Lynn Dube owns and operates Wave5 Productions, Real Estate Photography. She photographs and creates virtual tours of homes in Greater Portland and sometimes beyond.
We asked her a few questions about her business, and for her advice for sellers whose homes are going to be photographed.

 

How did Wave5 Productions get started?
A broker in the Keller Williams office, where I was an admin, asked if I could help him photograph a condo at Chandler’s Wharf. So I shot the condo and put together a virtual tour.

Where did “Wave5” come from?
In 2008, at the same time of the photography request for Chandlers Wharf, I was training for the Tri for a Cure (triathlon). I was new to being a triathlete, and on the day of the event, I didn’t know when I was supposed to start. The athletes go in waves, and my friend Kim Smith told me “You are Wave 5.” So I thought it would be appropriate to use that in my photography.
Basically, when I started the photography, a good portion of the money went into my fund-raising account. Then the business grew and just snowballed from there. After three years I could no longer do the triathlon, because of a foot injury, but I still contribute to the charity.

How long have you worked in real estate?
I’ve had my license since 1994, but always been an admin; I’ve never been an active agent. I left the office position a year and a half ago to do Wave5, photography and videography, full-time.

Are you self-trained, or did you take photo classes?
A fair amount of both. I have taken some classes, and I’ve learned a lot online.

Do clients always want both photos and the virtual tour?
Most of the time, it’s the whole package. Occasionally a broker will say they don’t need a virtual tour.

Are the houses you shoot all high-end?
I do the whole spectrum. There have been days when I’ve shot a million-dollar house, and the next shoot may be listed at $150,000. I enjoy the diversity.

What are the top three things a seller needs to do before you photograph/ film the home?
No. 1, de-clutter. No. 2, de- personalize. Take down the wedding photos and the other family photos. No. 3, tidy up as if your mother-in-law is coming to visit!

What if people don’t?
I will ask the seller – the seller is there probably half the time – do you mind if I move a few things? They’re usually pretty good, and I help them move things around. They understand that I want the photos to look good for them. If there’s a lot of clutter in a picture, buyers have a hard time visualizing the room.

How long does it take to do a shoot?
It depends on the size of the house, but it averages maybe a little more than an hour. The follow-up – editing,
etc. – is much more time-consuming. I usually shoot only two houses in a day, or sometimes three.

Do you visit homes before doing a shoot?
Generally speaking, no, but I do research ahead. No. 1 to see how the sun will be hitting the house, and No. 2 to have an idea what I should be looking for when I do go to the house.

What’s the most challenging room to photograph?
A home with clutter everywhere is very difficult to photograph. The brokers I work with are pretty good, so it doesn’t happen often. Maybe one in 20 houses.
Only once have I had to decline to do a shoot. It was a house with tenants in place and I told the broker I couldn’t do it because the house was too cluttered. I did go back and do it, after the tenants moved out. I tell the brokers to blame me, that I’m the one who’s so particular.

It is sellers, or brokers, who hire you?
Brokers hire me, and pay me. I get a call from a FSBO (for sale by owner) on occasion.

What does a photo/virtual tour cost?
The “average” home, up to 3,200 square feet, is $150. Larger homes are $175 and it goes up from there. That includes the photos, three virtual tour links, and a weekly (online) “hit” report. One link is the plain virtual tour. One is branded, with the broker’s contact info; it has Google maps and can be launched to Facebook and YouTube.

What are the most important rooms to photograph?
Obviously, the kitchen. The living room and/or family room. And then the master bedroom.

Do you shoot only homes for sale?
I have shot homes for builders, to use for promotion on their Web sites. And I did a promotional video for Habitat for Humanity.

What’s the first thing you look for when you enter a home for the first time?
The “wow” of the house. A key element. It may be the kitchen, or a family room with a wall of windows, or a man-cave. It might be a garden or an ocean view.
And at the same time, I’m looking for anything that may be out of place. Uneven shades, beds with a blanket sticking out from under the bedspread. Things on top of the refrigerator. Things that a stager would spot. Anything that just jumps out at me.

Like, an animal?
The pets? I love the pets, and if one happens to be in a shot, I add it to my Facebook collection of virtual tour pets.
My business card has one of my favorite cats on it. It’s Flo, and Flo is in the kitchen sink. She would not leave the sink! I was able to get her out and grab a quick shot, and then she hopped back in.

For more information, please visit www.wave5productions.com.