same time. The one on the right was taken by the seller with his point-n-shoot camera. The one on the left was taken by a professional photographer with a DSLR camera and processed with photo editing software.

    • Mike

      There are some photographers doing false advertising with photoshop landcaping, home condition, daylight, etc. While you want the best possible photos, truth is also critically important.

      Adding or changing landscaping isn't appropriate. Using color to highlight is fine.

      • zbreeze

        So — landscaping added in photoshop here? I was wondering how a pro-photographer could make plants grow. I completely agree that taking a better photo in the first place (sharper, better focused, better light) and correcting it in photoshop (sharpening, contrast, color balance) are a real plus. Adding things (or taking away things) that aren't there is dishonest.

        For a high end house, though, taking photos throughout the year might be part of the staging.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HZWDAKZMPLDBNQKYXPFIS6LRSE Shawn C

    It's

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HZWDAKZMPLDBNQKYXPFIS6LRSE Shawn C

    It's frustrating when I approach agents with offers to take their photos for them and their response is “Times are tight right now, I can't afford to pay for professional photography”. They are set in their ways, and no amount of trying to convince them that they can't afford not to have professional photography gets them to change their minds. I even offer a free first shoot so they compare. They'll also say they have “someone in the office” that's very particular about the photos and they want to keep it that way. This tells me they have no idea what the difference between professional photography and point and shoot photography is.

    • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

      Hopefully you can bring them this chart and they can see exactly why they can't afford not to pay for professional photography.

    • mike

      Or it tells you to talk to someone else. You're in sales, and if you cannot take rejection, you will fail. It won't be the real estate agents fault.

      Your last statement “this tells me they have no idea what the difference … ” tells me that you may have some kind of “attitude” when you approach agents. People don't like to be told they are stupid or clueless, either directly or by inference.

  • http://www.inPhoenix.com Artur

    I think the assumption that good photographs are taken with a DSLR is wrong. There are plenty of non-DSLR photo-cameras that allow for photography with interchangeable lenses and in the RAW formant. The photo camera is a tool. The photographer is the one taking the photos and one with knowledge will be able to create good photos with a point and shoot camera as well. Professional don't get paid for having a DSLR, they get paid because they are better a using these tools. Seller certainly need to be aware of how their home is being marketed and whom they hire to sell the property. From the looks of it, most sellers don't care about good marketing. They do need to know it's costing them money to choose unwisely.

  • Andrew Mattie

    This is a super cool analysis and is something I thought about doing myself in the recent past, but I think it's important to remember the oft-mentioned phrase that correlation does not imply causation. In this circumstance, just because homes photographed with a dSLR sell for more doesn't mean that the dSLR was the reason.

    For example, if I were to tell you that, statistically, the crime rate is directly proportional to the rate of vanilla ice cream sales, you wouldn't believe that the crime rate was directly tied to ice cream sales. Just because there's a correlation doesn't mean that one thing causes the other. In this case, the ice cream sale rate and the crime rate are tied together because of the weather, nothing more.

    My point is that the higher sales price could be due to better agents who know how to better market homes, go over and above for their clients, AND tend to have their photographs taken with a dSLR. I'm not saying that they aren't related, but rather that one should be very careful when quantifying the data in a chart with a title of “How much more do listings shot with DSLR cameras sell for?”

    I just think the data needs a disclaimer.

    • Mike

      Valid point Andrew. Would an agent choose to pay a professional photographer on a house that is in poor condition, incredibly ugly or full of grandma's red-flocked wallpaper?

      A well priced home will sell quickly if the photographs are reasonably good. Amazingly enough, people do still buy homes that they have seen in person.

  • Wchutt

    It's all about the light.

  • PJC

    +1 on Andrew Mattie's comment. Correlation does not imply causation! Redfinners, try to figure out a way of isolating the DSLR decision from all the others that go into selling.

  • meks

    I followed a pro around taking pictures when I sold my last place. She did a whole lot of HDR shots (High Dynamic Range, taking multiple shots at different exposure levels then combining them). I'm not sure they look great, but they do seem popular for the professional RE shots.

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  • http://twitter.com/KellyThomas Kelly Thomas

    “wow, that was a great meal. I'll bet you have a really nice set of pots and pans.” —

    Shooting a DSLR is not the key, it's the person pressing the button. Photography is about capturing photons of light, not shooting with a nice camera. Using your thesis, then if I'm shooting with a Hasselblad or Mamiya then that property will sell for much more than a with a point and shoot. It's a shame you can't identify agents using pro images. Maybe in the next round. :-)

  • Douglas

    I dont think the premise was photo's with a DSLR were better, the assumtpion was it was most likely taken by a professional (or at the very least, someone who knew what they were doing) Even though there are no data points to back that up, I think it is a reasonable assumption.

    I'm sure someone who know's what they are doing can get decent photo's with a P&S, but they can get better ones with a DSLR. I'm a Pro, I don't shoot real estate, but there is a reason I use a DSLR.

    • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

      You got the point exactly, Douglas. Couldn't have said it better myself.

    • Bill

      Thanks Douglas, great perspective. I a Pro too and I do use a DSLR but I bet I could take better real estate photos with my iPhone than a realtor could with my DSLR.

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  • http://www.search-sandiegorealestate.com Dboquet2

    Good points! Great visual representation is a requirement in properly displaying real estate online and in print.

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  • http://www.mn-houses.com/shoreview.php Shoreview MN Homes for Sale

    There is no question a marketing advantage when your marketing is polished with professional pictures boasting wide-angle lenses, correct lighting, and even panoramic pictures. Great points in this post. Thank you!

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  • Sisterprise

    Am I reading this right? Does that say 47% higher asking price??? Could that possibly be correct? Even in the high priced markets in Long Island and Boston, I can't imagine that there is that kind of variation in asking price??

    • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

      You are reading it correctly, but I think you are assuming they are comparable homes. That bullet is just what type of a listing uses a DSLR camera. Not what they get for using a DSLR camera, that information would be in the green graph. Hope that helps!

  • 249323887
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  • Joe

    It's a viscous circle…the Brokers/Agents say they can't pay a professional photographer because times are bad, but their inventory sits for months on end because these homes are being marketed with lousy photographs. I'm a photographer, and I'm always scanning through listings. I can't believe the amount of bad photographs out there representing homes in the 400-1M range!

    If you were in the market for a 70,000.00 luxury vehicle, would you give the listings with just photos of the gas cap and a tire a second look? It's no different than product or modeling photography, the better image gets the look, ask any advertising agency.

    • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

      Hopefully this post will help you prove your claim :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/John.Hildebrand.Photography John Hildebrand

    i shoot all the time and the clients never get it until they see the final images. Most real estate agent bitch about paying $150 for photos. its a crazy world

    • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

      Now you have something to help you show the value!

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  • Tcphotodesign

    Interesting data. I happen to be a professional Photographer here in Rancho Santa Margarita, my info can be found at http://www.tcphotodesign.com
    I've been in business for over 12 years and am licensed and insured.
    I use professional equipment including high resolution digital capture and strobe/continuous lighting for interior shots. Sometimes depending on
    the day, the client and the home I will use available light.
    I provide my service to both realestate professionals and home owners.
    Please contact me for an in home free consultation, at that time I can answer most questions you might have.
    I pride myself on exellent customer service and open communication, quick turn around on images.
    Tim Copeland- TC Photography & Design

  • Tcphotodesign

    Sorry to chime in again but reading over the above posts remind me of the old story, a woman needed something fixed on her wash machine, she could not figure out what was wrong, after having several people who she thought could fix the problem, look at it…she called a professional, she asked how much to fix it, the man said, $55.00 for a house visit, ok, she said, that better fix it for that kind of money. He arrived, 5 minutes later he gave her the bill and said, it's fixed. She said, how did you do that so fast and, all that money for 5 minues, he said, yes… you have to know what screw to turn.
    The moral of the story is, those of us in this case who are professional photographers charge what we charge for a reason. After all, have you seen some of those photos on real estate sites? whew!
    TC Photography & Design
    Give me a call when your ready for professional, creative photography. From your basic 3/2 residential to high end and commercial real estate, I can make your home look like it should be on architectural digest.

    • PhotoInPA

      Good points! But lets look at WHY the photos are bad. If the MLS is allowing agent posted photos then the problem begins there. The “FEE” we charge as professional photographers is viewed, by most agents, as excessive, and is echoed by the MLS. What are real estate agents…agents or photographers. Why not do what you primary job is. That is sell the home for it's owner. Let the photos to the pro.

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  • Matt Carter

    Think Andrew Mattie nailed it — very interesting to see this metadata pulled out of MLS photos, but the statistical analysis falls short. You can’t show causation without ruling out confounding factors.

    The graph does NOT “clearly show that you are likely to receive thousands more if you list your home using DSLR photography.”

    As explained in the methodology, “How did we come up with these numbers?” what the graph actually shows is that homes shot with DSLR cameras tended to sell for closer to their asking price.

    That’s it. The graph does not tell us why that might be the case.

    Here’s one issue to ponder: What if agents who are astute enough about marketing to have their clients’ listing photos taken with a DSLR (presumably by a professional photographer) are also better at getting their clients to set a realistic asking price? One way you could explore this is to compare whether homes shot with DSLRs had fewer price reductions than those that did not.

    But wait, we are also told that homes shot with DSLRs “have a 47 percent higher asking price per square foot.”

    OK, but are there other factors that might account for that, like the location of the home? Is it in a particularly desirable neighborhood or school district? Located near a job center? When was it built? What are property taxes?

    One way you could explore this issue is to ask how the asking price per square foot of homes shot with DSLRs compares to other COMPARABLE homes that weren’t shot with DSLRs.

    I think we can all agree that it’s highly unlikely that the method used to take listing photos is going to have a causal effect on asking price. The asking price is the product of negotiations between the listing agent and their client — the homeowner — who is not going to be influenced by the quality of photos of their own home!

    With this in mind, the statement in the Wall Street Journal piece, that “listings with better photos command higher asking prices,” is just comical. Maybe, just maybe, listings with higher asking prices command better photos?

    What would have been interesting to see — and relatively easy for you to present — is whether high end homes are more likely to be shot with DSLRs. In other words, is there a correlation between asking price (not asking price per square foot) and the use of DSLR photography?

    If so, this might also help explain the increased days on market for homes shot with DSLRs. High priced homes generally take longer to sell.

    It would also shed some light on the first point — that listings shot with DSLRs may be represented by agents who are better at negotiating a realistic asking price with their clients. High end properties tend to be represented by more experienced agents.

    As impressive as it was to analyze 100,000 listings, a more in-depth look at a smaller set of listings might have been more convincing. You could probably look at 2,000 listings and still have a high confidence level in the results.

  • Scott

    I’m agree but disagree. In our current real estate market values have dropped to the point that one real estate trainer recently called property listings a liability rather than an asset. Now I wouldn’t agree that it’s gotten quite that far – but it is close. We have a saying in my market: “Welcome to Detroit – where the weak are killed and eaten.”
    I am a Realtor. I don’t pay for professional photography. Nor have I ever been solicited by a professonal photographer. I’m not even sure there are many operating in my market. However 3 years ago I invested $3,000 in a DSLR, a wide-angle lens, external flash and a variety of support items – including the software to enhance the photos when necessary. The main thing I did however was to commit to learning about taking quality photos. I’ve probably reached the point today that I take a better real estate photo than a pro that’s taking real estate photos for the first time.
    If I can get my clients to embrace staging and utiltize the stager I pay for the listing photos are fantastic – making a $100,000 property look better than nearly all the $1,000,000 properties on the market. Therein lies the problem though – will the seller stage the property?
    I had originally thought that I would be able to procure more listings because sellers would see the quality of my photos and clarmor for that level of service. Not at all. They still seem to prefer their part-time buddy that does a lousy job to someone with my level of committiment.
    You’re absolutely correct about the sales results though. I continue to sell my listings – even when they’re surrounded by foreclosures and short sales. Buyers love the photos and my sales results show the merit of my investment.
    So, I agree completely that the vast majority of Realtors are doing their clients a disservice if they don’t hire a professional real estate photographer.
    Ironically 4 years ago at an office meeting I asked my manager how I could be sure to protect my listing photos so that other agents would not be able to profit from my effort in the event my listing expired. That brought a chuckle from the other 25 agents at the meeting. When I responded to their humor by pointing out that we would one day all be hiring professional photographers for our listing photos you would have thought – from their peals of laughter – that I was a professional comedian.
    I have the last laugh today though!

  • http://www.johnbeckerphoto.com John Becker

    Full disclosure first: I’m a professional real estate photographer. http://www.johnbeckerphoto.com

    Thanks to all those who have stressed the value of using a professional real estate photographer. Anyone can buy a nice camera. Anyone can spend thousands of dollars on lenses, lighting and all the bits and pieces that go with those things. But it takes knowledge and experience to use those tools to their full advantage. Just having a DSLR is meaningless. This brings up my favorite illustrative anecdote (this may actually be a true story):

    A blues fan was lucky enough to go see B.B. King and meet him after the show. Backstage, he thanked Mr. King and said, “I’ve always admired that particular guitar – it sounds so good!” Mr. King’s response was to take the guitar off his shoulder, lay it on a table, and ask, “How does it sound now?”

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  • Leo

    I understand that you used the best criteria available to clarify professional quality shots. That is the key. I have seen agents with very expensive camera equipment that still take pictures on an angle, cluttered, poor lighting, etc. In the NYS County I work in the average home sale is only @$130K. Sorry but no I am not hiring a pro at that price range. With a million dollar listing it would be a whole different story. I recently bought a Point and shoot camera that had criteria a required- wide angle capability and a view finder so you don’t have to fight glare while trying to look at what you are trying to take a picture of. I am not Ansel Adams but I bought a tripod and spend considerable time trying to get a quality picture. I also try to learn more about how to use this camera. The capabilities of these is over the heads of most of the users.
    Some of what we all see in the MLS is horrible. I was really hoping more to see an educational story to up my own game (and the other 95% who take their own photos). If you are talking about NYC and Boston high end (or at least high cost) properties and you are just going on the cheap- well maybe I should try working those areas instead if I’m at least willing to make the effort and optimize what I can afford to work with right now. I suspect though that the majority of agents reading this are working “average” markets and not two of the top cities in the world.

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  • vertizonphoto

    You can be assured that great photos make a difference and that to get them, you'll need a professional. I also think that number of photos, quality of the listing, and a number of other variables are in play. Though I don't routinely do real estate work (vertizonphoto dot com) I've shot friend's homes and the enthusiastic comments about how great everything looks, from the realtors to buyers and sellers – has to say something about the overall impression of the listing.

    For those of you paying for the service, I would caution you to be on the lookout for “pros” who shoot real estate with lousy lighting, only to process every image with HDR (High Dynamic Range) processing. This highly abused method composts several exposures into one, and produces a very surreal, cotton-candy and fake, appearance. Though it can be used to good effect, the distinct lack of shadows and contrast in poorly processed images simply look deceiving and, at worst, set unrealistic expectations for incoming buyers. It's widely abused these days and already a cliche crutch of a new group of “pros”. All that to say nothing of having a well-developed artistic eye for composition that is so critical to good photography.

    If you're going to pay, find someone you like and stick with them. I work hard for all my clients, but I enjoy working hard for my best ones and that makes for great images.

    And most importantly, as other have said above, forget the “pro” label. Lots of people are “pros” these days. Look at their work and hire a good photographer.

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  • neelmacarona

    It is false that Picture is worth a thousand dollars. I see the picture of the home. I see both professional and amateur picture of the home. It is truly not worth the money to pay for professional photography. I like the professional photograph.

    omaha homes

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  • http://www.ditech.com/ Ditech Home Loans

    Definitely proof that the a picture is worth lots. Imho, the pro picture is much better. The amateur pics looks blurry, fuzzy, washed out and the landscape looks barren and desolate whereas the pro one looks vibrant, alive and happy. The kind of house you can see yourself living in.

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  • chumsocial

    The team at http://www.chumsocial.com believes that an image is worth a thousand dollars. Because of how our site helps businesses market their brand. A companies brand is market through a single image that our site viewers see on a daily basis. So, if you have a company who is constantly showcasing their image on our site to our site viewers thos views turn into potential clients which turn into guaranteed profit. So the team at chumsocial.com says it's true.

    • Amigoldberg

      this is so worth a $1,000

  • http://www.cliffpaulick.com Cliff Paulick

    Ever consider how much video is worth??? http://tourkick.com/2011/how-m

    • http://twitter.com/datocdesign Rod Datoc

      The issue with video is that it takes time to load. Photos are still the way to go and then videos are next in line before virtual tours. Why? With a properly laid out photo gallery you should be able to view all the images in about 30seconds to 1minute. A video however you have to watch it for it's duration and if you want to skip you need it to buffer which takes time. The average 2minute HD video ranges from 80mb-150mb in size depending on the codec and compression used to process it which causes the average loading time to be around 3.5minutes depending on your internet connection and the upload speed of the server. a Full set of 12-15 images at 1920×1080 resolution when processed properly will be about 2-3mb total for all the images which can be fully loaded and viewable in less than 1min.

  • http://twitter.com/TourKick TourKick.com

    Ever consider how much video is worth??? http://tourkick.com/2011/how-m

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  • crhome

    When comparing these pictures, at first they don't even look like the same house. The pro picture makes the house look bigger and landscaping look much better.

  • http://www.omahahomesforsale.com Ryan – Omaha Homes

    Is there any studies like this one comparing HDR vs. non-HDR photos?  

    I would love to see if there is any benefit to shooting with HDR.  Personally, I hate the look, but some people love it.

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  • Tracy B

    Hi Michelle, This is a great blog!  Just found it – is there any more recent information to update this?  And would it be possible to use this blog/info on our website for real estate photography in Australia, with credit given to you of course?  Please let us know.  Thanks, Tracy

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  • http://twitter.com/dboquet dboquet

    This topic is just as true today as it was a few years ago.

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  • http://www.rtownomaha.com/ Morin

    I'd rather buy this paint for a thousand dollars if this was created by paint and not professional edit.  

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  • odspouse

    I am constantly amazed at the lack of quality in the images that I see representing Luxury Properties in my town. I can't understand why the sellers that have their homes presented this way in the MLS don't demand professional photography services or fire the agent. I am surprised the Broker does not demand Professional Images from the agents who list High $$ Props. I'm talking about Million $$ homes! For $200 to $300 on average, agents can receive Hi Res “centerfold” images from an experienced Real Estate Photographer. Seriously, for the impact that makes to the online shopper its a no-brainer. Why would you not? There is no downside. It seems no amount of facts, figures, surveys, data or testimonials that I present can change the culture. I am mystified. 
    .

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