Camera Wars - Is mine really better than yours?
There is, it seems, a battle going on between photographers and videographers about the best way to show a listing. Photographers claims include better composition, image detail, and affordability. Videographers argue increased transparency, stronger emotional connection and a product that is optimized for search engines.
Who is right? Both are. And that's just fine with me. I strongly believe that in the future, the most successful digital marketing professionals will be able to provide their clients with both photography and video. Each is strong and offers distinct advantages and disadvantages. Together they create a package that brings buyers through interest to action. Below are some lessons I have learned:
1) Video will not take the place of photography.
When people search for a home, they go through an elimination process.
A) They start with search parameters - I want a home between 1 and 2 million dollars with at least 4 bedrooms and four baths in this area.
B) They review the results: Say a search of the MLS pulls up 50 listings. The next step is to look at the photos and descriptions. Photos provide quick information and show a home in its best light. They can be optimized and blended to show the inside as well as the view out the windows. They also allow the buyer to view the home at his or her own pace. If, after looking at the photos, the buyer is still interested they move forward to the video.
C) The video offers a vetting process that allows the buyer to determine if they are truly interested enough in the property to schedule a visit. When I meet with clients I describe video as a resume. Its sole purpose it so get people interested enough to want to see the property in person.
2) Photography can not create the emotional connection that is possible with video
Humans respond to moving images. That is one reason that the ken burns style slide and pan photo tours are so popular. Video excels at showing a complete home. Add music and narration and you have a package that lets buyers know with certainty whether or not they want to visit a home in person. Keep in mind, however, that photos open the door to the video. Without good photographs, the prospective buyer is less likely to want to watch the video.
3) Professional photographs and video go together like milk and cookies.
The agent that packages professional photographs and a well produced video shows his or her commitment to showcasing the listing. A MLS search leads to photographs which lead to watching the video. Photos allow the buyer to linger on features, video provides the transparency and details. Want to see a real life example? Follow this link for a branded version of a photo/video combination and tell me if either photos or video alone can come close to what they provide together (To see the video portion click on the more info tab).
What's ahead? It is not a huge leap for photographers to take up video or for vice versa. If you are not able or willing to expand, look at partnering with another professional. Together you can provide a package that leaves others in the dust. Your business will grow while the others are still arguing about their opponents viability.