Big is beautiful: why Open2view is the ‘gold standard’ for real estate photography

Ask anyone involved in real estate who Alistair Helm is, and they’ll know. If they don’t, odds are they’re doing it wrong.

Alistair is the former CEO of, the property website (aka portal) that displays virtually every single house for sale in New Zealand. Alistair, like Open2view, recognised early two crucial details about the real estate market.

The first point, that online would become the only source for the vast majority of homebuyers, has consequently been proven absolutely correct.

Having help build into the behemoth it is today, he is now showcasing his talents on a global scale. Recently Alistair became CEO of Property Portal Watch, which is the website to follow to keep up with developments in online real estate.

As such, the site is “specifically designed to serve the owners and operators of property portal sites” – but one recent article from Alistair deserves a wider audience.

Property Image Sizes, Getting Bigger – Catch the Trend emphatically makes our second important point: that without good, preferably professional photos, your listing is dead in the water.

Alistair reports:

Recent research has reinforced what most real estate agents and for that matter property portals already knew, property shoppers look first and most often at photos.

The research study undertaken by the Institute for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate at Old Dominion University at Norfolk, Virginia found that 95% of people, when viewing real estate websites view the first photo for around 20 seconds.

Photos sell property; and this study only reinforced this fact by demonstrating the lesser importance of agent descriptions as part of the listing. The researchers found that a staggering 4 out of 10 people completely ignored the agent spiel.

The whole academic paper Alistair quotes can be read here. I’ll save you a headache; one of the authors, Professor Michael Seiler, summed the findings up perfectly: “without an eye-catching photo, the battle is lost before it begins.”

The first photo is the key weapon in winning the battle. Not only does it have to be beautiful, it also helps significantly if it’s big.

Alistair explains:

The future is becoming clearer in regard to the viewing experience for real estate. Mobile, or to use a better expression, hand-held devices, being tablets and phones or just phablets will be at least half of all viewing for property; the other half may well end up being viewed on ever bigger screens. It is likely that the traditional PC monitor will be replaced by the flat screen TV as property buyers sit back on the couch and browse property on their 60” High definition LCD TV.

So how big are most real estate photos? Alistair has done some homework and found the largest listing page images on at 772×579, followed by Sweden’s Hemnet (690×460) and US site Trulia (640×427). The smallest? (“Belgium’s leading property website!”) at a microscopic 145×145.

Immoweb tiny images

Anyone home?

All far smaller than the typical computer monitor, let alone those smart TVs that will soon be all the rage.

So whom do you turn to for the world’s largest, high definition, professional photos?

Open2view, that’s who!

Alistair gave this wonderful endorsement of what we do:

In reviewing the global portals I was torn as to the inclusion of the site of Open2View… They are not a portal in the true sense of the term of aggregating listings from multiple customers and earning income from subscription and property advertising. However there is no doubt that their website is one of the most immersive viewing experiences of any property website I have ever come across.

They make the property image the hero – front and centre with everything else pushed back out of the way – listing photos are 960 x 640 with the overlay switching to full screen at 1135 x 750 – a staggering experience coupled with professional quality images. Whilst not a true property portal, Open2View for me certainly sets the gold standard for online property images. [Emphasis added]

Even better – if your screen’s big enough our fullscreen photos go all the way up to 1600×1066. No matter how you look at them our photos are bigger, brighter and better than anywhere else on the web – and now you don’t have to just take our word for it!

Fullscreen Open2view listing example

Just click the Fullscreen icon on any of our listings for a fully immersive househunting experience.

Neither the study’s findings, nor Alistair’s words of wisdom, should go ignored. Our advice to house sellers: if you want your house looking its very best, tell your agent to contact the Open2view team. House buyers, check out Open2view first – you won’t get a better viewing experience anywhere else.

And while you’re online – check out Alistair’s other website, Properazzi, for more news and views on the real estate market.

2 thoughts on “Big is beautiful: why Open2view is the ‘gold standard’ for real estate photography

  1. Thanks for the endorsement of the article on Property Portal Watch. This matter in someways seems like something that NZ in addition to Australia has addressed faster than in other countries of the world, where as your example shows images are quite pitiful.

    I am impressed by your commitment to the standards of real estate photography – you to my mind seem to be constantly raising the bar and I have yet to see in my experience in this arena an operator quite as passionate and committed to the “art of photography” for real estate.

    • Thanks for the kind words and support Alistair. Definitely a large part of our success can be put down to having people in the business who both love what we do and understand the importance of great real estate photography.
      It’s a bit surprising some countries are proving slow to catch on… photos of 145×145 do nothing but kneecap what could be an amazing listing. Wonder if I can get the boss to fly me to Belgium to explain it! 🙂

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