What to Look for in Your Real Estate Photography Partner

By Carrie McCormick, @Properties

Rodgers and Hammerstein, Batman and Robin, Abbott and Costello. Whether in business, entertainment or life, everyone benefits from having a partner, an ally, someone who shares your beliefs and ambition and has your back, no matter what.

Real estate professionals need partners, too, and my professional photographer, Andrew Miller of VHT Studios, is one of them. Consider today’s reality when it comes to buyer behaviors and you’ll understand why my professional photographer is a critical partner in my agency’s success.

Nine out of ten homebuyers start their search online. If someone clicks on my listing, Andrew works with me to make sure beautiful listing photographs always make that great first impression. If the photography does not catch their eye and have that “wow” factor, a potential buyer will move on to the next home. I have found that partnering with a professional photographer ensures that my listing will attract all prospects and show the home in its best possible light.

What should you look for in a photographer as that perfect, long-term partner? Consider these questions to help you decide whom to select as that partner, or to determine whether your current photographer is right for you.

Will your photographer be a team player?
Do you see this real estate photographer as an extension of your team? Do you have confidence that your partner is striving to present you and your listings in the best light possible to your clients? You’re not just selling a home, you’re also selling and building your brand. It’s crucial your photographer serves as your brand ambassador.

Does your photographer have creativity and flexibility?
Does your photographer bring you unique ideas? Will he/she do what it takes by going above and beyond to capture that stunning and unique photograph? Are you in agreement on the focal point of each room? These are just a few questions to help you know if you are simpatico.

Can your photographer overcome obstacles? Ask for proof!
Andrew literally scaled the highest heights to get the most stunning photographs of a loft that I recently sold.

He’s kept his cool when faced with difficult situations. For example, we sometimes arrive to a messy or cluttered home on the day when a photography shoot is scheduled. It’s important your photographer is willing to roll up his/her sleeves to ensure each room is not just presentable but also staged correctly.
One day, Andrew and I arrived at a home to find construction materials cluttering a few rooms. Andrew was not rattled in the least. He simply got right to work, helping me move materials out of the way, and capturing drop-dead gorgeous photographs that showed no trace of construction dust. The images taken that day reveal the pride Andrew exudes in his work.

Does your photography company understand the real estate industry?
It really is to your benefit to use a photography company that serves real estate professionals and is accustomed to working in such a fast-paced, pressure-filled environment. I have been extremely pleased with both Andrew and VHT Studios as my partner. They know how to deliver products on time and be available when help is needed.

Can your photographer trial the customer experience?
Be sure your partner can show you how their photo ordering system is streamlined and will easily integrate into your system. If you seek changes to a photograph, can you easily use online tools, or will you face a cumbersome and delayed process? Ask your real estate photography company to walk you through a change request. That’s a true test of a customer-friendly interface.

What happens AFTER the photography session is as important as what happens DURING the photo shoot.
Time is of the essence when it comes to listing photographs. If edits are needed, they have to be turned around quickly. You want to ask these critical questions before you hire any photographer, such as, “How will I receive the photographs and how long will it take to receive my photography files?”

Do they offer telephone support on days that I serve clients?
My clients expect prompt replies from me. I often work with them on weekends and need customer support on Saturdays. Does your photography company offer Saturday hours and staff their support desk with a live professional who responds to phone calls?

The best partnerships evolve when each professional aims for excellence in everything they do, and strives to be open and flexible on the job.
Like any partnership, the best ones take time, commitment, flexibility and hard work. I’m lucky to have all of those qualities in my real estate photography partner.

Carrie McCormick, a leader in luxury real estate and development for @Properties, has more than 18 years of real estate sales expertise and an unsurpassed reputation for quality, results-oriented service and support. Contact her at carrie@atproperties.com.
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