A House Is Not A Home

on September 21, 2015

Polly Adler was right for many reasons...not the least of which concerns the business of real estate photography. Her houses may have attracted more police interest than the average set of units in City Beach, but the local market for digital images is absolutely huge.

Huge. To some extent it seems even to dwarf the catalogue and flyer trade that pushes pictures of lamb chops and potato crisps into our post boxes every week. Real estate pictures are everywhere - even in a lot of places that do not have real estate. They seem to be necessary for any offer of sale and can amount to works of art in their own right.

It is not an easy game, apparently. Even though the subjects that will be photographed do not move - except in New Zealand - the light that falls on them does. Making the property look good is the general purpose and this sometimes requires shooting at ungodly hours. External light may not play nice when internal views are needed so separate hours are required. Also lots of additional light sources, gels, wide angle lenses, tripods, and bad language.

The additional complication of occupants in the buildings means that the real estate shooter must be a personal negotiator. Someone has to clean the place up the right way at the right time and keep it clean until the pictures are taken. The real estate shooter needs to have the eye of a hawk to spot potential troubles in the image - it costs time and money to remove these sorts of things in post-production.

I'm continually impressed by the real estate shooters who come into the shop - they are the most inventive people in the world. And they are not afraid to try new things - when they need to do eye-catching shots they go up on giant ladders or put cameras up on extendable poles - or equally belly flop on the ground. They own and use flying drones. And they have an eye for design and interior decoration that sometimes has eluded their clients.

But one question remains...is it they who take those terrible portraits of the real estate agents that appear on bus shelters and public rubbish bins? If so, is it art or revenge...?