10 Tips for Hiring a Real Estate Photographer


We are seeing anything from realtors using their cell phones to high end 360 degree high dynamic range panorama images showing up in RMLS listings.

Studies have proven a simple fact: Quality photos are a crucial marketing tool for a home sale.

With so many options out there we thought it would be helpful to offer some tips in choosing a photographer.

1. Availability: Let’s face it, if they aren’t available when you need them, you’re going to need another option. First make sure they can shoot and have the photos to you when you are ready to list. In most cases a photographer should only need one or two days to deliver the goods.

2. Experience: Their bio is important, but look at their work. Everything you need to know is in their portfolio. They should have work from a variety of properties. It’s even better if they have experience with buying and/or selling real estate.

3. Image Quality: The photos should be sharp, clear, and realistic. Beware of images that look over-processed and phony. You don’t want buyers doubting what they are seeing. You want buyers picturing themselves in the space. Some enhancement is important though. Make sure they have the capability to enhance photos with digital techniques like adding a blue sky if the house was photographed on a cloudy day.

4. People Skills: From your client’s perspective, the photographer is part of your team. You want them representing you in a professional, friendly way.

5. Dependability: Your first interaction with the photographer is a good indication how the rest of the transaction will go. Do they respond quickly and communicate effectively? Do they show up on time?

6. Equipment: The equipment they use is important. It’s not to say they can’t get professional results with amateur gear, but a full frame professional camera with a professional wide angle lens will produce the look you need. On the other hand, good equipment doesn’t guarantee good results.

7. Rates: Make sure their rates are clearly stated on their website and easy to understand. We like rates based on size of the home.

8. Social Media: See that they have a strong presence on social media. This keeps them accountable by providing a path for feedback and traceable history. Plus, when they market themselves, they market the realtor as well by default. It’s good to benefit from the photographer’s efforts on social media.

9. Details: Look for details in the photos. Did they leave a dog dish in the photo? Are the pillows out of place? Is there reflection in the mirror? Are the lights on? Does the room look clean and bright? Is there a strong yellow cast from light bulbs?

10. Overall Attitude: The most important consideration is if you feel they are there to solve your problems and serve your clients. The quality of photographs is subjective. Everyone sees everything a little different. At the end of the day you want to know they are there for you.