Frequently asked questions
How important is photography to selling a property?
Almost all house hunters start their search on the internet. From the comfort of their home, they can search for houses that match certain criteria - most notably price, location and features - and they're shown all properties that match those criteria. Usually, that consists of a photo, a description of the property and the agent's contact details. Research has shown that the quality of the single photo shown there, more than anything else, will generally determine whether they look further at the property or not. If it's blurred, dark or uninteresting, most of the time they'll write it off then and there and you'll never know that you've lost a potential customer. It's that simple. So photography, especially the first image shown, is very important.
How does your service work?
There are two basic steps in the process:
You contact us, via phone, text or email, and we arrange to photograph the property on a date and at a time convenient to you, the owner or the tenant.
We conduct the shoot, then edit and deliver the photos to you.
Do you only work for real estate agents?
How much time do you spend at the property?
The average day shoot takes about 60 minutes and twilights an additional 30 minutes, as long as the property is ready to be photographed. Additional charges may apply if the shoot takes longer so it’s important that the property be ready to help keep the time taken to a minimum and that the photographer is not distracted (for example, if the agent or owner decides to discuss or direct the shoot at the property).
What time of day is it best to start a shoot?
We normally limit shoots to between 9am and 3pm (start times) as outside these hours, we’re often having to shoot outside shots into the sun (creating a lot of glare and lens flare), we often encounter exterior shadows are unnaturally long, the lighting is more yellow than white, we get light streaming through windows that are difficult to control and counterbalance and dirt on windows tends to show up more where the sunlight hits the glass. We will, of course, shoot outside these times if requested but we take no responsibility if any of the above results in poor images.
It's cloudy or raining. Should I cancel the shoot?
Photos can often look better when it's overcast or raining. Bright sunlight creates shadows outside and makes it difficult to shoot inside, especially when streaming through windows. Cloud cover eliminates shadows and it's easier to balance the inside and outside lighting through windows. Clouds look much better than blue skies at twilight shoots, too. We often replace grey clouds to make photos look their best.
What needs to be done before the shoot?
It’s essential that the property be ready before the shoot. You should declutter the property thoroughly, that is remove or hide any objects that make rooms look untidy or that cause potential buyers to be distracted from what you want them to see (i.e. the layout of the room). Examples include unwashed dishes, fridge magnets and tea towels in kitchens, hair dryers, tooth brushes and shampoo bottles in bathrooms, colourful toys, small rugs and mats and bins generally, and large family portraits on walls. Don’t forget to also prune trees, clean windows, mow the lawn and do a general tidy-up outside. Decluttering a home is very important - the difference in the sale price between a tidy and untidy home can literally be many thousands of dollars. How many potential buyers have you lost because the property is unpleasant to look at? You may never know. NOTE: Although we will move minor items out of the frame, it is ultimately the responsibility of the home owner and/or agent to ensure the property is clean, tidy, clutter-free and otherwise ready before we arrive. If not, we will have to shoot the property in the state it’s in.
Do you do twilight shoots?
Yes. A twilight photo is one taken, usually of the exterior of the property, just after dusk or before dawn. It is used to showcase interior and exterior house lighting, pool and entertainment areas, features like fire pits, and sunsets, views of the city and the lights from the hills. Agents like twilight photos because they are more likely to grab the attention of the buyer when a home search is performed.
Timing is everything when shooting a building at twilight. That perfect moment — when the sky darkens to an indigo and the artificial lights start to glow — appears during a tiny window of just 10-15 minutes. Shoot too early and the bright sunlight will overpower the artificial lights and the wonderful glow will be lost. Shoot too late and the definition of the structure will be lost and windows and other bright lights will be set against a dull black sky.
Twilights are usually done separately to day shoots (i.e. we travel to the property twice). We do this because shooting interiors just before dusk or just after dawn results in excessively blue or black windows. Ambient lighting (daylight through windows) looks far more natural than artificial lighting (room lighting only). A well-lit twilight shoot costs a bit more but it looks fantastic, and can result in a quicker sale and/or a higher price so it’s usually worth the extra expense.
Is my house suitable for a twilight shoot?
Any house can benefit from a twilight shoot but the ideal candidate is one that has lots of exterior lighting, a clear view to the house from a distance and large, open windows. Pools make great twilight photos. Contact us if you’re not sure.
Do you work weekends?
Yes, but normally only Saturday mornings. We understand that owners and tenants often request weekend shoots as they work during the week so we try hard to accommodate such requests (but sometimes we just can't).
In what way are the photos edited?
All photographs are edited to correct distortion, to crop and straighten photos and to adjust colour temperature, exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, clarity and sharpness. If necessary, we replace skies, grass and green pool water.
Do you charge more for additional editing?
If you require additional editing (for example, to remove objects that were present when the shoot was done), we will charge an additional fee.
Will you edit unwanted items from photos?
We will, on request, remove minor artefacts from structural items (such as chipped paint on walls) where those defects will be rectified before the house is sold. However, we suggest caution in case potential buyers rely on retouched photos when they’re making a decision to purchase the property. This is only to protect you as the listing agent from being accused of misrepresenting the property. Also, it can take a lot of time to “edit out” objects from a scene. It’s always far better and cheaper if you arrange to have defects fixed, where possible, prior to the shoot.
How may photos will I get?
We generally limit the number supplied to around 30 as some listing web sites only allow around this number. We suggest that posting 20-30 images is enough to stimulate interest without showing some of the less desirable aspects of the property. Of course, if you want more photos, we're happy to do so, although we charge more, depending on the additional number of photos and the additional time taken.
How do you deliver the photos?
Photos are sent to you via secure digital file delivery over the internet and will generally be available indefinitely.
What is your cancellation policy?
We do not impose a cancellation fee, but a minimal booking/attendance/travel fee (see our Terms and Conditions page) will be charged one hour prior to the appointment, even if no photographs are taken.
Do you do location shots (e.g. the nearest park, beach, school, train station, shopping centre, etc)?
Yes, as long as it doesn’t interfere with our next appointment. Location shots may only be used in relation to the property being photographed.
Can you send me the photos urgently?
Although our standard turnaround is by close of business the next business day, we can deliver the photos within 2 hours after the shoot as long as:
you've arranged it with us well beforehand so we can decline other agents' requests to book out that time; and
you agree to pay to reserve that time from other agents.
Why can’t I download the images?
First, follow the advice in this article: “https://hightail.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/203468410-Not-Receiving-Email-Notifications”. If that doesn’t help, check the security settings in your web browser and in your anti-virus software - if they’re set too high, they may prevent you from downloading zip files from the internet. If you still can’t download the files, please contact us. NOTE: Changing browser and anti-virus software settings may make your computer vulnerable to security threats. Seek professional advice if necessary.
What if I don’t like the photos?
If you’re not 100% happy with the photos we deliver to you, we’ll re-edit the images or re-shoot the property (please let us know ASAP before you upload the photos to the web). Our number one goal is to keep you so happy that you’ll keep using our service.
Why do images appear dark/light/tinted on my monitor?
The most likely reason is because your monitor hasn’t been calibrated to industry standards. Our monitors are calibrated frequently. We suggest adjusting your monitor’s brightness, contrast and colour temperature controls to mid-range levels. However, if you want them re-edited to suit your taste, we’re only too happy to oblige.
How are the fees determined?
Our fees are based according to the total amount of time spend on each job (to travel to and from the property, to photograph the property and to edit and deliver those photos). Currently, that's $120 per hour, including GST (and we reserve the right to amend that amount without notice). However, agents usually prefer to know in advance what the price of a job is. For this reason, our services page lists various standard packages (and their prices) that are based on a typical, average job. If a job takes longer to complete (as is the case with extended travel, shooting or editing time, or where additional expenses are incurred), we will charge accordingly.
Can I get a discount?
Basically, no. We believe our fees are fair, competitive and provide excellent value for money. Also, once we give you a discount, you will expect that price in the future and we'd then feel that we need to reduce the price for our other clients. The one exception is if we shoot two or more properties within 100 metres of each other at the same time.
However, we will, at our discretion, work out how many photographs we will deliver to accommodate your budget.
How do you invoice us?
We issue a single monthly invoice to each agency to cover all shoots for all agents in that agency toward the end of the month, unless requested otherwise. Payment is required within 14 days. Our ABN and bank account details appear on our tax invoice statements.
I don't charge Vendor-Paid Adverting. What can I do to convince vendors to at least pay for professional photography?
Homes that are photographed professionally generally sell quicker and often sell for more than those that are not because good photos attract more potential buyers. The basic cost of photographing a typical Perth residence is about 1% of the total commission paid by the vendor. It also means that you're more likely to sell before your listing period expires.
How can I convince vendors to use you?
We can supply you with training and with brochures outlining our services. Go to our Resources page for materials that may assist you getting that listing.
Are you registered for GST purposes?
Yes. Our ABN is 67 345 328 911 and appears on our invoices.
What sort of equipment do you use?
We only use professional gear to ensure that you get only the best possible photographs, including full-frame DSLR camera bodies, wide-angle lenses and high-end flash systems. We only shoot in a format known as raw and edit every photograph using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom photo editing software on colour-calibrated Apple iMac computers. We backup all photographs to NAS storage units as well as archiving them off-site for a minimum of 5 years.
How far do you travel?
If the property is located within the Perth metropolitan area, standard package fees apply. However, we charge and hourly rate for travel outside of the Perth metropolitan area.
Do you charge to pick up keys and take them back to our office?
Generally no, as long as it’s no more than 5 kilometres from your office to the property and it doesn’t interfere with other work we need to do.
Any issues with tenants and strata titled complexes?
We occasionally encounter security and privacy concerns from other owners and tenants within complexes, as they are entitled to privacy and quiet enjoyment of the property they own or are leasing. We will endeavour to do our best to carry out our duties but reserve the right to leave if we feel our safety is compromised. It is the agent's responsibility to ensure we have the appropriate permissions and safe access to the premises (including common areas) so that we may complete our work. Failure to do so will still result in us charging full price for the shoot.
We do not have any rights as far as access to properties under the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 goes and tenants may demand that we leave at any time. Accordingly, we tend to tread very carefully in tenanted properties. This means that we will generally not move their belongings except where we have their permission. It is up to the agent to be on site and to request permission from the tenant if they require that items be moved so they don’t appear in the photo.
Who owns copyright to the photos?
All copyright ownership rights (expressed or implied) will be retained by us, unless an agreement has been made in writing to the contrary (or in certain circumstances where specified in the Copyright Act 1968).
How does licensing work?
With very few exceptions, photographers own the images they take. THEY determine how those photographs are to be used via licensing agreements, which spell out in what way the images may be used, the geographic regions within which the images may be used, the time period parties are allocated to use the images, the exclusivity or non-exclusivity of the arrangement and the terms applicable to the relicensing of the images. A written licensing agreement is meant to protect both parties’ interests in the images.
While we maintain ownership of the photos, we grant you a non-transferable, non-exclusive, limited license to use the photos for any purpose in relation to advertising, marketing or promoting the property being sold or leased, including to store, archive, edit, print, display, reproduce and transmit the photos as long as payment is received within 21 days from the date on our invoice. The right to use photos in relation to a particular property is limited to the life of the listing with the current owner of the property (i.e., if the property is listed again before the current property is sold or leased, you may continue to use the photos without further charge until the new listing ends). All efforts must be made to remove materials from web sites, social media etc following the end of the listing.
Photos may not be sold, leased, reused in a later sale or leasing of the property, or otherwise transferred to any other person (including to the owners of the property or to other agencies), unless where expressly agreed to by us in writing.
Location photographs taken or provided in relation to a property may only be used in relation to that property and not in relation to any other property.
Use of photos outside of these guidelines will constitute a breach of our copyright. We reserve the right to use the photos for promotional purposes and to transfer copyright or to relicense the images - this includes to other real estate agencies.
How can I get to own the photos?
We are happy to transfer outright ownership of the photographs to you but the cost to you of doing so will be much greater than the cost of licensing them for a limited amount of time (i.e. for the few months while you have the listing). The price to do so will range between $250 to $500 per photograph, depending on usage, but you will be able to then use the photos for whatever purpose you choose, for example in your brochures, on your website and to sell to others. Once payment is made, we will deliver the photos at the highest possible resolution and in the format you require, and will permanently remove all copies of the photos from public display.
Can I have the raw files?
No. Raw files are, quite literally, the raw data that is captured by the camera sensor and requires a lot of processing to turn them into something that can be viewed on screen or printed.
What happens if I infringe copyright?
Copyright infringements will result in a demand letter being sent to the licensee of the agency involved. The amount of compensation sought will be based on a number of factors, including usage, circulation, the flagrancy of the infringement, the need to deter similar infringements of copyright, and the conduct of the agency after being alerted that they were using images without permission, and will be in the range of $500 to $2,000 per photograph. If appropriate, a request to takedown the images immediately from all websites will be made.
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