Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

Started 4 months ago | Questions
mmarian Senior Member • Posts: 1,870
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

To each his own. Personally I'd much rather do 3 shoots a week at $800 each than 20 shoots at $120 each. Yes, the expectations from those 3 clients are obviously and naturally higher than from those only willing to pay $120. I suppose different photographers target and serve different market segment and structure their business accordingly.

JackM
JackM Veteran Member • Posts: 8,677
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

Ed Rizk wrote:

I've not done it myself, but two of my commercial agents and one of my residential clients claim to have counted the hits and generated double the hits online as well as shorter times on the market.

And there you have it.

I make a lot of presentations in person, being a commercial guy. I watch the face of the prospects as they look at the brochures or flyers. If the photo is better, the eyes stay on the paper longer and the countenance is more pleasant. If you sell, and read people, that should say a lot.

And again.

On the other hand, the photos only promote one sale.

Not true at all. We often take listings by clients that just want to see if they can get an inflated price. If they can't, they don't care if the property sells or not. If it's a high profile property, these can be better than one that is priced to sell Every call is an opportunity to make a deal on another property,

People who are considering listing with you also look at your existing listings.

And again. From a realtor.

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AZBlue
AZBlue Senior Member • Posts: 2,362
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?
1

I'm a Realtor® who wins sellers with my photography. There are so many of us out there, how does one differentiate oneself? I've found that my photography sets me apart from other agents, especially when sellers realize that photos of their house will be seen as a "first impression" by 95% of home buyers.

When I work with buyers, I take a nice location portrait of their family at the new house which I have lab printed and framed. That's my closing gift to them, as a reminder of not only this happy day but of me as well.

A lot of real estate agents end up incorporating their hobbies and passions into their businesses.

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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Forum Pro • Posts: 11,580
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

AZBlue wrote:

I'm a Realtor® who wins sellers with my photography. There are so many of us out there, how does one differentiate oneself? I've found that my photography sets me apart from other agents, especially when sellers realize that photos of their house will be seen as a "first impression" by 95% of home buyers.

When I work with buyers, I take a nice location portrait of their family at the new house which I have lab printed and framed. That's my closing gift to them, as a reminder of not only this happy day but of me as well.

A lot of real estate agents end up incorporating their hobbies and passions into their businesses.

Assume for a moment you decided to never take another photo again, but would remain a Realtor.   Let's also assume there are vendors in your area that will provide reasonable photos for $150 per house.

From a business perspective, how much extra would it make sense to spend to upgrade to photos of the same quality as what you have been shooting?

Does it make financial sense to spend an extra $100?  How about an extra $500?  Is an extra $1,000 unreasonable?

I think everyone agrees that better photos are a plus.  I think everyone here agrees that if better photos cost an extra $1, then it's worth the money.  I think everyone here would agree that if the better photos cost $50,000 then they probably doesn't make financial sense.

The question is what is the actual ballpark value to the Realtor?   That's an important piece of information for a photographer targeting that market.   If a tilt-shift lens isn't going to get the photographer more business, faster workflow, or higher pricing then it may not be worth the investment.

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Ed Rizk Veteran Member • Posts: 3,548
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?
1

Michael Fryd wrote:

AZBlue wrote:

I'm a Realtor® who wins sellers with my photography. There are so many of us out there, how does one differentiate oneself? I've found that my photography sets me apart from other agents, especially when sellers realize that photos of their house will be seen as a "first impression" by 95% of home buyers.

When I work with buyers, I take a nice location portrait of their family at the new house which I have lab printed and framed. That's my closing gift to them, as a reminder of not only this happy day but of me as well.

That's a great closing gift.   I give prints of their properties to clients with good architecture and digital files to retail tenants that they can use in their marketing, but I hadn't thought of a portrait for the clients.

A lot of real estate agents end up incorporating their hobbies and passions into their businesses.

Assume for a moment you decided to never take another photo again, but would remain a Realtor. Let's also assume there are vendors in your area that will provide reasonable photos for $150 per house.

From a business perspective, how much extra would it make sense to spend to upgrade to photos of the same quality as what you have been shooting?

Does it make financial sense to spend an extra $100? How about an extra $500? Is an extra $1,000 unreasonable?

I think everyone agrees that better photos are a plus. I think everyone here agrees that if better photos cost an extra $1, then it's worth the money. I think everyone here would agree that if the better photos cost $50,000 then they probably doesn't make financial sense.

The question is what is the actual ballpark value to the Realtor? That's an important piece of information for a photographer targeting that market. If a tilt-shift lens isn't going to get the photographer more business, faster workflow, or higher pricing then it may not be worth the investment.

That is a valid question.  It costs me less time than it does the photographer, because I have to go there anyway.   Shooting and precessing time used to be a lot when I started, but now I generally shoot a property in less than 30 minutes and process it in about the same time.  Some places are very simple and take 10 minutes.   Once in a while I get some great architecture to work with and take a lot longer because I am enjoying myself.

Some years I beat that $150 an hour figure, and some years I don't.

Having control over the process is valuable.   I know better than a non real estate person what I want to include, what I want to emphasize, and what I want to exclude.    If I have to direct the photographer, I only save the processing time.   I don't really know what I want until I start shooting it.  It's not just art.   It's documentation.  Correct documentation in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible within a reasonable time is my goal.

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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Forum Pro • Posts: 11,580
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

Ed Rizk wrote:

...

Assume for a moment you decided to never take another photo again, but would remain a Realtor. Let's also assume there are vendors in your area that will provide reasonable photos for $150 per house.

From a business perspective, how much extra would it make sense to spend to upgrade to photos of the same quality as what you have been shooting?

Does it make financial sense to spend an extra $100? How about an extra $500? Is an extra $1,000 unreasonable?

I think everyone agrees that better photos are a plus. I think everyone here agrees that if better photos cost an extra $1, then it's worth the money. I think everyone here would agree that if the better photos cost $50,000 then they probably doesn't make financial sense.

The question is what is the actual ballpark value to the Realtor? That's an important piece of information for a photographer targeting that market. If a tilt-shift lens isn't going to get the photographer more business, faster workflow, or higher pricing then it may not be worth the investment.

That is a valid question. It costs me less time than it does the photographer, because I have to go there anyway. Shooting and precessing time used to be a lot when I started, but now I generally shoot a property in less than 30 minutes and process it in about the same time. Some places are very simple and take 10 minutes. Once in a while I get some great architecture to work with and take a lot longer because I am enjoying myself.

Some years I beat that $150 an hour figure, and some years I don't.

Having control over the process is valuable. I know better than a non real estate person what I want to include, what I want to emphasize, and what I want to exclude. If I have to direct the photographer, I only save the processing time. I don't really know what I want until I start shooting it. It's not just art. It's documentation. Correct documentation in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible within a reasonable time is my goal.

I would imagine that most Realtors are not excellent photographers.   You seem to be both.  I would be surprised if you regularly hire someone else to shoot your properties.  Therefore you are not a potential client for pro photographers.

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OP Ian L Contributing Member • Posts: 586
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

I'm not much for superstition, but I have to say this week since i posted this thread I feel like someone is trying to send me a message. This past week I had multiple shoots where a tilt-shift would have been very useful - house with a high vaulted and uniquely painted ceiling, a historic high clock tower, a landmark storage silo, another set of vaulted roofs.

And I'm going to be taking a trip to NYC a couple of days...definitely a place to use a TS lens. Not to mention B&H is there. So, i think while I'm there I'm going to head to BH and pick up a TS lens for my canon.

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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Forum Pro • Posts: 11,580
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

Ian L wrote:

I'm not much for superstition, but I have to say this week since i posted this thread I feel like someone is trying to send me a message. This past week I had multiple shoots where a tilt-shift would have been very useful - house with a high vaulted and uniquely painted ceiling, a historic high clock tower, a landmark storage silo, another set of vaulted roofs.

And I'm going to be taking a trip to NYC a couple of days...definitely a place to use a TS lens. Not to mention B&H is there. So, i think while I'm there I'm going to head to BH and pick up a TS lens for my canon.

Are you a member of Canon Professional Services (CPS)?

Some of the CPS membership levels qualify for free evaluation loans of Canon gear.  You could get a free loaner of a TS lens and try it out for yourself.  That way you can decide if it's worth it to you, and whether you would prefer a longer or shorter focal length.

In addition to the loaner program, CPS offers expedited and discounted repairs.

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OP Ian L Contributing Member • Posts: 586
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

No i'm not, but i decided it wasn't worth it for me. I'd rather have the lens for a month or so and if i decide it's not for me, if it's within the 30 days i purchased it i can return it. Or if it's past 30 days, I should be able to sell it on ebay for close to new price since it would basically still be brand new.

I realize there are other perks to the cps program. But i don't think Id make too much use of them.

Thanks though

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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Forum Pro • Posts: 11,580
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

Ian L wrote:

...I should be able to sell it on ebay for close to new price since it would basically still be brand new.

...

I've wondered about this. When you sell a 1 month old lens on eBay it's similar to brand new, but doesn't have any warranty. How close to list price do people actually pay?

The Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift Lens sells for about $2,149 at B&H .  Canon USA sells a refurbished version , with a 1 year warranty for about $1720.

Will people really pay close to $2150 for a 1 month old version on eBay when a refurbished with a factory warranty is about 20% ($429) less?

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OP Ian L Contributing Member • Posts: 586
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

Michael Fryd wrote:

Ian L wrote:

...I should be able to sell it on ebay for close to new price since it would basically still be brand new.

...

I've wondered about this. When you sell a 1 month old lens on eBay it's similar to brand new, but doesn't have any warranty. How close to list price do people actually pay?

The Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift Lens sells for about $2,149 at B&H . Canon USA sells a refurbished version , with a 1 year warranty for about $1720.

Will people really pay close to $2150 for a 1 month old version on eBay when a refurbished with a factory warranty is about 20% ($429) less?

The warranty doesn't transfer over if you resell the lens??? Also the refurb from canon is out of stock. So that will make one on ebay a little more valuable.

Most of the ones I've seen on ebay are used and seem to sell for about $1800. It's a bit of a gamble. It'll probably cost me more to sell it then to just borrow one from the canon program. But on the other side, if i decide I want to keep it, it'll be cheaper since I won't have paid $100 to borrow one.

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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Forum Pro • Posts: 11,580
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

Ian L wrote:

Michael Fryd wrote:

Ian L wrote:

...I should be able to sell it on ebay for close to new price since it would basically still be brand new.

...

I've wondered about this. When you sell a 1 month old lens on eBay it's similar to brand new, but doesn't have any warranty. How close to list price do people actually pay?

The Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift Lens sells for about $2,149 at B&H . Canon USA sells a refurbished version , with a 1 year warranty for about $1720.

Will people really pay close to $2150 for a 1 month old version on eBay when a refurbished with a factory warranty is about 20% ($429) less?

The warranty doesn't transfer over if you resell the lens???

Correct. In the USA Canon's warranty on a lens only applies to the original purchaser.

You could try to cheat the system by claiming you bought the lens as a gift for the person you sold it to, but that may not work. Furthermore, in order to get warranty service, the person needs the receipt showing the date of purchase.

At the very least, if you use the lens for a month before selling it on eBay, and play the "I bought it as a Gift" game, they only get what's left of your 1 year warranty. They also get whatever of your personal information is shown on your receipt.

If a refurbished lens with a 1 year legitimate factory warranty can be bought from a trusted seller for 20% off the new price, how much do you think you would get on eBay selling to someone who doesn't know you, when the lens has an iffy 10 month warranty?

I don't really know how much you could get for the lens on eBay. That's why I asked. Personally, I wouldn't buy from an unknown seller for more than Canon's refurbished price, but I don't place much trust in eBay.

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Ed Rizk Veteran Member • Posts: 3,548
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

Michael Fryd wrote:

Ed Rizk wrote:

...

Assume for a moment you decided to never take another photo again, but would remain a Realtor. Let's also assume there are vendors in your area that will provide reasonable photos for $150 per house.

From a business perspective, how much extra would it make sense to spend to upgrade to photos of the same quality as what you have been shooting?

Does it make financial sense to spend an extra $100? How about an extra $500? Is an extra $1,000 unreasonable?

I think everyone agrees that better photos are a plus. I think everyone here agrees that if better photos cost an extra $1, then it's worth the money. I think everyone here would agree that if the better photos cost $50,000 then they probably doesn't make financial sense.

The question is what is the actual ballpark value to the Realtor? That's an important piece of information for a photographer targeting that market. If a tilt-shift lens isn't going to get the photographer more business, faster workflow, or higher pricing then it may not be worth the investment.

That is a valid question. It costs me less time than it does the photographer, because I have to go there anyway. Shooting and precessing time used to be a lot when I started, but now I generally shoot a property in less than 30 minutes and process it in about the same time. Some places are very simple and take 10 minutes. Once in a while I get some great architecture to work with and take a lot longer because I am enjoying myself.

Some years I beat that $150 an hour figure, and some years I don't.

Having control over the process is valuable. I know better than a non real estate person what I want to include, what I want to emphasize, and what I want to exclude. If I have to direct the photographer, I only save the processing time. I don't really know what I want until I start shooting it. It's not just art. It's documentation. Correct documentation in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible within a reasonable time is my goal.

I would imagine that most Realtors are not excellent photographers. You seem to be both. I would be surprised if you regularly hire someone else to shoot your properties. Therefore you are not a potential client for pro photographers.

That's a high compliment coming from you.  Thanks, Michael.

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Ed Rizk

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Colin Dutton Regular Member • Posts: 220
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

Ian L wrote:

I'm not much for superstition, but I have to say this week since i posted this thread I feel like someone is trying to send me a message. This past week I had multiple shoots where a tilt-shift would have been very useful - house with a high vaulted and uniquely painted ceiling, a historic high clock tower, a landmark storage silo, another set of vaulted roofs.

And I'm going to be taking a trip to NYC a couple of days...definitely a place to use a TS lens. Not to mention B&H is there. So, i think while I'm there I'm going to head to BH and pick up a TS lens for my canon.

I've been following this thread too and I just wanted to chip-in again.. if you do buy a TS lens you'll find it's useful for situations you've described here where you want to look up, but it also goes way beyond that. Nikon call these PC lenses for 'perspective control' for good reason.

For example I shot the exterior of a large villa here in Italy last week where the entrance was slightly to the right of centre so the building was not symmetrical. For the front view I stood in line with the entrance (which was nicely framed within some columns) and used a Nikkor 35mmPC lens shifting it 45° up and left at the same time. That allowed me to keep my eye centered on the front door and columns of the entrance while keeping the building centered in the frame and the verticals straight.

What I'm saying is that shifting left and right or other angles (not just up and down) can be really helpful in controlling perspective. Shooting this villa with a normal lens either the building would have been off-centre or the door would have been obstructed by the columns. These are little details but they do make a difference.

Having said that I usually spend at least a day shooting a property (two days in the case of this villa) so I guess I'm working at a different pace and budget to others here. In any case I'd still recommend a PC lens if you're shooting a lot of interiors or exteriors. If you're aiming to do your job well then you'll find it a useful tool.

Also, I'll just add that if I only had one PC lens it would be the 24mm. It's a field of view that doesn't exaggerate and let's you describe spaces with a certain elegance compared to wider lenses.

Hope that helps.

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JackM
JackM Veteran Member • Posts: 8,677
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

Ian L wrote:

I'm not much for superstition, but I have to say this week since i posted this thread I feel like someone is trying to send me a message. This past week I had multiple shoots where a tilt-shift would have been very useful - house with a high vaulted and uniquely painted ceiling, a historic high clock tower, a landmark storage silo, another set of vaulted roofs.

And I'm going to be taking a trip to NYC a couple of days...definitely a place to use a TS lens. Not to mention B&H is there. So, i think while I'm there I'm going to head to BH and pick up a TS lens for my canon.

Absolutely, go for it. If you need it then it’s worth it. If you can afford it or if it will pay for itself quickly then it’s worth it. It will be a useful lens.

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OP Ian L Contributing Member • Posts: 586
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

Colin Dutton wrote:

I've been following this thread too and I just wanted to chip-in again.. if you do buy a TS lens you'll find it's useful for situations you've described here where you want to look up, but it also goes way beyond that. Nikon call these PC lenses for 'perspective control' for good reason.

For example I shot the exterior of a large villa here in Italy last week where the entrance was slightly to the right of centre so the building was not symmetrical. For the front view I stood in line with the entrance (which was nicely framed within some columns) and used a Nikkor 35mmPC lens shifting it 45° up and left at the same time. That allowed me to keep my eye centered on the front door and columns of the entrance while keeping the building centered in the frame and the verticals straight.

What I'm saying is that shifting left and right or other angles (not just up and down) can be really helpful in controlling perspective. Shooting this villa with a normal lens either the building would have been off-centre or the door would have been obstructed by the columns. These are little details but they do make a difference.

Having said that I usually spend at least a day shooting a property (two days in the case of this villa) so I guess I'm working at a different pace and budget to others here. In any case I'd still recommend a PC lens if you're shooting a lot of interiors or exteriors. If you're aiming to do your job well then you'll find it a useful tool.

Also, I'll just add that if I only had one PC lens it would be the 24mm. It's a field of view that doesn't exaggerate and let's you describe spaces with a certain elegance compared to wider lenses.

Hope that helps.

For where i am right now, shooting a house all day wouldn't be practical. It certainly wouldn't be worth it in terms of what I would be getting paid.

I would like to eventually get to the point where I'm shooting magazine quality properties.

For now, the wider angle lens would be more useful to me. Thanks for the feedback though.

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Ed Rizk Veteran Member • Posts: 3,548
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

Ian L wrote:

Colin Dutton wrote:

I've been following this thread too and I just wanted to chip-in again.. if you do buy a TS lens you'll find it's useful for situations you've described here where you want to look up, but it also goes way beyond that. Nikon call these PC lenses for 'perspective control' for good reason.

For example I shot the exterior of a large villa here in Italy last week where the entrance was slightly to the right of centre so the building was not symmetrical. For the front view I stood in line with the entrance (which was nicely framed within some columns) and used a Nikkor 35mmPC lens shifting it 45° up and left at the same time. That allowed me to keep my eye centered on the front door and columns of the entrance while keeping the building centered in the frame and the verticals straight.

What I'm saying is that shifting left and right or other angles (not just up and down) can be really helpful in controlling perspective. Shooting this villa with a normal lens either the building would have been off-centre or the door would have been obstructed by the columns. These are little details but they do make a difference.

Having said that I usually spend at least a day shooting a property (two days in the case of this villa) so I guess I'm working at a different pace and budget to others here. In any case I'd still recommend a PC lens if you're shooting a lot of interiors or exteriors. If you're aiming to do your job well then you'll find it a useful tool.

Also, I'll just add that if I only had one PC lens it would be the 24mm. It's a field of view that doesn't exaggerate and let's you describe spaces with a certain elegance compared to wider lenses.

Hope that helps.

For where i am right now, shooting a house all day wouldn't be practical. It certainly wouldn't be worth it in terms of what I would be getting paid.

I would like to eventually get to the point where I'm shooting magazine quality properties.

For now, the wider angle lens would be more useful to me. Thanks for the feedback though.

I never felt crippled by the 60D and the 10-22. If I had to go back to that today, my pictures overall would be fine, and I would still look forward to better pictures as I got better at photography.

The 17 just kicks it all up a notch. Low dollar clients are not going to pay more for the difference. You might steal some from your competitors over the difference, but who knows. The difference might get you the developer, builder, architect, or publisher, all of whom will pay more. But there will be no overnight benefit, economically.

You will like it, though.

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Ed Rizk

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Colin Dutton Regular Member • Posts: 220
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?
1

Ed Rizk wrote:

I never felt crippled by the 60D and the 10-22. If I had to go back to that today, my pictures overall would be fine, and I would still look forward to better pictures as I got better at photography.

The 17 just kicks it all up a notch. Low dollar clients are not going to pay more for the difference. You might steal some from your competitors over the difference, but who knows. The difference might get you the developer, builder, architect, or publisher, all of whom will pay more. But there will be no overnight benefit, economically.

You will like it, though.

I agree with you Ed, there would be no overnight benefit. I think if a photographer enjoys shooting multiple properties fairly quickly and for relatively low rates that's absolutely fine and there's no need to invest in specialist equipment to satisfy the expectations in that market. But if they're looking to eventually take a step up and improve their work with the aim of finding higher-end clients then they'll need to make certain investments (in time and money) to bring their work up to that higher standard.

That might include buying equipment like specialist lenses, lighting and modifiers, as well as researching the type of image used in higher-end work, taking time to learn new techniques to let you realise those images and re-assessing how you market yourself and your work to potential clients. These are all factors that go together. Like you say, buying a TS lens is not going to make the difference on its own but it could be seen as part of a longer, upward journey if that's what the photographer is aiming at.

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RJNedimyer Veteran Member • Posts: 5,807
Re: Shift APSC only.

JackM wrote:

That’s cool, but it’s only capable of shift on APSC. And then it is not wide enough.

FALSE!!! At 4.52 the video shows use for full-frame.

Don't worry, it was very easy to miss.

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Ray
RJNedimyer

AZBlue
AZBlue Senior Member • Posts: 2,362
Re: Tilt-Shift lens worth it?
2

Michael Fryd wrote:

AZBlue wrote:

I'm a Realtor® who wins sellers with my photography. There are so many of us out there, how does one differentiate oneself? I've found that my photography sets me apart from other agents, especially when sellers realize that photos of their house will be seen as a "first impression" by 95% of home buyers.

When I work with buyers, I take a nice location portrait of their family at the new house which I have lab printed and framed. That's my closing gift to them, as a reminder of not only this happy day but of me as well.

A lot of real estate agents end up incorporating their hobbies and passions into their businesses.

Assume for a moment you decided to never take another photo again, but would remain a Realtor. Let's also assume there are vendors in your area that will provide reasonable photos for $150 per house.

From a business perspective, how much extra would it make sense to spend to upgrade to photos of the same quality as what you have been shooting?

Does it make financial sense to spend an extra $100? How about an extra $500? Is an extra $1,000 unreasonable?

I think everyone agrees that better photos are a plus. I think everyone here agrees that if better photos cost an extra $1, then it's worth the money. I think everyone here would agree that if the better photos cost $50,000 then they probably doesn't make financial sense.

The question is what is the actual ballpark value to the Realtor? That's an important piece of information for a photographer targeting that market. If a tilt-shift lens isn't going to get the photographer more business, faster workflow, or higher pricing then it may not be worth the investment.

Thanks, but this is not really related to what I posted. I target sellers with my photography, not realtors. I would not choose to never take another photo because taking my own, high quality photos is an intrinsic part of my business and appeal. It is one aspect of my business that I very much enjoy. I couldn't care less what other Realtors do, but I thank them profusely for using the el-cheapo photographers and making me look good!

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