Back in the pioneer days when I first held my real estate licence (closely, as it was very windy out on the open prairie astride my buckboard), I should have considered using a professional photographer for listing sheet brochures.

Sure, it only happened maybe two or 18 times, but when you can’t tell a stationary house from a moving cube van, perhaps you shouldn’t be gluing those pictures on to a listing sheet.

It’s fairly common practice now to use a professional stager and even more common to get a professional photographer to come in before you begin your marketing campaign for a new listing. They might take a week or two, working with optimum times for daylight and artificial sources to capture photos worthy of hanging on a wall in a gallery.

Once those puppies are incorporated into brochures crafted by a team of unemployed, Pulitzer-prize winning journalists and retired best-selling novelists looking to make a little extra money for beachfront Margaritas, the home goes on the market and sells in an hour – typically for well over the asking price.

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It may be hard to believe, but there was a time in the real estate business where you once had the homeowners brandishing weapons to encourage you to move as quickly as possible to attract a sale. You would take pictures (at that particular time in the technology curve) with a .05 megapixel digital camera that saved images to a floppy disk.

On occasion, all your work would get erased simply by attempting to transfer the floppy disk from the camera to the computer, so you had to discreetly break into the home when the owners were away, to retake all the photos. During daylight hours, with no witnesses.

Once the blurry images were safely transferred on to your computer, you would sort them from “least blurry” to “is that a haystack?” The company I started out with back then had feature sheet property boards that we used in the local shopping malls, with a few small picture spaces well suited to images shot from a speeding car going over multiple potholes. While dangling your camera from a Slinky.

One space was for a large 8×10 shot and that was where I often struggled. Most times I could rely on my silver tongue to assure homeowners that the picture they were looking at was absolutely their own home and not a battered four-drawer lateral filing cabinet recovered from a riverbed.

The only time that method didn’t work was when I listed the home of a noted local photographer, who used a real camera and was not likely to be swayed by my lawyer-like closing arguments in favour of convincing him his home was anywhere remotely located in my frame of the shot.

As a matter of fact, he accompanied me during the photo shoot and I could tell by the clucking behind me he either had a hen in his coat pocket, or he disapproved of my efforts. Turned out to be the latter.

He offered to take his own shots, for a nominal reduction in his professional fees. I heaved an enormous sigh of relief and happily accepted the reduction of my income for that particular sale.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell any of you, it’s far better to appear as professional as possible than it is to let pride and bad photography skills get in the way of the best possible service you can provide for a client.

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