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smartphone vs. pro

In my home, we often receive magazines geared toward Realtors because of my husband’s profession (he is a Realtor, after all). I often catch myself flipping through his magazines to scope out Real Estate photos from fellow photographers. Often times the articles don’t necessarily apply to my profession; however, I recently stumbled upon one such article that made me laugh. I will give them credit for pointing out the obvious: that “homebuyers identify photos as the most useful feature when they are searching for homes online.” In the past when my husband and I were searching for homes online, I would often skip right over listings that didn’t have pictures even if the home listed was in our price range.

Now on to the funny part of the article…a two-page spread on how to use your smartphone to take Real Estate photos. A sucker punch right to my stomach. So it has come to this: my greatest competitor in my field as a professional photographer is the smartphone. Why would you spend an extra $100 to $500 on a pro when you can take such awesome photos with your phone for free? Well, according to analysis done by Redfin Corp, investing that cash in a pro is worth a lot more than you’d think. How does a $934 to $116,076 gain on your listing sound? Read more about the research here.

Then I came across a fellow RE photographer’s website who did a before and after comparison of Typical vs. Pro photos; and I liked his idea so much I decided to do a comparison of my own. So, on one of my shoots I had my husband, the Realtor, follow me around and take pictures with his iPad. To preface, this was a million-dollar house we were shooting. I gave no direction to my hubby as he took photos other than to say, “try to get the same scene into your photos as I am getting in mine.”

Below are the results from our shoot that day (mouse over each image to see the photos he captured vs. the ones I captured). If you were a homebuyer, which photos would more likely prompt you to want to see the house in person?

Twilight Exterior…


Formal Living Room…


Formal Living Room with Pool View…




Living Room…


Master Bathroom…




Back Yard View / Boat Dock…


If you are a Realtor and your only option to market a listing is to result to the smartphone pictures, by all means…do what you have to do. My goal here was just to demonstrate the difference it makes in investing in professional photos. And with less than a handful of listings out there that actually utilize a professional photographer’s skills, doing so could give you a running start ahead of your competitors. In short, I’d like to go back to the Redfin article mentioned earlier and quote the author:

Let’s not mince words: If you are not using professional photography to market your home, you are not really marketing your home.

All photographs appearing on this site are the property of Crystal Star Real Estate Photography. They are protected by U.S. Copyright Laws and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Crystal Star Real Estate Photography. © 2013 Crystal Williams All Rights Reserved.

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