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Hiring a real estate photographer who is a Realtor?

We have an ongoing series here highlighting quality real estate photographers and today while narrowing down our next featured photographer, I came across a number who were also (if you read the fine print) licensed Realtors.

We’ve long advocated for the use of professional photographers for real estate listings given that .000001% of Realtors (my estimate, nothing official) believe themselves to be skilled at photography but take pictures that look like this:

Granted, there are a number of real estate professionals, some that I know personally, that are really excellent photographers that do all of their own work. Sometimes they are so good that other agents say, “hey, for $200, can you go over to my listing and do some of those shots like you did on your listing?” and a business is born. Several agents have become Realtors slash real estate photographer and good for them, this is a capitalist society.

But I’m wondering if I’m a Realtor I care that my real estate photographer is a licensed agent. Maybe it’s good because they know what consumers are looking for over someone who is less educated on the topic, but maybe it’s bad because that emphasis can target areas that are less aesthetically pleasing that perhaps a trained photographer would have captured?

If my photographer is a Realtor, is that a conflict of interest if they’re directly competitive to me? Maybe I’m a dumb Realtor and don’t know that I’m being served poorer photographs to stunt my listing.

But maybe if my photographer is a Realtor, they know best the destination of all images- web, print, syndication, etc? Maybe that leads to better composition?

It takes a lot of work narrowing down thousands of terrible so-called real estate photographers to the few we’re willing to feature here and perhaps wearing too many hats is one of the culprits? I’m torn here- do you think it is an advantage or a disadvantage for your real estate photographer to be a licensed agent?

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Ralph Bell

    February 28, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I would prefer my photographer be a REALTOR, at least then I know he/she should live up to a code of ethics. Besides you never know if that photographer/REALTOR might just have the perfect client for you.

    I do most of my own photography and have played with the idea of offering my services to others as well as my web design experience. But for now, I’m keeping it to myself and my brokerage.

  2. stephanie crawford

    March 1, 2011 at 2:41 am

    I don’t think it matters either way. The photography company I use has a guy that’s a Realtor. I often request him because he has a Sentri key and can let himself into the property – YAY!, HANDY!

  3. Jaime

    March 1, 2011 at 10:45 am

    perhaps we should consider bringing that photographer/realtor on your team and save the $200. you never know what other skills she/he may have that could benefit your business.

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