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Photography: Thinking Outside the House




Home searchers are looking for the perfect house based on unique needs, and recently I realized how diverse those needs can be. I was (very casually) browsing for a place in Austin to get a feel… as a relo buyer. My number one criteria was not a spacious living room, whirlpool tub, or even a lot “nestled” in a quiet cul-de-sac… those features are nice, but they were not driving my home search.

I wanted to live in a place somewhat close to a natural setting, park, or water. Working from home, I need a place to walk my dog, go running, and maybe catch a glimpse of some mature trees in my neighborhood. I wanted to see the area surrounding the home. Here is my beef: Why could I not find one listing with pictures “outside” of the house. Not only the view facing toward the front door… I wanted more.

I wanted to see what it looks like standing on the front porch facing the street, and the view from the back porch. Even better, what does the street scape look like? If there is a nearby park, I’d love to see it. Local mall? Cool coffee shop nearby? Can I get a neighborhood entry monument at least?

I realize that the last thing you would want to do is showcase an ugly neighborhood… but I’m sure they were not all in ugly neighborhoods. I found no photos featuring what I am describing. I would think that I am not the only one out there that is concerned about the surroundings of a home. For relo buyers, photos of the surroundings tell a great story for some homes. I know it is not the case for every house, but I think it is a good idea to give an idea to a searcher about the local surroundings, and if anything, find a nice angle somewhere. It’s better than nothing.

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. Elaine Reese

    May 7, 2008 at 8:20 am

    In our area, the local MLS does not permit inclusion of photos of property that is not for sale. Thus, neighborhood photos violate the rules. Of course, we CAN include such neighborhood photos on our own sites or blogs. But any downloads (i.e. to from our MLS will not include the photos you are wanting to see.

  2. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    May 7, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Carson, because I know that you used our new search tool on I know what you got to see and you’re right, agents don’t often include pictures of surroundings. You’ll get the community pool but not much more and I suspect it’s because the amount of photos is limited. What agent forget though is that linking to a virtual tour is another opportunity to have a LOT more photos.

    Some of us are using the new diverse solutions IDS (link seen under “What’s Hot” at the top of the page) which has built in Google Street View which we encourage people to use. On that same map at the bottom, you can search for “coffee” “pizza” or “bookstores.” But sometimes, Google Street View isn’t enough, or the photos were taken in the dead of the winter and you’re moving int he summer.

    So while diverse solutions has the best IDX search with Google Street Views, you are absolutely right- agents should think outside the house and make sure relos know what’s what in the area! GREAT POINT, CARSON!

    (P.S: just take your weekend trip to Austin already and all this internet searching ends by spending a day with Benn. I’m just sayin’….)

  3. Brian Copeland

    May 7, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    I recently saw an MLS listing here in Nashville where there were pictures of everything EXCEPT the homes exterior. Needless to say, it still hasn’t sold.

  4. Carson Coots

    May 8, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    What??? That new search tool is hot! I love it. Kudos to diversesolutions for a sweet product.

  5. Greg Cremia

    May 9, 2008 at 5:35 am

    What you are discovering is there is no substitute for personal interaction. The internet will never satisfy the needs of home buyers the way driving around and touring does.

    I just hope you did not eliminate the perfect home because you did not see it due to some bad pictures.

  6. Jennifer Rathbun

    May 10, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    I just added taking photos of subdivison to my marketing summary. Thanks! I knew to do this, but your post gave me an idea of where to put it so I would not forget.

  7. Karen Rice

    May 11, 2008 at 5:35 am

    I will do that for my buyers if they email me and ask for more info about the neighborhood. I do not want to put neighboring houses on the internet – I don’t want to think about the liability!

    I have to echo Greg’s comment: “What you are discovering is there is no substitute for personal interaction. The internet will never satisfy the needs of home buyers the way driving around and touring does.”

    Pictures can and do lie. Poorly taken photos can make a place look unpleasant, unfriendly, unwelcoming. Very well done photos can make a place look much nicer than it really is. There really is no substitution for actually visiting the neighborhood and getting a feel for it in real life.

  8. Cool Springs Real Estate

    February 6, 2010 at 12:16 am

    The outside pictures definitely make a big difference when trying to sell a house. I saw a listing the other day for a beautiful home in Cool Springs with only one picture of the front of the home. Nineteen photos of the inside, basement and garage and only one for the outside!

  9. Steve Taylor

    February 6, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    You can always use Google Maps Street View to have a tour around the area

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Business Marketing

What entreprenuers can learn about branding from trendy startups

(BUSINESS MARKETING) What’s the secret of focused startup branding, and how can you apply it to large enterprises?



A set of wine from Craft Hugo, showing off pleasing branding in labels.

Think of your favorite brand. Is it the product they offer or the branding that you love? Exactly – brand ethos reigns supreme, especially with those trendy, aesthetically-pleasing startups (I never thought Glossier had good makeup, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t visit their website once or twice a month).

So let’s break it down.

Co-founder of Red Antler – a company that assists startups in creating successful branding – Emily Heyward believes in a few branding truths.

Firstly, you have to make sure not to market your brand as a single product or experience. Doing so, she says, will pigeonhole you and thus truncate your ability to expand and offer new products and services (she gives MailChimp, known almost exclusively for email marketing, as an example).

What Heyward does say to do is instead market an idea. For example, the brand Casper (one of Antler’s clients) markets itself as a sleep company instead of a mattress company. By doing this, they kept the door open to eventually offer other products, like pillows and bedding.

Heyward states that this “power of focus” is a way to survive – with countless other startups offering the same product or service, you have to position your company as offering something beyond the product. Provide a problem your customer didn’t know they had and offer an innovative solution through your product.

Ever used Slack, the app-based messenger? There were other messengers out there, so focus of Slack’s branding is that regular messaging is boring and that their app makes it more fun. And customers eat it up.

How can this logic apply to mid-to-large enterprises? How can you focus on one specific thing?

Again, placing emphasis on brand over products is essential – what is it about what you offer that makes your customers’ lives better? It’s more cerebral than material. You’re selling a better life.

Another thing to remember is that customers are intrigued by the idea of new experiences, even if the product or service being offered is itself not new. Try not to use dated language that’s colored by a customers’ preexisting feelings. Instead, find an exciting alternative – chat solutions are desperately trying move away from the word “chat”, which can bring to mind an annoying, tedious process, even though that is in fact what they offer.

Broadening the idea of focused brand ethos to a large company can be difficult. By following these tips and tricks from startups, your company can develop a successful brand ethos that extends beyond your best product or service.

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Business Marketing

Spruce up your product images with Glorify (just in time for Black Friday!)

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want professional, customizable product images for your company? Consider Glorify’s hot Black Friday deal.



Glorify app lets you create beautiful designs for your products.

Glorify, the app that creates high converting, customizable product images for your business, is offering a lifetime deal for $97 this Black Friday. In just a few clicks, you can transform one of Glorify’s sleek templates into personalized, professional-looking content – and now, you don’t have to pay that monthly fee.

Whether your business is in electronics, beauty, or food & drink, Glorify offers a range of looks that will instantly bring your product images to the next level. With countless font styles and the ability to alter icon styles, shadows and other elements, you can access all the perks of having your own designer without the steep price.

In 2019, Glorify was launched – the app was soon voted #2 Product of the Day and nominated for Best Design Tool by Product Hunt. Since then, they have cultivated a 20k+ user base!

Glorify 2.0, which was launched last week, upgrades the experience. The new and improved version of the app is complete overhaul of intuitive UI improvements and extra features, such as:

  • background remover tool
  • templates based on popular product niches and themes
  • design bundles for your website/store, social media
  • annotation tool
  • upload your brand kits and organize your projects under different brands
  • 1 click brand application
  • & much more!

“But the most important aspect of Glorify 2.0, is that it comes with a UI that sets us up for future scalability for all our roadmap features”, said CEO of Glorify Omar Farook, who himself was a professional graphic designer.

Farook’s dream was to provide a low-cost design service for the smaller businesses that couldn’t otherwise afford design services. Looking through reviews of the app, it’s evident that Glorify does just that – it saves the user time and money while helping them to produce top-notch product images for their brand on their own.

Glorify is one of the many new design-based apps that make producing content a breeze for entrepreneurs, such as Canva. As someone who loves design but doesn’t have the patience for Creative Cloud, I personally love this technology. However, Glorify is unique in that it is the only product-driven design app. All you have to do is upload your photo!

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Business Marketing

This new Chipotle location will be fully digital

(BUSINESS NEWS) In the wake of the pandemic and popularity of online delivery, Chipotle is joining the jump to online-only locations, at least to test drive.



Chipotle exterior, possibly moving to a fully digital restaurant space soon.

A lot of industries have switched to an online-only model in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them have made sense; between abundant delivery options and increased restrictions on workers, moving away from the traditional storefront paradigm isn’t exactly a radical choice. Chipotle making that same decision, however, is a plot twist of a different kind—yet that’s exactly what they’re doing with their first online store.

To be clear, the chain isn’t doing away with their existing locations; they’re just test-driving a “digital” location for the time being. That said, the move to an online platform raises interesting questions about the future of the restaurant industry—if not just Chipotle itself.

The move to an online platform actually makes a lot of sense for businesses like Chipotle. Since the classic Chipotle experience is much less centered on the “dining” aspect than it is on the customizability of food options, putting those same options online and giving folks some room to deliver both decreases Chipotle’s physical footprint and, ostensibly, opens up their services to more people.

It’s also a timely move given the sheer number of people who are sheltering in place. A hands-on burrito assembly line is not the optimal place to be in a pandemic, but there’s no denying the utilitarian appeal of Chipotle’s products. To that end, having another restaurant wherein you have the option to order a hearty meal with everything you like—which is also tailored to your dietary needs—is a crucial step for consumers.

Chipotle’s CTO, Curt Garner, says he is hoping this online alternative will offer a “frictionless” experience for diners.

As a part of that frictionless experience, consumers will be able to order in several different mediums. Chipotle’s website and their mobile app are the preferred choices, while services like GrubHub will also be available should you choose to order through a third-party. The idea is simple: To bring Chipotle to you with as little fuss as possible.

For now, Chipotle is committing to the single digital location to see how consumer demand pans out. Should the model prove successful, they plan to move forward with implementing additional digital locations nationwide.

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