Eye of the beholder: Tapping into the art of CRE photography

Commercial real estate (CRE) comes alive with compelling photography, and this has never been truer than in this age where most prospective tenants and clients begin and end their search for property online.

Of course, there are some things a great photo can’t do: it can’t negotiate rates, or check leases, and it certainly doesn’t have the connections that a broker has. Thankfully, they are not competing. In CRE, a great photograph (several actually) and a great broker are a killer combo.

Here’s how to get the best visuals of your listings:

  1. Work with the professionals: If you are selling your own home, you might – we repeat, MIGHT – just get away with taking your own pictures. For a serious CRE listing, however, you need seriously great photographs that can capture a sense of place and project the potential of a site.
  • Collaborate with creative: A CRE broker may want to identify a small pool of tried-and-trusted photographers and freelancers who they can turn to as listings come up. Then they know the quality they can expect, and the photographers know the kind of photos a broker is after. Look for photographers specializing in real estate and architectural photography specifically; they come with a wealth of insight and tricks up their sleeves.

Also on this point, one must give clear briefs to the photographer, especially if there is a particular market or prospective client they want the photos to appeal to – such as startups or ‘blue chips’, niche or volume audiences, and so on.

  • Look local (and timing is critical): Knowing the area – its rhythms and moods – can mitigate some of the challenges an outsider might be faced with when capturing an office space or retail park. A local photographer can advise on what time is best for the lighting you need and want, which is one of the most critical decisions that you will make before a shoot.

A golden reflection, deep color saturation, or the sparkling backdrop of a city at night can all make the difference between a photo that shouts out to a viewer and a site that looks lifeless and cold.

  • Landscape, landscape, landscape… except when not: Almost exclusively, the landscape orientation lends itself best to CRE photography, and it is the most versatile for listings online and the types of standard content management systems many listing sites use.

There are, however, a handful of excellent reasons to break from this, such as drawing attention to an architectural feature or making a splash with printed peripherals. This “standard” operating procedure is shifting, especially as more listings are being viewed on mobile sites and apps (more directly below) in square and portrait form.

  • Tech-led: Fancy a 3D rendering or a sweeping drone shot? These kinds of photography are becoming cheaper and more accessible every day, and a professional CRE photographer will likely offer these extras or be able to recommend another service provider. Not every listing needs this, so be discerning.

Got a photography tip to share with your colleagues or an example of great real estate photography, from your listings or archives? Share this article, with your photography tip, and be sure to tag us on social media!

Delivery Drones Hitting the Sky: What CRE Should Consider

As new technologies become commonplace, the existing infrastructure is forced to adapt. Efforts to blend well with newly infused technologies oftentimes require the commercial real estate industry to make some updated considerations.

This is the scenario that CRE now finds itself in with drones. Drones aren’t necessarily a new invention, but it’s continually hitting new application milestones as this flying technology makes headway into the modern industry.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s happening with drones, and what CRE should start thinking about:

Drones in CRE

Commercial real estate has long been leveraging drone technology, so the business is no stranger to collaborating with this tool.

CRE uses drones for various purposes related to upkeep and marketing. Drones can access otherwise hard to reach areas of a building and feedback crystal clear audio and video signals to ground controls, assisting operators with maintenance and upkeep rounds. Capturing gorgeous listing photos and videos from a birdseye view is a favorite CRE application of drone tech. Drones can also be used for video surveillance of sprawling properties, saving the time and effort of an on-foot sweep.

It’s not just the commercial side of things that love drones – the residential industry does, too. Residential real estate also deploys drones to generate gorgeous imagery for listing and marketing. Across the board, drones are used in many different ways to streamline CRE needs.

2020’s Uptick in Industrial Drones

Today, a new application of drones is making headway within the commercial scene – and it’s shaking up the industrial sector.

Delivery drones are becoming increasingly popular as big-name brands, such as Walmart and Amazon, are launching these revolutionary sky-high delivery methods. Delivery drones are hitting the atmosphere and solving many pain points related to ground shipping and order fulfillment.

Will Drones Become the New Delivery Standard?

The biggest question on everyone’s mind right now is whether or not this airborne delivery method will stick around. And, if it does, what does this mean for the existing land-based supply chain network?

First of all, commercial buildings would need to re-evaluate their mail facilities. It’s doubtful that drones will be using the keypad at the front door and stepping into lobbies to drop off packages with team members. The traditional human-based system will need some readjustments to be able to facilitate this new digital model.

Establishing proper package delivery acceptance and holding areas suitable for drone access should be somewhere on CRE’s radar – especially for multifamily, office, and retail. For many CRE assets, this may even require a redesign of physical spaces. Hiring additional on-site team members to manage this new task should also be something to think about.

The timeline for drone delivery to finally catch on is still too hazy to make distinct predictions. Right now, it’s just the major players in retail who are adopting airborne delivery methods. But, once the trend is introduced into the market, it’s almost guaranteed to take off and trickle into commonplace protocols.

If this tech is rolling out now, expect a widespread permeation within the coming years.