Throughout the year I interact with and learn from the best of the best in real estate. These thought leaders talk about everything from the best way to follow up with web leads to keeping in touch after the sale—and everything in between. What I’ve heard more about these last few years is professional listing photos. So many feel a professional photographer must be hired for each and every listing to showcase it in it’s best light. Also, there’s the thought each and every customer should be treated the same way and your marketing plan should be consistent.

What would you think if I said I constantly argue with myself about this? How do I really feel?

Let me tell you, from a consumer standpoint, gorgeous listing photos that make a house look 110% better than it actually is make me feel as if I’m wasting precious time and being lied to. You see, my husband and I recently purchased a home. We actually felt we needed to tour more houses than we were interested in just because the listing photos made each and every house look like a gem.

It was almost comical to be on the buyer side of things and feel like someone just put lipstick on a pig and tried to sell it to me.lipstick pig

As a REALTOR, my argument comes down to the fact that it’s my job to get potential buyers through the door. It’s our job to market each property and present it in it’s best light. But, does the best light mean you must pay for professional photos on every listing? My answer is no. It’s not because I don’t love my photographers at Amoura Productions and want to give them every ounce of business I can. It’s the fact that I feel professional photos aren’t necessary every single time. So, what’s the best practice?

If you’re in a market and selling in a subdivision where all the competition is using professional photos—you’d better buck up and do it.

Sometimes a home is simply hard to photograph. If you take some photos and all the rooms look super small or you just couldn’t get the lighting right—buck up.

On that note, if the home is huge and you can only use 25 photos in the MLS, a professional will potentially be able to capture the foyer, living room and dining room in one photo. Isn’t it worth it then? Buck up. 🙂

Now, if everyone in the area is taking their own photos, you’re more apt to get away with using your own professional camera. However, use a wide angle lens and the HDR setting. Walk around and stage the home a little bit beforehand. Take the tips you’ve learned from the professionals and apply them when you’re taking your own and your photos will always look better than your competition’s.

Also, if it’s a handyman’s special and needs a good amount of work—those buyers would appreciate more accurate photos. Most investors buy and turn over several properties a year. Do you want to be known as the agent that wastes their time?

All in all, you’re running your own business and your budget might not allow for professional photos all the time. Take a proactive approach and consult with the sellers. If it’s not in your plan, the sellers may want to hire the photographer themselves.