by Devon Higgins
The New Zealand real estate photography market is on the rise and we are lucky enough to be working with one of the best in the business. Paul Vettoretti, owner of Vantage Point Photography, is an accomplished photographer who was able to turn his passion into a career. Paul has been shooting real estate in New Zealand for over 5 years and recently became a member of the PhotoUp community.
We asked Paul to sit down with us in order to learn more about him, his business, and his experience with using PhotoUp. Paul, like many of our other clients, got to the point where he could not handle all of the work on his own and needed help editing. Read the interview below to get the full story of how Paul has been able to leverage PhotoUp’s service to help him grow his business.
Q: Can you give us a little background on how you got into real estate photography?
A: I’ve had a lifelong interest in photography and I wanted to make a living out of it so I gave up my job in the city and started life as a photographer. I’ve been shooting real estate photography for the past 5 years. It was the avenue I knew I wanted to get into. I initially looked at franchises for real estate photography, but they wanted to add too high a margin, restrict me in certain areas and control the way I operated.
At the end of the day, I stopped looking at franchises and figured I would go into business on my own and do the difficult work myself because they weren’t offering me a whole lot more than I could make on my own. It took a while to get established and gain clients at different agencies, but we have been quite successful the last few years.
Q: What caused you to begin to look for a real estate editing service like PhotoUp?
A: I guess it’s a classic story… I found myself with more work than I could process in the daylight hours and I was working all night processing images. I knew there had to be a better way. I had been looking for a photo editing service for a couple of years, trying to find something that looked trustworthy on the internet. You can Google it and you can find that so many things pop up, but you don’t know where you’re going to end up and what they may be doing to your images.
I belong to a local camera club and I hear stories there about people’s images being stolen. You get them processed somewhere else and they end up who knows where!? Hearing all that stuff made me a little bit cautious, but at the end of the day the way that PhotoUp appeared online, your team in the Philippines and how you
are pumping money back there to support them, it had a nice feel about it and that’s why we made the initial contact.
I was getting to the point where I had to do something. We contacted you and found that process reassuring and easy. There was really no looking back once I started.
Q: Can you tell us about your first couple weeks of working with PhotoUp? What was your experience with the practice period account and starting to work with a team of editors?
A: We just followed the process PhotoUp set up. We supplied the images that were required over the first 4 or 5 days. We would submit one set of images and then give feedback, then submit another batch of images and give more feedback.
The images that were coming back were great! They were all images that I had processed myself before and I could look at them and think, “Well these guys do a good job!” I was impressed with that.
I had no problems with the practice period. It was good. It just went smoothly. We supplied feedback, got new photos and then it just seemed to come together quite quickly.
Q: What was the hardest part about beginning to use PhotoUp as your real estate photo editing team? What was the easiest part of the process?
A: Well I suppose that hardest part is that you’re going into the “unknown” in a way, aren’t you? Although everything looks great on the surface, you’re thinking, “Are they really what they say they are?” With you guys it felt good to start with and very quickly there was no doubt. Just the first few communications made all the difference. You guys were so enthusiastic!
The other thing that made me feel good was the fact that you had a big questionnaire that you had me fill in before I started. You wanted to know what kind of gear I used, how I processed, that sort of thing. That was great! I had to stop and think about the way I did things. It kind of opened your eyes up to the fact that people shoot differently as well.
Q: Have you had to change anything about your shooting style or your client interaction since starting to use PhotoUp?
A: No, not really. In fact, I haven’t told people that I use PhotoUp. My biggest concern was making the process seamless and that my client didn’t notice any difference. If they did notice a difference, it was a sudden improvement. As time goes on and I’m
more comfortable with what we are producing, I’m happy to mention to people that I use PhotoUp.
Q: Have you been able to see your business grow since PhotoUp became your real estate photo editing service?
A: What PhotoUp has enabled me to do is grow my business as a one-man organization and still get to bed at a reasonable hour.
I’ve got a nice feeling that the business will continue to grow. The next step is to employ somebody, and that’s a big step. You don’t want to lose clients because you can’t provide them the service, but I don’t know if I’m ready to grow to that level yet. That’s my next dilemma in developing my business.
In terms of what I have been able to do after work, my lifestyle is still very busy, but it’s a bit more relaxed. Instead of getting to bed at 2:00 am I’m might get to bed at around 11:00 pm or midnight. But this is only because I’m taking on so much more work. I’m still just a one-man organization.
Q: Have you been able to add any real estate photography tools and equipment to your arsenal to help you grow your business?
A: I’ve bought two things that have helped grow my business quite a lot. I used to cart a ladder around for my “elevator shots”. It was 3.6 meters and it was cumbersome and horrible. I was reading an American photography article online and I saw a thing called a Cam Ranger. You plug it into your camera, set up a Wi-Fi channel through an app on my phone and then I’m able to see what the camera is doing on top of the pole. So now, instead of using a 3.6 meter ladder, I’ve got an extendable swimming pool cleaning pole that goes from 4 meters to 6 meters. The camera mounts up there on the pole mount, I plug the Cam Ranger into the side of the camera and I’ve got the app on my phone so I can frame the shot, focus it, and do it all from my phone. Those elevator shots have become a breeze and there’s no more ladder.
And then there was the drone. I’ve been looking for a couple of years at a drone. I finally got introduced to them from chap I know in the fire service who was looking at drones as well. He introduced me to this particular model that he was playing with. The moment I saw it, I was sold. I had to have one of those.
I used to do work from helicopters to get my aerial shots but now I can use the drone. It’s great! It’s these tools and the technology that’s moving and helping my business. PhotoUp is part of that with the service that you offer by processing my photos to help my business grow.
Q: What advice would you give to people thinking about using PhotoUp as a real estate photo editing service?
A: Just put your toes in the water. If you don’t do that, you’ll never find out if it’s warm or not. Just take that first step. You guys are so easy to deal with and the fact that I can communicate with the people who actually own the company is awesome!
That was one of the first comments to my wife as soon as I made the initial contact. I said, “The chap I’m talking to owns the place!” That was impressive.
There’s a learning phase, and I’m probably still learning. The more you get involved and the more you provide feedback, the better it is. When you provide feedback, your editing team listens.
You’ve just got to do it. Take the Nike thing and “Just do it.” The process is easy. It doesn’t hurt a bit. I’ve just loved the whole experience.
Q: What do you love about PhotoUp?
A: I love the fact that I can come home in the evening, load my photos, and then they are there the next day. I don’t have to do much after that at all.
I love the fact that PhotoUp support communicates with me. They’re reliable. You can get ahold of them and they can get ahold of you. If there’s an issue, you guys handle it.