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BusinessDeveloping Your Products & Services (Part 5/9 - Virtual Staging)

Developing Your Products & Services (Part 5/9 – Virtual Staging)

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Vіrtuаl ѕtаgіng (or virtual furniture) as a service has grown in popularity in recent times as the market becomes comfortable with the use of ‘fake’ furniture in images and potential buyers/renters come to expect the use of virtual furniture in the images they are viewing online.

Virtual staging requires the use of computer software tо furnish a vacant/semi-vacant rооm in a photo. Vіrtuаl ѕtаgіng allows your clients tо avoid the ‘cold and empty’ feeling projected by photos of vacant homes and saves them the high costs and hassle associated with physically staging the home.

The service can also improve the quality of leads for your clients as renters or buyers develop an emotional attachment to the home when they visualize themselves and their family living in the space.

You should ask your client prior to the shoot commencing whether they would like virtual staging, as it can make a small difference to the compositions you capture during the photo-shoot. You will need to photograph the rooms in a way that will suit the virtual furniture being added. Simply visualize the layout of furniture in the room and compose your image to include this in the space. If the client asks for virtual staging after receiving the photos, it is not the end of the world, as you will most likely naturally shoot an empty space using suitable compositions anyway.

Open-plan Living/Dining Room (before virtual staging)
Open-plan Living/Dining Room (after virtual staging)

It’s important that your clients include a disclaimer in their property descriptions that the furniture depicted in the photographs is for illustration purposes only and is not real furniture. This can also avoid disappointment in potential buyers and renters who inspect the property only to find the home empty upon arrival. You/your editor can also add this disclaimer for your clients to add even more value to your service.

The best way to add virtual staging to your images is by outsourcing it to a company that offers this service and is carrying out a high volume of work, as you will get the most bang for your buck.

You should be able to have virtual staging added to a room for 10-25USD per image, however if you find a supplier cheaper than this, the quality of the work will usually be quite poor, and the furniture will lack the shadowing required to make virtually staged furniture look realistic.

High quality virtually staged furniture should look natural and almost impossible to tell that it is not real furniture. Outsourcing companies such as propertyrender.com can add modern virtual furniture to your images in less than 24 hours.

Virtual staging can be a very profitable ‘add-on’ to your existing photography services. The only cost is the fee that is charged by the company that you outsource the work to, and you can add quite a large mark-up for the service depending on your location (and competition). Typically, a mark-up of three times the cost price is fair, and (for example) can generate a net profit of 120USD, if you provide 3 VF images of a home at a cost price of 20USD per image.

A pricing strategy you can apply to encourage your clients to purchase more virtually staged images is to offer deals such as ‘4 images for the price of 3’. If you plan on offering this service to your clients, remember to put some ‘before and after’ examples on your website so your clients can see how great it looks.

You can also provide a couple of virtually staged images for free to your best clients so they can experience the benefits of using VF, and you will also have some images to use for your ‘before and after’ photos/portfolio.

Formal lounge room (before virtual staging)
Formal lounge room (after virtual staging)

Disclaimer: Haus Photo Media is the owner of PropertyRender.com

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