Complete VHT Studios Review: Pros, Cons, and Alternatives
VHT Studios is a real estate photography company that also offers a wide range of services like floor plans, virtual staging, virtual tours, drone photography, and partnerships. It's presented as an all-in-one solution to real estate photography for agents, brokers, and commercial real estate firms. In this full review of VHT Studios, we'll help you decide if this is a good choice for your business or not. We'll cover:
- VHT Pricing and Services
- Quality of VHT's Virtual Staging Designs
- Pros and Cons of VHT
- VHT Alternatives
- Comparison of VHT and Stuccco
VHT Studios Pricing and Services
VHT Studios describes their company as a provider of “real estate photography and marketing services.” They offer many different services, and their website organizes them by services for agents, brokerages, and commercial brokerages. Here's a list of all the services named throughout their website:
- Real estate photography: $119 - 829, depending on zip code
- Drone photography: $229-329
- Floor plans: Not listed
- Matterport 3D tours: $199, depending on zip code
- Video walkthrough: $99-449
- Studio services: Not listed
- Custom brokerage programs
Here is a breakdown of all pricing for virtual staging:
- Redecorate: $199 per photo
- Paint: $59 per photo
- Declutter: $99 per photo
- Stage: $79 per photo
- Virtual twilight: $39 per photo
Screenshot of virtual staging pricing from VHT Studios
However, the final price of each service depends on your zip code. In many cases, you may not be able to see the price without calling the company directly.
Quality of VHT Studio's Virtual Staging Designs
If you're making sure that the virtually staged images from VHT Studios aren't blurry or pixelated, you're in luck. It's almost 2022, and offering clear quality images is the very least that you should expect from a real estate photography company. However, what you should evaluate more closely are the actual designs created by VHT Studios.
VHT Studios specializes in real estate photography, with virtual staging being just one of many services they offer. That means that they employ photographers, not designers. Therefore, it's not surprising that the quality of their designs tends to fall short in comparison with the best virtual staging companies, like Stuccco.
For example, here's an example of how Stuccco's virtual staging transforms a room:
Example of Stuccco's virtual staging
The staged photo has not only a much better design, it is also brighter and much more eye-catching in a listing.
On the other hand, here's one example of a virtually staged image from VHT Studios:
Example of a virtually staged room from VHT Studios
The staged photo has relatively realistic-looking furniture in it, but that is the only change. It also doesn't seem like the staged design would really make a buyer think differently about the property.
Plus, the image is extremely dark, even after staging. Most likely, this is because of the VHT Studios team's lack of pricing clarity and systems for photographers and customers (more details on VHT's confusing order process below).
In the end, the “after” photo still would not make a very good listing photo.
Here's another example:
It's difficult to judge the quality of these virtual staging designs because of the angle the photo is taken. In our guide to taking photos for virtual staging, we discuss how listing photos should be taken with a clear view of the space.
In this photo, the countertop takes up almost a quarter of the photo, and you almost can't see the entire dining table.
For these reasons, it's clear that VHT Studios does not offer a high quality of virtual staging.
Learn more about luxury virtual staging and see how the details make the difference.
Pros of VHT Studios
Here are two benefits of using VHT Studios for your real estate photography needs:
1. Range of Services
If you're a real estate agent or broker who feels like you need a lot of help improving your listing photography, VHT Studios can be really appealing. They offer multiple photography packages and many other services like video walkthroughs and drone photography.
This makes VHT Studios similar to BoxBrownie, which is another company that offers a wide variety of real estate photography services. You can get more details in the full review of BoxBrownie.
2. Available in Locations Throughout the U.S.
VHT Studios is available all over the country, from LA to New York. It's handy for real estate professionals to have a go-to company for photography that can be available in more than one location. You can check if VHT Studios is available in your area by clicking on the service you want, clicking “See Rates,” and inputting your zip code.
Cons of VHT Studios
Unfortunately, there are multiple reasons that customers should take a second look at VHT Studios before placing any orders.
Related: Virtual Staging Statistics
1. Confusing Pricing Structure
Before you place an order with any company, you should know the price of the service. Because VHT's services are split by topic, by audience (agents, brokerages, commercial), and locations, it makes their pricing structure very unclear.
In order for us to find the correct pricing for this article, we had to look through every page of the website and search many different zip codes on many different services. Many services, like floor plans and studio services, don't have prices attached at all.
There is also no clarity or explanation about how they determine different pricing for different locations or people.
This is what one previous customer noted about VHT Studios' pricing on Yelp:
“The major issue I have is that VHT gives a different price based on WHO you are. When I enter my zip code and look up rates for Gold Photographs, the price is "starting at $199 + $10 per additional photo."
When I questioned them over the phone as to why I was charged $299 + $15 per additional photo (50% more than the advertised price), they explained it's because those are the rates they set for my company...
If you are one of the few lucky people to receive the low rate, please PM me and tell me the secret. The low rate is not the rate for a property management company. Apparently, it's not the rate for homeowners (according to someone else's review citing this shameful, profiling practice). Is it the rate for individual real estate brokers? for students? Is it the rate for people who order photographs 1x week? Is it the rate for people whose names start with M?”
2. Expensive Prices for Low-Quality Designs
Virtually staging one photo with VHT Studios will cost you at least $79--which is almost three times the cost of virtual staging with Stuccco.
If you need to do anything other than add furniture to a photo of a vacant space, the cost will increase significantly. For example, staging just three listing photos with VHT Studios will cost you $237 PLUS taxes and fees.
On average, our customers virtually stage seven photos for each listing. With VHT Studios that would be a minimum of $553, assuming you ONLY need to add furniture to your picture (not change paint colors, existing furniture, or lighting).
VHT Studios' virtual staging prices are some of the highest on the market, and unfortunately, it doesn't offer high-quality staging to do justice to the prices.
Learn more about the costs of virtual staging.
3. Confusing Order Process
If you decide to pay VHT's high prices and start placing a virtual staging order, you'll be faced with the next problem.
Not only is VHT's pricing structure extremely confusing, so is the order process.
You'll start by choosing the type of room you want to virtually stage:
Once you choose the room type, you'll be prompted to choose which virtual staging services you want for this photo and the “collection.”
When you click “View All Collections,” you'll be taken to the full VHT Studios catalog, where you can choose a collection or single items and materials. Each room has over 130 collections, plus many individual items.
Although VHT Studios is not a DIY virtual staging software, you will have to become the designer and choose all of the pieces and collections.
Coupled with their lack of design quality and extremely high prices, VHT Studios asks you to put in MORE time, effort, and money to get mediocre results.
Unfortunately, their other real estate photography services seem to have an equally confusing process. When you attempt to order a floor plan, you'll see this menu:
Floor plans are not listed during checkout! You will probably have to call the company directly to place your order.
Although VHT Studios can seem like a great, all-in-one solution for all things related to real estate photography, it seems like they're spread too thin. Instead of offering a few services that are excellent, they offer many services with mediocre results and confusing processes.
4. Inconsistent Quality of Photographers and Designers
Since VHT Studios is primarily a real estate photography service, there are no professional designers on their team. This is just one reason why their virtual staging designs are low-quality.
In addition, most photographers that work with VHT Studios are independently contracted. This is actually an effective way for them to work with photographers in a variety of locations. However, the lack of professional processes and systems at VHT Studios seems to apply to the photographers, as well.
To start, VHT doesn't ask for highly qualified or experienced photographers. These are the requirements listed in their job postings:
If you scroll through just a few of the reviews for VHT Studios, you'll find many customers who are happy with their photographer, and many who are extremely unhappy with their photographer. The photographer you receive when you work with VHT Studios is hit or miss.
Basically, hiring VHT Studios for photography is a gamble.
5. Bad Customer Reviews
Checking reviews before you make a purchase is always a good idea--but it's even better when you're paying hundreds of dollars for a listing. Unfortunately, there are a lot of customer reviews for VHT Studios that raise red flags.
Positive VHT Studios Reviews:
“I have used VHT many times. It's important to get the right photographer and order the correct type of pictures. Once you do they truly represent the property.”
“Great professional service and always on time with great pictures.”
“I love using VHT, always courteous on the phone, they accommodate my schedule and helpful with shot suggestions. I wish everyone could have as good of an experience as I do. Remember to interview your photographers before they come out to make sure they are experienced and will help you if staging is not your forte, this way you'll be assured a good experience too.”
“Alayna and Elizabeth are always helpful, positive and professional. Their patience is always appreciated!”
“I love working with Meg! She captures the best of each home!”
“Been really happy with Cathy my photographer! She is amazing at what she does and the company is easy to work with!”
Negative VHT Studios Reviews:
“Mediocrity at its most mediocre. I used to use them for every photo shoot of mine 10-13 years ago. I stopped using them because the quality was inconsistent at best.”
“Terrible, low quality pictures.”
“There is a long wait time, confusion with the photographers, and they don't handle rental listing properly. Seems like most photographers want to do higher cost packages.”
“Slow to respond, slower to post. Virtual staging takes 2-3 days AFTER you finally get the photos posted. That's a problem.”
“I have consistently had bad experiences with the folks here. First, there are so many people, so there is no accountability for the project completion. Depending on who you talk with, there are conflicting instructions on how to proceed. I attempted several projects, but the last straw was when I ordered a 2-minute video and ended up getting charged for a website. I spoke to 5 different people to order a video over 2 weeks. Then I got a website with only still pictures (didn't even use the video file I sent them) and a charge on my credit card. It was a mistake to let my time slip away with these folks.”
“It should not take one month or longer to get photos. When I inquire on orders, it is the same excuse each time. ‘We don't know why the photographer hasn't been out to the property. We don't have coverage in that area. We are having trouble locating a photographer.' Don't take the order if you cannot timely fill it. Very disappointing.”
“Wow, my wife and I are currently house hunting and every home we click on that has the VHT Studios watermark in the corner makes us groan. The pictures are usually only slightly better than what an untrained chimp could do. Do you want your pictures out of order on the listing so you can't get a sense of how the home flows? VHT has got your back. Do you want that perfect picture of the lamp in the corner of your bedroom but nothing else? VHT has that skill mastered.”
VHT Studios Alternatives
Now that you know the pros and cons of VHT, let's look at the best option for virtual staging: Stuccco!
Example of virtually staged image from Stuccco
Here are some of Stuccco's features:
- $29 per virtually staged photo
- Guaranteed 24-hour turnaround time
- Unlimited revisions
- 24/7 customer support
- Money-back guarantee
- Images staged by professional interior designers
- Membership options available to unlock discounts
- The only virtual staging company that enables buyers to turn virtually staged designs into reality via Stuccco online interior design
- Named the best Virtual Staging company of 2021 by The Spruce
Comparison of VHT Studios and Stuccco
|Price||$79-199 per image||$23.90 - $29 per image|
|Virtual staging by design professionals||X||YES|
|24-hour turnaround time for virtual staging||X||YES|
|Exterior Virtual Staging||X||YES|
|Virtual Landscape Design||X||YES|
|Online Interior Design||X||YES|
|Subscription options for discounts||X||YES|
|Turn staged photos into slideshow videos||X||YES|
You can place a virtual staging order with Stuccco in less than five minutes, and then receive your designs in 24 hours. Ready to see the impact of virtual staging on your business? Place your order now.
Read our other virtual staging company reviews: