PhotoUp Interview with Dave Davis, DMD Real Estate Photography

By Devon Higgins

We recently had a chance to have a conversation with one of our largest and longest standing members of the PhotoUp community, Dave Davis of DMD Real Estate Photography, based out of Anchorage, Alaska. DMD Real Estate Photography has been shooting real estate throughout Alaska since 2009 and has grown to be one of the leading real estate photography companies in the state. Dave was one of the founding members of PhotoUp and has been part of the PhotoUp community for over 2 years.

We caught up with Dave to ask him a few questions about how he got started with PhotoUp and how he has seen his business and PhotoUp grow over the years.

Q: What made you start looking for a real estate photo editing service for your business? How did you first get involved with PhotoUp?

A: I was at a point with my business that I realized that things were getting very busy. I was shooting 3-4 homes per day, if not more, and I couldn’t keep up with the editing. I hired my own in-house editor but the cost was just killing me. Between taxes and her hourly wage, it was just too expensive when business got slow.

One day, Kristian Pettyjohn (PhotoUp’s CTO) walked into my office that I was sharing with a friend of his, and he talked about his team in the Philippines. That sparked my interest and I said, “Woah, if this guy’s got people working for him in the Philippines, maybe I can hire someone to have them work for me over there.” We determined that if I, a real estate photographer in Anchorage, Alaska, had a need for affordable real estate photo editing, that there would be other people that needed this too.

I knew that there were other options out there in places like India and Asia, but I didn’t feel comfortable with the language barrier and the fact that I couldn’t call them when I needed support. I just didn’t feel comfortable with their solution.

We decided, “If I want this, I guarantee other people want this as well. So let’s do this!” So we began exploring how we could create it and from that conversation, PhotoUp was born.

Q: What’s was the hardest part about starting to use PhotoUp?

A: I’m not sure what the hardest part was? I didn’t find it hard to give up the editing piece which I think is what made me the perfect candidate for PhotoUp. What I enjoy the most is the photography. I enjoy being out with the client in the home and networking and building relationships. Sitting in front of the computer and editing was painful for me.

Having someone help me do the editing for me was actually a relief!

Q: What about the photos you receive back from PhotoUp?

A: At first, like anything, it takes time to get used to someone else editing your photos. Everyone has their own unique look and style. In my mind, editing is very subjective, so what I think is a good white balance, someone else may not think the same.

Over time, the editing team has improved and gotten much better at learning my specific style. Now, having dedicated teams of editors that work on my photos every single time, I think I’ve seen a much more consistent result.

Q: How have you liked our new subscription based model and pricing?

A: I’m really enjoying this new subscription mode. It’s a lot easier to use. I have my profile set up and my editing team knows what I want. We literally just put in the address, add any little notes that we may have and then upload. It’s definitely streamlined the process.

I like the subscription model because it’s easier to budget and I now know exactly when my payments are going to be coming out. Before, with the on-demand model, I was constantly making payments to PhotoUp on a weekly basis. Now I have a bi-monthly payment schedule which is mush easier to manage.

Q: Since using PhotoUp, have you been able to spend more time doing other things besides editing photos?

A: Oh man, I have so much more time! I’ve been able to really grow my team of photographers and I’m able to go home at night and be home for dinner.

My stress level has gone down as well. I used to stress about editing. It wasn’t something I really liked to do, so I it would stress me out quite a bit. Since using PhotoUp, I don’t stress out nearly as much.

Q: Have you been able to grow your business since working with PhotoUp?

A: When I started using PhotoUp, it was just me. Now, I’ve been able to grow my business to have three additional photographers and I’m in the process of interviewing a fourth. I’ve been able to expand my market to start shooting other areas outside of Anchorage.

In the past, my editor would have to work on my images the day after I shot them so it would take about 1.5-2 days to deliver my images to clients. Now, I’m able to deliver my images the next day.

When it was just me, before PhotoUp, the maximum I could shoot was about 3-4 homes per day and approximately 50 homes per month. Since using PhotoUp, Ive been able to more than double those numbers. The past couple of months, we have been photographing between 7-8 homes per day and consistently shoot about 120 homes per month.

 

Q: Is there any advice that you can give real estate photographers who are thinking about using PhotoUp for their real estate photo editing?

A: My advice to anyone just starting out with PhotoUp would be to have good communication with the team and be patient. It’s going to take time to get used to your style and preferences and hone in on exactly what you’re looking for in an edit. It’s going to take time to build that history so that you consistently know what someone likes.

If you just give a couple of images and they don’t come back looking perfect and you give up, you’re never going to get anywhere. You have to wait it out for a little bit and give your team some time to let your style sink in.

Speaking from pervious experience, you’ve really got to make a commitment and run with it for at least a month, if not more.

Q: What has been your favorite aspect about working with PhotoUp?

A: It’s really hard to just pick one thing. Here are some of my favorite parts about using PhotoUp:

But probably the part that I like most is that it is scalable. PhotoUp is built to be able to grow with my business. My business model is all about growing and developing a team. I want to add more photographers to be able to cover more areas and continue to grow, so having a scalable editing solution is key for how I grow my business.

There are a lot of real estate photography editors out there, but a lot of them are “one man shows”. They may be a good fit at some point, but if I grow and I’m shooting 15 or 20 homes per day, they wouldn’t be able to keep up with that. Those companies wouldn’t be a long term solution for me, whereas PhotoUp is a long term solution when it comes to real estate photo editing, because they can grow with me.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with the PhotoUp Community?

A: You know, some people have a hard time with the term “outsourcing” or sending work overseas. My message to them would be that we’re all in this together. In this world, everyone needs a fair chance and everyone deserves an opportunity to make a living or to do what they love to do.

When I think about my editing team in the Philippines and know that I am able to help give them a job working with amazing people in a cool environment, that’s what makes me feel good.

Devon

Devon came to PhotoUp with a background in digital marketing and communications. With a BA in Marketing from Michigan State University and previous experience working with both big business and non-profits, Devon brings a well-rounded perspective to the team. Outside of PhotoUp, you can find Devon coaching and playing soccer, socializing in downtown Grand Rapids, or going on adventures throughout the great state of Michigan.

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