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The Importance of Photography as a part of Branding

Photography is but a small part of branding for any real estate agent.  What is meant by ‘branding’?  According to the Small Business Encyclopedia at entrepreneur.com:

“Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer.  It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors.  Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.”

How does photography play a part in an agent’s branding?  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the quality of the photos used speaks volumes about an agent by communicating visually to a seller and/or buyer the value that an agent places on presentation, service, and quality and also communicates how much time and money an agent is willing to invest in their clients.

The use of professional photos for real estate listing varies from one agent to another.  Some agents refuse to hire a professional photographer, believing the cost is too high.  Some will hire a professional if the listing price is above an arbitrary number of $X but rely on cell phone photos for lower priced properties.  And then there are those agents who truly ‘get it’ – these are the agents who will hire a professional for every listing they get no matter the price.  Regardless of the situation, most clients become aware of a real estate agent’s brand when they first see listing photos online.  Agents can choose to present a high quality brand or a lower quality brand based on the photos they use.

This week one of my shoots consisted of a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 3 level townhouse in Baltimore, MD.  The listing agent hired me to take professional photos of both the interior and exterior.  The house had had some updates in recent years, but there was room for more.  The list price for the property was $75K.  Assuming a 6% commission payment of $4,500 which would subsequently be split four ways between the selling and listing agents and their respective brokers, the pre-tax commission would be $1,125 (not including additional marketing costs, etc.). While some agents would think that hiring a professional photographer for this property wouldn’t be worth it, this particular agent is one who ‘gets it’ and understands the importance of consistency with her brand regardless of the listing price.  As a result, she gets more listings and higher priced properties as her branding conveys that no matter the listing price she will invest time, money and energy with her clients.

What does your choice of photos communicate about your brand? Is this something you need to address?

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