7 Questions to Consider When Picking a Real Estate Photographer

Sunset from a back porch with wine bottle and wine glasses on table.

Gates and Allen, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lewis and Clark. In business or life, everyone benefits from having a partner, someone who shares your ambitions, possesses valuable skills and experiences, and does what it takes to support you in the quest to achieve your dreams. 

Real estate professionals need partners, too, and my professional photographer is among my most valued. Consider today’s reality on buyer behaviors and you’ll understand why my professional photographer is critical to my agency’s success.  

Nine out of ten homebuyers start their search online. If someone clicks on my listing, beautiful photographs always make that great first impression—my equivalent of a first showing! If the photography does not catch their eye and have that wow factor, a potential buyer will move on to the next home. Plus, my photographer enables me to differentiate my marketing efforts and maintain consistently high standards of quality.

I pride myself on taking different marketing angles and approaches to achieve that fast sale. As my partner, my photographer possesses the same creativity and work ethic.

There’s no perfect formula in choosing a partner; Bob Gassen of VHT Studios and I just clicked after a few photography sessions. After working with many photographers, I have learned what to look for in that perfect, long-term partner. These questions will help you determine if your current photographer is the right fit for you and your business. 

1. Are they a team player? 

Bob is responsive to my needs. He’s an extension of my team. He listens really well and he’s always thinking about ways to present my listings (and me) in the best possible light to my clients. I’m not just selling a home; I’m building my brand. My photography partner also serves as my brand ambassador.

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2. Are they creative and flexible?

I’ve met many photographers with deep knowledge and background. How they leverage their expertise is something that comes from a passion within. Bob’s passion for beautiful photography results in that shot that others miss. He thinks hard about how a listing should be presented and he has the patience to wait for the best conditions to get a knock-out photograph.

Bob brings me new and different ideas and “shares the lens” with me so he can share his perspective.  He’ll be sure we’re in agreement on the focal point of each room. Our working relationship clicks because we know how to communicate.  

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3.Are they willing to overcome obstacles? 

Weather often makes photographing clients’ homes unpredictable.  It’s common to get two days of sunlight followed by three weeks of clouds and rain. Bob’s rain-dodging solution was to shoot a client’s home on a sunny Sunday—his day off. That was a pretty big deal for me. 

On another shoot, of a 1970s split-level, Bob insisted on capturing the fabulous 180-degree view of the Seattle skyline at twilight. He returned on his own schedule at sunset to capture his awe-inspiring perspectives.

Recently, I sold a million-dollar home in the Finn Hill neighborhood of Kirkland for more than $50,000 over list price in less than a week. The property has absolutely beautiful views of Lake Washington, downtown Seattle and the surrounding neighborhood. But smoke from northwest wild fires made it impossible to shoot good photos.  We monitored wind patterns and Bob returned for another stunning twilight session.  He captured sunset and cloud structure from a beautiful angle. It was awesome.

Bob also insisted the home be shot at twilight, which wasn’t planned. He came back another time and worked his magic on the home’s exterior shots, the city lights and their reflection on the water. It was simply fantastic. And the client was shocked to sell for six per cent over list price –the highest sale ever in that area.

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4. Will they be a referral engine for you?

Sellers and buyers remember gorgeous photography. Capturing that perfect shot and delivering consistently beautiful images of a home makes you and your business memorable and makes your photographer an in-house referral engine. When you provide stunning photographs of the most expensive thing your clients will ever buy or sell, they admire your professionalism and they’ll happily spread word-of-mouth about you.

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5. Can your photographer offer a trial of the customer experience?

Be sure your partner can show you how their photo ordering system is streamlined and will easily integrate into your system. If you seek changes to a photograph, can you easily use online tools or will you face a cumbersome and delayed process? Ask your photography company to walk you through a change request. That’s a true test of a customer-friendly interface.

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6. Is their delivery streamlined?  

Time is of the essence when it comes to listing photographs. If edits are needed, they have to be turned around quickly. Confirm with your partner how quickly you’ll receive photography files after the photo shoot.

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7. Can they provide reliable support?

Clients expect prompt replies.  If I work on weekends and need customer support on Saturdays, my photography company should be there to help with a live professional who responds to phone calls.

The best partnerships result when each person aims for excellence in everything they do and strives to be open and flexible on the job and in the way they communicate.  Like any partnership, the best ones take time, commitment, flexibility and hard work.  I’m lucky to have all of those qualities in my photography partner.



Nate Short is Managing Broker, Realtor® with Windermere Real Estate and has more than 17 years of providing excellent, results-oriented service that helps clients reach their goals with confidence. Contact Nate at NateShort@Windermere.com.

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