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Camera Porn - Canon EOS 5D Mark II

I get emailed this question today…

Mr. Kay 
I’ve come across your website recently, and it inspired me. Your site is a good read and I check on it quite often. I agree that good photos go a long way in attracting possible buyers, and I’m going to start a side business taking photos of houses for agents and their listings.
I see you charge agents $60/house. I think that’s fair, but I’m curious as to how many agents are willing to pay that to someone for a service they think they can do just fine themselves for free. Especially in this “slow” market, where many agents are going back to the drawing board and pinching pennies.
The thing that intrigues me the most about the idea is that there is very little overhead or initial investment. It would only take me about 10 or so houses to pay for a new camera and equipment. Otherwise, I’m by no means a professional or experienced photographer, but I like to think that I have a good eye, and have always wanted to pick up photography as a hobby. Being a licensed agent in Athens, Ga. already, this business idea gives me a very good reason to jump into it.
If you have any initial advice or comments, I would love to hear from you.


For me this is a whole branding thing. I’m not just “taking photos on the side”, I am “Photo Guy”. It’s on my website, my business cards, my mailers yada yada yada. It’s my unique selling point as an agent. I’ve spent about six months just building up my photography skills shooting as many homes as I can. I’ve just formed as a company, with a major push to get stuff up on the website in the last month, so details on how much business I’ve done is pretty light at the moment.
I’ve had a mix of excitement and resistance to my services from the other agents. My office manager is very excited by it though.
My feeling is that precisely because this is a slow market, that is what makes photos an even more vital piece in the selling puzzle. In a hot market you can’t even get the photos up before offers pour in, in a slow market you need every advantage possible.
At this point just skill up as much as possible. Basically if you’re good, the photos do a good job of selling themselves. If you’re bad, nothing you can do will make people want to use you. I also found the printed books really good as sales pieces.
Also good photography just works. I shot a home two weeks back that had been on the market for nine months. It got a contract four days after we put my photos up. Agents bitching about $60 are just crazy.
Hope that helps, stay in touch.


And for the record…

…Mr. Kay is my father.

Writer for national real estate opinion column, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

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  1. Benn Rosales

    November 20, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    Okay Photo Guy, congrats on the new biz, but what gives with no photo in your blog post? Show off, show us some goods! You show us the bad stuff, then some practice stuff- show us some ideal stuff! I mean, unless it will give away your style or secrets… I swear, we won’t show anyone else!

  2. Mariana

    November 20, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    Mr Athol, Best of luck with your business venture. I used to charge agents $100+ per house and they would get photos, and a description for the home … because some descriptions are seriously lacking as well. Once I presented them with the “goods” my fee was never questioned.

  3. Carson Coots

    November 21, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    I think good real estate photos are worth a lot more than $100. At least it’s not $100 worth the work for me. A lot of cash went into my equipment set-up and a successful shoot isn’t easy… and POST editing is no fun after doing it 20 times. I think $400 is fair for a good twilight shoot(Although I get a lot of gasps). As long as I throw in a few perks (slideshow, etc), it works out. Real estate photography takes real talent worth paying for.

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Business Marketing

No-reply emails have run their course, they don’t help customers

(BUSINESS MARKETING) No-reply emails may serve a company well, but the customers can become frustrated with the loss of a quick and easy way to get help.



no-reply mail boxes

Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using you can use and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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Simple way to sent text, email appointment reminders to clients

(MARKETING) This new app has tons of automatic tools that help small businesses continue to move into the digital age with ease of use.




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That’s why it’s become so popular for places such as doctor’s offices and salons to begin using text and email alerts as appointment reminders. Now, Remindr is getting in on the action.

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Remindr features include: text message, email, confirmation, reusable templates, schedule alerts, and easy user interface. With text messaging, businesses can send personalized SMS messages to customers from your Remindr phone number.

With email, businesses can send personalized email reminders to their customers through Remindr email addresses. Then, customers can confirm their appointment via text messages or email, and businesses can review confirmations on their Remindr account.

Businesses can create their own personalized reminder templates to pre-fill the reminder form (for example: “Hi NAME! We’re looking forward to your appointment tomorrow (DATE) at TIME. Respond YES to confirm your appointment.”) Reminders can be automatically sent via email or text at a predetermined time.

Remindr provides an easy user interface where businesses can start scheduling reminders instantly, use full-keyboard form navigation, and it is mobile friendly.

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Business Marketing

PHD job seekers shouldn’t scare employers, they should be welcomed

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It’s time to change the narrative for PhD candidates on the job market. They have been through so much and can contribute just as much to your company



phd grad

Employers have historically been skeptical of hiring PhD graduates for jobs, but it’s time for that to change. It seems counterintuitive, but many employers are scared of candidates who bring such a high level of education to the table. They worry that PhD graduates will ask for too much money, get bored with the work, or not be able to perform in a non-academic setting.

PhD graduates may come from an academic background, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be a valuable asset to your business. As for them asking for too much money, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but academics are not exactly swimming in pools of gold. People don’t go into academics because they want to get rich quick – or at all. By earning their degree, PhD graduates have proven that they possess dedication and grit to persevere in an environment that requires resourcefulness and strong problem-solving abilities.

Another common fear employers have about PhD graduates is whether or not the work will be interesting enough to keep them around long-term. The reality is this is something you should be concerned about for all of your potential new hires not just graduates. Keeping your employees engaged in the work can be one of the most challenging parts of running a business. PhD candidates want the same things as everyone else. Indeed recently talked to an expert on the subject, Vay Cao, the founder of Free the PhD, a company dedicated to helping postgrads find their place in the workforce. She says, “What PhD candidates are looking for is that opportunity to prove themselves [and] learn some new things.”

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At the end of the day, your priority as a business owner will be to do what’s best for your business. Hiring and interviewing candidates from a wide range of backgrounds will always be to your benefit. Take advantage of these unique and highly educated candidates. They are an asset you can’t afford to ignore anymore.

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