How Many Photos Do Listings Really Need?

Date Online: 2020-01-24

Obviously, there is no question that photos are a vital part of marketing any listing. We have all seen stats like these which prove that they are more than worth the investment:

- 87% of home buyers rely on online images to make their buying decision (National Association of Realtors, 2018).

- Homes listed between $200,000 and $1 million can be sold at $3,400 to $11,200 more than their list prices, thanks to quality photos (Think Realty, 2019).

Now that the debate about whether professional photos are needed for listings has been firmly settled, a brand new debate is emerging…

How many professional photos does it really take to do a listing justice?

Since the creation of Tourbuzz, acquired by Urbanimmersive, number of pictures per single property website has show a steady increase.  In 2006, it was 10 to 15 pictures.  Today, it is 36 photos per listing as the average.

Up until now, the general rule of thought has been that more is more. However, new research is calling that theory into question. 

Is More Photos Really Better?

Recently, more and more Multiple Listing Services have been increasing the number of photos that are alotted for each listing. In fact, some are allowing as many as 100 photos per listing which only serves to reinforce the idea that the more photos you have the better off you are. As a result, clients and real estate agents are demanding that their photographers supply enough photos to reach the maximum allowance. Furthermore, real estate photographers are offering to provide increasing numbers of photos to give themselves a competitive edge.

Zillow, among many similar companies, has conducted extensive research on the effects of photos on listings. Their research shows that listings with “more” photos sell faster. However, there is a line to where more actually becomes less. That same research shows that on average, listings with more than 25 photos actually take longer to sell than those with 26 or more.  

In a separate study conducted by Street Easy, the results were even more surprising. Their research shows that listings with 15-20 photos are five times more likely to attract buyers and those with just 11-14 photos were an astounding six times more likely. These results were echoed in additional websites like (12- 15 pictures), (15 to 25) and by photography consultant like Selina Maitreya (20 -30).

The True Costs Of Over Exposure

In addition to the amount of time it takes for a listing to sell increasing, you must also consider the cost to you as a photographer. Professional real estate photographers make their money based on two factors; talent and time. Just imagine how much more time it would take you to provide two or three times as many photos for each listing. Not to mention, how much extra time it would cost you to edit each of them. Can you really afford to take half or a third as many clients to accommodate those additional photos?

What Photos Take The Cake?

With all of this talk about how many photos you should be using, it is also important to consider quality vs. quantity. If you are going to limit the number of photos that you take or use to give a listing its best shot, you must consider what photos will make the most impact. The goal here is to strike a balance between making a property look desirable and still leaving them wanting more so that they book a showing. 

With each click of the camera, try to imagine that this will be the only photo you are allowed to use to market the property. Refrain from including anything about the property that is unflattering and could cause hesitation by buyers. Remember, it is the agent’s job to explain away any flaws once the buyers are on-site and your job to get them there in the first place. 

Getting Realtors Onboard

As we mentioned before, many real estate photographers are using these larger allowances to generate a competitive edge for themselves. So it is only fair to ask how you can get a real estate agent to understand why they should hire you over a competitor that is willing to give them two or three times as many photos. When confronted with this challenge, don’t hesitate to share the above statistics, as well as, any personal evidence you have to back up the claims that less is actually more. 

Want More Cutting-Edge Advice To Grow Your Photography Business?

The world of real estate and real estate photography is constantly evolving. The best way to stand out from the competition and earn the trust of your community is to be at the forefront of those changes and stay educated. Please subscribe to our blog so we can continue to deliver practical and actionable advice to help you be the most respected real estate photographer in your market.



Subscribe to our newsletter. Simply enter your email below and click "Subscribe". You can unsubscribe at any time.