Professional photography will help you make money on your Mexican home or condo. Photo: Camilla Fuchs

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If you rent out your condo or plan to put it up for sale, invest in quality photos taken by a professional real estate photographer. Although our smartphones have improved significantly, there is no comparison to the quality of photos taken by someone specializing in real estate photography. Anecdotally, I heard from people who used a professional photographer that their homes sold faster and for more money. For those that rent, they vouch that their unit books quicker, and they can charge a higher rental rate. 

Camilla Fuchs is a professional photographer based in Sayulita, Mexico. I have known Camilla for a few years and recently hired her to photograph furniture we will be offering in our 2020/2021 furniture packages. In the breaks between shooting, I interviewed her to find out more about the world of real estate photography.

Sheryl: “Before we dig in, could you share a bit about yourself and your background?’  

Camilla: “Absolutely!  I come from a family of fine art painters and photographers. I was born and raised in Austria and worked as an assistant for a professional photographer in Munich, Germany, in my twenties. I started to develop my own photography business and style in 2009 while living in Costa Rica, and it’s what I have been doing, full time, ever since.  I started getting into real estate photography in 2011 while living in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur. Besides real estate, which may be my very favorite type of photography, I also shoot weddings, family portraits, lifestyle, and events.  It must be in my blood because I also love to paint!”

Sheryl: “You can tell you enjoy it. You can see you ‘get into the zone’ when you are on a shoot! So, probably the big question is, why should someone invest in professional real estate photography?” 

Camilla: “The better the photo, the more value it gives your property. Plus, it’s all about the first impression.  The first thing a potential client will look at when looking at a property is an image. We make instant evaluations of everything we see within the first split second we look at something. It’s automatic, instinctive. So, it is the images you use to present your property, no matter how impressive the actual place might be, that makes the viewer judge the place.”

Sheryl: “That is such a good point. I know I scan pictures first, and then if something catches my eye, I will take the time to read the details. Smartphones have such great cameras now. What is the difference between doing it yourself and going the professional route? Is it that much of a difference?”

Camilla: “Real estate and architectural photography can be tricky. Even if you have a decent camera and a good eye, it’s just not something that you do regularly. A professional photographer has the experience to see things that you may not notice, just because they do it so often. It is easy to see the difference between a professional and a non-professional photo, or video, even if they look nice! It’s often the “little” things that give it away, such as the lack of consistency in framing, lighting, color hues or exposure in the photos. It may not even have anything to do with technique or equipment at all. You may forget to tuck in that ugly cable hanging off the bedside table that will pop out like a red flag in the photo. There might be a curtain askew or bed cover you won’t notice until you look at the picture. You may not see a closet door slightly open, the crooked painting on the wall, and so on. A professional will immediately spot and fix such things before starting to shoot. It comes with experience to continually scan a place for imperfections. It’s part of the job and makes a massive difference in the resulting images. Lastly, it’s also about finding the perfect angle and framing each photo in a way that brings out the best of every property.”

Sheryl: “Is this a talent that comes naturally, or is it something you can learn?  Is there a real estate photography course or degree?”     

Camilla: “There is no one particular training, school or course you have to take to become good in this kind of photography. As a real estate photographer, besides knowing the basics of photography, owning, and understanding professional camera and lighting equipment, you must invest time, patience, and practice to get good at what you do. Those three things are the best training. Plus, and I believe this is particularly important, you must have a liking for this type of photography, you must really enjoy it. Real estate is not for every photographer.”

Make sure to read next week’s column to find out more about real estate photography.

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