Join Scott Hargis for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the why behind real estate photos, part of Learn Real Estate Photography: The Basics.
- Before we do anything, let's just sit down for a minute and talk about why we're really here. And I mean, like, why with a capital W. Why do we do real estate photography, what's it about? The simple answer, the obvious answer is well we're trying to sell a house so we're here to take pictures so we can sell a house. I'm gonna argue that that's actually a little bit na誰ve. And I think that the best real estate agents would tell you. Well, they may or may not be conscious of it but the best real estate agents know that the real goal all the time is getting the next listing.
They don't live one listing at a time and go from one to the next. They're thinking a year out, three years out, five years out, these are business people, they've got plans. So do I. And that's really what everything is focused on. So I'm gonna say that, yeah, of course we're gonna take pictures of this house, we're gonna try and sell it, they're gonna be used in that way. But that the more important function of this is to help our client, the listing real estate agent, get more listings.
Where I'm from, San Francisco Bay Area, it's a very competitive market. People that are selling houses will typically interview three, four, five different real estate agents before they award their house to somebody to sell. And that means that they meet with these individuals one at a time, they sit down around the kitchen table, they talk about the house, what it might be worth, and real estate agent has to pitch their services. All of them are doing the same basic things: they're all gonna hold open houses on Sunday, they're all gonna make postcards and send them out to the neighborhood, they're all gonna take out an ad in a local newspaper, they're all gonna plant the sign in the front yard.
So they have to find some way to explain why they are gonna be different and better than the other agent. And one of those is the photography. Some of them are, sadly, still doing pictures themselves. That's a no go for most people. And they're gonna say, We're gonna bring in this really top end photographer and we're gonna do magazine quality photography of your house because it's that beautiful, and here's the last five listings that we sold, here's the photography that we did. This is the presentation we made on those listings. And that's how they're gonna differentiate themselves from the competition and sign up that listing.
So the better they can do in these listing presentations, the better they do in the marketplace signing up the next house, and the next house, and the next house while I'm the one who's gonna photograph all those so I'm gonna benefit as well. So it's very good to keep in mind what your clients' goals are for the shoot. Selling the house, yes, but they've got other business goals as well. We need to play into those, and that's good because that plays into my goals as well. I'll get to those in a minute. There are a couple of philosophies about what to shoot in order to accomplish all this.
Some people wanna take pictures of everything; they want pictures of every single room, they want pictures of the closets, they want pictures of the attic, they want a picture of, I was once asked to take a picture of a hot water heater. And that's what they think is a good idea. It's my opinion, it's the opinion of my clients that less is more. Certainly we take pictures of every major room. I don't think it's necessary to photograph every bedroom in a house. We often do but I think it's a waste of time, frankly. I do not shoot garages. I do not shoot attic spaces, unless there's something truly notable about them, they have a lot of potential maybe to be built out into something we might, we might document the space but in general less is more.
The idea being to show the house, make it show really beautiful but entice people to want to come and see more. People can talk themselves out of ever going to see a house if they show them everything. You don't wanna do that. The idea is to bring people into the open house and make them wanna look at it again and again. So this magazine quality photography thing serves my clients' today's agenda and their larger agenda and it also serves my larger agenda. And I have one. I got started in this business at the very bottom of the real estate world shooting truly low end properties for truly shady customers and I worked my way up.
And I did that by, first of all, knowing where I wanted to go, which initially was just higher and higher within the real estate world, and then beyond the real estate world. At every shoot I looked for opportunities to create images that were gonna put me in that world. I shot every property as if I was on assignment for Architectural Digest whether the house was worthy of it or not And I built out a portfolio that was aimed at tomorrow's clients, not today's clients. I've already got today's clients so I was always looking to produce pictures that represented what I wanted to be shooting next year, or the year after that.
And I still do that today. So there's overlapping agendas and we can find ways to serve all of them. Now that's my philosophy on real estate photography, what we're here to do and why we do it. Now we're gonna shoot a house. Now, you're not gonna see me shoot absolutely every single room. You're gonna see a representation, a representative sampling of rooms, you're gonna see what it looks like as I go through and do everything. I'll show you the entire set of deliverables at the end, all twenty something pictures probably that we're gonna make, and that starts with a comprehensive walk through the entire property.
That's what we're gonna do next.
In this course, architectural photographer Scott Hargis introduces the why and how behind real estate photography. Get tips for photographing the inside and outside of a home or commercial building, shooting bathrooms and kitchens, and getting great photos within strict time limits: 15 minutes, 5 minutes, or less than 60 seconds.
- Touring the inside and outside of a home
- Bringing the right gear
- Photographing bathrooms and kitchens
- Photographing rooms quickly
- Photographing exteriors
- Post-processing real estate photos