FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Why should I hire a professional photographer?
Whether you are a real estate agent, homeowner (for sale by owner/FSBO), business owner, designer or builder it is in your best interest to hire a professional photographer to create images for websites and other forms of marketing. Over 90% of buyers begin searching for their new home online, therefore quality photographs are essential to effectively marketing your listing. According to an article published by the Wall Street Journal, listings utilizing professional photography had 61% more views than their peers across all price tiers. The best presented homes generate more buyer interest and more traffic. As a result, they average less time on the market to sell, which translates into dollars well spent for a real estate agent or seller.
Buyers decide which properties to visit in person based upon what caught their attention online. If home buyers perusing the Internet are inspired by the photographs, they will continue to click through the listing and explore the agent’s website. If they don’t, they will click “back” and view a different listing. They simply will not continue to look at a listing that does not catch their eye. As stated by fellow photographer Jay Groccia, “That was it – right there – that was your opportunity to grab that buyer’s attention, and if they clicked back, you’ve lost them forever”.
Representing the property with quality photographs makes you stand out from the competition. It has been estimated that only 15-20% of listings utilize professional photographs. By hiring a photographer, you will improve your image by presenting yourself as a true professional in your field. The extra money spent to adequately market your listing pays off even after the sale by getting you more listings in the future.
Professional photography sells homes. Research from national real estate firm Redfin shows that homes showcased with high quality photography get a 47% higher asking price per square foot. Higher asking prices also translated to higher selling prices. For example, their data revealed that, on average, a $300k listing with professional photographs sold for $3,145 more than a house with non-professional photographs. Redfin also found that professionally photographed homes sell for at least $934 and as much as $18,819 more than homes photographed by an amateur. Of course, a higher selling price means a better commission for you.
2. I have a camera, why shouldn’t I take the photos myself?
Many agents and homeowners cut corners by shooting the photos themselves. This is a real disservice to homeowners and potential buyers. Having a camera, even a really good one, does not make you a professional photographer in the same way owning a guitar does not make you Jimi Hendrix. As an agent, the time you spend taking pictures and processing them interferes with other aspects of your job. Your time is better spent building relationships and drumming up new clients to build your business.
We have a strong background in photography and have spent thousands of hours learning the trade. We will use an eye for composition, sense of design and technical understanding of lighting, camera equipment, and software to create beautiful photographs that will literally have buyers lining up at your door. The photographs will be produced using a professional quality camera and wide-angle lens with a tripod. All images are processed using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop to render optimal image quality. The images you receive will be warm and inviting while accurately representing the space. The vertical and horizontal lines will be straight with no strange angles or lens distortion. I strive to create photographs that could just as easily grace the pages of a magazine as they would for a listing online.
3. What is the best time of day for real estate photography?
It really depends on the individual property and how is it positioned in relation to the sun. Generally, the best times to shoot an exterior are the East side in the morning and the West side later in the afternoon. The North and South sides can be photographed whenever the light is bright. This also applies to interior photographs. We try to use available light, or natural sunlight whenever possible. It's worthwhile to let us know when the sun looks great on the exterior of the house or what time an important room looks best during the day.
4. Do you offer any discounts or deals?
Yes, we do. We give discounts to agents who repeatedly hire us to photograph their listings or order multiple listings at the same time.
5. What areas do you cover?
Skytech Media Services is located in Frederick, MD. We serve all of Maryland, North of Virginia and parts of West Virginia. We are available to travel throughout the United States. Travel costs are included in each quote so please include the shoot location when inquiring.
6. How much is a shoot?
Please contact us for pricing. You might be surprised how affordable professional real estate photography can be. For an idea on what our packages are worth and what each one has check out our pricing by clicking here.
7. How much time is needed for a shoot?
The amount of time needed will vary based on each project, the complexity of the shoot, and the number of images requested. Generally, real estate photo shoots take between 1.5 and 3 hours from the time we arrive on site. Variables such as lighting conditions, styling needs, and the scope of work will affect the amount of time needed for the photo shoot. Larger properties will take longer, and some will require a full day of photography. Commercial shoots are booked in half- or full-day increments.
8. How much notice do you need to schedule my photo shoot?
Ideally, for day time photo shoots 3 - 5 days’ notice should be provided in order to get your preferred date and time. We occasionally accommodate last minute requests, but it is best not to rely on that. Twilight photo shoots are very popular and tend to fill up quicker. The more notice you can provide the better.
9. How soon will I receive the photos?
In general, for real estate photo shoots, images are delivered within 48in less than 24 hrs. Video takes around 4 to 6 hours to create. If you have a specific request or deadline, please let me know.
10. How do I book a photo shoot?
You can call, email, or request a booking online. Some properties, especially commercial buildings, benefit from location scouting and may necessitate permits or other arrangements in advance of the shoot. Sufficient advance notice ensures appointment availability and a delivery timeline consistent with your needs. If you have a last-minute booking request, go ahead and call us! We will make every effort to accommodate you. In order to confirm the photo shoot appointment, we will need certain details about the property/assignment.
11. Do you do aerial drone photos?
Yes, we do. We are licensed sUAS pilots under the FAA's Part 107 Code of Federal Regulations with a up do date insurance.
12. What is your rescheduling policy?
There are occasions where it may be necessary to reschedule due to weather. Rescheduling requests made by the client within 24 hours of the appointment time may be subject to a rescheduling fee. In the event of inclement weather or less than ideal shooting conditions, we will offer an alternative appointment time at no penalty to the client.
13. Does someone need to be present at the property at the time of the shoot?
At the time of the photo shoot it is not required to be present. Our real estate photographer is a licensed real estate agent and is able to get access from the listing agent. If clients want to be in the property while the photo shoot is taking place it will be helpful to move around furniture and clutter.
14. How should we prepare for the shoot?
The cleaner your home or business is, the better it will photograph. Always start with a good cleaning. But to help homeowners and realtors prepare for the real estate photography we have prepared a check list of things you can do to really make the home photo ready. Here is a checklist for preparing a home for a real estate shoot. In general, get rid of clutter and make sure everything is clean. If you require the help of a cleaning service or staging service, we are happy to provide a referral.
15. How are photos delivered?
Digital images are delivered via a delivery software which has is part of the property email we provide. Other methods are available upon request.
16. Can another real estate agent use the photos which I originally commissioned?
We reserve the right to license the images to additional clients, unless the original client has paid for an exclusive license. In the case where the original real estate agent lost the listing and had an exclusive license and a second agent would like to use the same photos, the second agent must obtain a written release for the license from the first agent and pay the photographer at the current rate for a new license. If the first agent is unwilling to give a written release to the second agent, the original photos may not be used by the second agent and new photos must be taken.
17. May I use images on your website for my marketing pieces?
Images on this website may not be used without written permission from the photographer. They are copyrighted material protected by law. Please do not steal. A usage license is available for many of the images that appear on this site. Please inquire.
18. What payment methods do you accept?
We accept cash, cashier’s check, money order and major credit cards. Cash is accepted in person only. Personal checks are accepted. Credit cards are accepted in person, over the phone or we will send you an invoice to your email where you can pay directly.
19. What payment terms are available?
Payment is collected at the time of booking in order to confirm the proposed date and time. Because we will turn down all other bookings for the same time, we cannot reserve any specific date and time until the shoot is confirmed. However, I am happy to place a note in my calendar to call you as a courtesy before filling a tentative, unconfirmed date. Should you confirm a shoot and need to cancel or reschedule, please provide 24 hours' notice in advance of the shoot start date/time. Your payment will be applied to the revised shoot date or future shoot within 365 days. No-shows and cancellations with less than 24 hours’ notice will be billed $75 and the rest will be deposited back into client’s account. We offer numerous payment options that provide flexibility, protection, and security. Alternate policies may be available for established clients and large organizations with specific accounting requirements. Please contact me if you have any questions or specific needs.
20. Do you offer property websites?
Yes! Feature property websites are available, which include: Fully customized for each client, including agent branding such as logos and colors, Branded and unbranded links to ensure MLS compliance, property descriptions, and listing agent information.
21. Do you photograph subjects other than houses?
Yes, we provide a variety of other photography, videography, and design services. Please explore our website for more info.
22. What other services do you offer?
To simplify the property marketing process for our clients. The following services are also available when requested at the time of booking:
- Aerial photography/videography (drone or helicopter)
- Property videography (professionally edited)
- Custom graphic design for brochures, flyers, mailers, and other materials
- Professionally written property descriptions for MLS and brochures
- Customized website
- Matterport 3D Tours
23. What types of homes do you photograph?
All types. Every property can benefit from great photography, and ultimately, so will agents who consistently emphasize high-quality photography as part of their marketing mix. Most broker websites, as well as syndication sites such as Zillow, will display the most modest listings in your portfolio right next to your largest luxury estate. It can be difficult to explain to a seller which listings “deserve” the best photography, and the consistent investment in quality ensures their confidence in how you value their business. Our clients tell us their investment in consistently high-quality photography has not only helped them sell homes faster and for a better price, but has also helped them win additional new business.
24. Can you just "photoshop" that out?
The short answer is, "Yes." However, depending on the nature of the request, digital manipulation of an image can be costly in terms of time and can often create ethical issues. In most cases the result can and should be corrected in-camera, at the shoot. For example, removing power lines could be considered misrepresentation of a listing. Shooting from an angle that minimizes the presence of those power lines, on the other hand, is both truthful and an expected component of a professional photo shoot. Similarly, digitally adding fire to a fireplace that has not been recently proven operational could result in potential liability if a chimney inspection reveals unfavorable results. However, these services are available upon request. Requests for digital manipulation will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Small edits such as removing nails from walls (which presumably will be filled before the list date) will generally be performed on a complimentary basis, but significant edits may create additional billing. If this is the case, we will supply an estimate before work begins.
25. How do I get access to everything?
Once the photos and property website are ready, you’ll receive an email with links to download the photos in high-resolution print and web/MLS sizes, as well as links to the branded and unbranded property website if applicable.
26. Do you retain the copyright to your images or are those transferred to me when I buy prints or digital images?
Yes, we retain the copyrights as is standard practice in the photography industry. You purchase a single-use, non-transferable, non-exclusive image license. For real estate agents that image license is good for the duration of your listing and expires once the listing is sold, canceled or reassigned to another agent. For all others the license does not expire. This is a non-transferable license, meaning you, as the licensee, may not sell, give or loan the photos to any other party. You do have wide leverage to use them for your marketing and promotional needs however. This license is also non-exclusive, meaning the copyright holder may sell multiple licenses for the same images. See a sample licensing agreement here.
27. What if the weather is bad on the day of my shoot?
If the weather is bad on the day of your scheduled shoot (i.e. rain, heavy clouds, snow, etc.) you will be given the opportunity to reschedule for the next available open shoot date. If you choose to proceed with the shoot as scheduled, regardless of the weather, please understand that the listed pricing does not include fixing photos for cloudy skies and such and the standard guarantee will no longer apply.
28. What are your hours? Do you have availability on weekends and holidays?
Photo shoots are scheduled all throughout the week from 10 am through twilight (note, the exact time of twilight varies through the year). Photo shoot appointments are available on the weekends and some holidays. If you have a special request outside of those hours please send an email so we can see if we can accommodate your needs.
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