Architecture in Motion: Emile Rafael

When it comes to shooting homes, Emile Rafael takes it to the next level. As a real estate photographer and videographer, I see the potential in shooting videos for agents; the only problem is they don't typically want to pay much, and they need things turned around fast. This is something where the agent could be taking a risk and receiving a quality product, but it does not seem to be so common.

Emile found his way around this obstacle by shooting with architects. What a genius. Architects, like artists, appreciate the work they do and want to have a memory of that. By hiring someone to shoot a video, they can see what they created, be taken back to it, and admire what they have done. When Emile shoots it, they are able to connect with themselves as they speak about what they created, why they created it, why it works, and much, much more.

This type of video would usually be boring to the common viewer. What do they care about this architect and what they created? Emile is able to eliminate that thought as he pulls you in with his unique, simple, and beautiful shots. He uses subtle music, movement, and light while he pairs that with a voiceover of the architect. By doing this, he is making this video something special for anyone watching. His videos, unlike most others, really influence me to work in a similar way. He has a different perspective than most of us do, but is able to use it in a beneficial way.

As a creator, you can do the same thing Emile does. If you can put your time and effort into learning how to do something, if you can get really good at doing it, you can be that person who influences others. Be yourself, find your style, and think big, because nothing is impossible.

Check out Emile's Instagram, and for more of Emile’s work, visit his website here

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Christian Santiago's picture

Photography for real estate, especially in the luxury realm is no longer enough. Agents are viewing themselves more as brands and really kicking up the marketing machines. Video for listings gives prospective e buyers an entirely different approach and calibration of a space and says a lot more than photos ever could. They also enhance the brand of a realtor to get future listings. Sort of like a "this is how far I go for my clients. I've been doing this for two years now (completely different style to this video though ) and There is a big and growing market for this type of product.

Ty Poland's picture

I completely agree! I see it happening over here as well and I really think that it helps show off and sell the home

Sebastian Erras's picture

Very well done. Even for architects or interior design magazines this kind of videos only work in the very high end market. Even in the higher mid-end of the market architects are probably not gonna spent the money on a video. There's a lot of potential here but it's a very tight niche market (at least here in Europe).

Would love to have more background infos on the production of this videos.

Ty Poland's picture

it is probably a little difficult to start in this market, but once your in and put out content like this, you could be on your way to something. I would much rather shoot like this than put out strictly walk through/aerial videos for real estate agents. That's what really seems to be popular

Nathan Dana's picture

Part of the problem with video in real estate is that the delivery method isn't there for the masses. Heck, even for photos, resolution is usually highly limited on sites like, and to the best of my knowledge they don't even support video. The value would seem to be there, you can get a much better sense of a space through video than stills.

Christian Santiago's picture

Realtors are starting to use delivery methods hat circumvent the limitations of the mls. All of my clients have Vimeo, YouTube and Instagram accounts and use the videos not just for selling the property but to pad their social profiles. One of our clients gets almost all of his leads from Instagram clips we cut to lure potential buyers to his YouTube channel. Buyers are everywhere. He's gotten a few people who've never even stepped foot on the property before buying. They just happened to see online somewhere and had to have it.

Ty Poland's picture

The thing is, we are very impatient today. Nobody has an attention span anymore with all of this technology. When the listings have the right materials to market the home, hotel, space, building, whatever it is, those materials sell it almost right away. Think about a time share having crappy photos. Am I supposed to want to book a flight halfway across the country if I can't see updated photos of the place I will be staying at? It would be an expensive trip and if I got out there and got to the place and it was crap, the website and photos are to blame.

Being modern and staying up to date with the technology is really important in our market today. It's really interesting to hear that people can just buy a home from watching an instagram clip, but that goes to show how much photo and video can help.

I think we need to get some realtors on here to watch this and see how they can change their ways haha.

Ty Poland's picture

I can see this problem as well. All the websites chop the quality of the photos, some even do it for video. There should be a better way of selling these homes or at least showing them and by having good photography and even good videography, they stand out much more than listings without good photos or video

Maximilian Mesch's picture

1. Nice calming Video! Thanks for sharing!
2. What a gorgeous place to live that is!
3. I bet with you guys, that in 3-4 years real estate is going to be sold via VR. You get a full 360° tour while the realtor is explaining aspects of the house. And of course in the end of the video there is going to be a drone shot into the sunset. :D

Ty Poland's picture

Not a problem Max! the video is very well done and the space is absolutely amazing. Shooting a place like this has to be so interesting because of how different it is, especially being out here in New Jersey.. I don't see anything like this.

VR is 100% going to be the next thing, but I do think it will take 3-4 years, maybe even a little bit longer. The only thing about VR is the style of filming. Everything is wide angle, 360 degrees so there is no depth of field and no detail or focus like a real camera has. I think that VR may lack a few things, but it will allow you to step inside of the house and literally see it yourself from a pair of goggles. As long as the dimensions are accurate, this would be a huge selling point.

The only reason I would be against this is because it takes away the "art" of it. If you take away the details that show off the home, in this case, the gardens inside, the material used to build the place, the movement of the water and so on, we no longer see that being a part of the home. When an artist or videographer like Emile puts this together, he focuses on those things that the typical person may not see and I think that is something that really brings the video to life. A lot of the shots he gets are shots that I wouldn't even think about getting and to me, they are details or shots that really show the space in a way we don't normally see it.

Video is very powerful and in the later years it will develop a lot more. VR will probably just be a part of the package, there is definitely a lot more work that needs to go into it to make the technology run smooth when viewing it. Years down the road this will be a normal thing and it will be so normal for everyone to see a space like this. Also, like everyone was saying in the comments above, the realtors really need to update or find a new way to market these homes because they cant throw a VR tour on the MLS. If they could post more of this stuff or market it better, houses would probably be selling like crazy, especially in the high end market.

Mark Richardson's picture

Great Video. I love the documentary style.

Ty Poland's picture

Thanks Mark, definitely a different style, but very interesting and it holds your attention. I could never get over these videos because of how well they are done.

dale clark's picture

This is how RE videos should be done! A presentation like this can actually make a potential buyer excited about a place while elevating agent branding. I'm amazed how many agents still do the walking around with a steady cam, faucets turn on, doors magically open, bad music "cliche'" videos. Terrible.

Ty Poland's picture

hahaha exactly! the music, the slideshows fading from image to image, it's all so corny that they like it.. but does that sell it for the buyer? I can assure you that I would be 300% more likely to go somewhere if it had a video like this. Though it has to do with architecture, maybe some modern music and something more entertaining would work for real estate.