How many photos do you need to market a listing?

April 23, 2016
Posted in Blog
April 23, 2016 JanaTorvi

How many photos do you need to get full coverage of a residential real estate listing?  Generally, our Realtor clients wish to capture all – or most – of the spaces and features that their listing offers.  The goal is to give buyers the information they need to evaluate the potential of the property against their needs and wants, and to motivate them to visit or make an offer.

Every home is different, so when determining how many photos to shoot, we recommend a range: between 8 and 10 images per 1,000 square feet of under-air living area. 

Many factors affect the number of photos needed for full (or close to full) coverage. For example:

  • If the listing is vacant and unfurnished, you may need closer to 8 photos per 1,000 sf.  If it’s staged, you may wish to capture more angles, and therefore may need 10 or more shots per 1,000 sf.
  • If the home has extraordinary features, or a larger outdoor space (which many of our listings in South Florida do), you may find that you need 10 or more per 1,000 sf.
  • If the home has rooms that won’t show / photograph well, you may decide to skip them, and will need fewer photos.
  • Some Realtors use extra photos strategically to boost their reach, as some syndicated sites place listings higher in the feed when there are more photos.

Often in the planning process, a Realtor may ask us why we’d need more than 20 photos (for a 3,500 sf pool home, for example), since there are not 20 rooms.  We understand that thought. But in practice, as we are working with the Realtor to get the shots, it becomes clear that the photos add up quickly.

A typical professionally-photographed MLS listing might feature the following, at the very minimum:

  • 2 to 3 shots of the exterior front
  • 2 angles of the living room
  • 1 to 2 angles of the dining room
  • 2 to 3 angles of the kitchen and breakfast area
  • 1 to 2 angles of a family room
  • 2 shots of the master bedroom
  • 1 to 2 shots of the master bath
  • 2 to 3 shots of the back exterior

(Keeping count? This bare-bones list is 13 to 18 shots so far, before we even consider any other bedrooms, additional rooms, balconies/porches, etc.)

In addition, you (or your sellers) may feel its important to include:

  • additional shots or angles of any of the above
  • 1 to 2 shots each of any additional bedrooms
  • bathrooms
  • laundry or utility rooms
  • balconies or porches
  • “alternative” shots, like the same room with blinds open and closed
  • shots of specific appliances or special features in a room (e.g. fireplace, built-ins)
  • garage
  • any other rooms of features

That being said, would it make sense to shoot (and pay for) 80 photos of a home that is 8,000 sf?  Of course, that’s the Realtor’s decision.  We have, on occasion, shot upwards of 80 or even 100 photos for a large listing.

However, most of our Realtor clients who list homes that size do not photograph every room, and generally will request 40 to 50 shots at the most.  In this case, it is critical for the Realtor to manage the expectations of their sellers as needed.  A seller who initially expects to see every nook, cranny, and closet in the photos can generally be helped to understand whether or not that is necessary.

Our basic package includes up to 20 HDR images and the hosted virtual tour slideshow.  We charge $25 for five extra images of the home, $50 for ten extra images, etc.

Of course, it makes sense that the monetary investment the Realtor makes in photography products is greater if the listing is physically larger and/or offers extraordinary features.  At the time of your shoot, our photographer will discuss the package and the number of extra shots (if any) that are needed.  We hope this article helps you to prepare for those decisions.


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