Our community is in the midst of an unprecedented and overwhelming experience as we take advice from government leaders and public health officials to do our part to contain the spread of COVID-19.
As a business owner this is a particularly confusing time as we attempt to balance safety and social responsibility with the needs of our clients.
Of course, we understand the importance of great photos, video, 3D tours and drone footage to market homes.
Shortly after the pandemic was declared, Homes in Focus continued to provide service using safety measures and precautions to protect our clients, homeowners and our employees.
However, as the situation evolved, it became clear that Homes in Focus could not continue to provide photography services while also ensuring the safety of others during this pandemic.
This was an incredibly difficult decision as our clients and their business needs are critically important to our success as a company. We greatly value our client relationships and appreciate the partnership we have built over the years.
We are also touched by the outpouring of support from our clients since we announced our decision to temporarily cease operations. We appreciate the kind words and understanding as we look forward to continuing our relationship at the conclusion of this pandemic.
I am still here behind the scenes working on ideas to keep things running. Please continue to reach out to me as I do wish to offer any assistance I can to support your business.
We hope everyone remains safe and healthy as our society works through this unprecedented time.
Owner, Homes in Focus
To our Valued Clients,
Due to changing Health Regulations and Advisements by the Public Health Agency of Canada, It is with great difficulty I announce that Homes in Focus will be suspending service until further notice.
As all of us are trying to adjust to the global health and economical challenges that Covid-19 is presenting us with, we had hoped the recent precautions we had adopted would allow us continued service to our clients. As new information and direction comes forward from Health Canada, the wellbeing and safety of our team members, clients and homeowners has to take priority at this time.
As a small business owner this decision was not made lightly. Homes in Focus started in a spare room in my home 7 years ago and evolved to a team of 5 amazing individuals. I consider our clients to be an extended part of the Homes in Focus family and not being able to support your listings at this time is challenging to accept. I have the greatest respect for your work and what you are facing in the coming weeks. There are many situations where postponing a listing is not an option and I acknowledge that you are navigating your way through this as well.
I appreciate your understanding and support. Please continue to reach out with anything I may be able to assist with. We all hope to be back with cameras in hand soon.
Homes in Focus
As our community moves to address concerns surrounding the containment of Covid-19, Homes in Focus aims to continue to provide excellent customer service to support your business needs.
We have implemented a number of processes to ensure the respect of personal space as well as the health and safety of our employees, our customers and their clients during this unprecedented time.
Our photographers will be wearing disposable gloves and foot protection before entering a client home. Photographers will use hand sanitizer, provided by Homes in Focus, before and after each appointment. Additionally, all editing will be completed in the homes of individual photographers in an effort to promote social distancing among our team members. Should any member of the Homes in Focus team exhibit any symptoms or become ill, they will be reassigned to an off-site role.
We are thankful for your continued partnership in notifying us in advance of potential for exposure to viral infection of any kind on-site. Your understanding as we navigate any unexpected changes in scheduling is appreciated.
Your friend behind the lens,
Homes in Focus
You’ve found an easy to navigate website with the product you want at a great price but still find yourself hesitating. If you have ever shopped for an item online, chances are you’ve clicked open the product reviews before adding it to your cart. Because when we can’t touch and test our online buys in person we instinctively want that human guide telling us their experience to relate to our own need. The same principal applies when looking for a professional to provide a service.
There is no argument that personal references play a significant role in building a business. It’s why the tag line “we’re never too busy for your referrals” is a fan favorite. But what about your audience who doesn’t have a friend of family member to send them your way? They are the ones who know your name through sponsored social media ads, the bus shelters with your 6 foot smiling face, and the post cards they sift through each week? You’ve won part of the battle by getting your name and brand in their mind, so how do you ensure you’ll get the call?
Having Client Testimonials available for your market audience to easily view will boost their confidence in your service encouraging them to contact you. Just like you felt a little more at ease when Joe from Sudbury gave the Bluetooth speaker you found online 5 stars. Testimonials Build Trust.
So how do you build that data base of Testimonials?
Ask for them! If a client has emailed you a great thank you, ask them if you can use it. Request one when you follow-up with your client after your business has concluded. Send out a survey with the option of including a testimonial you can use. Encourage them to be specific to add credibility. And always have their permission to use their words and let them know some identifying information may be used, such as city and last name.
Now, where do you put them?
Don’t keep them a heavily guarded secret that you only release on request. And avoid going overboard by hiding the content of your web-site under a virtual mountain of glowing reviews. Having a tab on your site is an option or you can step it up a notch and make them available right on your landing page. Doing the latter will increase the views they receive and will also help boost your search rankings especially if the content references your name, service and brand specifically. Also share them on your Social media feeds and include them in printed material as well.
And if you receive some evaluations of your service you’re not proud to share, consider those your performance reviews and thank the sender for the constructive feedback. Acknowledging that your client felt there were some gaps that needed to be filled will let them know you have heard their concerns and that you do care about their experience. This will lessen the chance of them spreading any negative views of your business in conversation and open up the opportunity of a second chance at working together.
There is no downside to soliciting reviews and referrals from your past clients. They will help you improve your service and build your brand while showing your clients you value their opinion. Decide which way works best for you and start gathering those testimonials then share them with the world. You worked hard for your clients and deserve the feedback.
As the owner of Homes in Focus Real Estate Photography, my goal is to offer a product my client is proud to associate with. I welcome any feedback you have that can ensure we grow together and of course would be honored to use your testimonials.
Let’s talk copyright… This topic has come up quite often over the years as a Real Estate Photographer.
So who owns the pictures? The photographer who took them or the person who hired them for the job? It is widely understood that those Professional wedding, family or school photos remain the property of the photographer and reproducing them or using them for purposes other than personal viewing is illegal. Well the same usually applies for Real Estate Photography. In fact, any photograph taken by a professional is considered copyright. And no, the image does not have to be marked as such or even watermarked.
When hiring a Photographer to produce photos for a real estate listing the contract, or terms and conditions usually state that the client is obtaining an assignment or license to use the images for marketing the specific property for sale. So what happens when another party, usually the seller, would like copies of the images from the Realtor? Technically it isn’t the Realtors property to share and they should obtain permission from the photographer before distributing the images. (I personally have encouraged using the photos as part of a closing gift, especially when the sellers have a long history or bond with the property.) The photographers aren’t being unreasonable in limiting the use. There is a very solid business reason behind how rights of use are decided.
Imagine you purchased a stock image to use in your business. For example a photograph of two people shaking hands. An assignment or license is given to you to use them image within the terms set out. You publish that image on your web-site to add interest to one of your topics. A friend contacts you asking for a copy of the image to use on their business flyers. Of course you would refer them to the site where you obtained the image for them to purchase.
Another example that I recently saw was a wedding photograph that a venue was using to advertise their reception hall. The photograph was given to the venue by the bride and groom without knowledge or permission from the photographer. The photographer, as the owner the photo, I’m sure would have been happy to provide the venue a license to use his work with the proper compensation and agreement.
I can’t imagine any photographer being unreasonable when it comes to their images living on beyond the sale of a home. In cases where the images will be used to for profit or marketing the photographer will discuss pricing options. Even where the image are for a personal gift, it’s never a bad idea (and technically it’s the legal one) to obtain permission before using or distributing images beyond the use they were released for. It will show your photographer you respect their work.
Resources – Canadian Copyright Act