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Why Using Professional Photography Makes Good Economic Sense

October 29 2015

Yesterday, we posted a list of "scary" listing photos--images executed so poorly that using them risks driving buyers away. What each of these photos have in common is that they were shot by the listing agent rather than a professional photographer.

Knowing how crucial photos are in drawing in prospects, why would an agent or their broker allow such unflattering images to be made public? Often, the answer is cost--some brokers may feel that hiring a photographer is too expensive, or that the financial burden should be borne by the agent instead.

However, this approach is short-sighted. A recent study from Real Trends shows that agents who consistently use professional photography earn 100 percent more in average Gross Commission Income (GCI) than those who never use professional photography. When compared against agents who use professional photography intermittently, consistent users still earn over 46 percent more GCI.

pro photo compare

This echoes Redfin's famous 2010 study, which found that listing photos shot with a DSLR camera (implying that they were likely taken by a pro photographer) sold for between $934 to over $16,000 more than listings that weren't.

So why aren't more brokers shelling out for professional photography services for all their listings? The ROI is clearly strong. The average cost of hiring a photographer to shoot a listing is only $160--representing less than 2 percent of the GCI of agents who consistently use a professional. That's a drop in the bucket, especially considering that agents who use professional photography earn double that of agents who don't.

There are also less tangible reasons to hire a professional, like being able to better control how your brand is represented. Using professional photography on all your listings creates a consistent aesthetic and presents your brand and your listings in the best possible light.

It also lets your agents focus more of their time on activities that directly help them sell more homes. When brokers provide photography services, it frees up precious extra hours agents would have spent preparing and shooting photos themselves, as well as time spent editing the images.

Brokers, do you provide professional photography services to your agents? Why or why not?