A picture is worth thousands of dollars in the real estate industry.

Mere hours after a new property is posted on the regional online Multiple Listing Service, buyer's agents across Cincinnati copy the listing to clients it might fit. But if the listing doesn't have a photo, or if the photo is lackluster, buyers often skip right over it.

That's why digital photography classes for real estate professionals are a hot commodity. The Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors started teaching beginning digital photography in July 2005. All seven classes offered since then drew a full crowd, says education director Annette Chmiel. CABR will add intermediate photography classes next year.

Recently, the Board's Business Technology Committee held its own digital camera training seminar and 60 people attended, says Barry Zeidman of Huff Realty, committee chairman.

Some real estate firms have a staff photographer, but most don't, Zeidman says. Besides, the agent can get the image online more quickly with a simple upload to the MLS, and can tailor the online marketing later with additional property shots.

Digital photos of homes for sale must be visually appealing, says Covington-based professional photographer Doreen LaRue. She is teaching the next photography class for CABR on August 25.

LaRue says she works with agents on lighting (indoor and outdoor), cropping images, and angles to use. "I teach agents not to take a 'mug shot' of a home," LaRue notes. "It's just not attractive to take a full frontal (of a home) at high noon."

Coldwell Banker Commercial United Realty Services of Cincinnati recently was named Ohi'™s No. 1 commercial real estate office for 2005 by Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates Inc.

Among the 2006 officers for the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors' Ohio chapter are Jeff Carey Jr. of Carey Laumer Commercial Realty and John B. Gartner III of Grubb & Ellis West Shell Commercial. The chapter's next meeting is Sept. 6 in Powell, Ohio.

Learn advanced Excel techniques and get comfortable with commercial mortgage-based securities (CMBS) at upcoming University of Cincinnati Real Estate Program classes. An Excel course tailored for commercial real estate professionals will be held Aug. 25 at UC's Lindner Hall. On Sept. 15, professionals can get a deeper understanding of the mechanics, macroeconomics and investments characteristic of CMBS. To register, call 513-556-7082 or email william.sikes@uc.edu.

Joe Price has been named vice president of financial services at Huff Realty. He will oversee the mortgage, title and insurance divisions of Huff, a member of Berkshire Hathaway's HomeServices of America. Price previously was a mortgage consultant for Traditions Mortgage and, earlier, a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds.

The Ziegler Group, the Hebron-based commercial real estate firm, purchased the 35,400-square-foot shopping center at 825 Main St. in Milford in June for $1.65 million. Mike Ziegler says he plans a 15,000-square-foot addition to the property. Christopher Nachtrab of The Everest Group|TCN Worldwide represented the seller, MBL Partners Ltd. Michael Sullivan of Colliers Turley Martin Tucker represented the buyer.

The Ohio Association of Realtors will hold its annual convention and expo Sept. 17-20 at the Cleveland Convention Center, with 1,800 Realtors expected. Vendor applications are due by August 31. For more information, go to www.ohiorealtors.org

Middle Earth Development has begun $9.6 million in renovations at the former Marx Cromer furniture building in Newport. The five-building project is at the corner of Monmouth and Ninth Streets. The first floor will be retail space, while the upper floors house 41 loft-style apartments.

David Browndyke has joined Corporex as a leasing specialist for its master planned community, CirclePort. Browndyke previously was director of leasing at Boxer Properties in Texas.

The Crestview Hills Board of Adjustments approved a $15 million plan for an eight-story, 110,000-square-foot building that will be the new headquarters for Columbia Sussex. The company will relocate from its current 30,000-square-foot facility in Fort Mitchell.

Real estate news relevant to the Tristate business community may be emailed to Cincy Business at news@cincybusinessmag.com.