Photography & Selling Houses Sight Unseen with Brian Copeland

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Photos are a must-have when it comes to marketing a home for a listing. In this episode, photographer and real estate agent Brian Copeland shares his thoughts on the importance of great photos for your listings. Brian and Monica discuss the equipment and software that real estate agents can use to get the best photos (and the best price) for their listings.

In the climate of the pandemic, virtual showings have become more important than ever. Real estate agents have to become "digital professionals" — capturing the full scope of the property with your virtual deliverables. Houses selling sight-unseen have also become increasingly more common, and a large part of that is due to the level of care agents and photographers put into getting the photos just right.

Brian brings some elements of the music industry to his photography approach. As REALTORS® you are Artist & Repertoire directors of homes, overseeing and managing your brand as a whole. It is important to bring a standard to aerials, 3D photos, and stills — you never know what future business you may get (or not get) because of the photos you’ve presented on your listings. For real estate agents who may not have it in their budgets yet, make sure you learn how to take attractive photos on your phone or with the equipment you do have.

Brian and Monica talk about some of the best photography equipment, software, and education resources. You can make almost any equipment work for you; it really comes down to process and using your eye to get the best shots. Some of the equipment that Brian uses are a Canon 6D, as well as a Canon glass, and several different lenses. Nikon and Sony also make quality equipment if you’re looking for a camera, but the cameras on iPhones are much better nowadays and can be a viable option. When it comes to software, Photoshop is a great option, and there are other lighting and editing software and apps out there. Lightroom is the standard. For education, one of the best resources is Kelby One. There is also great content available for free on YouTube.

If you go the route of hiring a professional, make sure you understand the copyright laws. The person who actually takes the photos owns the copyright to the photos. As real estate agents, it’s great to have a conversation up front about copyright, so you both understand the usage of the photos. If you find that your photos have been used, always approach the other agent with professionalism.

Houses will sell more when they look better. Decently staged and professionally photographed could bring your seller the anticipatory price, rather than the comp price. To get the best price, it’s also important to pay attention to the quality of the full package: 3D, aerial photography, and video. Brian talks about some of the best equipment and software for capturing 3D images and how you can upload them to listing sites, and gives advice for using a drone to capture aerial shots.

When it comes to the video for the listing, DJI Products are great to help stabilize your current equipment. Video has SEO strategy for real estate agents, as well as a way to market the property. Most of the MLS have guidelines about what part of your brand can be in the video, so make sure you understand what can be included. As a tip, record an intro and outro that can be used for all of your videos. Brian and Monica talk about some different approaches to video — a walkthrough versus more of a teaser to the house. If you are doing a walkthrough or a virtual tour at request, you have to be quite thorough since the buyer may not lay eyes on the house themselves. This is a great opportunity to establish a sense of trust with your clients as you are candid about the property.

Photography is an art form that takes years to perfect. As REALTORS® you want to deliver the best quality product — if that means hiring a professional, do so! If that’s not in your budget, make sure you take the time to educate yourself on how to get the best shots, what equipment you can afford, and best practices so your portfolio can stand out! It takes time to learn and you will get better.


"Give them that extra level of supplemental digital leadership, and give them the risk; sight-unseen happens all the time and you just have to make sure you’re being a great digital supplemental resource." — Brian

"It’s all a matter of how you use it. You can use any camera with the right lens, the right glass, to your benefit — given that you have a good eye." — Brian

"Communication fixes a lot. Kind, professional, nonaccusatory communication helps a lot." — Brian

"When you build up that social trust, that digital trust, with your client, they will continue to come back and they’re going to tell their friends." — Brian

About Brian Copeland

Brian Copeland (M.S., B.A., CRS, GRI, CIPS, e-PRO®, ABR®, Broker) prides himself on one-on-one buyer and seller service. Brian was the 2011 Nashville REALTOR® of the Year. He has been one of the most sought-after real estate speakers in America, emceeing and keynoting some of the largest conferences in the profession. He served as the 2017 President of Tennessee REALTORS®, 2019 Vice President of the National Association of REALTORS®, and advocates for property rights at the local, state, and national association levels. He’s been named as one of the 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders in America as well as one of the Top 200 Power Social Influencers.

After years of volunteering, speaking, traveling, team management, brokerage management, and sales, Brian recreated his entire sales business in 2019 to focus on being a solo agent. Brian knows with an ever-changing marketplace, sellers and buyers must have one point of contact and full concierge service.

He is a graduate of Carson-Newman University and holds a master’s from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Brian and his spouse, Greg, make their home on a Nashville farm with their two children Micah and Esther.