Category Archives: marketing

Real Estate Video leverages Sunshine Coast property marketing .

Watch marketing coach Tom Ferry talks about real estate video and how it can help real estate agents improve their marketing:

Here’s what he said:

1. Start your marketing with a real estate video.

So if you’re a real estate agent then Tom suggests that you need to do a real estate video tour of a property before you do your flyers, your postcards, and everything else.

“You shoot a video first on everything you do.” – Tom Ferry

Yes, he said “video first on EVERYTHING”, which means every listing and not just your $1million+ listings. That’s how important real estate video tours are today, and will be in 2018.

Why use video to market Sunshine Coast real estate? The reasons are as valid now as when I blogged about them six years ago!

  • video is engaging. It will hold a viewer’s attention longer than a static photo.
  • by telling a story appropriate to a target demographic, video can create an emotional hook between the content and the viewer. (Note: “telling a story” does not mean pan around empty rooms and replicate what the photos already tell the viewer).
  • video can deliver not only the spatial flow of the home, but also include the sounds of the home, further evoking emotional response. (Sell the sizzle, not the steak). Great for the long-distance buyer.
  • video distribution via Youtube and social media sites increases the visibility of any given property from a search engine standpoint.
  • video boosts the agent’s own brand power, in part by showing that the agent is willing to utilise new marketing technologies. By introducing the property on-camera the agent can begin a relationship with prospective buyers.

2. Use Facebook Live video.

Tom also mentions the importance of using Facebook Live (which he mispronounces).

What can real estate agents do with a Facebook Live video?

Well, you answer the questions and concerns that people in your area have when it comes to buying and selling real estate. How do you find that? You ask them, and it’s as easy as posting an image or a post on your Facebook Page, and say, “What scares you the most about buying and selling real estate?” Use all of the feedback they give you to create lots of lots of small, simple videos of you addressing those concerns.

Still not sure?

“Google said that 85% of the world’s content will be video by 2019.” – Tom Ferry

That’s a huge number, but there’s a reason for that:

“The business argument for using more video is simple: it works.

The Web Video Marketing Council (WVM) says online video has become a crucial part of the sales and marketing programs for most business-to-business (b2b) organisations, with 96% of those surveyed saying they now engage in video content marketing. Nearly three-quarters report a positive impact on their marketing results.”

– ‘Show, don’t tell: How video is swamping the internet‘, BBC News

Meanwhile over at Facebook they’re saying that it will probably be all video by around 2019 or 2020:


As mentioned, I blogged about video 6 years ago. Back then it was “the hot new thing”, and certainly, early adopters have been reaping benefits such as;

  • exposure for the agent’s brand, leading to…
  • increased listings
  • reduced time-on-market
  • higher sale prices

But it seems now that, because of factors such as improving internet speeds, the massive increase in our use of social platforms and the embracing of video by those platforms, that video has come into its own and will continue to flourish as a marketing tool.

Propertyshoot films a real estate video on the Sunshine Coast
Jon May of Propertyshoot using a portable jib, or ‘crane’, to create a video clip in a Sunshine Coast home.

The advantages of a twilight shoot when selling real estate on The Sunshine Coast.

When it comes to marketing a home for sale on the Sunshine Coast, the photography is of utmost importance and can have a significant impact upon the property’s sale price and the time on market. Great imagery is a hallmark of any product marketing campaign, whether selling hamburgers or luxury cars, and since a home is a product for sale just like any other, it should be marketed as such.

However, is it better to book a twilight shoot or a daytime shoot?

Here’s a comparison for you. Now obviously every home will be different, but in this example we have a daytime photo of the exterior of this home:


… and here is a twilight photo of the same property:

Twilight real estate photographby Propertyshoot Sunshine Coast

I do like aspects of both shots, but the twilight photo, with its strong colors and great lighting, is going to stand out a whole lot more when competing against other homes in the same area.

A daytime shoot can work very well on a bright sunny day, especially for homes with fabulous ocean or hinterland views, or that have strong exterior colors that look great when the sun is hitting them. However cityscape views definitely look terrific in the evening.

Homes that suit a twilight real estate photo shoot will ideally have a lot of windows or sliding doors that not only spill warm inviting light  onto the patio or pool, but also allow a glimpse into the interior (which is usually almost black in a daytime exterior photo). Garden or pool lighting will also show well in photos taken at dusk. The glow of the lights inside the home, the absence of shadows from the sun, and either a stunning sunset or cobalt blue evening sky, all combine to create a visually appealing image.

“With the warm interior lights contrasting against the cool blues of the evening sky, a twilight photo embodies hearth and home, and  resonates with our primordial need for shelter & protection.”

Twilight real estate phtograph by Propertyshoot Sunshine Coast

Twilight shoots can also make a property stand out among the many  other properties for sale in their area, especially in places where daytime shoots are the norm. As Kalgoorlie real estate  photographer Shane Cullen said:

“For me twilights stand out so much more when buyers are looking for a property. If you are searching through 100’s of listings and see one all lit up and with a beautiful sunset behind it you are more likely to click on it and view the property. For me it is in the top 3 tips for marketing a property.”

A real estate photographer in Ohio, Sandy Rybka, agrees:

“A twilight image of a home can really help viewers take that second look to see more of a home inside as well. If the outside is more appealing then they will have more curiosity to look at the other parts of the home.”

So twilight shoots add to the appeal and beauty of a home, and perhaps that has something to do with them looking a little different. We don’t often see a home all lit up like that just after sunset, and when you add in one of nature’s true wonders – a beautiful sunset – then we find that hard to resist.

Twilight real estate photography by Propertyshoot Sunshine Coast

Johanna Zolg, a real estate photographer in Warwick, Queensland, said:

“Sunsets are also very appealing to a lot of people, and are one of the subjects most frequently photographed by any genre of photographer. Sunsets have something calm and relaxing about them.”

Are there times when a twilight shoot is not appropriate?

As I mentioned earlier a home with an ocean view may be better off being photographed during the day, and if a home has no front windows then a twilight shot may not be appropriate because you won’t have the glowing lights (unless there are a good number of exterior lights).

But just about any home will look better at twilight than it will during the day, and they will stand out in any marketing campaign, adding that extra level of glamour that can take a home from ordinary to extraordinary!

But do twilight shoots really help to sell a home?

A real estate agency in Sydney decided to test the difference between daytime professional photography and evening professional photography, and here’s what they found:

“This house was track­ing at about 1,000 views in one week with about 10 call-ins. Then we changed the photo the next week (noth­ing else) to a twi­light shot. Guess what? Where views nor­mally drop off (because it is con­sidered a stale list­ing after 1 week), they picked up by approx­im­ately 50% to 1,500 views and 15 call-ins in a week when inquir­ies tra­di­tion­ally drops off.”

So that’s 50% more people who viewed the property, and 50% more people who contacted the selling agent to find out more about it. If you’re not sure, feel free to test this yourself and compare how well a daytime photo shoot compares with the twilight photos, and see if you notice a difference. I would think that, on average, you will see a better result when using twilight photography for most homes.

What about photography prices for a twilight shoot?

A lot of professional real estate photographers will have higher fees for their twilight shoots. Due to obvious time restrictions, a photographer can only deliver one twilight shoot per day. Some people ask their real estate photographer if they have other jobs to attend to after completing an evening shoot, but in most situations that just isn’t possible. Once it gets dark (about 30 minutes after the sun goes down), then that’s about it for the day as it just gets too dark to adequately photograph a property. This restriction on the number of shoots, and their high demand, leads to a premium price being introduced by most experienced photographers.

Frequently asked questions about twilight shoots:

Do twilight shoots help homes that have no curb appeal?

Yes, I think they can work really well in that situation, because they get the most out of what you’ve got. When you add in the glow of the interior lights, some nice exterior lighting, and an amazing sunset full of color and vibrance, well it’s going to work well in most situations.

Why do photographers take the exterior shots so early?

When you are looking at a home with your eyes, they can look better later in the evening, some times very late. However, a camera does not have the same range to adapt to bright and dark areas, and so when photographing a home it is better to do it earlier (often 10 to 20 minutes after sunset) rather than later so that the contrast between the bright lights and the exterior of the home is not too much. If you’ve ever seen a photo of a house when inside looks super bright, like some kind of explosion is going on, and outside is really dark and it’s hard to really see anything, then you know what I mean. The photographer may also composite together parts of photos taken up to an hour apart; an earlier house exterior with a later sky for example.

An experienced real estate photographer will know just the right time to shoot a property, given the sunset time, the direction the property faces, and the amount of lighting inside and outside a home.

(all photos by Propertyshoot Photography)

The benefits of virtual furniture for real estate sales and rentals on The Sunshine Coast.

It can often happen; you have a home, apartment or unit for sale or rent on The Sunshine Coast and the owners or previous tenants have moved on, leaving the dwelling completely empty of furniture. As a tempting marketing morsel, a photo of an empty room has far less appeal than one that is tastefully furnished. It used to be that, if the budget allowed, one might rent a house-lot of real furniture to dress up the place and impart a homey vibe so as to entice folk to visit. However, advances in 3D modelling have provided a second, cheaper solution: virtual furniture.

Virtual furniture:

“… has proven excellent results in us being able to achieve maximum interest levels and numbers attending our open-for-inspections, with the subsequent leasing of that property quickly, at the highest rental return possible.”

– Sarah Latham, owner and director of Latham Cusack Property Services’ North Shore office

The quote above was from a blog post at Residential Property Manager called “Turning to the virtual world for real life success“, and if you’re not familiar with it, virtual furniture is a service offered by many real estate photographers where they use Photoshop or 3D software to add furniture to an otherwise empty room.

As Sarah notes in her article, the use of virtual furniture in her rentals has helped to attract more tenants, meaning less time that a property is left vacant.

The presence of virtual furniture helps Sunshine Coast viewers gauge the size of a room, and can open their eyes to a space’s potential. If the VF is tastefully chosen it can add perceived value to the otherwise-empty dwelling, much in the way that garnishes artistically arranged around a meal can make it appear more appetising. This psychological appeal may help garner a higher asking price.

And as noted in the Daily Mail article, “The latest real estate trick to lure buyers“:

“Sellers are saving ‘thousands’ of dollars by paying photography companies to add virtual furniture to their photos instead of hiring the real thing…”

What about the buyers? Are they annoyed by seeing photos of a furnished home and arriving to find that it’s empty when they visit? According to real estate agent Graham Green that hasn’t been a problem for him, and he has used virtual furniture a lot:

‘At the end of the day the better looking it is the more people who will fall in love with it’.

Or as one virtual furniture service provider mentioned in this article, “Virtual reality technology transforms real estate“:

“We say it is for illustration only; if people come through and say, ‘where’s the furniture?’, be honest and tell them it is digitally staged.”

Most buyers are fairly understanding of that, so long as the actual features and presentation of the home they are thinking of buying isn’t changed. In other words, when it comes to digitally altering images for real estate sales, placing a dining table in a room that was actually empty when the photographer took the photo is fine, but repairing a large hole in a wall is not. In real estate marketing it all comes down to what’s permanent, and what’s temporary, and virtual furniture is very temporary.

Here are a few samples of virtual furniture so you can see what’s possible:

Do you think that the use of virtual furniture is in any way deceptive? Leave a comment below.

Knowledge of capture and processing techniques trumps how expensive your camera is.

Occasionally photographers hear the comment, “Gee, you must have a good camera!” It’s certainly meant as a compliment but I thought that I’d show you a situation (one of many) where a good camera alone could not cut the mustard, and where the photographer’s knowledge and technique were essential in producing an acceptable result.

Recently I photographed Noosa’s fabulous Ricky’s Restaurant, which has the most beautiful outlook of any on the coast IMO. You walk in and can’t tear your eyes off the river glittering just beyond the equally sparkling table settings.

I set up the camera, dialed in an exposure that favoured the interior and made the first shot below. Hmmm… underwhelming. The windows are too bright and the colours of the walls, door frames and floor are rather washed out. Now that’s a $3000 camera and lens and it still can’t always produce a photo that matches the human experience!

Unedited restaurant shot by Propertyshoot Sunshine Coast


In the second shot that gob-smacking view is clearly seen. The tablecloths are bright and white and the glassware and cutlery sparkles. To do that I lit the woodwork and floor and each individual table with flash, then made a separate shot for the view. It ended up requiring parts of 8 shots to form the completed photo. Is it a misrepresentation? I believe that I merely compensated for the inadequacies of the camera and made an image which closely captures how I saw the restaurant when I walked in.

Edited restaurant marketing photograph by Propertyshoot Photography Sunshine Coast

And which shot would prompt you to pick up the phone and make a booking? That reaction is what marketing photography should stimulate.

Would you like something similar for your marketing?

Marketing Photography – applying an interior lighting technique to a products and services shoot.

I recently had the opportunity to shoot some marketing photos for Noosa company “Classic Coffee Roasters”, whose visual signature is an awesome customised VW Kombi. We met up early one morning on the Noosa river. I wanted to light the van so that it would stand out from its background, and it was immediately apparent that the van’s  interior, and Sam the barista, would also benefit from additional light. Although I had a studio flash on a stand providing a wash of light onto the van’s exterior, it wasn’t of any use for lighting the interior, as cranking up the flash’s power merely caused the coffee machine and the van’s pneumatic hood to cast hard shadows. Out came the trusty FOS (“flash-on-a-stick”). Armed with a wireless remote to fire the camera I was able to light various parts of the interior, and Sam, and then combine the lit parts of those photos to create a finished composite. And because Sam was the only object in the scene that moved, he could be placed into the interior in different poses. It’s a cool technique that can also be applied to any photos of interiors, with or without people, in a home, office, bar or restaurant.

Photo of Customised VW Kombi coffee van by Propertyshoot Photography Sunshine Coast
Completed photo


Behind the scenes photo showing Propertyshoot Photography at work.
Behind the scenes – lighting the interior.

Behind the Scenes

Like the fine art of cat skinning, there is more than one way to photograph the front of a home. Each method produces results pretty much in line with the time invested; from a single ‘snap’ to a composite of multiple photos, each individually lit, taken over 30 minute window. Here is a short video that shows one way of capturing and processing such a photograph shot at twilight.

Found light often the best light.

Property photographers seldom have the luxury of scouting a property in order to choose the best time of day when the sun is showcasing the home. Hopefully the vendor has a good idea of when that might be, and communicates this to their sales agent who books the photographer. So I was rather pleased to turn up at this home yesterday and find the afternoon sun and venetian blinds playing nice together.

Sunlit interior by

However it IS possible to manipulate light if there’s not enough of it in the right place. In this shot, the light pattern on the floor is natural, however the stripes on the dining table were created by placing a flash outside the window on the left.

sunlit interior 2 by

The Front Shot Rules!

Here’s an interesting article that reports research examining the way in which people scan RE listings. “Researchers tracking the eye movements of subjects who looked at online home listings found that more than 95% of users viewed the first photo—the one that shows the exterior of the home—for a total of 20 seconds. After that, their eyes tended to flit all over the screen…”

Interesting that while the front shot garnered most attention (20 secs), there was a 5-way tie for second place, with photos of other rooms sharing equal eyeball time of 8 secs.
Read the whole article here