So the problem is this: When Greg Swann visits your blog, comments favorably and asks if you’d like to write for Bloodhound, you get excited. In a good way. You consider how Greg and the other contributors to this forum have helped shape your thought process as a real estate professional and you feel a sort of rush come over you. Greg has invited you to write anything you like and assured you that it will be published and consumed by a large national audience. You feel an obligation – to yourself, to your industry, to your mother. You hit the reply button and type “Yes! Count me in!”, because that is the right thing to do. And it feels good.
A bio and a headshot later you get another email from Greg: “You’re up. Post at will.” Again, excitement – but this time different. More like anxiety, really. More like “everyone – and I mean everyone – who writes for Bloodhound is so literate, so intellectual, so experienced…so prolific and poetic, both!” It’s easy to wonder what you can possibly write that won’t pale in comparison to the posts being submitted by everyone else. It’s easy to wonder what you can write about that anyone will want to read – or that hasn’t already been written more elegantly by someone else.
My name is Harry Bisel, and I am honored to have been asked to contribute occasionally to this space. Honored and just a bit terrified. I am a professional real estate photographer, which is the perfect mash-up of my two previous careers – commercial photography and residential real estate, where I had the pleasure of serving as an agent, a managing broker, an MLS Board member and a coach (although I was never comfortable with that title). Real estate has been very good to me and I am grateful to those who gave me the opportunities I enjoyed so much along the way.
Having followed my passions away from the management side of real estate and back to photography, I now have two missions. To create a profitable business, clearly. But more pertinent to this conversation, to raise awareness within the real estate industry about the need for much better marketing photography, and to help educate those who need and want to improve their skills – or direct them to a professional if they prefer. So, I do have something to say. Something I feel very strongly about and that I’m eager to write about in the coming months. A dialog I hope many will enjoy – especially as the ROI for the time you spend is fully understood.
To that end, I think most will agree that the photos we frequently see in the MLS – the photos that are meant to advertise products worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and that are syndicated to a world-wide audience larger than many respected photographers enjoy…some of these photos are not so very good. And that’s a shame, because as agents, we owe our clients better – and because outstanding real estate photography can easily be leveraged into more listings. Win. Win.
I want to be clear that I don’t think it’s the fault of the typical agent – especially those that would frequent this blog – that we have some questionable images representing our listings out there. Many of us remember when one black and white photo of the front of a home was all it took – and frankly it didn’t have to be that great for its intended use or audience. Even now as listing photos have become the new curb appeal for real estate consumers surfing the web (you know the statistics – I won’t bore you), most of us have missed the message that, along with all our other responsibilities we need to be architectural photographers as well. No one is asking us to raise our right hand and swear that, with regard to real estate marketing photos we will “first, do no harm”.
With this in mind, I put together a photography class tailored to the needs of agents which I’ve presented for a number of brokers in my community over the past two years. The class tends to be a very enjoyable conversation centered around the questions of what the purpose of real estate photography really is, why we need it and most importantly how we can produce it. At the core of the presentation are a series of techniques that will help any agent create better images straight away, day one. The response to the class has typically been very positive, so I thought I’d focus my contribution to BHB on providing the content, broken down into bite-sized posts for your consideration. If your feedback indicates that there is some value and that I didn’t waste your time, I’ll continue. If not, I’ll bow out as gracefully as possible.
In closing this first post, I’d like to ask a favor of any who have been kind enough to read this far. Please know that I don’t come from a place of being “all that”. I consider myself competent in my work as a real estate photographer, and certainly my goal is to be one of the very best, but at this point I am far from it. There are photographers out there who make me look like a true beginner – photographers I’d be embarrassed to show my best work to. Likewise, I have no doubt that some readers of this blog are very accomplished in their own right and produce images that far surpass mine. That’s alright. In fact, that’s terrific because your comments to my posts will serve to make the content richer for everyone – myself included! My hope is simply that we will raise the bar – the quality of the average image seen by prospective buyers – and that we will help those who have the desire to improve their own skills.
Again, thank you Greg, for the opportunity to share. I’m grateful and I’ll do my best not to bore – if I haven’t already.8 comments