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Drew Aitch

Apartments Photographer Wanted!

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Hello everyone.

One of the most common complaints I get about Mr. Roomfinder is the lack of photos with the Apartment listings. Most newly added condos are now uploaded with pics which is great, but there are many apartment blocks listed on the site that are void of photos.

I know that greater Bkk is a huge city, but is it a crazy idea to have someone run around on a motorcycle armed with a digital camera, and over a period of time, collect photos for us for all the apartments we have listed without pics?

Even if we only had a couple of quick snap shots for each place for say:

1. Building exterior

2. Main living area

I’ve been toying with the idea for some time now but a few things that have put me off to date are:

* Where to find a reliable person happy to do take on this task?

* How much time will be spent at each place explaining why we want the pics?

* The overall cost and how to pay for it? e.g. per place or by selected zone?

The bottom line is, all the apartment buildings have direct contact details and descriptions anyway, so in the opinion of this forum, is the idea above a bit over the top or do photos really make a difference when home hunting on websites?

I appreciate any feedback you might have.

Aitch

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Drew:

Photos do make a big difference at the search point. If gives us an idea about the room / building.

I think if you looked at the stats on all your websites you would find that the ads with photos get more hits.

If I can see a photo of the place, what pray tell are they not showing me?

Regards

James

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The bottom line is, all the apartment buildings have direct contact details and descriptions anyway, so in the opinion of this forum, is the idea above a bit over the top or do photos really make a difference when home hunting on websites?

In my opinion, photos are crucial. There are so many available flats, no way I will go and see them all. Everyone can write a nice text description, and I find that frequently it is quite misleading.

For me, the additional things I want in an ad is

- Floor plan

- Floor size

- Photos

But hey, I'm living in UK at the moment. i could have a different opinion when I get back to Thailand. However I'm looking for a flat to buy right now, and I find most property websites plain annoying because they lack the critical information i need to decide whether to spend the time to view it or not.

Cheers

NM

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Thanks for the replies guys.

I know it’s favorable to have photos with ads, as I’m tempted to skip those apartments that don’t have any myself, unless I can’t find what I’m looking for among the illustrated ads that is.

Having said that, a lot of people use publications like the Bkk post etc to search for apartments and they're just text based ads wrapped up in a couple of sentences. I guess they're effective otherwise why would anyone pay 2 or 3,000B for a couple of lines.

It's true about the stats James and some properties with pics get thousands of viewings as opposed to dozens or hundreds, but many of these places are recently added and therefore get a plug on the home page for a while plus a page 1 viewing when a search is done in their respective area.

Whether to get someone to go out and take a bunch of pics to spice up the plain ads is something I’m still toying with at the minute. Let's see if we get any more response from this post and then perhaps it will be easier to make a decision one way or the other.

As most of the new ads include photos nowadays, this should just be a one-off job and will consequently make searching on Mr. Roomfinder a more pleasurable task.

Cheers

Aitch

Edited by Drew Aitch

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A friend of mine flogs Condos on Pattaya and the biggest problem he had was getting decent photos of his units as a regular camera doesn't do the trick. He ended up droppong 50K on a Sony wide angle camera which gives far better results for people viewing his site.

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A friend of mine flogs Condos on Pattaya and the biggest problem he had was getting decent photos of his units as a regular camera doesn't do the trick. He ended up droppong 50K on a Sony wide angle camera which gives far better results for people viewing his site.

Thanks for that terdsak_12.

It's a very good point. Sometimes the landlords and agencies that upload properties to the site have obviously taken grainy snaps with their mobile phones. I don't know what's worse, terrible pics that do your place no justice, or no pics but a well written description!

As Roomfinder is a free-for-all, there's nothing I can physically do to make sure folk upload or control the quality of their photos. It's up them.

Recently added apartments tend to have 'ok' pics now though as the importance of including photos with an ad is highlighted in the Add Apt forms.

An ideal lens would probably be 28 or 24 mm wide angle but these are expensive and I don't think a lot of project owners think it's that important.

Thanks for your post.

Aitch

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I’ve been toying with the idea for some time now but a few things that have put me off to date are:

* Where to find a reliable person happy to do take on this task?

* How much time will be spent at each place explaining why we want the pics?

* The overall cost and how to pay for it? e.g.  per place or by selected zone?

Aitch

Hire a studio with proper setup to do it. They would have producers to arrange locations and train couple of young photographers to do the job. On an average of 20-45mins to shoot an apartment for both interior and exterior.

If this is an on going project and big enough, they might charge a resonable price. My studio done that before and the property agent kept that as a photo library.

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:D

i remember last time i visit roomfinder only 1 pic there.

i think 1or2 pic per room is a must!

from the house or room or floor or toilet or cat :D ...

but shure a pic!!!

sorry, but i can't explain because my english-writing is not soo well na...

:o:D

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Everyone has raised good points in this thread and the bottom line is obvious which is that properties with pics rule.

It's true that a number of people happily scan the classifieds of publications when looking for new accommodation and all they have to go on is a few lines of text and a contact number. I think we're ahead of them on that score but it's a shame that so many landlords don't take the opportunity to have a free, full page, glossy ad on the site promoting their vacant property.

Roomfinder will always be free for tenants, landlords, and agencies to exploit, but a project of this size needs to pay for itself in the long run by way of site advertising and reputable affiliate programs, but until this happens there has to be a limit as to how much cash is invested into the cosmetics of the site.

I’m more than happy to plough any cash back into the site that’s generated by any of the above methods, as the focus to make this a great resource for tenants and landlords has not changed.

I’ve had a few offers from individuals wanting to take pics for those properties without any, but to be honest these quotes were way out of my budget.

Additionally, I’ve even attempted to visit a handful of apartment buildings myself and was politely refused access to rooms and facilities with my camera as the offices in question viewed me a little suspiciously despite an introduction to my presence.

We still have many more places with pics than what we started with and I’m certain the site will continue to improve in this area as Roomfinder gains ‘web credibility’ but this only comes with time and frequent improvements to the project.

I can’t wave a magic wand on this one but if I could find a way to get 7 colour pics and a map to every one of our properties listed, I’d do it tomorrow.

Thanks for the feedback on this one everyone.

Aitch

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Hi Aitch,

We've spoken before about websites but under different names.

My opinion is that photos will only work if they show the actual room, or a similar actual room, from the place in question. Photos of the outside are also useful, but unlikely to help conversions. You could easily (!) turn room photos into your USP. There's even a java applet that lets you simulate a 360* environment from a few photos.

Even if you cannot get this kind of photo, do not underestimate the value of alt tags to the SEs. A consistent use of photos+alt tags with relevant keywords will potentially do almost as much to the SEO of your site overall as having unique webcams for each apartment block.

Cheers,

Will

p.s. just read your latest reply and with this in mind, I would go so far as to say 'do whatever it takes' to get into those rooms. Wear suits, present gold plated business cards, pull up in a friends' merc. Actual room photos. Think about it!

Edited by OxfordWill

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Listings without photos are completly useless to me. Ive gone to many places that looked good on paper but turned out to be a sh1t hole. A single photo could have saved me a lot of hassle.

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If i was based in Thailand full time, i would love to do this been a keen photographer, all you need is a damm good digital camera with a decent wide angle lens as the more good photos the more interest on the web, i know this when selling on e-bay, i put about a dozen photos of the item, i host these with photobucket.com, so no e-bay fees and no charge from photobucket, in september i put a 911 turbo for sale on e-bay, reserve of 18,000 GBP i actually sold it for 22,000 just because i hosted about 15 photos

Edited by Thaicoon

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How much would you pay for someone to do that.

I'm 40 years old now, I live full time in Thailand, retired military, and spend my days watching tv, playing on the computer, exercising, eating, mountian biking, and other useless things.

I have a digital camera good enough to take photos of apartments and I am very good at editing the photos with Photoshop.

I wonder if I would get more satisfaction out of life from taking photos to help people find a home or just sitting around doing nothing?

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Everyone has raised good points in this thread and the bottom line is obvious which is that properties with pics rule.

... I’ve had a few offers from individuals wanting to take pics for those properties without any, but to be honest these quotes were way out of my budget.

Additionally, I’ve even attempted to visit a handful of apartment buildings myself and was politely refused access to rooms and facilities with my camera as the offices in question viewed me a little suspiciously despite an introduction to my presence. ...

Aitch,

I agree that pics make a huge difference, mainly in looking at ads in the first place. The pics basically grab my attention and the text sells the place. But a good pic can make up for a poor description as well. Text alone would only work for me if I had a lot of free time and wanted to try to find a bargain.

I've had my girlfriend take pics of the apartments she wants to move to. She hasn't had any problems, but she's actually interested in renting and she may be telling them that she's sending them to her boyfriend to look at. She's a student so these places aren't at the high end of the range and that may make it easier for her.

You may want to try university students. They'll be fairly cheap and if you screen well enough, you'll get responsible workers. Maybe several in different areas so they could actually get to the places without too much trouble or expense. You probably wouldn't get pro quality results, but it'd be a start and you could see if they actually made a difference.

For a panorama shot from multiple pictures, Canon PhotoStitch software does this surprisingly well. It came with my camera and probably comes with other models. My Canon SD550 (Ixus 750 in Asia?) has features to help out in the process, but I've done it with old pictures taken with a 4 year old digital camera too.

So you could buy a nice camera for yourself and still have people use their own cameras to take the pictures.

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