The Value of Photography in Lamorinda Real Estate Marketing

For those who know me well, they understand my deep passion for photography.  Beginning as a youth with a father who shot professionally, my childhood bedroom was located next to a professional darkroom where I was first exposed to what would become a life-long obsession.  I was given my first film camera at about age 6, and bought my first Nikon professional 35mm camera with my own money at age 17.  A year earlier, I had spent several days with my photographic “idol”, Ansel Adams, at one of the many workshops he conducted for young photographers in Yosemite.  Film cameras of all sizes and shapes became my traveling companions until about 6-7 years ago when I retired most in favor of a wide array of digital cameras, lenses and accessories.  My “darkroom” became a high-powered computer with a 30 inch monitor and lots of disc drives.

With heavy parental pressure to take a less risky route in life, I pursued grad school and business career instead of my artistic passion, but have stayed current on technology and photographic techniques over the years — spending much of my limited “free time” shooting and editing.  I’ve also had the opportunity to shoot with and learn from some of the finest photographers in the world, including a week working with Greg Gorman in 2012 — a week that I’ll never forget.

Given this rather unique background, it is therefore understandable why the photographic presentation of the Lamorinda homes that we list is so important to me.  I am extraordinarily particular about who I hire to professionally photograph our listings, and on rare occasions have shot properties myself when I wasn’t able to book one of the architectural photographers that I know will produce the quality images that I believe make a huge difference in attracting buyers to the property.  My wife has always thought I was “too obsessive” evaluating our Lamorinda real estate photos, and being so deliberate in ordering them for maximum emotional impact.

I finally ran across some external validation for my strong belief that the quality of real estate photography and how the images are presented online makes a difference in consumer perception, their interest in the property, AND the ultimate price received.  Florida International University Associate Professor of Finance, Ken Johnson, studied almost 4100 listings to determine the value of high quality, detailed real estate photography.  Published in the Wall St. Journal, his analysis concluded that a robust set of high quality photographs, properly presented with the right ratio of interior vs. exterior images, will add up to 5% to a home’s value.  Interestingly, his study also showed that the additional, detailed images added about 20% to a home’s marketing time because consumers spend longer processing the additional information online before jumping in and deciding to buy.  This may help to explain several listings that we had over the last year or so that spent 2-3 weeks on-market, and then ended up with multiple offers!

So, for those who believe that a picture is “worth a thousand words”, apparently it’s really worth thousands of dollars to sellers when presented correctly.

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