Professional vs. Amateur Photography

One of the (few) things about Manhattan I knew I was going to miss when I left a decade ago was Angelica’s, a truly amazing, mostly organic restaurant in the East Village.

When I suggested they open up a branch in Minneapolis, the manager — who’d obviously fielded many such suggestions — instead handed me a $35 cookbook with all of Angelica’s most famous recipes. Which I promptly bought.

I remember thinking at the time, isn’t that a bit like Coca-Cola telling anyone who asks what its secret formula is?

Actually, no.

The reason is that Angelica’s recipes are so elaborate that you quickly realize that it’s (significantly) cheaper and faster just to go to the restaurant and order their food off the menu, than to try to prepare it yourself! (Assuming you don’t have to get on a plane.)

It’s All in the Execution (or, “Public Secrets”)

What made me recall all this was a (very well-done) presentation at my office’s weekly meeting this morning by Jenny Terrell, a VHT photographer. The company is one of a handful that Twin Cities Realtors can hire to take their photos.

My first thought was, “Why is she going to tell all the Realtors in the room — her clients — how to do on their own what she charges for? Isn’t that going to undermine demand for her services?

Just like Angelica’s . . . only if you have the time, money, and skill to do what she does.

As Terrell explained in the course of a 30 minute presentation, not only is she highly trained, but she uses specialized, high-end equipment (mega-buck camera, wide angle lens, supplemental lighting, tripod, etc.) that costs about $5,000.

All her photos have just-right (manually set) exposure and composition, then are further edited to look even better.

Best of all, Realtors can expect to get finished photos from her in about 48 hours.

Bottom line: my clients are paying me to professionally market their homes. That means making sure the photography of their home is taken by a professional, not an amateur (me).

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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