Geographical Area of Services

Where Do I Offer Real Estate Photography In Atlanta

Currently I service all areas of Atlanta and Metro Area. After 13 successful years in Florida my family and I moved to Atlanta, which has been our dream for a while. I also travel as far north as Canton, Milton, Alpharetta and even Chattanooga without additional trip charges. I’ll be happy to work on projects beyond Atlanta Metro, please request a quote. My services include Architectural Photography, Real Estate Photography, Twilight Photos, Real Estate Videos (Video Tours), Drone Photos and Video and Headshots.

georgraphical-service-area-tampa-bay-real-estate-photo

Why Have Professional Photos & Video For Non-Luxury Homes in Atlanta

Spend Your Marketing Dollars Smartly

Dining Area St Petersburg HomeI was just looking through listings online.  Majority of luxury real estate is featured with good photos and virtual tours.  Very few have home video tours.  The trend is picking up though, I get more and more orders for video alongside a photo-shoot.

To Go Pro Or Not, and Why

The sad part is that homes listed slightly below luxury level, say in the rage of 200k-450k almost never have a video tour.  Quite often even the photos are not professionally done.  There could be many reasons for that: the home is not showcase worthy, needs updating or the real estate agent doesn’t believe spending money on professional photography is required for a successful sale.  All are legitimate reasons (but if you are just being cheap – that’s not cool).

I believe, however, most agents should try and discuss with the owner bringing the home to a showcase state.  Often the sellers just don’t know how, they need some guidance.  Rarely will the sellers turn down an offer to help stage their home, or decline advice on quick updates.

Master Bath home in St PeteYes, sometimes good photos are good enough.  Even if you take them with your iPhone or Android, as long as you know a little bit about taking real estate picture, such photos will be ok for, say, a bank-owned property, or a home where staging or repairing is not feasible or in case of any other distressed or high-risk situation.  Though, good photos, videos and blogging can help you generate leads, but that’s a story for a different post.

Inventory is still low but, if you haven’t noticed, the sales have slowed down just a little in the past few month.  It’s normal, the market will fluctuate.  Yet, you have to remain steady and competitive with your marketing and avoid slacking when times are good!  You can’t afford to cut your marketing dollar just because.  Let me give 3 reasons why professional photos and videos matter during any time:

1) They make your SELLER look good.

Will neighbors Google your listing address to see how much it is? Do they want to see what it looks like inside? Yes and yes!

2) They will make YOU look good.

You have to think beyond one sale. Every listing is a door to a few more. Your listings online are like your business cards, they are also your reputation, what people can expect working with you. Will the potential clients check out your other listings? Will they want to know a little about your marketing plan? Yes and yes!

3) They will bring you BUYERS.

Because buyer not only shop with their wallet, they also shop with their heart, with their feelings. Buyers love to connect with their future home. What could be easier than helping them do it with photos full of character and a video that perhaps will make them smile and then click “Contact Listing Agent”?

Spending Smartly

I’ve filmed a few home video tours of homes that are not considered to be in the luxury or high-end category, yet they also deserved a well-made presentation.  The sellers and the listing agents were happy to have these extra marketing tools.  Smaller homes take less time for video and photos, bringing the cost of the shoot down too.  Providing the luxury level services when selling mid-end properties will pay off in the end.  Why?  Because such marketing services are affordable and sought after by your clients.  Spend your marketing dollars smartly.

Virtual Tours and How To Use Them Correctly

When I shoot real estate in Atlanta agents often request a virtual tour.  I always suggest doing a full-motion video tour instead but virtual tours are still popular and they are less expensive than video tours. A virtual tour is an online slideshow often provided with background music and some property info.

Here are 6 observations I made in regards to virtual tours and things you need to be aware of when using virtual tours:

1) Quality. If you use crappy photos, you will have crappy tours. The quality is often reduced even further because some brokerages use automated virtual tour providers who pull the photos from MLS where they’ve already been reduced in size and quality.
2) Number of photos. If you are using an automated tour, all your clients will see is a slideshow of photos they have already seen. Offer value to your clients, edit your tours separately and add more high-quality photos to it.

3) Music is cheesy. It take only a couple minutes to login to your tour and change the music, don’t go for preset cheesy tracks. Some providers will allow you to upload your own song.

4) Load time. I’ve only found a handful of VT providers where photos load quickly and with good resolution. Most of the tours will be turned off before they load by the potential buyer.

5) Your listings go to Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia and other outlets. Check at least these 3, make sure your virtual tour link shows up.  Your virtual tour will not upload to Realtor.com automatically. VT vendor has to be approved by PicturePath and Realtor.com and they have to upload manually. Some big vendors who might have a contract with your broker are able to upload them from MLS to Realtor.com immediately but remember, login to your tour and upload high-rez photos. If your broker has such agreement with a vendor and you decide to use your own, the broker’s vendor’s tour will have priority and will show up on Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia – you have to make sure you place your own link on MLS and then update it on Realtor.com.
6) You can plug it in (embed it) VT tour vendors provide with HTML code of the tour, so you can copy/paste it on your blog easily. A little harder with social media, though. You can post a link on Facebook, for example, but it will open a new window when you click on it. It won’t play directly on your Facebook wall, like YouTube videos do. Facebook doesn’t like when people leave their site, so I can bet you that your exposure will be limited. Much better to post a photo or a video. Fortunately you can convert a virtual tour into a video format and host it on YouTube or Vimeo, though quality of images will be reduced.

If you stay aware of these details about virtual tours – you will get the most out of them. If you need a virtual tour provider or a real estate photographer in Atlanta and Metro Area,  text/call me at (727) 418-9016 and I’ll be glad to work with you.

How To Take Perfect Kitchen Shots

st-petersburg-kitchen-photoMost real estate agents in Atlanta will admit that updated kitchens and baths significantly increase the “sellability” of a home. Not only will it sell quicker but also for more money. We spend a lot of time cooking, eating and bathing. And having these activities in a nice, updated setting is simply a pleasure. Not to say that moving into a new home without the worries and thoughts of investing in updates is a positive thing for most home buyers.

As a real estate photographer in Atlanta and Metro Area I could add that the first introduction to a potential home is done via photos or video tour that clients find on Realtor.com, Zillow or Trulia. So when you have a new listing, will you make sure to showcase the important spaces correctly?

Kitchens are often small and require focus and good composition to present it properly.

Here are a few tips on how to take good kitchen shots

straight-on-kitchen-real-estate-photography-tampa-bay1) I personally love straight on shots with high focal length. Meaning try to avoid using extremely wide angle lenses when shooting a kitchen. The bigger the focal length the more realistic the photo will look. Of course add a couple corner shots too.
2) Level your camera with the bottom of the top cabinets or slightly higher. Nobody cares to see what the cabinets look like underneath. Taking a shot from your belly hight might be appropriate for a living room but not for a kitchen.
st-pete-fl-kitchen-photography3) You are selling counter space, so remove most of the objects from the counters, even coffee makers and toasters. Trust me, the kitchen will look more spacious and easy for an eye to take in.
4) Got cabinet lights? Turn them on. Microwave light? Turn it on.
st-petersburg-real-estate-photo5) A small vase with flowers can work nicely, just make sure you don’t block anything important with it. You could also look in your fridge, find some fruit and place them in a bowl on your island or counter.

The rest is your technical skills with camera settings and lighting. It’s all in your hands from here on!  To get more ideas on how to take good kitchen photos visit my Kitchen Shots album on Flickr.

Opulent home twilight photos on Snell Isle Brightwaters Boulevard

Twilight and evening photos on Snell Isle

Brightwaters Boulevard has become a regular destination for us. We’ve shot photos and videos here for agents from different brokerages and the homes we photographed varied in size and style. There were sprawling mansions, cute cottages, mediterranean estates and modern efficient homes. Twilights are some of our favorite shoots, and this time we had an opportunity to make twilight photos of this opulent home on Snell Isle’s famous Brightwaters boulevard. Before the sunset we even had a little time to do some evening interior and exterior shots. Take a look! Contact us for your own twilight photos, your sellers will love them and you’ll receive the attention of many buyers. I’ve now moved to Atlanta and service Atlanta, Marietta, Alpharetta and all Metro Area. Call me (727) 418-9016 to schedule!

front6824back6786back6808living-entry6764kitchen6779bedroom6778dining6775back6739living6755office6842back6769

Real Estate Videos Don’t Sell Real Estate in Atlanta

They don’t, YOU do.  How would I know and why would I say this while being in business of producing real estate videos? Because before going into the photo/video business full time I was a Realtor in Tampa Bay for 5 years and I’ve used video from my first month in business.  To the very last day of me selling real estate full-time I’ve never had a huge and immediate boost in listings and sales because I utilized video.  What I did have was a gradual growth of clientele base who appreciated videos that I used in my marketing.

Real Estate Video St Petersburg Tampa FloridaI love photography and creating video content, so it was easy for me to choose and keep these tools in my marketing toolbox.  “Marketing” is the key word in the idea if using video, it’s not a sales tool.  Frankly when business becomes so very open and relational as it is today sales techniques diminish in their vitality.  They are still important but mostly refer to negotiating and closing skills. Marketing has become the lifestream of business.  The definition of marketing has become broader, fuller and more complex.

We choose marketing tools we like, feel comfortable with and believe will appeal to our clients.  We all know that producing a piece of marketing material is only a half of work done.  For it to be effective it has to be strategically placed. It works this way with video content too.  I’ve sometimes seen clients for whom I’ve produced photos and videos not really know how to showcase these gold nuggets to the world.

 

Here are a few tips from my personal experience on how video can boost your marketing campaign

 

1) Have a set schedule for your video production, by date and type

By creating a short video at least once a week you will soon have an impressive library of video content. But you have to be consistent and have a schedule.

 

2) Categorize your videos by:

– Informational (about real estate market in general)

People will come to you because you have real estate knowledge and skills to effectively sell or help buy a property. Informational video will help your clients understand your skills and level of knowledge quickly as well as figuring out if they’d even like to work with you. Sometimes we just don’t click with certain people, and that’s ok. You’d rather never have them come to you, than come and then leave. Your information videos will take care of that.

– Education (about specific neighborhoods in your area)

Education videos will help folks see that you know the area, and know details about neighborhoods, plus it adds value because you showcased the features and streets of the area they may be interested in. Eventually you will have a library of such videos and you can utilize them on individual neighborhoods pages on your website. How cool would it be to have a short video about a neighborhood and then list all available listing there right under the video?

– Home video tours

In your sphere of influence there will also be people looking to buy or sell. Producing quality video tours will capture attention of those looking to buy, because they just don’t see real estate videos all that often. Sellers will also notice because they will want one of their house done when they are ready to sell. Besides your sphere those looking at homes online always get excited when they see that little blue button with a camera on it. Motion video gets a lot more views than a slideshow.

– You can also do one on local activities and events, but keep those to a minimum, you are a Realtor, so stay with things relevant to your business.

 

3) Figure out how to distribute your videos and who your targeted recipients are.

 This topic deserves a separate blog post, look for it in the near future.

In conclusion

You probably don’t need video marketing if you don’t use internet to communicate with friends, family and clients.  Unless you buy TV ads most of your video marketing will be online.  But it’s not for everyone.  Either embrace it, use it, dedicate marketing dollar to it or stick with the tools you feel suit you best.  Remember, it’s all about quality.  Not production quality, thought it’ll help, but your content quality.  Step aside for a moment and take a look at your marketing pieces: email campaigns, Facebook feed, postcards, flyers, your website – does any of it deliver value?  Is any of it interesting, important, captivating? Is any of it telling a story?  Because if there’s no value or importance – we (your prospective clients) can at least enjoy a good story.

Money Shots – Part 1 – Living Rooms

Money Shots – Part 1 – Living Rooms

Living Room Snell Isle home

Let’s pause and think for a minute: at what rooms do you spend most times looking when searching for a home?  What room photos do you just scroll through and which ones you observe with extra interest?  I guess the answer will be – the photos of a room you will mostly spend your time in (not sleeping in!), a room in your future home that most visitors will see – your living room.

living room Snell ArcadeWhen browsing through listings you look for character, rooms size, windows placement, floors type and other features.  Sometimes you just like how the home feels based on the photos.  And when you are a buyer you don’t like surprises during your first showing, you want the room to look as close as possible to what you saw in the picture.  This means the size shown in the photo must (or should) reflect true scale of things.  Often this is hard to achieve because the mind of a seller and real estate agent wants to showcase the whole room in one shot.  This is possible with the use of an ultra-wide lens.  However, shooting a room at a focal length under 15mm will make the room look larger than it really is.

living room kitchen Brightwaters BlvdShooting with an ultra-wide lens is sometimes useful, especially in tightareas like small bathrooms. But with larger rooms most of the time it is not necessary.

Here’s why it’s better to shoot above 15mm:

– You will have better shot compositions

– You will have more “out-of-shot” spaces to hide extra flashes and thus have a better lit image

– Room size will look close to reality – no surprises for buyers

The interesting thing about human mind is that we can easily complete an image in our head if we only see a portion of a subject, so sometimes it’s ok to cut off a portion of a sofa or a large frame, especially if there are two of them side by side.  So, if I can’t show a whole room in one photo how do I showcase it to the buyer?  Take another shot from a different angle or corner of that room, make a connecting shot with the kitchen or dining room.

living room Snell IsleMost MLSs will allow up to 25 photos, so impress your potential buyers with money shots: living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens.  Trust me, most bedrooms have 4 walls and a bed in the middle, one picture of your bedroom is usually enough for marketing purposes. Small bathrooms or half baths?  Not really necessary to showcase at all.  Much rather find a few cool architectural features and add their photos to your marketing portfolio.

Photos of your living room are your money shots.  Make them stand out, spend time finding a good composition and work on your lighting – it will pay off.  And if you are busy selling and can’t take the photos yourself, you can always hire me, I’m available to shoot anywhere in Atlanta.  Check out my photography portfolio, video tours and pricing.

Every property deserves a video tour

Every property deserves a video tour

bedroom2bSome less expensive or distressed homes may not require a professionally done video.  When selling these you can simply shoot a video tour on your phone or small camera and narrate as you film.  As long as you keep your hands steady, keep it short and give some valuable information to your potential buyers – you will be just fine.  You can use  your iPad or iPhone to quickly shoot, edit and upload your video to YouTube – it will take just under 15 minutes.

Some homes are worthy of a professionally done video.  There’s a misconception that such tours are only done for expensive high-end homes.  Not necessarily.  I have a Realtor friend and he decided to produce professional videos for every listing he gets over $100k.  The potential commission on a $150k sale is around $4,500 (or $9,000 if you work directly with both the seller and the buyer).  Many good agents will spend up to 20% of their income on marketing and advertising.  So, is it worth spending a few hundred dollars on professional photos and video tour? Here’s an example of a simple video tour I just finished. Trust me, it won’t break your marketing bank.

What is your vision and what is your plan?

Is-your-vision-planned-outDeciding how much money to set aside for marketing and advertising and what portion of it will be used for video and photography – is not always easy.  Realtors have to spend a lot of money every year: Realtors fees, MLS dues, Supra lockbox, desk fees, splits with a broker, office supplies, technology fees, franchise fees – these are often a must.  Video and photo often fall in the voluntary expense fund (if there’s any left) out of which you pay for enhanced listings on home search sites,  mail-outs, postcards, brochures, magazine ads, food for open houses and broker’s opens, personal website, IDX search plug in, membership in local networking clubs, and many more.

My advice would be to start with your vision and skill assessment.  Decide where you want to be in 5, 10 years, what you need to learn and then focus on getting there.  Some aspire to always work on their own, others want to build a team, some dream of becoming a broker, others desire to run a commercial real estate division.  Your plan and your vision will affect how you apply your marketing money.  How much of your budget should go to marketing will depend on what stage you are in.  Don’t spend your dollars on any marketing without having a vision and a plan to accomplish it.

You will have to adapt to the ever-changing world and learn new technology on the way to your dream.  Decide early on to only use technology that can substantially boost your business and give you advantages over competition without changing your vision and core values, and without putting a strain on your budget.

So, You Decided To Sell Your Home!

So, you decided to sell your home!

front47Now what?  Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m a believer in the “why” question.  I literally will sit on an idea for weeks or even months before I can prove to myself that I have a legitimate “why” to execute it.  So let’s consider why you want to sell your home.  You may be downsizing, upsizing, relocating, have family issues, stopped making payments, are facing legal issues, or simply done with home ownership and want to rent.  None of these?  Then let me know, I love to know reasons!

Ok, you know why you need to sell.  The next question is deciding how you will go about it.  There are really only a couple options.  You either sell on your own as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO, or “fizzbow” – a name all local real estate agents will be jokingly calling you) or you hire a real estate agent.

I worked in the real estate industry for four years and was involved in over 100 transactions.  Let me give you a few tips from a “client” point of view as opposed to a “Realtor” one.

Deciding whether to sell on your own or with an agent will depend on several factors: how much you need to net, current market conditions, your level of sales expertise, and how much time you can afford to invest in the process.

Let’s start with the market

If it’s a seller’s market, not much is required to find a buyer.  Stick a sign in your yard, put it on Zillow, Trulia and for more exposure MLS.  You can list a home on MLS with a flat-fee limited service agency for a few hundred bucks.  Inventory is low and prices are climbing – these are indications of a seller’s market – you should get plenty of inquiries quickly if your price is reasonable.

Time

Getting inquiries is a good thing, but how do you turn them into legit buyers?  Who will be showing them your home?  If you are not working and readily available during the day, evenings and weekends you can handle your own showings.  Most buyers will be represented by an agent (to whom you should be prepared to pay 2.5 – 3% as a rule).  If the buyer is not represented, however, be careful.   Don’t show your house to strangers when you’re home alone.  Have a friend or family member there with you to avoid any unexpected circumstances.  Before you show your home to a potential buyer, ask lots of questions and request proof of funds (bank loan approval letter or account statement).  It’s totally fine to ask people why they are interested in your home, whether they are employed, and if they are pre-approved for a loan.

So, let’s say you’ve gotten plenty of interest, tons of showings, and finally – an offer! Now what?  At this point, it may be wise to hire a real estate attorney or ask a title company for assistance.  I suggest you use a title company to do your title search, title warranty, and help you with closing paperwork.  If you’ve bought several properties in the past you may have enough experience to feel confident working directly with the title company without a real estate agent’s assistance.

1-800-Agent?

Hiring a real estate agent can be very beneficial since its his or her job to represent your best interests in the transactions (not the buyer’s).  A good agent will take care of showings, pre-qualify buyers, market your home, and take care of all paperwork.  Moreover, a Realtor can tell you with accuracy what your home is worth, maximize the offer amount by creating increased interest via proper advertising, and handle negotiations.   How do you set your home apart from the competition?  How do you expose your listing to as many potential buyers as possible?  A good agent knows answers and delivers results.

Marketing on the Internet is a major portion of any marketing campaign.  Providing top quality marketing and web distribution/promotion of your property, together with correct pricing, will assure a faster sale for the highest dollar possible.  Whether on your own or with a help of an agent – you can do it!