FAQ for Agents
Real Estate Photography
Why have you got such a huge FAQ page?
Elemental photography has shot hundreds of properties in the last few years, as a situation arises we jot it down and chalk it off as a learning experience. Whatever is written here you can be sure that someone has asked us that exact question or in some cases assumed that our skill set extended to areas beyond photography. We have found it helps to have some ground rules so that we can get down to what we do best (produce quality photographs). While we are happy to accommodate most client requests we would also like to make clients aware that many of these "simple" requests have a time element attached, the most time-consuming requests always begin with the words "can you just".
What do you provide during a typical MLS shoot?
A professional photographer with a good eye, plenty of experience and the right equipment to get the job done.
Output - 15 - 35 high-quality images of a property
Images are provided as:
High resolution, TIF or JPG format - 8”x12” @300 dpi, suitable for large format printing.
Low resolution, JPG format - optimised for MLS, suitable for website and email
Consistent reliable delivery (24-48 hours)
How much notice time is required?
We appreciate 48 hours but it is always worth seeing if there is a gap in the schedule. Demand for services vary throughout the year.
What are your office hours?
Our office hours are flexible and depend on client requirements, however, images for MLS are typically taken Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am - 4pm. Twilight shots are taken after 4pm although the time will vary depending on the time of year.
What about weekends and Holidays?
Need a photo shoot on weekends or Holidays? Give us a call and we’ll make arrangements! We add $40 to our regular fee for shoots on these days.
How long does a typical MLS real estate shoot take?
Photo shoots usually take between 60 and 120 minutes. There are a number of variables which affect the time taken including the size and complexity of the property the requested package and the readiness of the location. If other packages have been requested as well it may take considerably longer.
What are the critical factors in producing good images?
It's a combination of factors - but without taking away from our skill as photographers I would say that ensuring the property is neat and de-cluttered is as important as the photographer. A messy, cluttered house will reflect badly no matter how skilled the photographer.
What should I do to prepare my house?
There are a quite a few elements involved in making a house presentable for taking photographs - for a list of the most common elements have a look here, or you can download the page as a PDF. It is important that the property is photo ready before the photographer gets there, photographers may adjust tiny items but they will not make your property photo ready.
Why will the photographer not move items around the property?
Photographers are trained and paid to shoot beautiful photos – not to stage the interior of a home. It's not just a question of skill sets. Foremost, it’s a question of liability. There’s always a risk involved in moving objects around. Some things could break if moved or get damaged. There is also the possibility of the property getting damaged as the result of an object being moved or of the photographers getting hurt themselves. So as not to appear totally useless we will remove little distracting objects like towels on the stove.
property is not ready for the photoshoot and the photographer is there?
While we allocate plenty of time for a shoot this does not include time to get a property photo ready. If a property is not ready the property representative or agent will be asked if they wish for the shoot to proceed as is, if not a $75 fee for lost opportunity and gas at CRA rates will be charged and the shoot can be rescheduled.
Can I stage/clean the rooms as you shoot?
No. Experience has shown that staging rooms will take too much time, please make sure the property is completely ready for the photo-shoot prior to our staff arrival. It may be better to sacrifice a room or the garage if you have one and stack any overflow items there.
Do we need to reschedule for rainy/overcast days?
We only reschedule for rain. Overcast days often help the photographer by reducing the extreme light conditions that occur on sunny days, this is especially true of the 3D tour.
What is your Cancellation/Reschedule Policy?
Due to the nature of the industry, we understand that there are many occasions when it is necessary to reschedule or cancel an appointment. Appointments can be canceled or rescheduled up to the day before the appointment at no charge. However, there is a $50 fee for same-day cancellation and a $75 plus travel at CRA rates for on-site cancellation. Cancellation includes photo shoots that cannot proceed due to property access constraints, property not ready for photo shoot, etc.
What is your turnaround time for photographs?
Our editors make the photos available between 24 and 48 hours from the end of the shoot unless an alternative arrangement is made with the agent. The exception to this are images shot on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays or public holiday weekends, images will be delivered within 48 hours of the end of the weekend or Public Holiday. For Friday shoots images are delivered by end of day Monday.
Rush Delivery: If you need your photos delivered within 24 hours, we’ll raise your order to the highest priority in the editing queue and ensure it is delivered within that time period for a $40 fee.
How do you deliver the images?
We run a digital office. You will be sent a link via e-mail which allows you to access and download your images via WeTransfer or Dropbox. Once downloaded the link will expire in 7 days and files will not be accessible from this source. Images can also be placed on a DVD and delivered to your premises for a $30 fee.
Can we get the photographs from you again at a later date?
We keep a copy of the shoot for 30 days after which it may be deleted. It is best to make sure that once you have downloaded the photographs you keep them safe. You are welcome to ask us for copies after 30 days but please be aware that we may not have retained the photographs.
How and when do I pay for my shoot?
Cash, cheque or e-transfer are all great ways to pay for the shoot, of the three we prefer e-transfer. We will supply you with an invoice for your records. HST of 15% is applicable on all service costs in Nova Scotia.
We ask first time clients to pay for services at the time of the shoot or before the delivery of photographs. Long-term and high volume client payments are 15 days Net from Invoice.
Do you use photoshop?
Yes. We do post-processing on most photographs. Typical procedures on all photographs include the removal of lens distortion, colour correction, photo sharpening and straightening of at least one axis - normally the vertical axis.
Can you just photoshop it?
We are pretty good at photoshop and certain processes are applied to photographs as a matter of routine (see above) anything extra takes time and is outside the scope of a basic MLS shoot. We are happy to work on photographs but before we do so the client needs to specify what changes they are looking for and we will send you a quote for the work. Costs need to be acknowledged and approved before work proceeds. Typical requests include the removal or addition of artwork to the walls, blurring of family photos, the removal of furniture etc. We will not remove permanent structures or objects that would misrepresent a property in any way, this includes stains and damage to walls, doors etc.
The photographer retains the copyright to the images as is standard practice in the photography industry. You purchase a single use, non-transferable, non-exclusive image license. For real estate agents that image license is good for the duration of your listing and expires once the listing is sold, canceled or reassigned to another agent. This is a non-transferable license, meaning you, as the licensee, may not sell, give or loan the photos to any other party. You have wide leverage to use them for your marketing and promotional needs that the photographs or video were commissioned for.
This license is also non-exclusive, meaning the copyright holder (the photographer) may sell multiple licenses for the same images (if you do not sell the property and the next agent would like to purchase the photographs the photographer may sell them to the new agent).
Basically, the artist is protecting themselves from the use of their material for other purposes. In part, we determine the price of our services such as taking photographs to market a property based on what the photographs will be used for. So if you plan to market the property using the photographs that photographer supplied that is great we have huge egos and like to see our photographs on-line and in print; however as soon as you give it to the builder so he or she can market his or her fine services you have essentially taken the money the builder would have spent to promote their building services (something all businesses pay for) out of the photographers pocket and when we see it on-line or in print we are not so happy (photographers are also sensitive) (on the plus side the builder will probably think you are a swell person and may cut you a break). Another example would be to have photographs taken for MLS and decide that you like them and use them to promote your firm as well as the property. This is not OK if you commissioned a photography shoot for promotional material for your firm you would pay more for the usage. The easiest way of avoiding copyright issues is to tell the photographer what you are wanting to do with the photographs, if down the line you want to use them for something else then get hold of the photographer and work out new usage rights. You can always buy the material outright, it may cost you a bit more but it would be yours to use as you see fit.
Bottom line is phone and ask if a situation arises that is not covered in this FAQ.