Want to succeed as a property investor? Think like a photographer

What can a landscape photographer possibly teach a property investor?

It turns out, quite a bit. house property

As you may or may not know, landscape photographers are some of the most excruciatingly obsessive people on earth. I know, I was told this on multiple occasions:)

They’re well known for creating images that simply stop time and make your jaw fall on the floor.

There’s something so distinct about landscape photographers that set them apart from the rest.

These characteristics are well worth adopting if you want to succeed as a property investor.

Photographer’s rules for property investors

Persistence is king.

Being a landscape and travel photographer (as well as an active property investor), I can tell you from experience that those perfectly captured moments are a result of unwavering persistence against all odds.

Granted that you may get lucky and you’re in the right place at the right time, more often than not, you’ll have to try many times before you capture the money shot.


Vestrahorn, Iceland 2016


This image alone took me at least a couple of dozens of attempts. In the middle of a freezing night in Iceland.

It would have been so easy for me to give up given how cold it was at that time, but I was determined to come away with the shot that I like.

The same is true with property investing. 

It’s very rare to have all factors line up at the same time.

But you have to work with what you have and try.

Maybe multiple times.

Got gazumped?

No problem, there are thousands of other prospects waiting.

Got declined by the lender?

It’s not the end of the world.

Talk to your mortgage broker for untapped finance options.

Be persistent.

This is the only way to build the financial future that you’ve always dreamed of.

Research relentlessly.inspect property

Those exquisite images don’t happen by chance.

Landscape photographers spend countless hours researching the shot before they push the shutter.

Shooters plan everything meticulously.

They seek out the best vantage point, down to the right tree or structure.

They research the best time and the tools they need.

Of course, you can still show up and chance it, but you won’t get that image worthy of a National Geographic feature.

During my last trip to Yosemite National Park in late February, I specifically wanted to capture one of the most coveted and elusive events in this nature wonderland: the famous Horsetail/Firefall phenomenon.

Firefall, Yosemite National Park 2017


This is when the setting sun creates a stunning deep orange glow when it hits the waterfall.

Sounds simple enough?

Not so.

For this phenomenon to occur, a number of factors need to line up.

First, the Horsetail Falls needs sufficient water from the rain and melted snow for it to flow.

Next, the sun has to hit the granite wall behind the waterfall just at the right angle to cause the orange tinge.

Lastly, the sun has to be close to the horizon.

Yes, I was fortunate that all these occurred for me to see and capture this rare sight.

I know thousands of photographers go each year only to be disappointed when there’s a no-show.

But I also spent many hours researching when and where and how.

I knew exactly where I want to be to get this vantage view of the Firefall.

As property investors, there’s more at stake. location map house suburb area find

We’re not just losing the chance to capture an iconic image.

Your inadequate research may result in a poorly selected property investment that will cost you dearly in the end.

Not doing enough research could also lead you into working with property experts that would suck money out of your pocket.

Take time to do your extensive due diligence.

Verify every data independently and make sure you check every claim.

Don’t leave anything to chance.

You can significantly boost your odds of buying a good investment property and will sleep better at night if you take the time to do your due diligence before committing to buy.

Wait. Don’t give up too soon.

One of the mistakes I made as an amateur landscape photographer is packing up too soon and missing amazing photo opportunities.

One particular instance was missing the most incredible cloud formation at sunset in Queenstown, New Zealand.

After a lacklustre sky at sundown, I decided to pack up to leave.


Queenstown, New Zealand 2016


Ten minutes later, I could see the clouds starting to light up.

I quickly drove to the nearest vantage point to shoot the spectacle.

Although I managed to catch the tail end of the show, I did miss the best part because I left too soon.

In property investing, you reap your best rewards by sticking it out over the long term. sydney

Don’t be tempted to sell so soon, unless you absolutely have to.

Just look at what happened to Sydney.

Between the last boom in 2002 and 2013, there’s a decade of slow to no growth.

Imagine if you’ve sold your property just before the boom started in 2014?

When it comes to property investing, as in photography, patience truly is a virtue.

An imperfect shot is better than none.

Yes, as photographers, we aim for that ideal shot where the lighting, composition, and exposures are all perfect.


Brisbane, Queensland 2015


But life has an annoying way of thwarting your plans.

So even a carefully planned shot can still end up being messy.

Sometimes, the opportunity presents itself but your camera isn’t set correctly and you only had a split second to take that opportunity.

So you take the shot and end up with an imperfect image.

But you captured that moment.

Perfection is desired, but it’s not the most important.

Especially when capturing truly momentous events.

The same is true with property investing. Property-Investment-Checklist-300x199

Of course, you want to make sure you buy the investment property that ticks all the boxes.

But the reality is, there’s no such thing as a perfect investment property.

If you wait for this perfect property to come along, you could be waiting for a very long time.

It will also cost you dearly in the end in terms of lost opportunity.

As long as the numbers stack up and you can accept the limitations, go ahead and take the plunge.

Take the damn shot!

In photography, as in life, any shot you don’t take is a lost opportunity.

Great White Lake, Mongolia 2015


The same thing applies to property investing.

No matter how much research and planning you do if you don’t take the plunge and buy, you won’t succeed.

You have to be in the game to win.

Yes, the property markets have moved on and there are more hoops for you to jump through, but if you chase your property dreams relentlessly, you too would end up with a life’s masterpiece one day.


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Nila Sweeney


Nila Sweeney is the managing editor of Property Market Insider which publishes independent, intelligent and authoritative property investment information to help investors and home buyers make smart property decisions. Over the past 10 years, Nila was the managing editor of Your Investment Property, Your Mortgage and Canadian Real Estate Wealth while actively investing in property herself. Visit: propertymarketinsider

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