When you're selling real estate, the most important information you can provide to your prospective buyer is good pictures.
Even if you include all the other relevant property information, written beautifully by a skilled copywriter… when you fail to provide a great visual representation of your property, you can inflict serious harm to your marketing efforts as a whole.
You only have a few precious seconds to “WOW” each prospective buyer who visits your listing – and if you aren't able to immediately impress them with a great visual portrayal of your property, you'll lose countless opportunities.
An Introduction to Pretty Instant
I just had a cool opportunity to hire a professional photographer through a website called Pretty Instant.
Pretty Instant is a company that helps people book photo shoots with local professional photographers for a variety of different projects.
In my case, I needed to get some great pictures of a house I was trying to sell – and since it ended up being helpful for me, I figured I would put together this review to show you what the experience was like.
If you have a one-time or ongoing need for high-quality images of the properties you're trying to sell – this may be of interest to you.
It all started when the folks at Pretty Instant reached out to me and asked if I wanted to give their service a try for free (being a real estate blogger, I get these kinds of generous offers every now and then).
The timing was actually quite good because I was in the process of moving my family to a new house and putting the old one up For Sale By Owner – so it provided a perfect opportunity for me to see what they could do.
Here's a video showing how the process went…
Note: This is NOT a sponsored or paid endorsement. I'm just showing you what my experience was like. If you want to give these guys a try, you can get 10% OFF your first booking with Pretty Instant by using discount code “retipster10” at checkout.
As you can see, the booking process is SUPER easy.
After you make all the selections for your project and the time is confirmed, a photographer will come out to your property at the appropriate date/time and get some decent pictures of the property you're trying to sell.
Keep in mind, this company does more than just real estate (they also shoot events, products, sports, portraits, weddings, etc.), but since my experience was in the context of a real estate photo shoot, that's what this review is centered around.
In most cases, when I need pictures of a property I'm trying to sell, I handle it the way most people do.
If I'm anywhere near the property, I'll swing by, whip out my phone and start snapping pictures of everything that looks interesting. The whole process will usually take about 30 minutes (or a full hour, if I include drive time).
I'm definitely NOT a pro photographer, but I'm okay – so the images are usually acceptable, but nothing amazing.
In situations where I'm not located near the subject property, I'll hire someone on Craigslist or WeGoLook and pay them somewhere in the range of $50 – $150 to visit the property and do the same thing (and the quality of these pictures will range from “average” to “subpar” – but either way, they're better than nothing).
The difference with Pretty Instant (at least, in the first job I ever booked with them) is that the pictures are actually on the pro level.
When I booked my photoshoot, the photographer who came to my property was based in the Detroit area (so he drove over 2 hours to get to my house in Grand Rapids) and I have to say – he was pretty legit.
In my short conversation with him, I learned that he had 12 years of experience, and he regularly gets hired to do photoshoots for various trade magazines and other professionals (Pretty Instant is just one of his many different sources of work).
He was also using a Nikon D810 with a semi-wide angle lens – so in terms of quality, I knew I could expect more from this guy than some amateur pointing their phone at stuff.
He shot the photos in raw format (rather than jpeg files) and he also took shots with variations on the exposure. This meant he could easily submit the images to the team at Pretty Instant and they could process the images to look as good as possible by bringing out the colors and shadows where needed, rather than being stuck with images that would look flat and boring.
Phone Pics vs. Pretty Instant
Just to show you the difference, here are a few side-by-side comparisons of our pictures.
Below, you can see the pictures I took with my iPhone 7, followed by the ones on the right were taken by the Pretty Instant photographer…
It's not that my pictures are “bad” per se, but the Pretty Instant pictures do a much better job with sharpness, clarity, the field of view, color, lighting, and positioning.
To the untrained eye, some of these differences may be subtle (I'll admit, I think a lower-end set of images can still do the job of informing prospects what a property looks like), but if you want to show a property in its best possible light, it's hard to do that without the right equipment AND (perhaps more importantly) a photographer who understands lighting, composition and knows how to use their tools properly.
I would imagine the results of each photoshoot will vary depending on a number of factors, but in most cases, if you're working with a pro, the images will probably come out significantly better than amateur point-and-shoot pictures.
Is It Worth the Cost?
When I look at the cost of using Pretty Instant (currently $199 for a Residential project), my opinion is that it's a pretty reasonable price for higher-end photos. Knowing what it takes to find a mediocre photographer from a website like Craigslist (a site that doesn't specialize in photography), it's a pretty decent price to pay.
I actually found and hired a pro photographer off Craigslist this past year for one of my vacant land deals. I ended up paying them $800 for a set of pictures that were very comparable to these images from Pretty Instant in terms of quality – so $199 is definitely not a bad deal for property photos that actually look good.
It's also worth noting that by using Pretty Instant, I can save myself a lot of time (which is probably the biggest value proposition for someone like me). I don't have to explain to them how to take good pictures, they'll just know how to do it.
Their entire system and website is designed precisely for the purpose of hiring out photographers – so instead of trying to find some stranger on the open market and explain to them what I need (or worse yet, doing the photoshoot myself), I can get a photographer lined up in a matter of seconds, and I know the quality will at least be better than average, if not really good.
Discount: Again, I'm not making any money from this, but if you want to give these guys a try, you can get 10% OFF your first booking with Pretty Instant by using discount code “retipster10” at checkout.