Why I use a professional photographer


Attention desperate home sellers. Don’t want to lower the price on your house? Consider better photos. Real-estate listings that use photographs taken by the higher-end SLR cameras favored by professional photographers, tend to do better than those that use photos from cheaper point-and-shoot cameras, according to a new analysis done by Redfin Corp., a Seattle-based brokerage.

Redfin found in an analysis of more than 100,000 listings in the Boston metro area and Long Island, N.Y., that homes with professional photographs sold anywhere between $934 to $116,076 more than those shot from cheaper, point-and-shoot cameras. That’s probably enough to start making you feel a little insecure about your home’s photographs if your real estate agent didn’t use a professional or a high-end camera.

What’s more, homes with professional photographs were found, on average, to be viewed 61 percent more online than others in that price range shot with a lower-end camera. The listings that used digital SLR cameras also commanded a 47 percent higher asking price per square foot, according to the Redfin analysis.

Digital SLR cameras, however, were only found to increase the likelihood of a sale for listings that were priced at $300,000 and above. In other words, buyers don’t seem to judge a house by its photos as much for homes priced under $300,000. hmmmm, I beg to differ and will assume that the Hampton Roads and Williamsburg market does not follow that trend. I get many buyers who say that the homes I list look far better than the competition.

Given this obvious upside, it is shocking that only 15 % of homes in the study were marketed using professional photography.  Let’s not mince words: If you are not using professional photography to market your home, you are not really marketing your home.

So, what does this all mean to someone selling a home?

Be sure that you, or your agent, invest in professional photography. A professional-looking photo dramatically increases the likelihood that a potential buyer will click through to view your home listing, and drives more buyers to tour your home. Ultimately, the more people interested in your house, the better your chance of receiving an attractive offer. A photo really can be worth a thousand dollars.

Here are a few photos of my past listings ….we always include the neighborhood amenities so that buyers can see what is in the community

What do you think — does it take a high-end camera or professional photographer to sell a house for higher dollar?Or do you think a point-and-shoot camera can do the job? Some real estate professionals are even using the camera on their phone to capture images of their listings for their marketing, according to the study.


Some properties need video to showcase their features. Here is one from one of my recent listings…

Here is a list of ideas and tips on how to help me before we arrive to shoot the photos of your home.

Inside the Home

1.         De-clutter as much as possible. Put away toys, clothing, dishes, towels, shoes etc. It’s a lot cheaper to put these things away before the photo shoot than to pay to have the photos “photoshopped”.

2.         Depersonalized to a certain degree. Photos of young children and any potentially offensive art (believe me, I’ve seen it all!) should be put away.

3.         Remove any seasonal/holiday decorations that can quickly outdate your photos.

4.         Dust and vacuum.

5.         Make all the beds, fluff all the pillows, and check the bed skirts.

6.         Clean the kitchen sink and put away all the dishes.

7.         Clear all kitchen counter tops and put away toasters, can openers, etc.

8.         Clear all bathroom counter tops and put away all personal items.

9.         Remove all shampoos, conditioners, body-washes, etc. from the shower.

10.       Put out the guest towels and hide all the others.

11.       Hide all trash cans.

12.       Remove all magnets and decorations from the refrigerator.

13.       If there are pets, hide all food/water bowls, pet beds, and pet toys.

14.       Put all toilet seats and lids down.

15.       Replace all burned out light bulbs.

16.       Consider decorating the tables with your prettiest place settings.

17.       Consider putting out vases of fresh flowers.

 Outside the Home

1.         Have the lawn trimmed, leaves raked, bushes and trees pruned.

2.         Clean up after any animal

3.         Put away all garbage cans, hoses, garden tools, toys, bikes etc.

4.         Hide any “cute” yard decorations.

5.         In snowy climates, shovel snow from walkways, driveways, patios, decks when necessary.

6.         If there is a pool, hot tub, or spa, take any security gate down, uncover, and clean.

7.         If there will be any twilight photos taken, replace any broken lighting on the home, around the landscape, and in the pool.

8.         Open the umbrellas on any patio sets.

9.         When in season, uncover grills.

10.       Remove any seasonal/holiday decorations.

11.       Consider adding splashes of bright colored flowers to the landscape and in pots.

Right Before the Photographer Arrives

1.         Turn on ALL interior lights – even lights in furniture cabinets.

2.         Turn OFF all ceiling fans.

3.         Light fireplaces and candles.

4.         Open all blinds, shades, and curtains.

5.         Clear all cars and vehicles from the driveway and the street in front of the home.

6.         Please secure any potentially aggressive animals in a safe location, away from all rooms being photographed.


Here are are few more articles that talk about using professional photography in selling real estate

  1. Get a Picture-Perfect Home Sale: August 26, 2012, by Amy Hoak, from the WSJ MarketWatch. The thing I like about this article is that it points out that the home seller needs to be taking an active part in hiring a listing agent that will do a good job of marketing their home even to the point of approving the photos and marketing materials.
  2. Attract Home Buyers Easily With Great Photography: From houzz.com by Kristie Barnett. This article is written from the point of view a home stager/stylist that has some nice tips on things to think about in composition. This article reminds me of the homes I’ve shot with the help of a stager/stylist. It always makes a huge difference when you can have someone involved with the shoot that has an eye for home design and is on site just thinking about design. If you can build a relationship with a good home stager/stylist. Frequently there’s isn’t budget available for staging when when there is shooting interiors it makes a difference in the results. For top-end interior photography designers are almost always involved.

Mr Williamsburg believes in the power of professional photography. Every house that I list is marketed with professional photos, and I pick up the tab. So, is it worth the dough? It turns out that in most cases the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”

Whether you are buying, selling or a home in Williamsburg, Yorktown or Hampton Roads VA , I  want to earn your business. I invite you to contact me with any questions that you may have regarding your next real estate transaction

John Womeldorf

[email protected]

757 254 8136