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To take, or not to take, your own images, that is the question.



In this DIY age, people often want to have a go at doing things themselves. The degree to which this is successful, or not, is dependent on many things.


Why would someone want to take their own photos or videos?


The answer is most likely to be financial, they think it will save money. Maybe it is to scratch a creative itch, or for convenience. These reasons are real and relevant but are they in your, your business's and your clients best interests?


When is it OK to take your own imagery, photos and videos?


In my opinion, only do it for casual style social media posts and if it suits the 'vibe' of whatever you do/sell/promote. A good example of this is a bakery taking a snap of a fresh hot bun coming out of an oven on a Saturday morning. Why? Because mobile phones are capable of taking a reasonable quality picture and a baker is probably a 'creative' type who may compose the shot OK (and a photographer may charge extra to go to a bakery at stupid o'clock on a Saturday morning). Another example might be a real estate agent taking a selfie as they put out home open boards early on a Saturday morning. Most agents would likely have a good phone with reasonable capabilities and showing they are hard at work nice and early is a good thing. There are many examples where a quick snap is warranted and if you study a bit on Skillshare or similar you can improve what you do pretty quickly.


So, when is it not OK to do your own?


Ask your self, and answer honestly, the following four questions;

1. Do I want myself and my business to look professional and to be taken seriously?

2. Do I have time and money to invest in learning and mastering photography and videography and to upgrade the necessary equipment every couple of years?

3. Do I want to run the risk of doing work I may not be insured or licensed to do?

4. Would my time be better served focusing on my core business and learning things that support that, or even getting support, through coaches and mentors, to foster development?


Any imagery that is going on your website should be professionally shot. Your website needs to convey your professionalism to potential clients and create a positive impression. Often the situation calls for professionals, people who have skill, knowledge, experience and equipment to get the job done. You may be able to change the oil in your car, but do you really want to go and pull the engine out? Changing the oil in your car is the photography equivalent to taking a photo for social media yourself. Fine, go ahead. But are you ready to pull out the engine? In photography, that means using quality equipment, lighting, lenses and camera setting selection, video equipment, audio equipment and the skill and ability to create with those things. Pulling your own engine out without experience will lead to problems, just as trying to take images without experience, talent and skill will too. It's a false economy.


This final word can be related to any industry, but, I'll specifically relate it to real estate, as this is an industry where I have a lot of personal experience. I see some agents wasting a lot of time and money by not focusing on their core business. I was a real estate agent and agency owner for sixteen years. I know how hard the job is and how tempting it is to try and cut costs here and there. I learnt that my time was most valuably spent listing and selling property and not by being distracted and spending time and money doing things that took me away from this, like taking and editing photos and video. If an agent is a serious professional and wants to add value to their core business of listing and selling then they should be studying the art of negotiation not the art of photography. Don't go and buy expensive gear every couple of years, such as a drone, and run the risk of a huge public liability payout when you crash without insurance and no licence. I have seen one crash, not mine. The drone was destroyed, just missed falling onto a busy road, and CASA fine the operator $8,500. I have had near misses. The prospect of crashing is real so you had better be licensed, insured and registered with CASA if you are flying for commercial purposes. Instead spend that money on a business coach or personal marketing and education. You will be amazed at how much better you will become at what you are, an agent.


Something to think about.

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