Which photo would you use?

Or better yet, which one would you want your Realtor to use?



This is the first time I’ve used someone to do post-processing for listing photos. I’ll likely use him again.

Update 1/13/2008: This is Athol’s version –


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  1. Patience January 12, 2008 at 18:40

    The first one, definitely.

  2. Jim Duncan January 12, 2008 at 21:10

    thanks. It’s interesting how much difference processing of digital photos makes. The editing makes it “pop” a little bit.

  3. herb January 13, 2008 at 00:42

    It seems to ‘pop’ artificially to me – it is obviously digitally edited.

    You might experiment with trying one or more of using a tripod, slower shutter, wider aperture (let more light in).

    You might want to try a DSLR camera for more control if you using a point-and-shoot camera. Even the point-n-shoots have some settings that allow better control in low light or high contrast situations.

    I’m amazed at how poor some real estate photos are. Considering the importance of it, I would expect people to take the time to do it well.

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  6. bill emory January 13, 2008 at 10:05

    Dear Jim- post processing is a good idea. But overdone, it’ll cause customers to question the veracity of your advertising materials and such questioning would not help the sales effort.
    The image, to my eye, is overly sharpened. Subtle post processing, trying to capture the reality of the building, is the best way to go.

  7. Anonymous January 15, 2008 at 11:08

    Neither. I’d want my Realtor (or better yet, a professional photographer) to come take a picture when the lighting is better. Yes, the first photo does pop, but not in a good way.

  8. Mark January 15, 2008 at 23:52

    Even Athol’s edit, the best of the bunch, is handicapped by the lighting. You can probably use Picasa yourself (or whatever Mac program you “Mac cult people” use) and get photos good enough, but you have to wait for good light.
    Heck, half the battle is taking more than three photos, like many listings I see in my neverending home search. I often wonder why agents post just a photo of the outside front, or just the bathroom or kitchen. They’re not doing their clients any favors, as most people assume there are no pictures of the inside because the inside’s a dump.
    As I mentioned to you at one of her listings we visited, Maureen Hegarty does a fabulous job taking photos and making the house one you want to see in person. The main thing is she posts the maximum 16, or whatever MyCaar allows, and does the virtual tour. But you can also tell she does some good lighting adjustments and cropping.
    Agents like Ms. Hegarty will survive the “agent bubble” on hard work alone- her listing will get tons more traffic than Johnny One Photo’s listing (whose description is invariably ALL CAPS and HAS EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!! and phrases like BRING ALL OFFERS…OWNER SAYS “SELL” and the word INVESTMENT and misuse of “your/you’re” as in “YOUR GOING TO LOVE THIS HOUSE”)
    The 10% a year who will attrit are the ones that came to real estate when it was easy money, and don’t have the work ethic to keep it up when things get more competitive.
    One more thought…listings with anything but the exterior front as the main photo frighten me…I say this because I think one of your listings fits this descrip., Jim. Like the “no inside photos” listings, I assume the house is ugly as all hell on the outside.

  9. Athol Kay January 16, 2008 at 00:23

    We basically trade off what you can get done during the shoot, with what can be done after the shoot in editing. Generally I find the more work I have to do in editing, the less natural the final piece starts to look. Which makes re-shooting increasingly tempting.

    Though to be completely serious, Picasa won’t cut it. In serious editing we do things that improve the photo in ways you won’t even notice unless you get to the see the before photo and are shown the actual edit.

    Getting good light is very important, but what works for one shot, is bad light for another. Direct bright sun rocks for exterior front shots, but will wickedly blow the windows out for interior shots.

    It’s always a trade off somewhere. Though the general rule is use all the photos your MLS allows, and just get the best ones up that you can.

    The goal of photos is simply to say “hey look buyers, this place looks worth booking a showing in”. So perfect photos aren’t required, but lots of “good enough” ones are.

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