I recently had a client who wanted to showcase his beautiful apartment with views of the San Diego Bay so he could rent out a spare bedroom he has for top dollar. I had not run into this type of client before, but he got me thinking just how savvy his decision really was.
This particular client did not want loads of photos. We ended up choosing 5 compositions throughout the apartment. Two of them showed the view from the room to be rented (one emphasized the view to a greater extent), one of them showcased the view from the deck of the apartment, one depicted the view from the living room, and another was just meant to showcase the kitchen and how it connected with the living room space.
The shoot took place as the sun was setting, which was a great way to really emphasize the drama of the location.
Going back to my original thought, I was really impressed by the decision of my client to invest a little money into photographs in order to get top dollar for his room. I'll just come out and say, the shoot cost him around 300 dollars, yet the important part of the equation isn't the cost of the photos, but how much money they could possibly make him.
Just picking a number out of thin air, let's just say he uses the images to rent the bedroom and the tenant stays there for three years. In this example, we are dealing with 36 months of rent. Let's just say he is able to obtain an extra 25 dollars per month because of the photos. Now, this number is arguable, but if you look at great images of hotels and then some not so good images that are dark and dingy and don't showcase the strongpoints, I think you will agree the 25 dollars could even fall on the conservative side.
If you haven't cranked out the math in your head already, that is 25 times 36, which comes to 900 dollars. Then you would have to subtract the initial 300 investment in the photos, leaving you with a 600 dollar profit from your investment. You doubled your investment in three years time! If only our stocks and our homes could perform like that! The enticing thing to think about though are the true possibilities. I honestly believe he is capable of getting even more than 25 dollars extra per month using the images as a marketing tool. What we have to convince us are the ad campaigns we see corporate America running everyday. Do luxury hotels, resorts and cruise lines skimp on professional photography? I would say not, just have a look at the quality of their campaigns. They have learned over time that great photographs sell their vacation packages like nothing else. If the smart money is doing it, why shouldn't you be?
Then we have to consider the fact that he could potentially be using these photographs for 10 or twenty years, if he chooses to stay there. Because, we know the view isn't going anywhere, so there is no reason the photos will not be viable marketing tools for years, even decades to come. If corporate America is running photographs that they use for 1 to 3 years, how much do you think they would invest for photographs they could use over a ten year period? It is one of those things where the more you think about it, the more sense it makes, yet a very small percentage of the individuals who are renting rooms are doing it. The take home message, once again, is take your cues from corporate America. They are the ones with the data and the knowledge. They don't skimp, or heaven forbid completely ignore the need for photographs altogether, so why should you?