Before I started, I needed a baseline. I decided to take some time and examine the quality of photography in real estate.
As you can imagine, the quality of photography was inconsistent and, at times, pretty funny. I viewed dozens and dozens of photographs that had everything from Realtors reflecting in bathroom mirrors to oversaturated fake grass composited in Photoshop.
To find out how consumers interact with real estate photography, I decided to start my research by conducting qualitative research. I conducted in-person and online interviews. This is what I discovered:
- Consumers start the home search online, or more specifically, on Google. They search for homes in a specific location, for example, “homes for sale in Kelowna BC”
- Consumers utilize media company websites such as Zillow and Trulia, particularly tools that include school information and market reports. Interestingly, after visiting these websites, the participants that I interviewed circled back to a local broker’s website to make contact.
- The participants that I interviewed generally had a favorable impression of searching for a home online. However, photography was wildly inconsistent.
- Every participant agreed that photography was critical in the home search process. In fact, if they did not like a photograph, they would move on to the next listing.
- Amateur photography made the home look inconsistent when viewing it in person. Professional photography gave a better sense of the home and appeared more accurately in-person.
- Consumers want more photographs in photo galleries, and larger photographs were preferred in all instances. In many cases, participants indicated that they viewed all of the photos available.
- What I found super-intriguing was that the sequential order of the photography made a difference. The participants I interviewed wanted to see the photos flow in an order emulating how they would naturally walk through a home. They wanted the first photo to be of the exterior, capturing the entire property, and then see photos that take them through the home. The last photo should be an exterior shot of the rear of the house.