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Ask an Agent: The undeveloped world of real-estate photography Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Agent+undeveloped+world+real+estate+photography/5658963/story.html#ixzz1dhpJzxNV

Ask an Agent: The undeveloped world of real-estate photography

The devil is in the details -- or in the lighting.

MONTREAL - If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then why do so many real estate brokers illustrate their listings with such crappy and bizarre photos?

It is a mystery, one the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board would like to solve. This year, the board hired an outside company to study photos posted on the computerized MLS system. The results? Fully 20 per cent of the snaps are “inadequate” because they are insufficiently lit, poorly framed, blurry or not representative of the property being sold.

Now that many agents carry smartphones, it is easier than ever to snap properly lit and framed images. My iPhone lets me tinker with the lighting and framing after the fact with a few screen taps.

I was working with a buyer who kept sending me links to real estate listings so that I would get an idea of the kinds of properties he likes. It didn’t take me long to realize that what he liked was pictures taken with an iPhone using the built-in HDR function. Those photos show wood grain in high relief and make everything look crisp.

The technology has never been easier and yet one in four photos is still not good enough, according to the GMREB. The board issues regular bulletins, videos and tip sheets to its members about choosing the right camera, taking the time to properly frame and light the image and, you know, not put your thumb over the lens when snapping a picture.

I will confess right now that I have been known to take my own listing photos with a pretty good Canon. In retrospect, they were okay but not spectacular. The test for any agent comes when you try to get a bathroom photo. You’ll either end up plastered against the wall in the bathtub trying to get the whole room in, facing yourself in a mirror or taking a photo of a toilet and nothing else.

For the last year or so, I have preferred to use the services of professional photographer, Sharon Wilson. There’s no comparison between the photos she takes and mine. She has the right equipment to properly light each room, but more importantly she knows how to frame her images and make the rooms flow one into the next. It is about the smartest money I invest as a real estate broker and it makes my listing images pop on the page.

Why go to the trouble and expense? Because a broker who provides bad photos does a disservice to his or her clients and no favour to the buyers who are scanning listings. Besides, there are nearly 11,000 brokers active in Greater Montreal and we compete fiercely for business. Paying a professional photographer to show a house to best advantage is the least I can do.

 SOURCE:The Montreal Gazette

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Agent+undeveloped+world+real+estate+photography/5658963/story.html#ixzz1dhpV4wvG