Real estate photography, like all forms of marketing, should not be an expense. It can be, if it's not of a sufficiently high standard, but when done right real estate photography is an investment that is one of the very best things a homeowner or real estate agent can do.
You see, unprofessional marketing is not helpful to anyone. It damages an agent's brand, and sets up the seller for the worst possible result. And although some real estate agents try and make excuses such as, "This home is not worth enough to warrant professional photography", in reality if it's good enough to sell and good enough for an agent to take a commission on the sale, then it's good enough to be marketed professionally by a professional real estate agent.
On the other hand, really good real estate photography will always put you in front with more money in your pocket afterwards.
If you were to speak to any marketing expert, they would all tell you that every marketing step you take should only be taken if it provides a financial return on investment (or at least when that gives you back your time, and if time is money then that's really the same thing). It could be a website, or a radio ad, or just a line in the local newspaper, but whatever it is it ought to bring you more money than you spend. If not, then it's time to ditch it and move on to something else.
When we're talking about a real estate marketing campaign, including professional real estate photography, the outcome we should expect is that a home that is promoted with high quality photos will achieve a higher sale price than it would have without those first class images.
So let's calculate the return on investment (or ROI) with the following sum:
ROI = Profit – marketing cost / marketing cost
… and then we multiply that figure by 100 to see it as a percentage value.
So if a real estate agent uses professional photography, and is able to achieve a sale that is as low as $2000 higher that they would have achieved without those photos, and if the photographer costs as much as $500 (it is usually much less than that), then even so:
ROI = 2000 - 500 / 500 ... then x 100
Therefore, ROI = 300%.
Yes, a 300% return on investment, and these are using the most conservative of numbers. You would normally expect a higher sale price difference, and a lower cost for professional photography, which means that in most situations the ROI will be significantly higher, often into the several thousands.
Do you think you could go to a bank or financial institution and ask them, “I’d like the interest rate to be 300%"?
Of course not - certainly not within the course of a couple of months or whatever time the home is up for sale. Yet as unlikely as it is in most situations, this is what you can expect when you hire a top class real estate photographer.